How To: Big Girl Room Makeover

Kim's February Jumpstart Project 2009

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Title: Bye-Bye Nursery! Big-Girl Room Makeover
Name: Kim
Time: 1 weekend
Cost: Under $100

We've seen chalkboard paint treatments before, but this one takes it up a notch, giving the painted panels a true old fashioned chalkboard look. Click above for pics, below for the how-to and be sure to give Kim a THUMBS UP if you find this project helpful....

Tools:
1 gallon of low VOC black latex paint in eggshell finish 2 cups of unsanded tile grout 1 quart of white paint (we used leftover trim paint from a basement re-do) Handheld drill with paint stirrer attachment Paint rollers and roller covers Drop cloths Painters tape Laser Level

Steps:
When my daughter outgrew her crib, I took the opportunity to finally decorate her room, since I never did get around to finishing her nursery. I decided to paint 4 big “chalkboards”, one on each wall of her room.

Here are the step by step instructions:
1) Mark off the boards: I used a laser level to mark the edges of the “chalkboards” and then masked the edges off with 2” painters tape. I left 3” between the baseboard and the bottom of the chalkboards, and 3” between the sides and the corners of the rooms.
2) Mix the paint: I’d already done some small scale chalkboard paint projects, so I already knew that the commercially available chalkboard paints were not of the greatest quality, and they also weren’t going to be available in the quantities I needed. Luckily, I came across a chalkboard paint recipe online, which I multiplied several times over to come up with this formula for one gallon of chalkboard paint: • 1 gallon of low VOC black latex paint • 2 cups of unsanded tile grout in dark grey. I poured the grout into the paint can and stirred it with a paint stirrer attached to my electric drill (much easier than stirring by hand!). You have to keep the can lid on, and work with smallish batches of paint because once the grout is mixed in, it causes the paint to thicken and dry more quickly than regular paint, but it makes a nice, toothy chalkboard surface!
3) Paint the walls: My daughter got in on the act of painting her walls. Once the paint was nearly dry, I removed the painters tape and allowed it to dry completely overnight.
4) Mask off the writing guidelines: I decided to add children’s writing guidelines to the top of each chalkboard. I used 2” painters tape and let that be the distance from the top of the board to the top of the first line. I then eyeballed the placement of the second row of tape, leaving about 1/4” in between the two strips of tape to make the top line of the guides. I continued in this way for the middle line and the bottom line. I wanted the middle line to be dashed, so I laid 1” painters tape vertically across the middle strip at 2” intervals, using the 2” roll of painter’s tape as a placement guide, and completing the “stencil” for the writing guidelines.
5) Paint in the guidelines: Next, I used leftover off-white trim paint from a basement redo to fill in the guidelines. After the white paint was nearly dry, I removed the painters tape, and used a small-tipped child’s paint brush to touch up any stray paint that had seeped under the edges of the tape. The whole process of painting the walls took one weekend, and my daughter & her friends love her new room!

Sources:
Our materials were all readily available at the local big-box chain hardware store, or already laying around our house.

Give Kim 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.

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