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DIY: Chalkboard Paint – Epic Failure Turned Sweet Success!

I have had a MAJOR crush on Chalk Paint ever since my friend Jen introduced me to it through her fabulous local store, Beckoning’s Upcycled. I bought my first piece of chalk painted furniture from her in the fall (see it in the corner of our living room)…and began experimenting with chalk paint soon after. While Jennifer uses Annie Sloan paints to create her beautiful upcycled pieces, I decided to try making my own chalk paint using a recipe I found on Pinterest. I have had some great successes (a sideboard turned TV cabinet, our laundry room doors) and one BIG MASSIVE FAIL! That is where today’s little story begins.

Remember our reorganized pantry? With those pretty little labels?

pantry collage after

Well, once the inside of the pantry was lookin’ so hot the backs of the old melamine doors were lookin’ beyond sad:

pantry door before

They were beat up and tired and in serious need of some love. I decided to give them a little makeover that would be both fab and functional: chalkboard paint. From previous research I knew that the recipe for ‘chalk paint’ is the same as that for ‘chalkboard paint’, so I decided to make my own. My friend Melissa (a master of colour selection) at our local Benjy Moore store helped me select a fabulous charcoal colour in a tester size, and I got to work chefin’ up some chalkboard paint:

chalkboard paint recipe

Once my paint was ‘made’ I got to work painting two coats with foam brushes. It went really quickly as the paint is very liquidy and glides on smoothly. It also dries super quickly as well. I did a light sand between coats of paint.

chalk painting steps

Now enter my EPIC FAIL:

paint scratches off


I had heard that with chalk paint you don’t need to sand or prime. That is true for most projects. That, apparently, does NOT apply to painting on MELAMINE! I discovered this as soon as I tried to write on my new ‘chalkboard’ . The chalk scratched that chalkboard paint right off the door! Oh No! Oh-me-oh-my….


scraping off chalk paint

So, back to the drawing board… or at least the scraping board. I scraped off all the chalkboard paint (with a little help from my chief assistant – don’t mind the good ol’ Canadian hockey hair…).

I then sanded the melamine cabinets with 60 grit sandpaper and primed with a super adherent primer designed for melamine.


Once this painful process was finished, I was ready to go ahead and do it PROPERLY. Take Two: Homemade Chalkboard Paint… same process as above. And this time…. SUCCESS!

DIY Chalkboard Paint Pantry Doors 2They are perfect for writing our weekly dinner menu on and keeping a quick list of groceries I need to remember to pick up. I keep a little piece of chalk in a small bowl inside the pantry so I am ready to  make notes at a moments notice. Fab and functional!

And now for a little before and after of the whole pantry project:

pantry overall before 2

pantry chalkboard doors after

Have you tried making your own chalk paint or painting a chalkboard anywhere in your house? I’d love to hear about other people’s experiences with this!

And remember, my housie friends, HOME wasn’t built in a day. Enjoy the journey!







Linked up at:

Thrifty Décor Chick Before and After 

IHeart Organizing Kitchen Month Link Party

Tatertots and Jello Weekend Wrap Up Party

Happy Hour Friday Linky Party




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  1. I know this is years later …
    but does anyone here understand that CHALK paint is TOTALLY DIFFERENT from CHALKBOARD paint???????

  2. what do you use on kitchen cabinets that would ‘seal’ the chalk paint? Seems it would be necessary for the hard use of kitchen. ???

    1. Hello,
      The chalkboard paint was only inside the cabinets, not on the outside doors so it didn’t get much wear and tear. I think people generally seal chalk paint with wax or sometimes a special clear coat finish.

    1. Hi Laura! I got them at my local dollar store (a Dollarama) – I think they were about $3 each and came in a few different colors. Good luck with finding some!

  3. I’m also a chalk paint addict. I can’t even help myself. Everything I paint ends up being chalk paint even thought I tell myself I need to cut back. lol At any rate, I read that using Plaster of Paris was for chalk paint and that unsanded grout was for chalkBOARD paint. I always wondered why Plaster of Paris couldn’t be used instead for chalkboard paint. I am so glad to see that someone had success…because the unsanded grout is horrible! I could not get it smooth to save my life! Plaster of Paris becomes smooth without any lumps really quickly…and without wrist pain! I stirred that unsanded grout in my paint like a mad-woman and still had tiny “pieces” all over my table! Sure wish I had just followed my instincts and did it with POP like you did…argh! I love what you did, btw 😉

    1. So funny you wrote this just as I tried (for the first time) the unsanded grout recipe. Though I found that method made the paint much thicker, I am hopeful that it will ‘erase’ better then the plaster of paris method- I found it wasn’t the best as far as chalkboard durability. An experiment, I guess (trying the grout instead). I always found my POP wouldn’t go smooth either and have often used a Magic Bullet to blend it!!

    1. Hi Jordan! I make up a batch and then store it in a plastic container that seals really well- it lasts a long time (mine seems to last for several months). I just give it a good stir before using it again. Good luck with your project!

  4. I am planning to do this on the outside of my cupboard door, was unsure about the melamine and did read that blackboard paint covers any surface, glad I found this! I will prime first, thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Corrie,
      Glad to help… I would never want anyone else to have to peel and scrape off their chalk paint because of not priming (like I did…).

      1. I can imagine that must have been a nightmare! Worth it in the end though, it looks fantastic!

      2. Yes Corrie, it kind of was….at least in only took about 45 minutes to scrape both doors so I was able to survive it and not give up:) I am pretty pleased with the end result, hope your project turns out as planned!

    1. Hi Rita,
      I went to the hardware store and asked them for a primer that would adhere to melamine… can’t remember the brand but there are a few available. Ask at your local paint/hardware store and they should hook ya up!

  5. The pantry looks great! This is also my favorite type of pantry, with slide-out drawers. I think it’s so much more practical than just shelves with no pull-outs.

    I love chalkboard, too. And the red and white pattern gives the cupboard a great pop.

  6. You totally inspired me to re-organize..
    While home with Mr. Sickie, I re-did our his & hers closets, and even made a display board for my hairbands and hair clips!

    Next, I’m going to tackle this danged pantry… but I want to stock up on some pretty labels first.

  7. Love it krista!!! I wish our doors weren.t “new” so that i could do that! No more scraps of paper on the counter with the grocery list…..

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