Monday, February 20, 2012

Chalkboard FAIL

Ugh. I'm so bothered by my recent DIY mess up. If I've got to fail on a craft, why can't it be some ridiculously complicated procedure that's never been accomplished before in competition, like the quadruple axel of craftiness?

But no... I had to fail on a chalkboard. Something that I've done before (along with 90% of the crafty world), with success. Even after I primed (seasoned) my boys' closet doors you'd never know it was supposed to be a chalkboard; it just wouldn't erase. Ghosts of writing past everywhere. I tried seasoning it again, and again. I sanded it. I did a rain chalk dance. I crossed all my fingers. Twice! Boo. Hiss.

Do you know how long it takes to prime a chalkboard this size? How many pieces of chalk it takes? Blerg.

Has anyone else run into a problem like this before? I've pulled the doors down and I'm going to sand them as smooth as possible and then try spray chalkboard paint instead of my old brush-on can (I don't know, maybe it's old? Does chalkboard paint go bad??)

Send any tips my way... I have no idea what went wrong. Wish it had gone wrong on a 5x7 chalkboard instead of two bifold doors. :)


  1. I am not sure that chalkboard paint is the same as a normal chalkboard, but did you try "priming" the whole surface with chalk after you painted it?

    Here's what you HAVE to do..... take the entire stick of chalk,and holding it sideways , completely cover the entire chalkboard,like you are "coloring" with it . Go from east to west. Then, "color" over that going the opposite direction, north to south. You have to "cover the entire board with chalk first , then erase it and it's good to go.

    I had to do this with the chalkboards I have purchased from potterybarn and ikea. It might not be the case for DIY chalkboard, but it couldn't hurt to try before you go through and repaint it again

    Good Luck


  2. I did prime it - that's what is so confusing right now in my world. I've used this exact can for successful chalkboards in the past. Le sigh. :(

  3. You should talk to Kristine at The Painted Hive. She did her nursery closets in chalkboard and they turned out great.

  4. Have you tried making your own chalkboard paint? There are several recipe around the web. The ones with best results I've seen use plaster of paris and black flat paint.

  5. Strange!
    But you might try using "Magic Eraser," by Mr. Clean. It's a white sponge that you moisten and then use to wipe the surface... it should help at least.

  6. My chalkboard wall is not particularly flat, it's got a lot of ridges from its previous really bad paint job, so I don't think that's the problem. It does looks dusty after just erasing but cleans up nicely with a damp paper towel. Do your chalk shadows go away when wiped with a damp cloth? Did you wait a full day (or two) before you primed it?

  7. Hmm... I actually waited 3 days because that's what the can said to do. It would go away with a damp cloth, but not as easily as it should have. I'm crossing my fingers that the can was just old (it was several years old) and that my new attempt with spray chalk paint will be a success. I get to prime and test it later this afternoon. Cross fingers! ;)

  8. Try using calcium carbonate chalk instead of clay chalk.

  9. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one. I painted my son's wall and it doesn't erase well either. I found this online and plan to try it this weekend.

  10. Hi Angela! You know, I sanded it down as smooth as I could after posting this, and then sprayed it with spray-chalk paint instead of re-using my 5 yr old chalk paint, and it works a LOT BETTER. I can definitely tell the difference in the texture of the doors (very glad I sanded it), but I'm not sure if it was that or the new paint that helped it. Either way, they work a lot better now! Good luck :)

  11. I'm glad you fixed the problem! I just wanted to drop a note to see if maybe the issue was that the old can of chalkboard paint needed to be re-shaken before you used it. I just bought some chalkboard paint and I almost left the store before remembering to ask the guy at the paint counter to shake it up for me.


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