Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How to Make Your Own Chalkboard Shelf

Buenos Días!

So this morning at the Y Before School Program I was thinking of what to write about next, but then it came to me...Two words- CHALKBOARD PAINT! I think chalkboard paint is one of the best creations that someone could possibly come up with, as you can use it on just about any surface; therefore, your options are endless!

We were making our own chalkboards at the Y this morning with my left over chalkboard paint from when I made my own chalkboard shelf for my desk. You see, I live in a college owned house with four other girls, and our rooms look as if they're stuck in the 60's so I decided to bring my corner of the room back into the 21st century. My desk was right next to my roommate's and I wanted something that would give us both privacy for studying. I needed some sort of divider so I wouldn't be staring at her while I'm trying to work, that would get a bit creepy! So, Kurt and I came up with a chalkboard shelf solution. So this time, I dragged Kurt to Home Depot with me to get:

  • A slab of wood-( I believe we got a 12 foot piece, Kurt was in charge of the measuring, I would suggest obviously measuring your surface first to decide the right amount for you) and had it cut into three parts: 2 equal sections for each side of the shelf, and 1 for the top. 
  • A large piece of plywood for the backing & chalkboard (also depends on the measurements of wood you choose)Chalkboard paint (available in the paint section at most stores they have green & black, magnetic and non-magnetic) I researched the magnetic vs. non-magnetic and found that a lot of people had trouble with the magnetic so I opted out and went for the easier and cheaper solution- non-magnetic.
  • Paint for my shelf, I went with a pint of a Behr grey/blue color.
  • Paint Supplies- roller, brush, tray, primer, etc. 
  • Chalk & Eraser
  • Sandpaper
  • Screws, Power drill, etc. for shelf
  • Damp cloth

How to Make:
  • Sand all three of your wood sections, make sure to wipe away all access wood shavings with damp cloth.
  • Put the shelf together using a drill and screws, make sure the shelf is sturdy and secure. Do not attach the plywood as backing yet, you will do this after you are finished painting.
  • Time to prime... I used Kilz spray primer and sprayed 2 coats of primer on the wood and the plywood. It only took about 20-25 minutes for both coats of primer to dry.
  • Painting time! For plywood- stir chalkboard paint well evenly apply paint with roller, let dry. For wood- I used 2 coats of the paint for the shelf.
  • After about 3 hours, you can re-coat the plywood with chalkboard paint again.Depending on how dark you want your chalkboard to be depends on the total coats, some people use 4 or more! I used two and it worked great; it just depends on the surface, if you primed or not, and your own shade preference.
  •  IMPORTANT: After you are content with the chalkboard color, you must wait 3 days before you use chalk on it. The paint needs time to cure; however, after 1 day, when the plywood is completely dry, you may nail or drill it into your shelf but remember do not use it for two more days!!! After you have patiently waited the 3 days you may go to town on your chalkboard! It's a great place for reminders, decorations, storage, etc. Enjoy!


  1. looking great!! i love the look of your site and your posts are great! but what does hasta manana mean?? i'm confused.
    - kurt

  2. Ha-ha, has anyone told you that you should be a comedian?! :)