What is Chalkboard Paint?

Mary McMahon

Chalkboard paint is a type of paint which dries to a finish roughly resembling that of a chalkboard. Once it has been applied to a surface, the surface can be used just like a regular chalkboard, although it may require periodic touch-ups. Many hardware and paint supply stores sell this type of paint, and it can also be ordered through specialty paint companies. It tends to be a bit more expensive than regular paint, due to the complex formulation.

When chalkboard paint dries on a surface, it may be used like a chalkboard.
When chalkboard paint dries on a surface, it may be used like a chalkboard.

For people who don't feel like buying commercial chalkboard paint, this paint can also be easily made at home. One of the advantages of the homemade version is that it allows people to customize their colors, creating paint in a range of colors for various tasks. For every 1 cup (237 milliliters) of paint, 2 tablespoons of powdered tile grout can be added before the mixture is thoroughly stirred and then applied. Laying down a layer of primer before painting with this paint is advised, especially if the paint is light and it is being used to cover a dark color.

A chalk holder under a wall covered in chalkboard paint.
A chalk holder under a wall covered in chalkboard paint.

There are numerous uses for chalkboard paint. For example, a wall painted with it can be used to exchange information, make note of needed ingredients from the store, or post reminders about upcoming events of interest to the household. In families with young children, this material allows children to express their creativity on the walls without the need to worry about long-term damage, since it can simply be wiped off when people are tired of looking at whatever might be on it.

Some restaurants and other facilities with public restrooms use this type of paint to turn the tables on graffiti artists. When an entire bathroom is covered in chalkboard paint and chalk is provided, along with an invitation to decorate, write poems, and so forth, it discourages permanent graffiti by providing an outlet, and stimulates art and dialog in the bathroom. Chalkboard paint is also sometimes used in commercial kitchens and other business locations where the ability to jot a quick public memorandum might be useful.

There are other innovative ways to use this paint. It can be used to paint theatrical sets, for example, allowing set designers to decorate with chalk to create a specific look and feel. Chalkboard paint can also be used to paint desks and work tables for people who might want some space to work on mathematical formulas and other conundrums, or to create personal chalkboards, chalkboard cubes, and other surfaces on which people could write or draw.

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Discussion Comments


Is there a screen printing chalkboard paint/ink? Thank you!


Can low or zero-VOC paint be used to make chalkboard paint this way?

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