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Renter's Solution to a Dining Room Chalkboard Wall

05.31.11 By //
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We are currently renting our home, and sadly that means the wonderful chalkboard painted walls I see in dining areas have been off limits to me. Until now… This project is also perfect for the commitment-phobe who can't pull the trigger on painting an entire wall with a dark color!

A few months back I sent the hubs to Home Depot to purchase a sheet of MDF for a Craft Space Desk I was building, plans for that can be found here, and he was supposed to have them cut it down into 2 pieces, one at 3’x8’ and the other at 1’ by 8’. Well it didn’t quite go down that way and lo and behold he came home with 2 pieces each 2’ wide and unfortunately not usable without changing the dimensions of the desk I was building, which I had already begun and couldn’t easily do…needless to say the pieces sat unused taking up precious workspace in my garage for months. In the effort to pair down and trim the fat around these parts, I decided that until I could figure out what to use them for, that wasn’t a frivolous build, that I would paint them with chalkboard paint and lean them against the wall in a faux chalkboard painted wall motif (this type of build is off limits to me in the essence of building for necessity only and pairing down rather than junking up our lives…duh)! Yay for finding a way to clear a little extra room in the garage and also get something fun and new that I didn’t think I would be able to have in a rented space!

I felt like a genius for a brief moment and ran right out to the store to get paint! I love black chalkboard paint. In fact I think it looks quite elegant, but this area of my home lacks color and so I thought perhaps I would try the tintable chalkboard paint by Rustoleum. I have a bit of a green thing going on in the downstairs rooms, so either the deep teal or the schoolroom green would be the best possibilities. In fact as far as the samples suggest they are very close in color only the teal has a bit more of a blue base to it, and was also a color of chalkboard I recall having at school when I was growing up, so I chose that! All the way home I questioned whether I should have gone with the black because I simply adore how that looks in a room. But, I chose the teal and will live with it for a while and see if I want to paint it black or if I was right on the money needing a bit of color…this remains to be seen, but for now, I will share the process with you!

Estimated Cost 

Under $25

  • Saw – this is optional and you can have your lumber store cut your sheet of MDF down for you into a size you can transport easily as well as into the sizes necessary to frame out your MDF with 1×2’s.
  • 1 Sheet of 1/2” MDF – you can also use 3/4” but 1/2” will be less expensive.
  • 5 – 1×2 at 8’ – this is optional if you would like to trim out your mdf to give it a framed look. This is my plan as soon as I decide if I will change the color.
  • 1 Qt. Chalkboard Paint in a color of your choice
  • 1 – Ultra Fine Foam Roller

Before beginning to build, always check in on my site to make sure you have the most up to date set of plans, I occasionally update and change the plans to make the building process easier or to allow for less expensive purchasing of materials! Read through the entire set of instructions and all comments before beginning this project. If you print out or save plans, be sure to check in on my site to be sure you have the most up to date set of plans, as I occasionally update things for ease of building or buying. If you are new to building, read through the GETTING STARTED section and other articles found under the BUILD tab in the menu on my site, it has valuable information about how to get started, tools and techniques. If you are unfamiliar with the finishing process, visit my Finishing school for some tips and tricks for painting like a pro and for special finishing practices. Use glue to secure your joints and Consider Painting or Staining individual sections prior to assembling. This makes the paint application virtually flawless. Coat with a spray on Poly or Wipe on Poly to protect your finish and your piece and it will last for ages. Adhere to all safety standards and guidelines, and be sure you follow safety protocol throughout your build. If you are unsure about whether you are building safely, run a quick online search for the tool or technique you are using, or contact me via email or post to the forum before you move ahead. My contact info can be found in the menu of my site.

Step 1

Step 1 

Begin by cutting your sheet of MDF in half width wise if you haven’t already, into 2’ x 8’ sections. Dust them off well to remove any debris and sawdust so your paint will apply more perfectly.

Step 2
Step 2

Step 2 

I like to use a small disposable trim cup with my small-ish roller because it is easy to hang on to, and roll the roller on the flat edge to remove excess paint. You can tell from the picture I haven’t disposed of it yet and I don’t plan to anytime soon, so it’s money well spent in my book!

Step 3

Step 3 

Begin to roll a thin coat of your paint onto your boards being carefull not to overlap onto the edges if you don’t intend to frame them out. The other option might also be iron on edge banding and then you could paint right on top of it, but I didn’t do this since I do plan to frame them out one of these days… Once that first coat has dried, start again with another thin coat and be sure you are covering every section of the board. If you have been thorough in your coats of paint (note I said thorough, not thick…just sayin’) you may be able to get away with just the 2 coats!

Step 4

Step 4 

The paint product suggests you need to let it cure for 3 days before conditioning.

Step 5
Step 5

Step 5 

To condition, you need to prime your surface with chalk! This is the fun part, truly! Slather that baby up using the side of your chalk and cover the entire surface!

Step 6
Step 6

Then simply wipe it down and use till your hearts content! If your boards are as large as mine you may thenneed to then wipe down your entire surrounding area as well, talk about a dust storm of chalk! I am sure I took a few years off my life inhaling it…in fact perhaps a mask is a good idea! eek..

Finishing Instructions 

Fill any Screw, Nail or Pocket Holes, Sand and Finish as Desired. For Finishing Tips and Tricks visit my Finishing School

So what do you think, is the green the way to have gone or do you think I might like the black more? I am feeling super indecisive about it…

**Disclaimer: Some rights reserved. Private use only. Feel Free to link to any of my plans so long as you provide an adequate link back to the appropriate post! Plans from this page are not to be used for commercial purposes or republished without the express written consent of Rayan Turner, The Design Confidential I hope to provide accurate plans, however, I cannot guarantee each plan for accuracy. Not every plan that I post has been built and tested, so you are building at your own risk. It is recommended that you have a clear understanding of how the project works before beginning any project. Please contact me if you find an error or inaccuracy so that I might fix it.

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