I was thinking about signage for my (first!) craft fair booth and started off with an idea of painting a canvas circus sideshow style sign, but I didn’t quite have time for that and thought a chalkboard a-frame sandwich board would be quicker… Chalkboards seem to be fairly popular right now, but remain elusive in stores. My solution was chalkboard paint. Its seemed simple enough, get some wood or other smooth surface, paint, and you have yourself a chalkboard.
I found a few posts about making them (here-love the graphics and here-tutorial) and George and I set off to our local hardware store. About an hour and a few disagreements about what specifically we should purchase later we were home cutting, sanding, staining, and painting. Mid-way through covering my first small board with paint (we decided on one sandwich board and three table top boards) I happened to look at the directions (which is every out of character for me, if something comes with directions I generally follow them exactly), they proved to be much more involved then I thought:
Priming: ‘Um, we don’t really need to prime this do we?’ It was decided that since I already started on the small boards, we would prime the larger boards and see if there was a difference.
Paint: Rust-oleum recommends using a good quality synthetic brush or 1/4″ -3/8″ nap roller–I was already using a foam brush and seemed to be getting smooth coverage. For the larger primed boards I used a roller, it was leftover from when we painted some of the rooms in our house so I wasn’t sure what the nap on it was but it left a noticeably bumpy surface.
Dry & Recoat Times: 30 min. to touch, 2 hrs to handle, 2nd coat after 4 hrs. I don’t recall exact timing but on the small boards I did two coats within an hour I’m sure. The larger boards got their first coat in the morning and the second in the evening.
Conditioning & Use: This is the one that got me. After THREE(!) days chalkboard is ready to use. Before writing condition the board by rubbing the side of a piece of chalk over the whole board and erase. Wait SEVEN days after painting before wiping it down. Repeat conditioning after cleaning. This was Sunday and I need the boards for a show on Saturday. We ended up constructing the boards on Tuesday night which would mean that I would actually be waiting three days to condition. Which, by the way, is terrifying to me. I have this wrenching feeling in my gut that I will cover the boards in chalk and it won’t wipe off.
Turns out I probably would have had enough time to go with my original idea but love the way the chalkboards turned out (but we will have to wait and see how they perform when written on).