How To: Make a Chalkboard Art Space

Summer's February Jumpstart Project 2009

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Title: Chalkboard Art Space
Name: Summer
Time: Approx 15 hours
Cost: $80

A really great looking result - Summer took a plain wall and created something special. Click above for pics, below for the how-to and be sure to give Summer a THUMBS UP if you find this project helpful....

Tools:
- Chalkboard paint, semi-gloss accent colors ($39) - 1.5" flat molding with rounded edge cut to size ($23) - Two 24" shelves with decorative brackets ($18) - Smooth rollers, brushes of various sizes, paint tray - Large tarp - Painters tape - Measuring tape - Sandpaper - Nail gun and nails (hammer and small nails would work fine) - Wall anchors, screws, drill - Handsaw (or cut the molding to size at the store) - Thin rope or heavy duty string - Clips - Ikea Svala table and chairs

Steps:
1. Measure the space for the chalkboard and buy wood molding to use as a border. We made rough cuts at the store and cut each piece at home to match up at a 45 degree angle. If you have precise measurements you could easily make 45 degree cuts at Home Depot (they will provide saws and tools necessary to make the angled cut). Alternately, have the store cut it for you - I think you get up to 2 cuts for free.
2. Sand the cut edges of the wood until smooth.
3. Lay the tarp underneath your work space, tape off the chalkboard area, and lightly sand the wall.
4. Wipe down the wall and paint with 2 coats of chalkboard paint (let dry at least 4 hours between coats).
5. Between coats, work on the accent pieces. I ended up painting the molding, outlet covers, air vent, shelving, table and chairs in chalkboard, green, orange, and blue paint (semi-gloss makes clean-up much easier than matte paint). There were enough pieces that I was able to let one coat dry while I moved on to another color. I used rollers on the large pieces and smaller brushes for the table legs and chairs (this was pretty detailed work and took a steady hand and lots of focus).
6. Once the chalkboard paint is dry, attach the molding to the wall with nails (about 8 inches apart).
7. Attach brackets to shelves, measure the placement on the wall and drill anchors into wall. Hang shelves. 8. Hang the string between two nails to display artwork (we used some old clips from a set of temporary blinds, but chip clips or clothes pins would work great).
9. Hang any other decorative features you'd like (a banner with the child's name, rules for the art space, etc.). Our "IMAGINE" banner was made from fabric and cardboard and inspired by one of our favorite John Lennon songs.
10. Watch your little one create!

Sources:
Home Depot, Ikea, our tool shed

Give Summer a THUMBS UP if you find this project helpful....

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Janel Laban is the Executive Editor of Apartment Therapy and has been working here, at the dreamiest of dream jobs, since March 2006.