I know this post is sort of random, but if there’s one thing that I wish existed on Pinterest, it’s a BS meter for all of those “wonder-DIY-formulas” you see, but can’t quite decide whether or not they’re too good to be true. (If you’re like me, you’ve found out first-hand that most of them are, in fact, total BS.) So, today I thought I’d share one with you that I know for a fact lives up to the claims: Homemade Chalkboard Paint.   If you’ve been around here for a while, you’ve probably already heard me sing the praises of the homemade stuff, but when I painted my kitchen, I used the store-bought stuff for the first time (I’ll explain why in a minute), so I thought I’d let you know how I feel about both.
Homemade chalkboard paint from Martha Stewart was one of the first things I ever stumbled across in the early days of Pinterest, and it was life-changing, okay that’s overly dramatic–even for me, we’ll say, house-changing. I thought, “What the hay?” and gave it a try. Guess what?!! IT. WORKS. WONDERFULLY. It’s not just another one of those, “wood spoons will keep your pot from boiling over,” Pinterest myths.  (I tried that one by the way, it’s BS. And don’t fall for the Cooking spray dries your nails one either, unless you’re just looking to give your husband a really good laugh). I’ve used homemade chalkboard paint all over my house and recommend it to everyoneincluding strangers on the paint aisle at Lowe’s. Ya’ try to help a gal out and you get looked at like you’re nuts. Whatevs.
To date, I’ve used the homemade stuff on a wall in my daughter’s room, a wall in my garage entry, the end of my island in my kitchen, and a few small framed chalkboards.
It’s also my go-to for furniture.  The finish is awesome, distresses amazingly, but also cures hard as a rock. I’ll talk more about using it on furniture another day, but for now, we’ll stick to walls.
So let’s talk about what I love about the homemade stuff:
1. Homemade chalkboard paint can be tinted ANY color you want. Because it uses regular old flat paint, the possibilities are literally endless. You could even do a white chalkboard and use colored chalk. Seriously, how rad would that be?
2. It’s SUPER cheap. The cost of a sample of flat paint (around $3) and some tile grout (around $6), and I think I’ll have tile grout into the zombie apocalypse–it lasts forever.
3.  I LOVE the finish of the homemade stuff, actually more than the store-bought. It’s a really flat, smooth finish and the chalk writes like butta’!
The recipe, by the way is:
1 cup paint
2 Tbsp unsanded tile grout
{I just paint it on with a foam touch up roller (you can see what I’m talking about here) and then, once it dries, I sand with a super fine grit (like 220) sandpaper to give it a smooth finish (if you’re painting on a textured wall, you can skip the sanding part).}
BUT, despite my undying love for the homemade stuff, when I decided to paint my entire kitchen with chalkboard paint, I opted for the store-bought stuff.  Why?  For one reason really: The homemade stuff is really superior for smaller projects. Since tile grout is designed to set when it’s wet, it tends to thicken up in the paint much faster than regular paint left out in the open air, so the chalkboard paint should be made in small batches, and small batches means it can be a little inconsistent if you have to mix more than one.
This was my entire kitchen, so I really didn’t want to take the risk.
Now, after having used both the homemade and store-bought versions, I have to say, I love the final results for the store-bought, but I actually prefer the homemade! I like my chalkboard surfaces to have a really flat finish, and I think the professional stuff is a little bit slicker than the homemade.  I haven’t broken in the whole kitchen wall yet (and probably actually won’t), but I did write on it at Christmas time and it worked just fine.
And if you look closely to the right of the buffet, you can see that my daughter has also discovered the joys of the chalkboard wall and has put it to use in the space by her desk, which brings me to the BIGGEST difference, I think, between the two…
…the homemade stuff seems to actually clean better than the store-bought. It seems like when I wipe with a wet cloth to try to get it back to the original black, the residue doesn’t completely wipe off.  It sort of smears around, which is totally fine for that real chalkboard look, but if you’re wanting to get it back to a really clean, dark chalkboard, it just doesn’t seem to clean up as well.
So, in short, my conclusions: They’re both achieve pretty much the same result.  One is great for big projects and the other, for smaller projects. And one is significantly cheaper. It costs about $1.50 (maybe less) to make a 1 cup batch of chalkboard paint, while a quart of the store-bought is, minimum $15.00.
Have you tried the homemade stuff?  I’d love to hear what you thought!


  1. says

    I made my own chalkboard paint and painted an entire wall in our dining room. It worked pretty well except it was hard to clean off! :) Eventually I just got tired of all the dust and how bumpy my writing looked due to texture, so I repainted it. Sad day. :(

    • says

      I know, that’s the only problem with any chalkboard paint (and why I haven’t written in my dining room yet). It seems like once you write on it, you can never get it back to the “original clean” again.

      • Nikki says

        Hi Jennifer,
        I know that this is a really old post, but just in case you decide to try it again, I have been told you have to season chalkboard paint, at least, the home made stuff :)
        with the side of your chalk rub all over the painted surface and leave it for about half an hour, then wipe clean. I know this would be hard on a whole wall, but for smaller projects its very effective :)

  2. says

    Jenn!!! This post makes me wonder if you can help me out – I have an idea for how I want to announce Kumquat’s name, but I need a small/medium sized chalkboard. I don’t know where I can buy a cute one locally, and although I’m all for making one, I’m not really sure where to start. Do you know where I could buy one or have any DIY advice?

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