Whether you want a dramatic chalkboard wall on which your kids can doodle or a small space to write the weekly grocery list, choosing the best chalkboard paint is the first step.
ByShannon Lee| Updated Jun 15, 2021 6:09 PM
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Chalkboard paint can transform a room into an artistic space. It can create a convenient place to plan your next grocery trip. Or it can simply accent an area that needs touches of both whimsy and practicality. Choosing the best chalkboard paints is the first step of creating a space that suits your lifestyle, needs, and vision for your home.
In evaluating the best chalkboard paints on the market today, considerations were given to products’ ingredients, the ease of application, drying and curing time, and more. Take a look at the best chalkboard paints—you’ll surely find one among them to suit your particular needs.
Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Chalkboard Paint
There’s a lot to think about before you choose a chalkboard paint for your next project: How big of an area will you be painting? Do you want to spray on the paint or apply it with a paintbrush? How concerned are you about the ingredients’ impact on the environment? Here are some factors to consider before shopping for chalkboard paints to add interest to your home.
As with most other paints, you have a choice between chalkboard paints loaded with chemicals and those that are kinder to the environment and the user. Paints that have astringent, sometimes overwhelming, odors are usually loaded with harsh chemicals. From a health and safety perspective, if there aren’t going to be any children in the space you paint, the paint’s composition is probably less of an issue.
If you’ll use chalkboard paint to paint a wall on which children can unleash their creativity, it’s vital to make sure the paint is safe for kids. Look for paint containers with terms like “nontoxic” or “low VOC” on the label, and then check the can’s list of ingredients to validate those claims. Regardless of who will be using your new chalkboard space, if it’s important to you that the paint has a low impact on the environment, look for the term “eco-friendly” on the label.
Though some chalkboard paints can dry within an hour of being applied, it’s always a good idea to wait 24 hours to make sure your painted surface is completely dry. After this waiting period, you’ll either apply another coat of paint, if necessary or give the paint an additional 24 hours to cure. A final step required for many chalkboard paints is conditioning.
You can condition the paint by rubbing the side of a piece of chalk all over the surface, then erasing it with the method recommended by the manufacturer, which is either with a dry eraser or with a damp sponge or rag. Once the painted surface is conditioned, it’s ready to write on with little ghosting after erasure.
Chalkboard paint sold in a bucket or plastic pot is suitable for paintbrush application; some can also be applied via paint sprayer. Other brands of chalkboard paint come in cans with spray nozzles and are sprayed directly onto the wall or surface. Each application method has its pros and cons: for example, using spray paint gives you less control over where the paint is applied, but applying chalkboard paint with a paintbrush can leave unsightly brush strokes on the finished surface.
The method that will work best for you depends upon where you intend to apply the chalkboard paint, the size of the area or item to be painted, and how comfortable you are with brushing or spraying methods. Many chalkboard paints need only one good coat; other manufacturers recommend two or three coats for a longer-lasting finish. It’s always a good idea to sand and prime the area to be painted before you begin—this will ensure smooth adhesion and a professional look for your finished product.
Our Top Picks
Several reputable brands of chalkboard paints were considered, and after factoring in important considerations like drying time, application methods, ingredients, and more, the top picks for your next project are listed below.1Photo: amazon.com Check Latest Price
This quart-size offering from Krylon covers up to 20 square feet and dries in just 60 minutes, but expect to give it a few days to cure to the final look. It’s great for use on wood, metal, plaster, ceramic, and glass, which means it can be used to paint anything from an accent wall in your home to a small, simple art project.
The paint’s slate-like finish provides the look of a real old-fashioned chalkboard and is perfect for creating a new chalkboard surface or resurfacing an old one. Because this paint is thicker than traditional wall paints, you might get full coverage out of a single coat. Note: While this paint lends itself to paintbrush application, it also comes in a spray formula of smaller size. It’s for interior use only.2Photo: amazon.com Check Latest Price
Suitable for indoor or outdoor use, this highly opaque, low-sheen chalkboard paint from Rainbow Chalk Markers comes in 10 colors, from classic black to unique shades like bright yellow, pink, and green. Appropriate for almost any surface, this paint creates a chalkboard suitable for liquid chalk marker pens. It also eliminates ghosting issues with one coat, so you can make an old blackboard look new again.
This paint is nontoxic, so it’s safe for use in kids’ rooms. To apply, use a brush or roller. One coat can cover up to 100 square feet, but if the blackboard will be used outside, go with more than one coat to be safe. It usually dries within 15 minutes.3Photo: amazon.com Check Latest Price
This Rust-Oleum black chalkboard spray works well on almost every surface, including wood, plaster, metal, masonry, glass, drywall, concrete, paperboard, and hardboard. The oil-based formula is perfect for chalk writing and covers up to 7 square feet. Though most surfaces need only one coat of paint, expect to use a few coats for glass.
Expect the paint to be dry to the touch in 20 minutes, but give it 24 hours to cure before use. The final product needs conditioning before use; after 24 hours, rub the side of your chalk all over the board and erase it to prepare the surface for long-term use. If you already have a painted surface you’d like to use with chalk, look to the clear version of this product.4Photo: amazon.com Check Latest Price
This small squeeze bottle of black chalkboard paint from American Crafts is ideal for smaller projects around the house. It’s great for creating things like small blackboards, paperboard invitations, and ornaments. The paint holds up well on surfaces like tables and walls, but if you use it on frequently handled items like cups or vases, you’ll want to wash those items by hand to maintain the integrity of the surface.
Nontoxic and safe for kids’ crafts, this chalkboard paint works with liquid chalk markers and regular chalk alike. The small bottle seals and stores well, so you can use it for more projects in the future.5Photo: amazon.com Check Latest Price
This small pot of chalkboard paint from FolkArt is available in a variety of colors including classic black, red, and purple. Create a small chalkboard and condition it well for years of use, or use it for small projects accented by a few words written in liquid chalk. This 8-ounce jar isn’t enough paint to cover a large chalkboard, but it’s certainly enough to handle smaller projects like picture frames or small signs.
This paint is nontoxic, so kids can use it without worry. The jar’s mouth is wide enough to dip in a paintbrush or sponge, which makes cleanup a snap. One drawback of FolkArt’s water-based formula is that you must use a dry eraser, not a wet sponge or rag, to erase chalk from its painted surface.
FAQs About Chalkboard Paint
Understanding the basics of chalkboard paint is an important step in ensuring your final product looks great and serves the purpose you intended. Here’s more information you might need before getting to work.
Chalk paint is typically used on furniture to create a distressed, vintage look. Chalkboard paint creates an actual surface on which to write with chalk.
Start with a primer that will keep the chalkboard paint smooth and ensure good adhesion to the surface. Follow the directions on the paint’s container regarding using sponges, brushes, spraying, or more.
The best chalkboard paints don’t need sealing of any kind; they just need 24 hours to a few days to cure before you can start writing on the surface.
No. It is a very good idea to condition the final product, though, especially if you intend to write on it often. You can do this by rubbing the side of a piece of chalk all over the new board and then erasing it with either a dry eraser or a wet rag, as the manufacturer recommends.
Yes. Some paint manufacturers suggest using a dry eraser on chalkboard paint, though many say a wet sponge or rag will be fine for erasing the chalk.
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