No one craft item has conjured up as much fear in my husband as this $19 little pot of black magic. Ok, maybe except for that summer I picked up a staple gun… actually, the purchase of the can of spray adhesive last month also give him a little nervous twitch. In any case, he does know me well enough to know that crazy look in my eyes as I scan the house slowly whilst calculating my plan of attack. Suffice to say, his fear was justified, for I left many an unintentional paint splatter during my crafting binge.
So let me warn you in advance… turpentine is an essential accompaniment to this paint tin. No clean up can happen without it (I may have forgotten about this step myself. Whoops!). You may also want to grab some disposable gloves and a paint brush with fine, soft bristles. I used a harder bristled brush and as a result, there were a few paint streaks when the paint dried… which means the chalk doesn’t write as smoothly and has grooves through it. Wasn’t a big deal, but next time I’ll be using a different brush (and yes, there will be a next time!). Chalkboard paint also comes in other colours like dark green like they use in schools and also some lovely pastel colours. However, for the best contrast I would recommend black.
Read the instructions on the back for what surfaces can be covered. This is an oil based paint and if you are using it on a more porous surface then the surface needs to be primed with a ‘Primer Sealer Undercoat’ paint first. It’s also white a strong paint, so make sure that your space is well ventilated.
My first ‘victim’ was large milk powder tin from the pantry. It had some horizontal grooves to it that weren’t ideal, however I went for the greener option of recycling what i already had instead of going out and buying new. Plus it was 9pm when I started my little binge (which lasted till midnight by the way!).
This paint is pretty thin, so I only really needed one dip of a large brush to paint around the whole tin. I left it to dry overnight and it was ready to chalk up the next morning. The tin now sits on my kitchen counter and is a very handy utensil holder. Especially for little messages back and forth for mealtime related musings.
Glass jars are always featured in H&D projects. We used them in styling Evie’s nursery, Maya’s birthday, both the Newtown and Chatswood balcony transformations… so I always have a stash of recycled jam and pasta jars ready to go.
Now, you may like to prep the jars before painting them by taping off shapes like rectangles with masking tape or templates to get it all neat and straight. But I say “Bah!”, I’d rather go freehand – I think it’s more charming that way. So I smeared on a label sized rectangle-is shape on one and a dolloped on a wonky love heart on the other. They weren’t perfect, but I think they look super cute. Complete them with a lid made from some brown paper or fabric (hessian/burlap would work great), tie closed with some string or wool and you have a very cute little jar for storing your bits and pieces in or to give as a really sweet gift.
Some chalk in a jar is makes for a sweet and inexpensive ‘back to school’ gift or favours for a kiddy party.
A homemade mix like my walnut brittle (one recipe for salted walnut brittle here and another matched with pancakes coming soon) makes for a great alternative to the typical bottle of wine when you go to a dinner party. It would also make for a great housewarming present. Some cookies would look adorable in one of these jars too.
Writing your guests name and popping the cutlery and napkin into the jar makes for an adorable place setting which doubles as a take-home for your friends.
Dressing up your usual pantry items in these jars just adds some extra charm to the mundane things in your day like making a cup of tea.
The really nice thing about these jars is that when the use for the items changes, you can just wipe off the chalk with an old rag and start again. Gifting them means that others can reuse them too.
The second project on my hit list was my little bub Maya’s play area. We had to invest in some extra storage for all the lovely presents that we got from her first birthday. So it was off to Ikea for some flat packed fun. The largest Expedit cube shelf was a perfect fit. However, when it was up in her play area, our little miss busy-body decided that it would be great to climb! My back was turned for a matter of minutes, when she spider-monkied her way to the second tier.
Not under any circumstances were we going to dismantle the shelf and lug that back to the returns desk, so we had to think out of the box (or cube in this case). I heard the creative H&D ‘ding’ in my head and it was off to our local Bunnings hardware store the next morning to get a piece of plywood cut to the size of the bottom two rows of shelves. The ply was 5mm thick which was enough to be sturdy and solid, but light enough to be held up the without nails or screws. Grab some of these 3M Command velcro picture hanging strips (i just love these and use them on so many projects) to hold the plywood in place more than carry any real weight since the bottom is resting on the floor. Connecting the plywood by these velcro strips meant that the whole blackboard was removable and we could access the shelves behind them easily as needed. However we put stuff that we don’t need regularly access, so not a lot of removing is required in any case.
Painting this plywood didn’t require a primer but it did need two coats (I left 5 hours between coats).
To complete the little chalkboard zone, I added a few more Ikea items: a three Bygel cup containers from Ikea for $1.99 each and contains the Mala chalk set which was 99c for a 24 pack and other crafty bits. A pair of Mala aprons for $3.99 each which are hung on from the coat hanger by some clear, removable 3M Command Hooks. As an aside, Ikea also have these new Drona storage boxes that fit snugly into the cubes and are a great way to keep little bits and pieces tidy and out of reach.
I added the bigger items like the rocking horse market find on top of the shelf and I have say, her play zone game together beautifully and is looking crazy cute! The blackboard is the perfect size for my pint-sized artist and she loves chalking it up.
For all of you that don’t have kids, then you could use this same concept in your shelves to put your favourite quotes on, in the kitchen to use as a menu board (like the one I made in a balcony revamp project), in the study to organise yourself. You can adjust where on the shelf you want to place the board, the size of the board can be smaller and it could go vertical or horizontal. There are endless possibilities around your home to prop one of these up and once you stick one you’ll find that the blackboard just compels you and write or draw when and where you ordinarily wouldn’t.
Hope you liked my easy little projects and I hope they inspire you to have a wild night in with a pot of chalkboard paint too. Leave a comment below to let us know what you end up creating and we’ll feature it here.