Chalkboard paint may be my latest obsession. It reminds me of when I first started to mosaic as I slowly covered everything I owned with broken shards of glass and grout. I would see a coffee table with a lip around the edge and think, damn, that needs some mosaic. Iâ€™m starting to feel that way about chalkboard paint. I canâ€™t seem to get enough of it.
I was inspired by an image I saw on Pinterest and two weeks later, I was creating my own chalkboard quote wall around the doors to my bedroom and studio, where I could see it and be inspired everyday. Of all the projects Iâ€™ve completed lately, this is my favorite and just in time for the New Year, when we could all use some extra motivation.
Here is how it works.
Paint the surface with chalkboard paint. Two coats, please! Chalkboard paint needs at least three days to cure, so I waited to complete step two the following weekend.
Meanwhile, collect all the quotes you love and write them down on a sheet of paper so you have them in one place while youâ€™re working. I needed almost two pages of quotes â€“ a lot more fit onto my space than I expected. Collect more than you think youâ€™ll need.
Prepare your chalkboard surface. Take a piece of chalk and rub it along the wall with the side of it. Do this on the entire surface and then erase with a clean, dry cloth or eraser. I had to give the surface several passes with the cloth so the background wouldnâ€™t be so white.
Then, you can start to have some fun! I wanted my wall to have a variety of fonts â€“ I think it helps the eye to differentiate one quote from another. It was a challenge to write in a handwriting that wasnâ€™t my own, but if you work slowly and look at fonts you like on the computer for guidance, itâ€™s possible. It was always a â€œbreakâ€ to write something in my own handwriting.
I wish I could say I had some strategy for making the spacing and layout work, but I donâ€™t. It all just came together. I tried to be strategic about where certain quotes would come together, where it would seem like they were sharing words. To do that, I wrote that adjoining quote backwards, starting from the last word and working my way, word by word, to the beginning of the quote. That was especially challenging when I was writing up toward the ceiling. The key is to work slowly.
I used a combination of standard white chalk and a fine-tipped chalk pencil I had that came with a chalkboard coffee cup I bought last year. It never worked very well on the cup, but was a gem to have when completing this project. I love the precision I was able to get and love how the thinness of those quotes help to create a feeling of separation between different lines. In order to have a little more control with the thicker pieces of chalk, I used a pencil sharpener with a large opening to sharpen the chalk into a finer point. I had to do so often in order to keep the print looking consistent.
Later, I saw online that there is such a thing as a chalk marker, but I canâ€™t vouch for how well they work. If they do though, it would be an amazing tool for this project.
Because a big portion of the wall is nestled between two door jams, I wanted to protect it from smudges. I could just see meÂ accidentallyÂ swiping it with a shoulder or a bag as I passed through in a hurry. I bought a can of clear protective acrylic that I could spray over my work to lock it in. After hours of painstakingly writing, this step was slightly terrifying, but I found that your work wonâ€™t wash away if youâ€™re extra careful. With very broad strokes, being careful not to spray the wall directly, I applied the protective coating. When I inspected the wall the next day, I found I could still smudge some of the writing so make sure to apply a second coat.
In full disclosure, I spent almost the entire day yesterday working on the print part of this project. It was time consuming, but honestly, I loved every minute of it! Every time I got off my step stool and stood back to look at what I had done, I was giddy! Maybe thatâ€™s because every time I examined my work, Iâ€™d get a dose of inspiration and encouraging words. Where could you use a little inspiration?