Using Chalk Paint to Fill Empty Wall Space

by | Nov 21, 2016 |

You know that one wall in your house that you just aren’t quite sure what to do with?  The one that is completely void of decor and character.  Maybe it’s the corner on the far end of the couch where nothing fits.  Or, how about the blank wall behind the door?  You know which one I’m talking about.  Well, I have found a great way of using chalk paint to fill the empty wall space in your home.

In my case, the culprit was a narrow wall in my kitchen that sits between a floor-to-ceiling pantry and a french door.  I was going nuts trying to figure out what to do with the space.

Using Chalk Paint to Fill Empty Wall Space

Empty wall space.

Photograph by Bianca

A while back, I came across a large, framed chalkboard calendar at one of those super-trendy stationary stores in the mall.  This particular board was made to hang on the wall, while you chalk in the months, dates and info/schedule yourself.  Ok, this could be the key to minimizing the homework drama that often occurs in our home after school.  Nice!  But, then I saw the price tag.  Really?  For a chalkboard?  I don’t think so.  The hanging, erasable chalkboard is a fine idea, but not very practical (practical, meaning, affordable) for me.  Not to mention, with these boys opening and closing the pantry door a hundred times a day, the thing would never stay hanging!

Just DIY it!

So, the obvious solution for any veteran DIY-er is, “I’ll just make it myself.”  Using chalk paint to create a wall calendar was the perfect solution.  I would design a football-throwing, door-slamming, (almost) kid-proof  calendar on my empty kitchen wall.  (Duh!)

Now, I’m fired up.  Let’s get this calendar project started!

Ha!  (C’mon. It’s never that easy)  A last-minute proposal (more like a plea) is offered up by Nicky (my ‘little man’).  His suggestion was, instead of painting a chalkboard calendar showing his homework assignments (which he is convinced will make him lose all “cred” with his friends), to create a place where I can write my shopping lists.  For Nick, this is a MUCH better idea than a “homework calendar.”  Selfishly, I did, too.

If you’re wondering why a shopping list was such a great idea, I’ll throw this in so it all makes sense (since I’m neck deep into this story already).  Little man laughs at me every time we go to the grocery store, or anywhere, for that matter.  He calls me the ‘list queen.’  And, maybe he’s right.  I will admit, though, it is more out of necessity than anything.  I am a complete train wreck if I don’t have everything written in front of me.  So, I do (write everything down on paper).

So, with all that said, I scratched the calendar project, for now, and started on plan B.

Chalkboard calendar

Proposal accepted.

On to Plan B.

Plan B

I knew I wanted a vintage country look to go with the style of the kitchen.  I chose an image of a tall lamppost, along with a hanging sign for my list writing.  Black was my color of choice because (1) I wanted to make it look like a silhouette of a lamppost, nothing really fancy, and (2) when using white chalk, the writing stands out on the dark background.

If you are planning on utilizing your wall art as a chalkboard, I suggest sticking with a darker color paint so the white chalk is easily visible.  Or, you can try doing the opposite.  Choose a lighter color chalk paint (let’s say, on darker walls) and use colored chalk for writing and drawing.

Using Chalk Paint to Fill Empty Wall Space

Sketch of lamppost.

Drawing by Bianca

To start, I sketched out the lamppost a few times on paper until I got the look I wanted.  I drew it out to a scale that I could easily transfer to the wall, making sure that I place the writing board (the sign hanging from the lamppost) at a height I could reach comfortably.  Once it looked right on paper, I took my pencil, a level and my steel yard stick and began drawing the image on the wall.

Shamblz Lampost Pencil Outline

Lamppost pencil outline on wall.

Drawing by Bianca

What you will need:

  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Yard Stick (it helps with the long vertical lines and avoids you having to use a tape measure, too)
  • Painters Tape
  • Chalk Paint (your color of choice)
  • Paint Brushes or Small Roller (you will want some smaller brushes for the corner details, depending on your design)
Tools for wall drawing

Tools needed.

Choose your brushes.

Taping

Once you draw your image in pencil on the wall, you begin taping.  Make sure you use a painters masking tape.  They make these tapes to pull off the wall easily.  I usually like to place the tape just outside of the lines.  This way the paint covers the lines and leaves less erasing to do when your done.  Make sure to take your finger and press along the edges of the tape so the paint doesn’t seep under.  There is always some paint that gets under the tape and will require touch ups, but this lessens that happening.  If you have to make any cuts to the tape (in tight corners, for example), an x-acto knife works well.  Be careful not to cut too deep into the wall.

I find the taping is the most time-consuming part of a project like this.  But, I also think it is the most important step to getting the best result.

Chalkboard Lamppost Tape example

Tape example.

Stay just outside the line.

So, you’re taping is done.  You made sure to press all the edges down, and you’re happy with the tape job you’ve done.  Well, then, you’re ready to paint!

Painting the Image

But, before you begin, figure out a where you want to start.  Personally, I like to start at the top left.  I am right-handed, so this allows me to paint (especially the small details) without accidentally rubbing my elbow down a freshly painted surface.

You want to paint at least two coats, Three is better for the parts of the image you plan to use for writing.  Let the paint dry to the touch between coats.  Wait about 10 minutes after painting the last coat before you remove the tape.  You don’t want to wait until the paint is completely dry, or you risk peeling up the existing paint.  Pull the tape off at a 45 – 60 degree angle, rolling the already pulled tape into a ball as you go.  The tape ball is something I do so it doesn’t roll back onto the wall and transfer wet paint onto the newly painted image or wall.  If this does happen, it’s not a big deal.  Just wipe it off with a damp paper towel.

So, you have all the painting done and tape removed.  Don’t freak out if it’s not perfect (never-mind the fact I always do).  It doesn’t need to be flawless.  Everyone who sees it will love it for the mere fact that you did it yourself.

Shamblz Chalkboard Lampost Complete

Chalkboard lamppost.

Painted by Bianca.

Chalkboard Lamppost

Decorated chalkboard.

Done by Bianca.

It’s a Wrap

This really is a simple project.  Apply these steps to any image you want on your wall (like a calendar), not just a lamppost.  Creating something functional for you to use on a daily basis, and that costs a fraction of the price of a purchased item, is pretty genius (if you ask me).  And, since it is your own custom design, you’re guaranteed it will fit your decor and style.  The image, color, theme, and placement—It’s all up to you.  How do you want to fill that empty wall space?  With this project, you are not limited by anything except the size of the wall.  So, be creative!

Have you created functional wall decor? We want you to share it with us.  Post a picture of your latest project. Leave a comment below.