Make It: Chalkboard Paint

DIY chalkboard paint

Yes you can.  Chalkboard paint is ridiculously easy to make.  The great thing about making it yourself is the array of colours you can make it in!  Do a small project like a message board or go big and turn your kids play room into one big chalkboard!  Ohhhhh… all the kids from the neighbourhood would surely be over if that were the case!  Follow along for the recipe and some tips!

*Update!  This post now includes an alternate method using plaster of paris.  For that recipes, please see the end of the post!

1 Cup of latex house paint or acrylic craft paint
1 TBSP of non-sanded tile grout

Mix together until there are no lumps.

Yes.  That’s it.

Paint your surface with the mixture.  I advise using a small roller for a smoother finish.  A brush will give you some textured ridges when it dries (I used a brush).

Let it dry completely.

Get some chalk.  ‘Sidewalk’ chalk has great, vibrant colours.  I wish I’d had some for the pics!

Draw!  Yep.  That easy.

And just in case you were wondering… clean up is no problem.  I used a damp cloth and that was it.

I popped my chalkboard into an old frame I had.  If you do a small project like I did, you could even paint the reverse side of the board in a different colour for days you want a change.  I’m thinking…. sunny yellow for mine :)

If you find the chalkboard surface is too rough once dried, sand the surface lightly with a fine grit sand paper, then, using the side of a piece of chalk, rub it across the entire surface of the board.  Wipe off the chalk afterwards.  This can help give you a smoother surface.

Plaster of Paris Method

Hey all.  Here is an update!  Here is another method for chalkpaint which is also very successful and especially helpful for refinishing furniture, using Plaster of Paris.

1 part plaster of paris
1 part hot water
2 parts flat latex paint

Combine hot water and plaster of paris mixing well, then add to paint until well combined.  Paint as desired.  You may find more coats are needed with this mixture.  If using for furniture, finish with a rub on wax paste.

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    • says

      Hi Michele, sorry for the delay in the response! It will give you a cup of paint. Just multiply the measurements to make as much as you need. If you are not sure how much paint you will need for a wall, ask your local home improvement store at the paint section, but make sure you know the square footage of your wall first :)

  1. Anonymous says

    Hi there,
    Quick question if you only have white paint but want a different color do you think I could put in food coloring to make it a different color. Would it still work the same?

    • says

      I really can’t answer that question with any first hand experience, but I would say, it would probably be best if you could even get your hands on a small bottle of acrylic craft paint and add that to your white to tint it. Although, I think white chalkboard paint would be awesome and totally unexpected … especially if you used some really bright vibrant chalk on it 😉

    • Anonymous says

      My Mum always added in acrylic paint when she wanted to tweak a bucket of paint at home….she def knew what she was doing since she worked in a shop that sold Benjamin Moore paints for years.

    • aperella92 says

      don’t use food coloring to change your paints color..I did that to my daughters bathroom, and the color runs from the steam of the showers, although the walls are still tinted…you can see where it needs wiped down and the color is fading!

    • says

      Hi Liliya. Yes there is a Martha Stewart recipe for chalkboard paint. There are actually quit a few chalkboard paint recipes floating around the internet which are all basically the same thing. I have never claimed this to be an original idea of my own, I am simply sharing this awesome idea with my readers. This is my experience and version from all of the other versions I’ve seen around the net. Cheers :)

    • Anonymous says

      Martha Stewart did not invent chalkboard paint, neither did Martha leave a link on her site as to where she learned the recipe!

  2. Terri says

    Thanks for sharing. It is expensive to buy chalkboard paint. So much cheaper to make your own. I will be trying this!

  3. Lisa marie says

    My hardware store (in NZ) was adamant that there was no such thing as “non-sanded” tile grout. They just had one type of tile grout that is “grouting cement for ceramic and mosaic tiles”. Would that work?

  4. Lisa Marie says

    Just wanted to say that I got the Selleys tile grout that I mentioned on Feb 8 and it worked a treat!

    Thanks for posting this!

  5. ioana says

    Hi Amber,
    I am in a non english country, in Europe and I do not quite understand: “The grout” is th dust used to stick tiles on the wall? or the dust put between the tiles to cover the little lines?
    (I tried google translate and I did not understand):)
    Thanks a lot!

  6. Sarah Y says

    I think this would be awesome to use on the top and drawers of a desk. I may be able to talk my son into doing this. So excited to try different colors.

  7. Julie says

    How many coats did you use and about how long does it take to fully dry. Also does the smell go away once it dries LOL

    • says

      Hi Julie, sorry for the delay in responding! I did 2 or 3 coats. Drying times will depend on how thick you apply the paint. When in doubt, leave it for a couple hours :) And mine didn’t have any odour when it was all done 😉

    • says

      Hi! Thank you so much for your time with your posts. did you have to make any more “batches” for your 2 or 3 coats? or was the first batch enough? I have a mischievous toddler, and need to account time wise. lol

    • says

      Hi there! There was actually a previous comment about this and another reader replied with the following;

      “Benjamin Moore has a great primer for sticking to ceramic or glass and things it’s called Stix! That would work :)”

      Hope that helps you!

    • says

      Hi there, you can paint it on any hard surface. I used a piece of masonite board. Wood is a great option. You can often find wood shapes at the dollar store. Those would make great little chalkboards.

    • Anonymous says

      When you say wood is a great option would I need to prime it or no. Been wanting to do this for my boys. What makes chalkpaint any different than just regular paint if I’m going for something permanent? Or does it not really matter. Sorry I’m a little new to all of this

  8. says

    I wanted to try this in small a small quantity so I did 1/4 cup acrylic paint (black) and 1 tbsp grout (even found a really small container at Lowes for under $2)…so far it looks good on the mason jars, a piece of glass and a plastic (albeit terra cotta looking) flower pot…I also, just to see if it’d work, purchased two pieces of tile ($0.52 cents each) to see if it would at least adhere to that smooth service and again, so far so good. Still waiting for all items to dry completely but fingers are crossed.

  9. Anonymous says

    Is this simliar to the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint? I’ve heard a lot about it but never bought any b/c it was so expensive….if this is close I’m in! Lol. Thanks so much for sharing.

  10. Anonymous says

    hello i was thinking about doing this…do you think it would work on a white board…do i need primer to do this..
    -thanks so much for this BTW!

    • says

      Hi there! Thanks for stopping by :)
      I haven’t tried painting it onto a white board before, but I think you would need a primer because of the smooth slick surface of the board. I’d love to hear how it turns out!

  11. Anonymous says

    Hi. I really would like to try this and already have the paint i need. I was just wondering, the only unsanded tile grout that i could find was a “white dry nonsanded tile grout”. Would this work? I am unsure how the white dry would effect the paint, if at all.

  12. Anonymous says

    I have not scanned all the responses, but I was a school teacher and when our chalkboards were freshly coated we were advised to coat the entire board (called “Chalking” the board) by rubbing a stick of chalk on its side all over the entire surface of the board. This prevented the ‘ghosting’ effect of the first marks never really fully wiping or washing away.
    I do so love this idea and love the way it could be used in so many ways!

  13. RMS says

    I am thinking…kids like to play with magnets on the refridgerator. This causes scratches. How nice it might be to cover that scratched fridge in the chalk board paint, white. Give them chalk! What do you thing. Of course primer would be good here.

  14. Anonymous says

    I did this today…as soon as I started mixing the paint and grout it thickened up…i ended up with a paste. No way to roll or even paint it on w/ a brush. What did I do wrong? 1 cup to 1 tbs…is it supposed to do that if so…how in the world do you paint with it?? I ended up just using my hands, using a roller to kinda flatten it out and then used my fingers to flatten it out so there wasn’t any streaks or pikes. lol

    • says

      Lol at using your hands! Sounds like something I would do lol.

      It will get thick because of the grout and even more so if your paint is thick. You could try mixing the grout with a touch of water first just to get it smooth, then add that to the paint. I hope that helps you!

    • Anonymous says

      Thanks..I’ll have to try that. My sweet darling children decided to “help” after I smoothed it out and decided to smooth it out again for me (yes…tons of finger size streaks all over it) plus I added more paint hoping it would get less thick (yeah, that didn’t work lol) and I’m sure that’s why it cracked once it dried. GOING to try it again today with your suggestion and see if I can cover up what I did yesterday and smooth it out and not have it crack this time! :)

  15. Anonymous says

    I found an old Art easel at a yard sale. It’s the kind that has the white board on one side and the green chalk board on the other. The white board had been ruined with permanent markers and crayons, but the green side was fine. I purchased the easel for $5 thinking my son would at least be able to use the green side. After reading your article, I’m going to refurbish the green (with a newer, more vibrant color) and turn that ruined whiteboard into chalk board as well. Since the boards slide out of a track, it should be fairly easy to do!! Thanks so much for your tips!!

    • Carrie Wasylyk says

      Try sanitizing wipes on the white board!!! Or an alcohol based sanitizer and wipe it down. Citrus oil sprays (even air freshener made with real citrus oil) can work too. It should take it off, but might take a little elbow grease if its been there for a while

    • Carrie Wasylyk says

      Try sanitizing wipes on the white board!!! Or an alcohol based sanitizer and wipe it down. Citrus oil sprays (even air freshener made with real citrus oil) can work too. It should take it off, but might take a little elbow grease if its been there for a while

    • Sarah Watson says

      try cif (or jif as it used to be called), its a cream cleaner on the whiteboard. Use a scrubby you’d use for your dishes on the scouring side gently, and rub in circles 😀 It’ll sort it right out 😀 x

  16. CC MCCART says

    Can’t tell you how tired I was of our chalk board (on a wall) in the kitchen as it always made my kitchen look sloppy (in my opinion). I painted the inside of a cupboard door and I did it with ‘white’ chalkboard paint (so easy to put together) and bought VERY colorful chalk. Now my Hubby has so much fun writing down an item that he used the last of.

    Can’t tell you how many raves I’ve received and how many of my neighbors have done the same thing now.


  17. Anonymous says

    I am mixing some navy and hot pink and putting the boards into really whimsical contrasting frames for my nieces and nephews and a larger one for my daughter, hers is lime, hot pink in a zebra striped/marabou feathered trimmed frame. I can’t wait to make more for gifts for teachers this year and for people at the office! My imagination is going wild! I’m so glad I found this. Thank you soooo much!!

  18. Anonymous says

    I have made it by mixing flour and water til it had the consistency of glue then mix in some paint. I used some of the little bottles of paint that you can buy for about $1.

  19. Mom Wife It's My Life says

    Just wanted to say thanks for this, found it on Pinterest and blogged about it as well, included a link to your blog too, hope ya don`t mind :) New follower here!

  20. Betty says

    Found this on Pinterest and just wanted to say thanks for sharing such a great idea, and I couldn’t care less if it was all your idea or martha stewart’s or whoever… I love that you took the time to share with us! Thanks :)

  21. Rich and Court says

    Thank you so much for the recipe!! I found some cheap “sample” bottles of paint and went to town on multiple frames for a gift basket for work! They are a HUGE hit =) Thank you for making me look like a genius!

  22. Anonymous says

    Any updated information on the idea of the Annie Sloan chalk paint? Would this work about the same? I’ve been wanting to paint my old dining room furniture….leaning towards a soft, antique white, but not totally sure of what color and if I could make my own chalk paint to do this, all the better ‘cuz Sloan’s paints are expensive and not so easy to buy, unless we order thru a website….she also has a wax to shine it up??? any thoughts on that too? Anita in PA

  23. Anonymous says

    I could not find anything that said un-sanded grout. I have only been able to find powdered tile grout. Would this be the same?

    • Anonymous says

      Is it necessary to sand the piece of furniture you are going to paint with caulkboard paint. Do you know anything about what type of wax to use on the piece of furniture that has been caulkboard painted

    • Anonymous says

      I would not apply any wax to the chalkboard painted area, lest the wax make it too slick for the chalk to rub off of the stick and adhere to the painted surface. It should be fine to use the same wax as you normally would on any non-chalkboard areas.

  24. Lynn Reedy says

    Thanks for sharing !! I have been wanting to do so many different projects that call for chalk board paint ! Yes it is VERY expensive !! Now I can finally get started on those projects !! Thanks so much !!!

  25. says

    hello! thanks for the chalkboard paint info,im going to try it, i have chalkboard vinyl but it wld be cheaper to make the you know anything about the magnetic paints hv you found or heard anything about how to diy?

    • says

      Hi Chelsey, I used a masonite backing type of board that I found in the clearance section of my local craft store. Really, anything that you can paint with acrylic paint, wont warp, and is stiff enough to withstand the pressure of being drawn / written on would work fine :)

  26. Elizabeth S says

    I love this idea and thank you so much for sharing this recipe with all of us. I think that this is not only cheaper but I love the way it will clean up with water, not to mention that you can get the exact color that you are looking for! What great ideas and creative solutions there are available that cause us to scratch our heads and say, “now why didn’t I think of that! “


  27. Alysia Witherow says

    I was wondering if the white grout effected the color of the paint at all? Did it lighten at all? I want to do a whole wall and am debating on buying a shade darker

    • says

      That’s a great question Alysia. I can’t really speak to that out of experience as I mixed my own colour and therefore wasn’t ‘expecting’ it to be a specific shade. If you have a test pot of paint (the colour you want to use or similar), I would paint a test patch with just the paint, then another beside it with the grout added in and see the results. If it’s a darker colour you want to do, I would expect it to indeed have an effect on the colour. The question is, how much! I mean, if you add white grout to say, black paint, I would expect it to turn more grey….

      It may not just be a question of it ‘lightening’ the paint, but also effecting the saturation and intensity of the colour.

      If you do a test and find the results, do share! I’m sure other readers (and myself!) would love to know your findings.

  28. Brittany says

    I really want to put chalkboard paint on some mugs for Christmas like I have seen in other posts. In comparison to other pins I have seen, they baked the mug after applying the paint. Do you think I can bake your type of chalkboard paint in the oven? Thanks!

  29. Sheila says

    I made some 6″X6″ chalkboards for my Busy books. Painted the chalk paint on stiffish (!) cardboard using a 6″ wide body filler tool. Lovely smooth finish. I did 4 coats and have a really nice little board. Added a piece of chalk and a bit of chamois to wipe down with. Here’s a link to my Pinterest page in case anyone wants to try the same thing. The board can be removed if the page needs washing. The paint is slightly flexible so the page should stand up to use.

  30. Fran says

    I will try the recipe – one question: if I seal it with wax afterwards, will it work also for outside projects? Thank you!

  31. Iryna says

    Hi! Thank you for this tutorial!
    Have a question: as I wanted dark surface, I mixed white latex paint + black acrylic paint + grout. As it dried it was nice to use chalk on it. But when I tried to wipe chalk up with wet cloth, my paint has gone too :( Where did I go wrong?


  1. […] Chalkboard paint: Create your own colorful chalkboard paint by adding one part hot water, one part plaster of paris and two parts flat latext paint in your choice of color. Combine the hot water and plaster, mixing well then stir in the paint until well combined. Larger items may require multiple coats. […]

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