The Best Way to Get Creative
Choose Your Wall
My wall is 10 feet tall and 9 feet wide. It’s huge. I used to have a console table in front of it that covered part of that vent and the plug/vacuum plugs. It was perfect because if I didn’t feel like making a giant piece, I didn’t have to. The console table also created a bit of distance between anyone walking by and the wall. People were less inclined to touch it.
Now, the console table is on the opposite side of the room and there’s nothing in front of the chalkboard wall. If we were to have a dinner party, I’d absolutely move the table back just to keep people away from the wall but for just the two of us and Charlie, it’s fine.
Things to Consider For Your Chalkboard Wall
→ Will you need a ladder? Do you have one to borrow or a place to store one?
→ Do you have tiny humans around? Because fingers on your chalkboard wall are a nightmare. This, of course, doesn’t matter if you’re putting it in a playroom and have the tiny people play with the wall is the intended purpose.
→ Is it in a messy place? If you’re putting it in a kitchen, you’ll likely have to clean it more often. I’m not saying I’m a total hurricane in the kitchen, but also, I totally am. If you put your chalkboard wall somewhere it’s gonna get messy – kitchens, mudrooms, playrooms – just know that you’ll have to touch it up and clean it up way more often than if you were to put it somewhere out of the way!
→ What’s underneath the wall? Chalk dust is a mess. You’ll want to have easy access to move whatever might be in front of the wall and to be able to clean the floor beneath. Carpeting beneath your wall might not be ideal.
→ Are you sure you want a wall? No, for real – are you sure? Because you can also thrift a giant frame and make you’re own portable sign if you don’t want to commit to a wall.
Get to Painting
Chalkboard Wall Materials
→ Rustoleum Chalkboard Paint (or whatever paint you choose)
→ A Roller (and an extendable handle if your wall is huge)
→ A Paint Tray
→ A Brush (3” ish, for getting those pesky corners and tight spots)
→ Painters Tape (unless you’re feeling brave, I guess)
→ A Drop Sheet (or something to protect the floor – again, unless you’re feeling brave)
→ Sanding Paper (and again, depending on the size of your wall, get what you need to reach it all!)
→ Snacks (because we always need snacks, right?)
Painting Your Chalkboard Wall
Have everything ready? You’re ready to have the ultimate art wall in your house? You’ve got a karaoke playlist or Netflix lined up? Good. Let’s paint.
→ Move everything out of the way that’s in the way. Furniture, your pet, plants, block off the tiny humans.
→ Remove switch wall plates (and the baseboard if you’re feelin’ it).
→ Lightly sand it down. Remember that you’re going to be drawing on this wall later and every little bump is going to catch on chalk. You want this baby smooth.
→ Use a brush to get corners, around frames/windows/tight spots.
→ Use a roller for the large part of the wall.
→ Two coats, my friends. You need two coats.
→ Whatever paint you use will tell you how long it needs to dry between coats and how long it needs to cure for. Sometimes, I follow those instructions. I left my wall alone for about two weeks.
→ Season your wall (I’m going to emphasize this with its own section).
Season Your Chalkboard Wall
Seasoning your wall before you use it helps the maintenance and cleaning of it in the future. You won’t see (for the most part) the ghost of your previous art.
→ Take a piece of chalk and hold it flat against the wall.
→ Rub it on the wall horizontally until you’ve covered the entire wall in a layer of chalk.
→ Then do it again rubbing it vertically.
→ Wipe it all off. Personally, I use a dry clean cloth to wipe it off and that means it takes 2 or 3 wipes to get the perfect chalky clean. You can take a very lightly damp cloth an wipe it down instead though.
Draw on Your Chalkboard Wall
Tips for Using Regular Chalk
I’m not doing anything complicated on my chalkboard wall and that’s a big reason I’m a fan of regular chalk. With a huge canvas to work on, I don’t have to worry about details being so small. If you have a smaller wall, you’ll find it’s harder to add details to your illustrations and lettering.
→ Sharpen a new piece of chalk by drawing short lines to get rid of that jagged edge on a fresh piece.
→ Draw your initial design with a very light touch. This will make it easier to erase if you need to adjust spacing as you go.
→ Experiment with different strokes and shading. You can use a cloth to shade in parts of your drawing and create even more detail.
Ideas For Chalkboard Art
I’m obsessed with lettering so my pieces generally revolve around text. I’ve been working a lot on different techniques with lettering with chalk and it’s really just a game of experimentation and practice. I like to browse instagram hashtags (like #handlettering #typography and #calligraphy) to get inspired. I find that if I look specifically for chalk lettering, I get stuck in a perfectionist loop and cant’ come up with a design. Instead, I stay in the realm of lettering but nothing too specific.
→ Draw out a very rough draft of what you plan on putting on the wall. It doesn’t need to be perfect but it will help you figure out spacing.
→ If you’re stuck on ideas for lettering, browse the internet for fonts you like and see what inspiration comes your way.
→ Most of my boards have been white chalk but I love experimenting with color on smaller projects.
→ Make your board a functional art piece in your home and put a calendar or a to-do list on it.
→ Leave a space within your larger illustration for smaller ones throughout the month. I haven’t done this yet but really want to give it a go.
→ Who cares if it’s not perfect. You’ll learn as you go but you’ll never get better if you don’t keep trying and practicing.
Cleaning Your Chalkboard Wall
This is the part I truly dread. I don’t know why because it’s really the easiest part of having a chalkboard wall.
→ Use a clean cloth. I’ve cleaned others with a microfibre cloth before but the cloths I have at home are just old rags and those work fine.
→ Sometimes, I mist my cloth (with the mister I use from my plants) if there’s a ton of chalk. I know others wipe it down with a damp cloth but I find this fudges up the texture of the wall.
→ It usually wipe mine down about three times with a dry cloth and that does the trick.
→ On really overused boards/signs that are in dire need of a new coat, I’ve used a tiny bit of Coke on a cloth to get rid of that grey stained wash that doesn’t go away with a damp cloth.