You wouldn’t be blamed for using the terms “chalk paint” and “chalkboard paint” interchangeably – many of us have. But there are distinct differences between them, and any DIY lover thinking to attempt either needs to be able to distinguish just what they’re getting themselves into before they place their orders. Chalk paint, patented by Annie Sloane over two decades ago (though other brands have come up with similar products), has blown up on Pinterest and Tumblr not just for how easy it is to use – you don’t have to bother with sanding or prime-work with this paint – but also for how delightfully vintage and distressed they leave our tables, chairs and chest of drawers looking. Chalkboard paint, on the other hand, is pretty similar to whiteboard paint, in that painting a layer or two of this over any flat surface, be it a piece of furniture, your walls or jars of glass, turns that surface into an erasable chalkboard. Transforming surfaces around our homes or workspaces into chalkboards we can draw and write on instantly becomes a home décor enthusiast’s kryptonite, considering how chalkboards have taken the turn from functional classroom tool to aesthetic style choice – add to that the fact that we can turn any old mirror or the glass of a picture frame into a chalkboard? We’re sold. Here are our top picks for the best chalkboard paint for your DIY glass project needs.
FolkArt 2517 8-Ounce Chalkboard Paint
There are plenty of pluses to this non-toxic, water-based chalkboard paint, but one of the features landing it straight at the top is its versatility of color choices. Available not just in the standard chalkboard black but also pink, gray, blue and purple, these paints are brilliant not just for brushing over the side of a wardrobe, a stretch of wall or an old cupboard door, but for working just as well on glass. From re-purposing old hang-up mirrors into ornate chalkboard door plates or painting a couple of mason jars so you can chalk on the labels or simply use them to decorate, these paints are incredibly easy to use – simply brush on to your surface of choice (two layers are usually recommended), letting it dry and cure. Before using your newly created chalkboard surface, rub it all over with a side of chalk and erase – this works to prime the surface, making sure future chalk marks slide on and wipe right off when you erase them.
KEN’S BUDGET PICK
Rust-Oleum 1913830 Chalkboard Spray
If you’d rather not go into the hassle of paintbrushes and rollers, or are skeptical about long term commitment and effort with chalkboard paint, this chalkboard paint spray is the perfect alternative. You can transform any surface – including glass and mirrors – with this black, 11 ounce spray paint, with a recommended two coats to give you a reusable chalkboard surface wherever you please. The paint dries to the touch within twenty minutes, though for best results it’s recommended you wait a day before actually going at it with a piece of chalk, priming it by rubbing the chalk’s side all over the painted area and erasing so it’s ready for use as a chalkboard.
A single can of this oil-based formulation can cover about 7 square feet. The enamel finish of the formula dries to a smooth, hard surface you can re-use by wiping down with soap water, which won’t scratch up or dull over use. As with all spray paints, we recommend you use it outdoors and with a painting mask on, or, if using indoors, that you have a heavy-duty respirator mask on to keep from inhaling any of it – you don’t want your lungs to resemble black chalk, after all.
Rust-Oleum NCF Chalkboard Paint
Available in both classic black and green, this is the paint version of our Budget Pick, giving you more paint to cover more ground. Usable not just on glass but drywall, concrete and unglazed ceramics, a quart sized tub of this latex-based paint can be used with paint brush or spray – though with paint brushes take care to use ones of high quality, to avoid leaving brush-strokes and streaks. The paint, with a recommended two to three coats, needs to cure for about three days, after which priming it with a side of chalk lets you use it as a hardy, easily erasable surface doubling as a perfectly functional chalkboard. Whether against glass windows – think a themed storefront or a decorative mirror in your home or a quirky café – or on walls, the chalkboard surface can be cleaned of chalk markings using an eraser or soap and water. If you do intend to use this paint on walls, though, remember to sand the surface down and prime it before applying the paint, and avoid using it on uneven surfaces.
Krylon K05223000 Chalkboard Paint
An acrylic based paint, this option is a bit too thick to be used with a paint sprayer but works perfectly well with a good quality paint brush or a foam paint roller. A single tub is 29 liquid ounces worth of black chalkboard paint promising to last you many uses and a long time, be it to convert old photoframes into mini chalkboards or your glass-fronted kitchen cupboards into multipurpose noticeboards and daily reminders for your grocery runs. The paint dries to the touch in an hour, curing well enough to prime and use within a day, rendering a long-lasting, non-chipping finish with a smooth, hard slate workboard sans the streaks, up to two or more coats recommended for an even, durable outcome.