23 February 2010

about chalkboards

If you're planning an "elegant farmhouse" wedding, it seems that chalkboards have become another reception must-have, just like mason jars filled with lemonade, wildflower bouquets, and vintage cake toppers.

And so they should be. After all, who doesn't love a chalkboard? It's an icon of childhood. All those memories of dusty erasers and that satin smooth surface gliding under your fingertips while you fiddle around with a long-division problem. Games of hangman during a rained-out recess. It's much easier to be nostalgic about chalkboards than, say, overhead projectors.

I do love chalkboards, and because of that, I really wanted to love chalkboard paint. You can use it on anything you want and create an instant chalkboard. How great is that? It's practically alchemy. I've always been fascinated by the idea of chalkboard paint, and a few days ago, I finally decided to try it.

I started with two unfinished cabinet doors that I found at work, one in maple and the other in oak. I sanded them down a bit and did my best to clean off the resulting dust. I probably could have been more thorough with all that, but frankly, I'm incredibly impatient sometimes, and I just really, really wanted to paint something.

I used some newspaper and quite a bit of masking tape to cover everything except the center panels of the doors, in order to leave an unpainted border around the edge of each chalkboard. And then I broke out the spray paint.

After two coats of paint and a few extra hours of waiting around, I pulled off the tape and newspaper. Underneath all that mess, there were two little chalkboards just begging to be written on. The oak door, in particular, came out well. The grain of the wood shows through from under all that paint. It's definitely not what I had expected, but I think the end result is pretty great.

I'm not going to lie. There's something missing here. The can of spray paint promised me "a chalkboard surface," and that's exactly what I got. It's not blackboard slate, though. It doesn't have that silky smooth finish, and it doesn't really take me rushing back to the third grade. I should have known better. That's not the sort of thing that you can buy in a can.

I'm still really happy with my chalkboards, though. They're sweet-looking and I'm going to have a lot of fun thinking of new things to write on them.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, chalkboard paint is the best! In the past few years I have gone through a lot of it. It takes some looking, but they do make it in a can, not just spray paint. I found that it covered much better - and they offer it in that awesome classroom green! I painted over some tables and chairs, and by painting over wood that was already painted gave it more of that real "silky" chalkboard feel! (but I really like being able to see the wood grain in your large chalkboard! Totally cool!) Oh! and erasing with a damp cloth makes it come really clean, and dipping your chalk in water makes for really bold writing! (I could seriously talk about chalkboard paint for hours. It really is sofa king awesome!)