before and after basics: chalk it up


Chalkboard paint is just plain fun in a can. I mean, who wouldn’t want a whole wall to write sassy notes on, a chest of drawers that can change on a whim or a little table that says “lovely” on top? My hand is raised, folks! I love the options that chalkboard paint offers, and it is now available in a variety of fantastic colors at Hudson Paint. Chalkboard paint is not just for kids, but it does release the inner child in all of us! Today on Before & After Basics, we are going to draw outside the lines for a bit. — Barb

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


  • chalkboard paint
  • sponge roller
  • paintbrush
  • rags
  • paint tray
  • drop cloth
  • painter’s tape


1. Make sure that the surface you are painting, whether it be walls or a piece of furniture, is clean and free of all dirt and dust. Smooth surfaces work best so if there are any bumps and bruises, be sure to sand and smooth them before starting.

2. Tape off any areas where you do not want chalkboard paint.

3. Apply chalkboard paint. For all of the chalkboard pieces that I have done, I cut in the outer line with a brush and roll the large surfaces with a foam roller. The foam roller gives the smoothest finish out there, and you will want to overlap your brushed area for the smoothest finish.

4. Allow the first coat to dry for 4 to 24 hours. Drying times vary according to the product, so read all labels carefully. Depending on your project, one coat may be plenty, but most of the time you will need at least two coats.

5. After the second coat has been applied, and you are happy with the coverage, allow the piece to cure and dry for 3 days before writing on it with chalk. Some manufacturers suggest “priming” your piece by covering the entire surface with chalk and then erasing it before it is ready for use. I personally have never done that, but wanted to put it out there :)

Now you are ready to get witty with it, and doodle away!

  1. db says:

    that image is so lovely indeed!

  2. Katie Bee says:

    How great would it be to have chalk-top tables in the coffee shops? I can only imagine the craze!

  3. Natalia says:

    As someone who moves often and doesn’t really have the option of painting a wall with chalkboard paint, I am loving the idea of a tabletop! Looks cute.

  4. Danielle says:

    i never tire of the different things you can do with chalkboard paint.

  5. Evlayn says:

    Unlike Danielle, I am soooo tired of painting everything with chalkboard paint. I will be delighted when this fad has passed.

  6. lora says:

    Ooh, I just made spice jar labels with chalkboard paint:

  7. Sarah says:

    i’m in the process of painting the side of a tall kitchen cabinet with chalkboard paint so my son can entertain himself while in the kitchen with me. I’m adding magnetic paint underneath the chalkboard for more versatility unfortunately, i’m on the 3rd coat and still isn’t strong enough! glad to hear 2 coats should do it for when i finally get to the chalkboard paint.

  8. Lisette says:

    Love this! But I have a question about the piece in the background… I think those are anthropologie knobs and I was wondering what you do about cutting down the screw. I’ve used anthro knobs a lot, but don’t know how to cut them shorter… thx!! :)

  9. Lightopia says:

    I refuse to buy chalk paint. I am afraid I won’t stop.

    “Must not paint entire house in chalk paint.”

  10. what a cute idea :) I like it for a kids room…

  11. Liz says:

    I love this idea! I’ve wanted to play with chalkboard paint, but don’t have a wall I would want to put it on. A small table top is a wonderful idea!

  12. Karin Neff says:

    How awesome would it be to chalk a checker/chess board on this! Instant yet temporary game table…

  13. jiye says:

    What a fun idea!

  14. Madison says:

    Do you think it would be possible to paint metal with this? I’ve thought about making my horrible old refrigerator into a huge chalk board, but am not sure if it would work out alright.

    1. grace says:


      yep! just prep it first with a primer :)


  15. Kimberley says:

    I have been dying to do this, but hadn’t yet considered a surface beyond walls! Great idea.

  16. Trude says:

    We used Hudson paint to turn our ugly closet doors into prettiness for a home office, and it was great! Super easy and went on beautifully. We primed the doors first and even with the slightly uneven surface it turned out lovely.

  17. Karen says:

    I have been wanting to paint something…*anything* with chalkboard paint! I need to get to it already. On a side note, I’m loving the black top & white table base against that sweet turquoise! :>

  18. Leslie says:

    ooh, love the chalk board paint, but also really love the blue dresser in the background with the cute knobs–are they from Anthropologie?

    1. Barb says:

      Leslie, I order all of my knobs from trade sources in bulk, but I do believe Anthro has these knobs too!

      Lisette, A lot of the knobs that I use have the long screws as well, and there is an easy fix. Just take some bolt cutters and trim off the excess bolt and smooth the rough edges with a metal file. Just make sure you either measure first or cut them off after they are installed to make sure that you get he right length!

      Sarah, unfortunately I have heard that about the magnetic paint. I don’t think it matters how many coats…it just doesn’t seem to get strong enough. The chalkboard paint on the other hand will be super great!

      Thank you all so much for the sweet comments about the table, and for all of your extra ideas as well! It is good to be among so many creative souls! xo

  19. Samantha says:

    Chalk Board paint is genius. I love the idea of leaving little love notes on doors, tables, walls . . . and for someone who has trouble remembering my grocery list, I am tempted to break out the paint and give the front of my fridge a new inspired look!

  20. I simply want to come up with a million ways to use this idea! And a French Chic table simply *must* be the first one!

  21. Starley says:

    unlike Danielle, I too am soooo bored of painting with chalkboard paint. I cant wait for this tired fad to wash out.

  22. Christine says:

    what a great idea!! I would never have thought to put chalkboard paint on a table! this would be so cute for leaving notes for a loved one, with food of course!

  23. Cerise says:

    Love this idea! I’m considering doing it to my kitchen wall.

  24. laporte dave says:

    what do you do when someone sets a glass on chalkboard paint and you have a ring stain set into the porous paint????

  25. reeve says:

    so cute! my friend just painted her fridge in chalkboard paint (you can see it here –

  26. Jeanine says:

    I love the look of my chalkboard wall but for ease of use would actually like to replace it with a floor to ceiling whiteboard. Would love to hear if anyone knows of a resource, tips on installation, etc.

    1. Terri says:

      They make whiteboard paint too.

  27. Roseanna says:

    Love it! Thanks for your great tips.
    Jeanine, Home Depot sells whiteboard paint. It is a little pricey, but works great. My daughter painted a wall in my grandson’s room with it!

  28. Linda says:

    Before chalkboard paint became widely available, I used plain old flat exterior house paint. It takes 2 coats.

    My experience is that it’s cheaper and holds up better than the specialty paint.

    Totally fun either way!

  29. I’m addicted to chalkboard paint. Today i got some contact paper and spray painted it with chalkboard paint. Now I have a giant chalkboard sticker. I love it.

  30. LJ says:

    Thanks for the great tut!

    I was painting the back of an old vintage frame I had laying around when the wine kicked in and I decided to paint the top side of my coffee table. I’m giving it three weeks before it’s completely adorned with genitalia, but damn it if it doesn’t make my old boring ikea furniture look totally neat!

    1. Barb says:

      LJ…oh dear! sounds like good times!

      Damaris, what a great idea! I’ve seen the chalkboard wall stickers before and totally loved them!

      Jeanine, I was just talking about painting a whiteboard wall with my daughter and her friend. Roseanna is right, home Depot sells it and I hear it works great! Good Luck!

      Linda, I have done this before on old salvaged doors…and I think the black paint works well too. I find that they both hold up really well.

      Laporte Dave, oh no! I think once porous chalkboard paint has been “ringed” {made up word!} you may just have to give it a quick coat refresher.

  31. Staceylynn says:

    Painted my Stainless Steel Fridge with the Chalkboard paint over the weekend. Saw it on Good Luck Charlie.. It looks so awesome. At first I was getting all sorts of comments on my facebook, such as who ruins theres stainless stell fridge with chalk paint, and “YOUR NUTS” lol Well I went ahead with my instincts and it looks fantastic.. I’ve gotten 28 comments in 5 minutes how awesome it looks and I’m so glad that I did it.

  32. Kathryn Bloodworth says:

    Found this alternative to paint for the Good Luck Charlie Fridge… lots of chalkboard options.

  33. michelle says:

    I just painted a wall with the chalk board paint, and Im so anxious for my little one to use it. So, if what will happen if I dont wait the recommended 3 days before writing on it?


Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.