Decorative Techniques

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Creative Armoires with Chalkboard Paint

Painting the inside doors of a repurposed or unfinished armoire can personalize this piece for your children. Using chalkboard paint creates a fun, creative surface for your child, but one that can be hidden when play time is over.

As with any painting project, surfaces preparation and priming are important to ensure the finish looks great and lasts through many years of use.

Chalkboard paints are available at many paint companies stores and home centers. The primary colors are either black or green, although a few specialty companies provide other colors. An online search may be the best way to find these.

What you need:

  • A repurposed or unfinished armoire
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood filler
  • Primer
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Paint roller and brush

What to do:

Step 1 - Surface Preparation:

  • Dull any glossy areas of wood ("mill glaze") by sanding with medium (#120) grit garnet paper; wear eye protection, dust mask and work gloves
  • Fill any gouges with wood filler; let dry and sand flush
  • Lightly sand the entire area to be painted with fine (#220) grit garnet paper, then dust off with clean rags
  • It's VERY important to remove all dust or wood fibers so chalkboard finish will be smooth.

Step 2 - Priming:

  • Priming is neede to ensure adhesion of topcoat, stain blocking and sheen or gloss uniformity
  • Prime all surfaces to be painted, using a top quality stain blocking primer
  • Many chalkboard paints are water based, and a top quality interior stain blocking latex primer will work well
  • Some chalkboard paints are supplied in spray cans. Be sure to check with the paint professional at the store for recommendations on primers for this type of chalkboard undercoat.

Step 3 - Painting

  • Use top quality chalkboard paint in the color of your choice, following manufacturer recommendation for application (either roller, foam brush or nylon brush). Two coats will give you the most durable finish.
  • Most latex paints require a one week cure before use. It is also recommended to 'condition' the chalkboard by lightly rubbing chalk held horizontally over the entire surface, then washing the surface with a damp cloth. Your 'chalkboard' will then be ready for years of use.

To personalize the chalkboard, consider stenciling around the outside perimeter of the chalkboard with numbers, letters, animals or ‘themes’ from the room or and your child’s name. Use colors that will complement or contrast with the room’s color scheme.

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