i should be mopping the floor: How To Prime A Chalkboard

Thursday, October 1, 2015

How To Prime A Chalkboard

Today, I'm sharing a simple tutorial for how to prime a chalkboard. 

How To Prime A Chalkboard | Detailed steps for an important process after you use chalkboard paint.
This summer, I had this wild and crazy idea to paint one of the walls in my office with chalkboard paint. Top to bottom, y'all. It was an all or nothing kind of thing. With a chalkboard this huge, I had to do some serious priming to get it conditioned for regular use. I thought I'd document those steps so I can show all my friends here how to prime a chalkboard...you know, for when you go all kinds of crazy and paint an entire wall that way, too.

How To Prime A Chalkboard | Detailed steps for an important process after you use chalkboard paint.
Above is what the east wall of my office now looks like. However, this particular story (read: nightmare), begins last March.

How To Prime A Chalkboard | Detailed steps for an important process after you use chalkboard paint.
I obviously didn't set up a tripod for this before pic...lol. It was taken from my "peeling corner" while I worked. The nightmare began in March when I was all "hey, let's take the wallpaper down...that'll be fun!" Actually, let me back up. The nightmare began eight years ago when I was all "hey, let's put wallpaper up, that'll be fun!" 
Please spare me the "if wallpaper is applied correctly, removing it is cake" talk. I get it, people. I messed this up royally. My mom has already reiterated that to me. Multiple times. It's like the mistake that keeps on keeping on.
Sigh. 
So, I put up this wallpaper (incorrectly...apparently). And then the take down process turned into a months-long ordeal that was almost the end of me. This photo was taken about month three of take down. It was shortly after this that my husband looked at me and said, "we are done." He picked up the phone and hired a guy. It was the best decision. EVER.
While at first, I was a bit wounded...I mean I've done the whole DIY thing for some time now, y'all. But, we were gutted. I mean. Really.
To paint you a picture of just how badly I messed this up, I not only had to replace those mattresses, I had to re-carpet the carpeted areas of our home...because of the sheer magnitude of drywall dust...everywhere. Drywall dust that I created by taking my ding dang electric sander to the unforgiving wallpaper. That was maybe my worst move, yet. 
It quickly spiraled into the summer from H, y'all. And then Thomas came into our life and made it all better. Well, Thomas, his painting crew, and the carpet people. And by came into our life, I mean we forked over bookoos of moola to hire people to clean up our mistakes. And by our, I mean my. Sigh.

But now...we're back in biz-nass. Since Thomas had to do such extensive work in this room, I had time to dream up such crazy things as one wall becoming entirely chalkboard. To do this, he had to float it smoother than the other walls...and skip texture of any kind. When I floated (pun intended) this idea by him, he made it pretty clear that he had never done that, but was willing to...insert deer in the headlights, "you want to do what?!?" kind of look. 

So a few well-skimmed coats of mud, two coats of black primer and two coats of black chalkboard paint later...the wall was ready! 

How To Prime A Chalkboard | Detailed steps for an important process after you use chalkboard paint.
Priming a chalkboard is a pretty important step. Chalkboard paint (and any chalkboard surface) is very porous. The first chalk to hit it will sink into those pores. So, if I were to write "HEY" before priming the board, "HEY" would forever appear in the background of everything that was ever written on that board. As the initial "chalk", it would get first dibs at the pores. And basically set up camp forevermore. So, you want your first chalk to be a consistent one...even strokes all over the board. So then your background is always of an even consistency. You'll only use the side of the chalk. It works best once it's flattened and smooth. I like to break my long pieces of chalk in half for this. 
I used a box and a half of chalk to prime this bad boy. As soon as I was done, my friend Gina's all "I had this whole bucket of sidewalk chalk you could've totally used." Doh. Sidewalk chalk would've been pretty awesome for a chalkboard of this magnitude. But, I weathered the tiny chalk storm and came out the other side a better person for it. ;)

How To Prime A Chalkboard | Detailed steps for an important process after you use chalkboard paint.
It's definitely not a hard job. But depending upon the size of your board, it can be long and monotonous. Just the side of the chalk...just the side

How To Prime A Chalkboard | Detailed steps for an important process after you use chalkboard paint.
If you're lucky, you can hire it out. I know a guy.
(And just to be clear...I did the high areas myself...he didn't get past the second rung.) 

How To Prime A Chalkboard | Detailed steps for an important process after you use chalkboard paint.
You're probably too busy trying to figure out what in the heehaw is happening here with my peeps...but, LOOK! I pattern-vacuumed just for you. My mom would be so proud. If only she knew how to get to my blog past its Facebook page, y'all. (Five years, mom...been blogging here for almost five years.)

How To Prime A Chalkboard | Detailed steps for an important process after you use chalkboard paint.
So after one monotonous process comes yet another. It's all fun and games around here. Take a DRY paper towel (it will actually be numerous paper towels...sorry!), and dry erase the board. You're actually not erasing, but rather pushing that layer of chalk into the pores even further. Once one paper towel is filled with chalk, grab a new one. I like them folded the best. Then I just refold and use every available side. 
Can we just take a moment to point out that I finally took a decent hair photo in I can't remember how long?!? Of course, it would be of the back of my head. I don't even want to talk about how many photos I had to go through to get here. And all of them still had that stupid neck crease. Oh lawsy...at least with craning my neck, all of my chins didn't show up for the photos...ha!

How To Prime A Chalkboard | Detailed steps for an important process after you use chalkboard paint.
After dry erasing the entire board, you'll wet erase it. More monotony, I tell ya.

How To Prime A Chalkboard | Detailed steps for an important process after you use chalkboard paint.
You don't have to wet erase...but I like to. 
I also like to go numerous directions to make the board look older and well-loved. 

How To Prime A Chalkboard | Detailed steps for an important process after you use chalkboard paint.
What do you think? Would you ever have floor-to-ceiling chalkboard?





28 comments:

  1. These are such great tips. I have been wanting to make a chalkboard wall in the playroom.

    Michelle F.

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    1. Do it! You will be so glad you did! Thanks for stopping by, Michelle!

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  2. It looks fantastic! My hand was cramping just thinking of covering the wall!!

    p.s. The action shot almost upstaged the big reveal ;)

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    1. Haha! There was a lot of hand cramping going on for sure!

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  3. You are the coolest mom ever. I want a chalkboard wall!

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  4. I really like how you made it look "well loved" as you said. I think it has a lot of character that way!

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    1. Thank you, Liz! I not only prefer the look--but it's so much more realistic to keep up this way!

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  5. I love that wall! I really want a chalkboard wall!

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    1. Thank you, Debra! You should totally do one! I know that sweet girl of yours would have a ball putting it to good use!

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  6. It looks beautiful. We moved into a house years ago where the previous owners painted OVER wallpaper, not once but multiple times...in every bedroom. Thankfully we only sold that house after 2 years. It was a nightmare. You do beautiful work!

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    1. Oh my word! After this "experience" ....woof. I just cannot even imagine!! Thank you bunches for stopping by!

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  7. Looks awesome! I can only imagine what you went through, but at least when you get tired of this wall, it will be easy to texture and paint!
    ~Jamie

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    1. Thank you, Jamie! Yes!! We thought things through (okay...maybe our contractor helped too, ha!) once we decided to go forward with the chalk. It was a valuable learning experience, ha!

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  8. I would love to have something like this in my home, it looks like it would be nice once it's done.

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  9. I didn't properly prime a chalkboard I made and was so sad to see it stained. Need to reprint it & follow your tips.

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    1. So many people don't know about priming!! It's the most important step--Even the little chalkboards you bring home from the store have to be prime in order to prevent staining! You aren't alone, friend! Thank you bunches for stopping by!

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  10. I've never heard this before, looks really amazing

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    1. Thank you, Nicole! It's a statement piece for the home now--that's for sure! ;)

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  11. Looks great you deserve a lovely chalk board after the mess you had before. I want one .. on a sliver of a wall but my kids are giving me a dirty look.

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    1. Thank you, Mary! It was a lot to work through...but we overcame, lol!!

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  12. My brother in law put one up in the kiddos' playroom. They have a whole chalk board wall now in there, and it's really cool looking!

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  13. this is tempting me....I need to do this in our homeschooling area, right?!

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  14. Kristi thanks for the tip, will try for sure! I would love you share this with us at the party http://sweethings.net/oh-my-heartsie-girls-wordless-wednesday/
    Hugs,

    Pili

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  15. I'm repainting a sidewalk chalkboard for my business. I wish I would have started earlier so I could use it this weekend, but I want to do it right this time. Priming is a step I missed the first time around. It will just have to have the "weathered look" for one more weekend. Thanks for the tip.

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