Saturday 14 July 2012

Chalking it up.

In an effort to reduce the amount of paper and markers that the kids go through,
we thought a chalkboard might suit the need for a place to doodle.
I also hope that the walls will now be spared...although it's unlikely.

There are recipes on the internet in the usual places.
The basic ingredients are latex paint and non-sanded tile grout.
I have seen it as two tablespoons of grout for every cup of paint.
I don't think that it matters a whole lot; this batch is heavier on the grout.
I just mixed the grout straight into the paint, but that made the mixture lumpy.
If I do it again, the grout will be made into a paste and smoothed before adding it to the paint.

We bought paint for the job, but if you have leftovers of a suitable colour,
use that instead.
I needed floor paint for the basement anyways so it will do double duty.
The grey is acrylic latex floor paint. It should work ok.
Low gloss latex paint would be more suitable.

The board itself could be anything that will carry the paint.
We used a piece of drywall,
which has been attached to the stairwell railing in the living room.
An existing wall would work out just as well.

It turns out that the paint manufacturer has a different idea of dark grey than I do.
I was hoping for something darker.
Battleship grey is altogether unappealing so I looked into our leftover paints.
The living room used to be orange, and there was a part can from many years ago.
It was a little rough, but a vigorous stirring brought it back into action.
Besides, it was only used to tint the boring shade of grey.

The paint needs to harden completely before the last step.
The chalkboard needs to be conditioned to give it the right surface texture.
I had to run some sandpaper over it to takes the edge off;
otherwise, the thing will eat chalk like crazy

Once the surface is fairly smooth,
take a piece of chalk and rub it over the entire surface.
Then wipe it off gently with a moistened cloth.
I haven't done this yet, as the paint is still drying.
If it doesn't work out, I'll be sure to post a correction.

Really, the kids aren't too fussy about what kind of surface they draw on.
It could be a wooden door, a metal appliance, painted walls, or their own skin.
Our role is to provide medium for their self-expression,
without allowing them to desecrate the house.


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