Make your own {smooth} chalkboard paint {successfully}

make chalkboard paint I went to a tag sale recently at a nearby church. And lo and behold, I found a bunch of unfinished wooden plaques for 25¢ each. 25 CENTS!!! Unheard of, right? I know. Don’t hate me.

I got really excited to make all kinds of pretty signs with them but didn’t want to make permanent ones. What if I change my mind and want different words on them later? Then, I got to think…write in CHALK! I’ve seen chalkboard paint ideas everywhere on the web but didn’t want to paint a whole wall or a door with it so I never pursued the idea before. But what a great idea to paint these plaques with chalkboard paint to make them reusable and rewritable! I was game!

chalkboard paint

Call me naive but I learned that there is a difference between “chalk paint” and “chalkboard paint” during my research. Then, there is “magnetic paint” that can convert any surface magnetic, which is a whole another post in itself! Oh, the endless possibilities I found on the web when I was searching to find a recipe for chalkboard paint. Why didn’t I just buy them from Home Depot? Well, what fun would that be when I can concoct make my own?

Besides, these commercial paints are expensive and toxic. It would be counterproductive. So I wanted to make my own, using up paint that I already have. But even if I wanted to buy new paint to mix my own chalkboard paint, I’d buy less toxic, VOC latex paint, which is a lot safer than the already made ones.

Oh, and, just like when I made chalk, there is a bit of learning curve to making homemade chalkboard paint. All the tutorials I found said, “Oh, don’t worry about lumps. They really resolve when you start painting.

Yeah, right. Uh, huh.

Thank goodness I didn’t try to paint a whole wall or a refrigeratorYES, a refrigerator! Crazy, isn’t it? – with chalkboard paint because I would have been in deep doo doo because the first batch didn’t come out so well. *Groan*

So, without further ado, let’s make {smooth} chalkboard paint!

Make your own {smooth} chalkboard paint {successfully}


  • 1/2 C Latex Paint – NOT Acrylic but LATEX paint – the type you paint your interior walls with and NOT your average crafting or canvas art paints. Latex is water based AND it goes on a lot smoother and more fluid than acrylic. I tried both and latex is what you need. Trust me.
  • 1 Tbsp of NON-SANDED Grout – buy the finest and freshest bag of Non-Sanded grout. Old ones will have clumps that you can’t get rid of, despite what you read on the web. Trust me on this.
  • Gloves
  • Mask
  • Fine Sand Paper
  • Chalk


NOTE: Just like when I made chalk, I made this in my garage, with the door opened, wearing mask and gloves. I had concerns about breathing in fine grout particles and the fumes from the old paint, so I wanted to make sure the area was well ventilated. Make sure to mix the ingredients in a well ventilated room, away from food. And please, do not use your measuring cups for cooking for this. Just washing them afterwards won’t do. Buy a set of measuring cups for crafting and call it a day. Don’t reuse them for cooking. Also, don’t mix this in your kitchen or on your dining table. I saw pictures of people doing this in their kitchen on the web and I cringed when I saw that.

OK, now that’s out of the way, let’s mix the ingredients.

 First, I used this old leftover grout I had in my garage that my hubby used years ago, during one of his home remodeling, Bob Villa, days.

chalkboard paint group

You see the little clumps of grout? I read online that little bits of clumps were normal and that they will dissolve, magically, once you start mixing and painting. So I painted it since so many tutorials said is was ok. What a mistake.

chalkboard paint lumps

 The clumps didn’t dissolve. And it left streaks, lumps, and uneven surface. And when I tried to sand it down, as instructed, it tore holes on the surface. Big fail. BIG. Epic Fail.

chalkboard paint streaks

So I started over…with a different grout that was hiding in one of the cabinets in the garage. (Why did he buy so many types of grout? I’ll ask my hubby. Maybe not. I’m guessing, he had clumps in the first box and had to buy a new bag. :( )

I didn’t read this package to compare to the other one but when I felt the grout between my fingers, it had no lumps. So I assumed it was finer and is made with a different compound that didn’t create lumps. I mixed the grout with big hopes for lump-free gravy paint. And that’s exactly the consistency of the paint – thick gravy, but without lumps!

dry tile grout

And it was a success. I didn’t take a picture of the mixture because I couldn’t wait to paint it on. Look at the beautiful smooth surface now! It was so smooth that I didn’t need to use the chalk to smooth it out as it was suggested! I just added stick-on decals from my crafting drawer to add some color and images. One trick I could have tried was to put the grout through a fine mesh but I didn’t have any. If you have one, try putting the grout through a fine mesh to get all the clumps out before mixing into the paint.

chalkboard paint finished

See the difference between the rough one and the smooth one? You can click on the image to enlarge. Now you can write on it with chalk that we made the other day, and erase with damp cloth.

chalkboard welcome

Ta dah! How cool would it be to use this sign at a Tag Sale? Ironic, eh?

chalkboard paint for sale sign

If you want to paint glass with chalkboard paint, make sure the surface is frosted, like this old one that shows the black soot inside, or you’ll have to spray it with frosted glass spray (which I don’t know how toxic it is.) before painting it. This one is painted with the first batch of lumpy paint.

chalkboard paint glass

Look at this ambitious project of turning a door panel into a magnetic chalkboard that my friend Myra of Herban Luxe made in her kitchen. She bought a used Rustoleum magnetic primer from her local Habitat for Humanity center at a fraction of the price! Now that’s what I call “recycling”! Now she can put magnets on the board as well as write with chalk! Her daughters seem to be having fun with it, don’t they?

myra's chalkboards


It doesn’t matter how and where you use it. Chalkboard paint is fun to use to convert any old thing into a functional art. One of the readers was happy to learn how to make chalk to give away as gift with her sold items. I thought that was clever! And inexpensive!

Can you see selling these plaques and a set of homemade chalk in your shop? Hmmmm… there is a business idea!

I'd love FREE updates in my inbox!