Chalkboard Paint,101


“French country”, “shabby chic”, “vintage” – my kitchen has a theme with two favorite things: chickens and cherries. I adore the bright, happy red of cherry-themed items. Much of the decor is antique and vintage, but it was a chalkboard with hand-painted cherries that I ordered from a charming catalog over a decade ago that made me smitten with a cherry-themed decor. As a kid in the seventies, we had a bright red rotary phone on the wall in the kitchen; next to it was a chalkboard. Mom would write phone messages on it, and the family grocery list. (Remember the Brady Bunch? Catch re-runs and take a peek at Carol Brady’s kitchen…there’s a blackboard in her kitchen, too). Through the years, my little cherries chalkboard has been the place we scrawl quick notes, to-do lists, doodles, and of course, the family grocery list. However, after over a decade of use, it no longer was writable. The surface wore out, and chalk no longer would make a mark. Before letting my cute little board go, I wondered if there was a way to bring its writing surface back to life. Could it be revived? Hence, my new love affair with Chalkboard Paint.

This started my whole obsession with cherries...

This started my whole obsession with cherries…

The chalkboard in my childhood home next to what I always called the "Bat-Phone".

The chalkboard in my childhood home next to what I always called the “Bat-Phone”.

The worn-out surface made my chalkboard unusable.

The worn-out surface made my chalkboard unusable.

I didn’t want to drive all around looking for chalkboard paint, so I called a few local places. I was surprised how many people had never heard of chalkboard paint. I’m talking about chalkboard paint, not to be confused with chalk paint. Chalk paint is a paint trademarked by Annie Sloan in 1990, which has a “chalky” finish and makes it easy to distress a piece of furniture (think shabby chic). I’m not talking about that. I mean chalkboard paint, paint that when it is applied to something, the surface becomes writable with chalk, just like a classic, slate chalkboard.

Chalkboard paint comes in spray cans, paint cans, and in plastic “squeeze” bottles. I knew I didn’t want to use the spray form, since my chalkboard has a border and a decoupaged center I was afraid might get damaged if taped. 10-ounce cans can be found in paint centers and mass merchandise stores for about $10.00 to $13.00. I didn’t want that much paint, so I went to my local craft store, Michaels, and with a coupon I bought an 8-ounce bottle for around $3.00. The clerk I spoke to was very helpful. Though she had never heard of redoing a chalkboard, she suggested for my use I purchase a multi-surface formula, which is water based, non-toxic, dishwasher safe and weather-resistant.


Chalkboard paint is available in a vast array of colors, as well as in a clear form. For my purpose, I wanted classic black. The paint is thick, with an almost tar-like consistency. Using a sponge applicator instead of a brush is better, because it goes on smoother and with more control. (Also, try to contain your excitement at a new craft project and maybe wear gloves. I can still write my grocery list under my fingernails).


To use, first paint whatever you are painting horizontally, allowing to dry one hour between coats.

For the second coat, paint in a vertical direction. Allow the piece to dry for 24 hours.


Once dry, “season” your chalkboard area, by “coloring” it completely with chalk, with one layer colored vertically and one layer horizontally. I remember doing this in elementary school with my favorite teacher when our classroom got a new chalkboard. Seasoning insures that whatever you first write on the surface won’t “imprint” on it. Erase it or use a damp cloth to clean and your surface is ready to write on.

It works!

It works!

My chalkboard looks brand new!

A repurposed antique matchholder keeps chalk ready to use for quick notes.

A re-purposed antique match holder keeps chalk ready to use for quick notes.

Once I saw how easy to use and (cool) the paint is, my creative juices started flowing. I was inspired to clean up the area by our garage door. I always love the quote from the Oprah Winfrey show years ago, “Your house should rise up to meet you”. I’ve decorated the entrances and porches on both my front and back areas of my home, but the door by the garage where we all usually go in and out was a depressing mess – leaves from the wind in the corner, spider webs on the glass, and a garbage can – that was the door that greeted us.  I spruced up the area, and using just “found items” I had around the house, I decorated a grapevine wreath I  made last summer when cleaning out brush. Using the chalkboard paint, I painted a scrap piece of wood for a rustic touch.. Right now it says, “Welcome Friends”, but I can easily change the wreath and saying with the seasons.



Chalkboard paint works on all sorts of surfaces. You can paint in directly on the wall (think fun playroom), on furniture, cabinets, appliances, or use it for organization or inspiration.

This jar is commercially done, but chalk paint can be used on glass. (Think mason jars, wine glasses, terrarium jars...)

This jar in my kitchen is commercially done, but chalkboard paint can be used on glass. (Think mason jars, wine glasses, cheese boards, memo centers from old trays, terrarium jars…)

When using on glass, the surface must "cure" longer or be baked. The paint I bought recommends 21 days of air drying for glass.

When using on glass, the surface must “cure” longer or be baked. The paint I bought recommends 21 days of air drying for glass.

Since we buy dog food, bunny, and chicken feed in bulk, we store extra in air tight containers. Using chalkboard paint for labels means I can easily switch the contents.

Since we buy dog food, bunny, and chicken feed in bulk, we store extra in air tight containers. Using chalkboard paint for labels means I can easily switch the contents.

The art teacher at my daughter's school used chlalkboard paint directly on her cabinet doors to organize the room. Clever!

The art teacher at my daughter’s school used chalkboard paint directly on her cabinet doors to organize the room. Clever!

Many classrooms no longer have classic blackboards in them, replacing them today with dry-erase whiteboards or fancy smart-boards. To me, there’s just something about the simplicity of chalk and a chalkboard, the non-permanent, reusable nature of it mixed with just outright charm. Chalkboard paint brings a new, modern twist to an old classic, with endless creative possibilities and charm – perfect for all sorts of Farmgirl projects!

Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  1. Barbara Purvine says:

    I have been looking at the chalkboard paints in our local craft stores for quite some time but have refrained from purchasing them because I have no specific projects in mind. What fun to read this post, look at the pictures, and see how you have so effectively used it! Your cherry chalkboard painted up nicely – and wouldn’t it be a hoot to have a red phone like the one from your childhood? Loved this post!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Barbara, Aha! A new vintage item to search for! That would be awesome. Such memories! I used to get my older brother in trouble with that phone, as there was another “Princess” phone in my mom’s room. I’d listen in and report to my mother! Not sure what I reported since he and I were both good kids, but I was still such a naughty little sister. Anyway, if you do buy the paint a good thing to know is a little goes a long way, so it isn’t a huge investment for great creative projects! Thanks for reading and commenting. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  2. Krista says:

    How fun! Your chalkboard looks brand new! I really like your chalkboard paint projects, especially the food and feed containers. Now my mind is running like crazy with all the things I can create or update with chalkboard paint. Thanks for sharing such a fun and creative idea!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Krista, Thanks! My chalkboard is like brand new. I am so happy with how it turned out. I hear ya…I love this paint, and it’s so easy to use! Oh! The possibilities… Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  3. Susan T says:

    I wonder if our generation hasn’t made chalkboard paint popular because we enjoyed using the chalk so much when we were younger. After all, the children and used chalk outside on sidewalks and drives for quite a while.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      I myself am not sure of when chalkboard paint first came on the market. My daughter sure did enjoy chalkboard paint, though! It was a favorite and often given as both birthday gifts and in birthday treat bags. Thanks for stopping by! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  4. Joan says:

    Oh my goodness — I am in the throws of doing chalkboard paint over magnetic paint. I have the idea to do this on some scrap wood, then putting magnets on the back of scrabble letters – write something with them & chalk and leave some letters to let the g-kids play with. You have helped me very much to know what to do. Love your cherries. God bless.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      MAGNETIC PAINT?!? Joan, Oh My Goodness…I must go check that out! Sounds wonderful! Love your project idea. Thanks for sharing! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  5. Marilyn says:

    Lovely projects.

  6. Beverly Battaglia says:

    Nicole, I love the chalkboard with the cherries on it. Looks so pretty and it was nice to see the red kitchen wall phone! Did not know you called it the “bat phone”. Could also see the red and white checked curtains in the window which I sewed myself. You are so creative with just small inexpensive ideas. Proud of you as usual. Love, Mother

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Mom! Yes, always called it the “bat phone”. Wish it was still around. The curtains in my kitchen now are smaller checks, but a nod to you! I remember you sewing those up. Love you! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  7. crlagroue says:

    I enjoyed your blog. Seeing the old phone in our childhood home brought back old memories.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Thanks! Yes, I think we both spent hours in the corner there on that phone talking to friends. Now kids just “text” each other. ~Nicole

  8. Denise Ross says:

    Beautiful photos and memories Nicole. Love the lesson on how to refinish a chalkboard.
    Yes blackboards seem to be out and smart boards are in my sins classroom too. Sad to see the blackboard go. I have my own too and cherish it. My husband and kids bought it for me one birthday. I love the cherries in yours and your chalk holder, great idea. Love the red and white check curtains, very pretty

  9. Rowena Philbeck says:

    Awesome..I love chalk paint. Nice pieces.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Rowena, Thank you! I’d love to hear what you have used chalkboard paint on, as well. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

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