Ashley Poskin

Chalkboard paint is a simple DIY that can help streamline everything from grocery shopping (use it on the back of the pantry door to write down what you need) to a wall your kids can actually draw on. But you might be wondering what exactly is chalkboard paint? It’s a flat matte paint that comes in a variety of colors and can be used to create a chalkboard on just about any surface. It’s the perfect medium for countless projects around your home and office.

Related: How to Make Custom Color Chalkboard Paint

How to Use Chalkboard Paint

According to Brooke Lang, the principal designer of Brooke Lang Design, chalkboard paint is a paint product that allows you to turn any surface into a writable and erasable chalkboard. “Regular matte black paint could also work, but chalkboard paint dries faster than matte paint and has a grittier finish for chalk to write on,” she explains. “Chalkboard paint looks best on a smoother surface.” So, if your walls have a texture, you should use some sandpaper to smooth and prep the area before painting.

Cory Vance, of Let’s Create Art, suggests picking an ultra-matte paint for your chalkboard project. “The ultra-matte chalk finish is the first key step,” Vance explains. “The chalky finish allows the chalk to easily sit on the board and makes erasing off actually happen.”

Painting Tips

If you’re going to paint with chalkboard paint, Lang suggests letting it dry for at least three days before writing on it. “I’d also recommend using at least two coats of chalkboard paint, letting each dry in between coats.” Once it’s fully dry, she suggests rubbing some chalk over the paint then erasing it with a dry towel to give it a “chalky” finished look. “Chalkboard paint comes in a variety of colors so don’t feel like you have to stick with just the traditional black,” she adds. “Mix it up with a dark green, like an old school chalkboard from elementary school, or a brighter color.”

And beware of sealants or topcoats. “Do not seal the board with any topcoat or wax,” Vance says. “If you are wanting the board to be erasable you will want to make sure you are using traditional chalk sticks or chalk pens, not paint pens!”

Chalkboard Paint Ideas to Try at Home

If you’re looking for some ideas to use chalkboard paint at home, Lang suggests using it to make a personalized mask holder for your mudroom. “Hang some decorative hooks, your favorite picture frame and paint the wall on the inside of the frame with chalkboard paint to create a custom mask holder for your mudroom,” she says. “Then, you can write each person’s name above their designated hook, so you never leave home without it!” Or you can create a personalized (and changeable) headboard to your child’s bed. “Bring out your kid’s inner artist by painting the headboard of their bed with chalkboard paint, allowing them to customize their own bed.”

One of our favorite uses of chalkboard paint is our Chalk-Painted Monogram Plaque. It makes for a beautiful customizable front door decoration. Another creative idea is our DIY Bistro Menu. All you need is an old picture frame, your favorite shade of chalkboard paint, and you can create a bistro-inspired menu to hang in your kitchen or dining room. Or, if you want to leave the chalk behind, try using chalkboard paint on wooden beads and create your own brightly colored jewelry collection. Another fun use of the paint is to create a never-ending canvas for your child by painting an entire wall with chalkboard paint. All you need is a drop cloth, painting supplies, and a child with a big imagination to make this project pop.