Tutorial: How to Make Chalk Paint


Last weekend I participated in the very first Salt Lake hosted Vintage Whites Market. I participated in the event by teaching a calligraphy workshop. We had a blast. I had so much fun hanging out with some incredibly inspiring women (VWM, Shop Ruche and Gather & Hunt).

I was asked to do some chalk art for the entry way for admission and pricing, much like the one I did for Alt Summit. I didn’t have much time to do the lettering and unfortunately for me, it was a retro chalkboard with a sheen to it; impossible for actually chalking up.

I tried to prime the surface by rubbing chalk all over it, but nothing would stick. My chalk marker wouldn’t even make a mark, so I had to get creative. It was midnight and I needed to use what I had on hand. So I thought I would see how chalky paint would do. Here’s what it ended up looking like.

The paint worked well and I’m really excited about this new method – I couldn’t wait to share it with you. So here we go:

Make Paint out of Chalk

Soaking chalk was not about to work in the amount of time I had. So I researched. I realized I needed to phrase my query, “How to make paint out of chalk” as to try to avoid how to make your own colored paint that could be used for making chalkboards. Confusing, I know.

I found this tutorial, but I thought the technique lacking. I’m not going to rub chalk on my brush until I get enough chalk dust so I busted out the micro planer instead. Much faster.

I bet if you had a fine cheese grater or some sand paper, that would do, too.

I didn’t need a ton of chalk dust – I think for the large project I did for VWM, I used less than a stick and a half.

I mixed chalk and water a little bit at a time until I got the consistency of heavy cream and grabbed a brush I no longer cared for.

I’m sure you could do some really fun things with sponges and even food coloring. I haven’t tried yet.

I noticed the chalk doesn’t show up at first, but there was no need to run over each line twice. See below!

See how vibrantly the white chalk shows up after it’s dry? Again, no need to run over your lines twice.

It shows up so vividly on the chalkboard, but it’s just like regular chalk and erases with little to no effort. I don’t have a legit chalk eraser, but it came off just fine with a microfiber cloth. Bonus, right?

Now there’s a whole new way to participate in the chalking trend! We have the above chalk board in front of our house. It’s been since December that I’ve written a message on there (I would letter out different phrases each month). I think now that our front porch is clear of snow, I might start the monthly phrases up again.

Got any suggestions on greetings I should write on this baby?

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  1. Virginia says:

    What a fabulous DIY tutorial! I’m pinning this immediately. I love the idea of putting the board in front of your house with different messages, too. You could write out your favorite quotes or something seasonally appropriate :)

  2. Kaylee says:

    This is so nifty! Do you need to do anything special to wipe the chalk off, or can you just use a regular ol’ chalk eraser?

  3. Fozzy says:

    this is so cool! how did your brush survive the chalking up?

  4. Alice C. says:

    Melissa, this is amazing!! I am so excited! I have such a hard time writing with chalk, but I think painting will be fun. :)

  5. Marissa says:

    i love love love this!

  6. […] Plus, how fantastic is this hand lettering? You can learn how to make chalk paint right here. […]

  7. Hanna says:

    Mind officially blown. I am terrible and using chalk and am so excited to try this out!

  8. Heidi says:

    This is so awesome! We don’t have any chalkboards at the moment but I’d like to do an entire wall whenever I decorate the boys’ room. Imagine the possibilities…

  9. Oh wow how clever! I kinda wish my classroom had chalkboards now instead of white boards so I could write with a paintbrush

  10. Lindsay says:

    This is so cool! I would never think of making my own paint. Your chalkboard looks great. I’m sure the neighbors love seeing your messages. :)

  11. Jenn says:

    I like this method! I imagine there is less dust residue left at the bottom of the board using the paint method over actually drawing with the chalk. I have been planning to add a chalk board in our kitchen but can’t stand the idea of having dust everywhere… Maybe this will change my mind!

  12. Allison Richardson says:

    This is brilliant and SO pretty!! Thanks for sharing! :)

  13. Bev says:

    Thanks for sharing. This is a great idea

  14. Tiffany says:

    Love this idea!!! I have an assortment of colored Crayola chalk sticks. I think i will try this with them. Thanks for sharing… :-)

  15. Ffion says:

    That looks like something really awesome to try! Thank you for sharing, definitely keeping that on my list for later!

  16. Jacqueline Arroyo says:

    Hello everyone:
    I’m from Costa Rica and studied education. In the 80s I had a professor in Guatemala who taught the use of the blackboard and the “secrets” of chalk … a trick you can try is to add sugar to the chalk paint that it is not erased. If you want to delete must use water. Luck!

    • Bailey says:

      Hi Jacqueline! That’s a great tip! I’ve been wondering how to make chalk paint that does not rub off easily if someone accidentally smudges it. Do you have any other “chalk secrets” or know where I can look for some? Thank you for the tip!

  17. stephanie says:

    going to try this today! and i am coveting your chalkboard and wondering if you made it yourself or bought it? the knotted rope looks spectacular.

  18. What a great idea, love it! So easy to make, but oh so chic! :)

  19. Faith says:

    I once had whole WALLS that I used for chalkboards…. wish I’d known about this then! Can you imagine using this technique with colored chalks and painting whole scenes or your own wallpaper!!?? Hmmm… I think I see some redecorating in my future….

  20. linda says:

    I love it and so will my granddaughter

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