You’ve seen them on Pinterest. Huge Chalkboard walls. Usually in a prominent place in the house. Perhaps in the kitchen with a beautifully hand drawn menu for the week. Or in the family room with the family’s’ schedule perfectly scrawled. I’ve had an ich to make a chalkboard wall for a while. I couldn’t figure out where I wanted to put it. I wasn’t ready to commit to a main area in the house. And then I realized the perfect spot.
In our finished basement we have this cute little “house” under the stairs. While it’s a cute area most of the time it’s the convenient place to throw the toys to quickly clean up. I decided that this would be the perfect place for my ‘chalk board” wall.
Which brings me to the first thing you should know:
1. Don’t do it at a major focal point
I know I just mentioned those fabulous pictures on Pinterest. But let’s be honest this whole chalkboard thing is a fad – and one day a chalkboard wall is going to up there with wood wall paneling. By placing it in a less obvious part of your house it won’t make it a past trend eyesore. Plus while those pictures show beautifully hand-drawn artistic menus, let’s be honest, the kids are going to draw all over that perfect clean looking menu. And if it’s in a main part of the house it’s going to make your living room look like a graffiti infested subway station. By choosing a less obvious wall (like under the stairs in the basement) will keep main public areas a little less “underground urban chic”.
2. Sand the wall – even if it’s only a little bumpy
Yet another reason not to do this to a main wall. You will want to lightly sand down the texture on the wall. The smoother the surface, the better. Chalk will catch on every little bump and pimple on the wall. Smooth the wall and then wipe it down before you paint it with Chalkboard paint.
3. Season the wall properly
You know how you need to “season” a kettle before you use it? You need to also season a chalkboard wall. Once you’ve painted it and it’s that nice beautiful black matte color. Take a piece of chalk and rub down the entire wall, so that every bit of pain has been touched by chalk. Then erase it and your wall will be ready. This is to make it easier to erase and use.
4. Understand that your floorboards are going to take a beating.
Here’s something they don’t tell you. Chalk is messy. Chalk dust gets everywhere (especially when kids use chalk). It will get all over the floor. If you use color chalk, that dust falls down onto your base boards and stains them. Now aren’t you glad that’s not in your kitchen?
5. Have a place to store chalk and erasers.
It’s important to make the wall functional. Have chalk and erasers nearby to when inspiration strikes (or unexpected company) the tools will be within reach.
We’ve really enjoyed out chalkboard wall. Our kids friends enjoy it (and their babysitters). I know of a few adult who also can’t resist and love to doodle on it as well. The nice part is it’s in a fun little out of the way spot. And yes the floorboards in there look terrible. Oh well.