August 16, 2011

#80- Mini Picasso's Art Gallery

One of the favorite little projects we did back in The Bungalow was the chalkboard wall in our basement Family Room.  We loved the way that it defined the space as a "toy area" without all the mess and clutter.  Plus, Ryder LOVED it.  We would use it for fun art creation, but also for learning- drawing letters and shapes for Ry to identify.  So we knew that painting another chalk wall in The Lodge would be necessary, and obviously the best spot would be in the Playroom, but where?  A full wall?  A half wall like we had in our first home?  Then then, I found inspiration from the Land of Nod.

I love how these chalk walls are framed in, like each is their own separate picture in an art gallery.  Which could totally work on this wall:

These mammoth closet doors take up the majority of the wall.  I can see why the previous owners painted these the same color as the room, but it always seemed a little weird to me, since the other door right next to it is painted white.  The paneling on here lends itself naturally to the art gallery frames though, so I figured that I could paint each panel with chalk board black, and trim out the rest in white.

I started by taping off each of my spaces with blue painters tape.

The one thing we really missed about the last chalk wall that we had, is that we didn't layer it with the magnetic primer to make it magnetic as well.  Here's a tip, children love magnets.  And if you can keep the magnets out of their little mouths, you'll love them too since they always stay in one spot and can't create a mess.  (I might have just willed a magnet mess to happen somehow.  Knock on wood.)

So I picked up a quart of magnetic primer along with the chalkboard paint, and per the instructions on the label applied 3 thin coats, 30 minutes apart.  This is where things went horribly wrong.  Not on the wall mind you, everything looked great, but much to my surprise, unlike chalkboard paint which is latex based, magnetic primer is oil based.  Not a happy surprise at 11PM on a work night.  The man who invented the oil based paint goes right up there with the man who invented high heels on my people I'd be willing to fight list.  And I fight dirty, watch out.  Thank the Lord I had saved and packed some Mineral Spirits and was somehow lucky enough to come across that box in the messy garage around midnight.  After about 45 minutes of scrubbing and rinsing the brush and paint tray with with the high-inducing liquid, I spent another 30 minutes scrubbing the oil based paint off my hands and arms.  (Warning, magnetic primer tends to "sprinkle" from the roller, so your painting arm might get covered in non-washable black specs.)  I ended up spending much more time than I wanted to that evening taping, applying three coats, and cleaning up after the mess, but I went to sleep soundly knowing that the remaining coats would all be water based.

The next morning Ry and I dug through some boxes to find a couple of magnets to test out our little  project.  Here's Ry posing with his new toy as I cross my fingers and pray that it worked so that I didn't need to apply any more of the bastard paint.

Look Mommy, it works!

Cue the Conga Line.  No joke, there may have only been 2 of us, but Ry and I can conga with the best of them.  Once we had returned from our dancing tour of The Lodge, we moved on to the chalk board paint.  Thanks to 3 layers of primer underneath it, this went on in one quick and clean coat.  I quickly removed the tape to avoid any bleeds, and did a silent party dance at my nice clean lines.

On Day 3 I taped off my new, sharp black spaces to trim out the rest of the doors.  I upped my tape status to Green Frog tape, as I figured it would be really important here to have a nice, clean line.

Apparently I forgot the old saying, "If it 'aint broke, don't fix it."  Because I broke it.

After two coats of crisp white trim paint, (if you're doing the math that's 6 coats of paint on these doors right now,) I removed the fancy-schamcy green Frog Tape to discover terrible edges and white paint bleed through onto my crisp black chalkboard paint.  Boo.  I could almost hear those doors laughing at me and mocking me.  Erin = Not a fan of Frog Tape.  Thankyouverymuch.

So on the morning of Day 4, after my trim had dried, I went back to the old faithful blue painters tape and once again trimmed out the sides of each of the panels so that I could touch up the black chalkboard paint and get back those clean edges that I was so proud of.  Coat of paint #7.

And here she is, the final result (with a little art direction from Ry-dogg):

What do you think?  Have you used chalkboard paint lately?  I've pinned a couple of cool ideas on Pinterest of fun chalk boards you can paint on mudroom doors or kitchen cupboards, so maybe I'll use my left overs on a fun project soon.  Eventually...


  1. THANK YOU!!! I thought I was the only one who didn't like Frog Tape. It just never seems to work for us.

  2. I was planning on painting a wall with chalkboard paint in our playroom, but never thought of using magnetic primer so THANK YOU!! The boys will LOVE that!

  3. Just make sure to wear gloves when applying Kristine! :)

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