Thursday, July 24, 2014

DIY Magnetic Chalkboard Wall

I'm always looking for ways to get my kids to play independently.  Meaning, play without me.  Not that I don't like playing with them on and off throughout the day, but I can only send cars back and forth for so long until I get up to make a snack, switch activities, find a Paw Patrol episode, take them on an errand, etc.  You know the drill.

Both of my kids (my son just turned 4 and my daughter is almost 2) like chalk and magnets... I decided to go for it and create a magnetic chalkboard wall to keep their little hands busy.

My dream objective:  to sit with a glass of wine juice for 
minutes and 
watch them color on the wall.

We have an empty, unused wall in the corner of our playroom (a converted space above our garage and one of the reasons we bought our house!).  I could also see painting with chalkboard paint on a closet door, a basement rec room, the side of a dresser, or even a portion of your kid's bedroom wall.

Here's what you'll need to cover several square feet of wall/door space (I found everything I needed at Target; Home Depot or Menards would probably have all that you need too).

1 can (30 fl. ounces) magnetic primer
1 can (30 fl. ounces) chalkboard paint
2-3 paint rollers (smooth nap)
1-2 paint pans for the paint and rollers
a screwdriver to open cans (a head's up for true painting newbies)
a paintbrush for details
four pieces of moulding if you want to frame your chalkboard for a more finished look
latex gloves
large drop cloth or old towels to cover the floor where you are painting
painter's tape

Want to try it?  Here are the steps I took:

1.  Tape up the area you plan to cover with painter's tape and put drop cloth or old towels on the floor.

2.  Stir (a lot) the magnetic primer.  Open the windows and turn on the fans, people, because it STINKS!  Hindsight is 20-20:  wear latex gloves.  The magnetic primer is black and is hard to get off.

3.  Paint 3 thin coats of the primer about 30 minutes apart using a roller.  *The only way I was able to actually accomplish this was on a weekend during my daughter's nap while my husband took my son out of the house.

4.  After the primer dries, get out the chalkboard paint.  It took me a few days to get around to this step.  Use two coats of the chalkboard paint (with a fresh roller).  After the 2nd coat, you must wait 3 days to use chalk on it (this was definitely the hardest part-- keeping my kids away from it!)

5.  Add the moulding for a frame if desired.  Full disclosure:  FranticMamaHubby did this for me with some inexpensive white moulding he bought at Fleet Farm.

The verdict:  Definitely a satisfying DIY project that will hopefully get a lot of use.

(Note:  The chalkboard does not wipe completely clean with a typical dry eraser.  I occasionally use a damp washcloth to get it cleaner).


What DIY projects have you attempted?  Have they been worth the time and effort?  

~Frantic Mama

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You can find more of my work on:  Mamalode and Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka?