Over the last month or so, I’ve been working hard to try and make this house something special. When we moved from Florida to Utah last August, we had a MASSIVE downsize. Our 2300 sq ft luxury home was traded for a 1100 sq ft fixer upper! Never have I been so unprepared for something as I was for this house. And since we had far less rooms to work with here, I ended up having to use our utility/storage room as my arts and crafts room.
I had big plans to make it nice, but with late pregnancy and then a new baby, I never really had time to do anything with it. So it got crowded with junk and boxes and became somewhere I never went. But eventually I realized that I needed to do something with the space. So I decided to do it up nicely.
My first big project was to paint the walls. I chose the color Secret Passage by Olympic Paint. It was a nice gray color that covered up the horrendous ugly white walls that were stained and gross. But after making the walls pretty, I realised there was a huge problem. The UGLY wooden built in cupboards. I think these are meant for food storage, but to me, they are perfect for storing all my craft supplies, paints, canvases, and all the odds and ends I have collected over the years.
As you can see, the cupboards were severely lacking in personality. And as this is a basement room that gets very little light, I wanted LOTS of personality!
I decided to try my hand at using chalkboard paint. I have plans to eventually turn this room into a home classroom, so having a massive chalkboard will be great in the future. Plus, it allows me to be silly or creative whenever I want. AND the kids can just have a nice giant canvas to work on whenever they are bored at home.
The first thing I did was to use a foam roller to paint a few coats of chalkboard paint all over the wood. I also chose to paint the white space between the two cupboards, as I wanted it to look cohesive. It took about three coats until I felt that it was going to work. The wood was very sponge-like and the paint really seeped in.
Once it was painted and had had a chance to dry (I waited about 48 hours as I got busy with other things), I went ahead and “slated” the whole thing. This basically means that I took the side of a piece of chalk and rubbed it all over the entire surface of the painted space.
I then erased it all. The purpose of this is to make the wall ready to take chalk. If you just start writing on it, you will find that it is really difficult to erase the writing/drawing. By coating the whole thing in chalk and then erasing it immediately, it allows you to draw/write on it to your heart’s content without trouble.
That’s really all there was to it. A simple fix to this unsightly cupboard. Once I’d painted it up and primed it with the chalk, I invited the kids down to go to town. They had an absolute ball drawing. I found normal chalkboard chalk to be a little too breakable for my clumsy kids, so I bought some brightly colored sidewalk chalk for them instead. They immediately wanted to scribble. I sat and watched them for over an hour as they drew pictures and erased them.
Eventually they started making requests. They wanted me to draw rainbows and clouds and sun. So I drew them up high while they scribbled below. It was so much fun.
I’m so pleased with the final result. While the inside of my cupboards is organized chaos
The outside is a constantly changing canvas that will allow my children to be artistic and have fun. And when I eventually decide to bring them in to a classroom, it’ll be the perfect space for our ABCs, math and any other visual learning I can imagine.
So I guess the lesson is – if you have an ugly space that you want to make functional and pretty, chalkboard painting is a surefire hit with the preschool crowd!