Thursday, September 5, 2013

DIY Thursday: DIY Chalkboard Calender

I have been wanting to do this project for a long time. I saw the idea on They did this beautiful multi-colored chalkboard calender, and that became my inspiration. Our family also collects magnets from wherever we travel and our fridge was getting a bit crowded so we decided to go all the way and make it magnetic as well. (Easier said than done.)
Anyway here we have our wall in the kitchen that we decided to use.

When I first thought of doing this project I was going to make the chalkboard paint myself to save some money but when my husband wanted to save some time and just buy it ready made, I did not refuse him :) When I was looking up how to make the paint my favorite explanation came from Two Girls Make Stuff. They tried a couple of different times and tell you what they like best.

We used Valspar Tintable Chalkboard paint, which come in all the fun colors you see on the side of the can. You can see the two arrows pointing to the two we chose. I wanted something a little more neutral because I am going to have to live with this on my kitchen everyday.
And we also picked up Rustoleum Magnetic Primer. (More on this product later...)
And here are the rest of our tools. Basic painting stuff tape, rollers, brushes. As a side note we decided that we liked working with the foam rollers that are used for painting cabinets best, they covered more evenly and in a thinner layer, which was ideal especially for the magnetic paint.
We removed everything from the wall and double taped all the edges. I was so excited to get started painting!!!
And then we opened the magnetic paint... Do you see that? That big chunky mess? Yes, they did not mention this at Lowes. 
A few notes about magnetic paint:
1. You need about 3-4 (error on the side of more is better) coats of paint to make the magnets stick really well.
2. This can of paint only covers 16 square ft. That equals 4' by 4'. (We were painting an area of about 8' by 9', and had to get 4 cans of paint, it was a little pricey.)
3. HAVE YOUR PAINT STORE MIX THE PAINT BEFORE YOU GET HOME!!! (It took my husband almost 30 min to mix the first can, after that we learned our lesson.)
4. You will need to keep mixing the paint as you go. Every 15 min or so. (The magnetic part of the paint is essentially thousands of tiny bits of metal and they will sink if given the time.)

After we figured everything out and took 4 trips to the store the actual process of applying the paint was pretty straight forward. You need to allow 30 min of drying time between coats but other than that is is just like painting with any other paint. 
On out third trip to the hardware store this nice woman who worked there told us that she had used this product before and after having a hard time getting her magnets to stick called the company who made it. They told her that the magnets need a smooth surface to adhere really well and she recommended this product to us. 3M SandblasterPro 320 grit, it was really easy to use. Although I think we could have sanded more to make it even smoother, I was lazy.

Even after all of this we still have a few magnets that don't stick. The colorful letters you stick on the fridge for your kids, I think the magnets are just weak on those. And a few others that we think might have just been to heavy.
Next came the chalkboard paint. Easy to use, although I do want to caution you to check the area that your paint will cover, we had to go to the store one more time to get another can of this as well. It is also worth mentioning that you need to wait 1 hour between coats for this product and 24 hours after you are done before you use chalk on it.
Now we are on to the calender!! (Sorry this is a long post, almost there!!)
I used tape and also cut out a piece of cardboard that was 6 in long to help with measuring. (I wanted 6 in by 6 in squares, but in hind sight I would have done them even bigger)
There is no simple way to do this. It took a while to get started with all the measuring but then it was pretty simple. I started with the vertical lines after I found the middle of my wall. You will notice that the lines are different sizes. That is because you are using tape, so if you want he squares to be side by side you will need to paint every other row and then go back. (This will make more sense late...I hope)
Hopefully the pics below help to make sense of everything. You can see the top square is 6 by 6 but in the area below the square the tape needs to be 6 by 6 in order for the next square to start where it needs to.
Here is the first application of tape all ready to go. I used the post its and little pieces of tape so you could see whats going on. We needed 7 columns and 5 rows to make the calender and the small pieces of tape show where I am going to paint my other color.
All painted. (I did two coats.)
With the tape removed.
Now we go in for the second application of tape. This part was so much easier because you just follow the lines you already have. Again I marked the squares I want to paint with the small pieces of tape.
All painted.
Ta da!! All done right? WRONG!
You need to chalk your wall after you paint and wait 24 hours. What is chalking the board? All it is is taking a piece of chalk on its side and rubbing it all over the board. (Like you would do with crayon rubbings of a leaf.) This prevents the chalk from setting into the wall and making what you write on it later difficult to remove. (Have you ever written something on a chalkboard and even after rubbing and rubbing it away you can still see it? This prevents that. DON'T skip this step.)
So there you go. Rub, rub, rub then wipe, wipe, wipe it all away.
Now you are ready to chalk it up! What do you think? I am pretty thrilled with it. And just so you know chalk is cheap, I got a big box of 32 pieces, white and colored, for a buck. 
My kids are enjoying it too!
So in the end this took a lot more time and money than we thought but I think it was worth the effort. Hopeful my little project will make yours a little easier. And don't forget to check out the magnets I made to go with my wall, that was a fun and easy project. Thanks for sticking with me to the end! Happy Crafting!