GOAL: Create a large chalkboard wall to display the loads of artwork created by my three kids – all at the same time.
Admittedly, this is gonna be a difficult and somewhat time-consuming project. It will take at least an entire weekend. If you’re like us, you have pile of artwork created by your kids and no place to hang it. Well, actually I have come up with other ways to showcase their works (i.e. framed sheets of metal), but that’s a post for another day. I just wanted a large enough place to smack their stuff up, make ‘em happy and giddy with pride, and be on my way. Today’s stainless steel refrigerators don’t work like the magnet-fueled art galleries of our parents’ fridges, so I created my own canvas. A magnetic chalkboard wall!
Required Safety Advice
Make sure the room is well ventilated and that the floor, ceiling, and surrounding walls are well prepped with painter’s tape, plastic, and drop clothes appropriately. These paints SMELL – so make sure to open plenty of windows because you are going to use a lot of paint!
The magnetic primer contain metal flecks – avoid getting this on your skin by wearing clothing that covers your arms, legs, feet, and gloves on your hands. Wear safety goggles and a shower cap on your head.
Before starting, please read the labels on each product for safety and proper use instructions.
- Bucket of dish soap and water; wash rags
- Spackle and spackle knife
- Latex gloves
- Magnetic Primer. I used Rust-Oleum paint. Measure the area to determine how much you’ll need.
- Chalkboard paint. I used Rust-Oleum paint. Measure the area to determine how much you’ll need.
- 1 paint tray with 2 disposable liners – 1 for each paint type.
- 2 paint rollers – one for each paint type.
- 2 paint brushes for edging and corners – 1 for each paint type.
- Painter’s tape.
- Plastic liners or drop clothes.
- Mineral spirits and rag
- 1 whole white chalk stick.
- Repair any cracks in the wall with spackle. Allow to completely dry – I like spackle that starts out pink and turns white to indicate that it’s dry.
- Wash the wall with some dish soap and water and make sure to clean the trim of dust and dirt. Allow to completely dry.
- Prep the area: tape trim, moldings, and ceiling edges.
- Per the manufacturer’s instructions, apply 3 to 4 coats of primer 30 minutes apart. I also recommend that you check for strong magnetism as you go – right before you start the next coat and so on.
- IMPORTANT! The primer contains actual metal flecks. This means that you must stir the can thoroughly prior to use. In fact, for best results, stir the primer often throughout the painting process.
- Using mineral spirits, clean up any drips and splats, if necessary.
- After 4 hours, prepare the chalkboard paint by gently stirring it with your paint brush. It’s delicate and if shaken or vigorously stirred, the pigment can break down. It won’t accept chalk well as a result.
- Paint 2 coats, but no more. Any additional coats will decrease the magnetism.
- Allow the wall to cure (harden) and dry completely for 3 days.
- The first few marks on a chalkboard wall are indelible. Before writing on it, you need to season it with chalk. Holding the chalk lengthwise rub it up and down the entire wall with the side of the chalk stick. Erase it all.
- Vacuum all that chalk dust! You may also need a damp cloth to get most of it up.
- Enjoy your brand new magnetic chalkboard wall!
Bonus! I needed to store my chalk and eraser somewhere. I found this magnetic holder. I rehung the pen, paper and key holder wall organizer, which blended very nicely. Both available on Amazon.