Monday, February 18, 2013

Magnetic Chalkboard Wall - Success or Failure?

If you follow me on Instagram, (Follow @kicki22 if you want to start) you may have seen these two photos on Saturday night (after my incredibly fun day at Zoo Photography).

Getting ready to paint!!!

Chalkboard wall drying in progress

That's right...I took on another project. My goal was to turn the short wall between my kitchen and living room into a magnetic chalkboard.

I didn't care too much about the magno part (spoiler alert...that's a very, very good thing), but I REALLY wanted a cool chalkboard wall to leave notes on and doodle on.  I thought adding the magnetic option would be cool - perhaps to add some fun photo magnets along with (hopefully) awesome chalk art - like they did in this post.

Before I took on this project, I read a TON of articles and blog posts about painting with both magnet and chalkboard paint. (Not enough apparently ...) The one I found most useful was this one by Young House Love on their recent Pinterest challenge which was a magnetic, chalkboard framed piece.

Afterall my reading, I made a pretty simple checklist of things to get/do:

Start by gathering supplies:
  • Magnetic Primer
  • Chalkboard Paint
  • spackle and putty knife (I had a few tiny divets to even out), 
  • sanding block (for the spackle)
  • good quality foam rollers (I used two different ones - one for the magnetic primer and a second for the chalkboard paint - I didn't even try to clean them)
  • edging brush (I used this ONLY with the chalkboard paint and then washed it out and it was fine.  I think the magnet paint would have ruined it)
  • FrogTape (Love.This.Stuff)
  • Newspaper or a drop cloth (I started without this, but the magnetic paint splatters worse than anything I have EVER seen - you definitely want to protect your floors)
  • And, speaking of that, wear clothes you absolutely do not care about - at least for the magno part
I also covered my paint tray in aluminum foil - first time I'd ever tried that trick and it worked perfectly making clean up a breeze.  

And, of course, when it's all done, you're gonna need some chalk!

And, the rest of the steps:
  1. Prep the surface by making sure it's clean and dry.  Fill any holes and smooth with the sanding block as needed.
  2. Protect the area with the tape and newspaper/drop cloth.
  3. Shake and STIR (and stir and stir and stir and stir) the magnetic primer.  Scrape the magnetic particles off the bottom of the can.  Stir some more.  And when you think you've stirred enough, stir even more.  
  4. Apply several thin, even coats of the magnetic primer to the wall - allowing about 30 minutes of drying time in between each.  Re-stir the paint after each coat to keep the metal particles that are in it from sinking to the bottom.  
  5. Let the last coat of magnetic primer dry for about 30 minutes.  
  6. Shake/stir the chalkboard paint well.  
  7. Apply one or more thin even coats (I did three coats) - allowing some drying time in between each.  I don't know that you have to do more than one coat of this paint as it is VERY thick - but everything I read said to do at least two so I went with what I thought would work.
  8. Let everything dry for at LEAST 24 hours (this is by far the hardest part of the entire thing...just waiting, staring at the board, wondering if you've just turned your wall into a big black hole or if you've created a perpetual art installation)
  9. The step that is NOT on the back of the can, but that is in every article I read, is to "cure" the chalkboard paint.  You do this by rubbing a piece of chalk along the board on its this.
  10. Erase and you're ready to create.
So, did it work?

I've already alluded to the fact the magno part was pretty much an epic fail.  I put on five coats of the magno paint and only have one area - right along the edge of the wall - that is actually magnetic.  A couple of other areas give a little attraction to the magnet - but definitely aren't going to hold it.  I used nearly one full can  of the paint on a small wall that measures just 2 ft by about 8 ft.  After reading more reviews on Amazon, I saw people who said that after nine or ten coats it still wasn't magnetic.  #alwaysreadthereviewsfirst

The chalkboard paint was pretty successful, although I think should have waited longer than 24 hours given how many coats of paint were on it.  There is one section in the center of the wall that isn't taking to the chalk well at the moment.  I'm going to let it cure another few days before getting too excited about it.

I will say it uses chalk faster than what I remember a normal chalkboard to do - I'm wondering if that is all the little iron flecks embedded in the wall from the magno paint.  It also definitely looks like a chalk board.  To keep it from looking too hazy and cloudy I think will be a lot of work, but all in all, I'm really happy with it and look forward to all sorts of creativity to come on my happy wall.  Here is a photo after I'd colored on and erase the whole wall and just started writing a few simple lists.


So, what did you make this weekend?


  1. Hi, Kara!

    I just wanted to let you know I've selected your blog for the Liebster Award. You can get more details on my blog at when it posts on Friday 2/22/13. The award was passed along to me by another blogger so I hope you’ll join in the fun!

  2. Thanks a lot for sharing this information. I am really thinking of having this magnetic chalkboard wall idea. But I am just a little concern of the time I should spent doing it (because I don’t have patience to wait its outcome and be able to use it).


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