In response to my chalk recommendation, Rachel wrote in asking about making your own chalkboard. Making your own chalkboard is so easy, there really is no reason to go buy one. Here’s a quick tutorial.
The first thing is to find the flat material that will be your board. Some people have sectioned off portions of the wall, others have painted kitchen cupboards or closet doors. Some suggest using metal because then you can use magnets, too.I bought some thin particle board from the local lumber store. I think it came in a large 6 foot by 8 foot sheet that I had them cut in quarters so I had four nice 3X4 foot boards. Using particle board is nice, also, because you can round the corners or create cool anthroposophical edges.
When I got home I covered one of them with primer.
Once that dried I used chalkboard paint and painted the board. A word about what paint to use — I like the texture that comes from using a paintbrush to paint the board. Some people prefer to use a spray on paint to create a smoother texture (I should say that I have never used the spray-on paint, so I’m guessing that the resulting texture is smoother.) I really like for the board to have some tooth to it to hold the chalk dust. If your board is too smooth the chalk doesn’t hold well. This isn’t so bad when it comes to writing, but for drawing you really want to have a toothy board. With Waldorf chalkboard drawings I always end up layering lots of different colors of chalk. On a smooth board the newly applied chalk causes the underneath layer to fall off the board.
Here’s a close-up of the texture of the board (if you can see it in this photo.)
This is the paint I just brushed onto the surface.
When the first coat was dry I painted a second coat and let that dry.
This is what you’ll have then.
Once the board is all painted it needs to be primed. After a few days (the exact instructions are on the paint can) take the board and apply a layer of chalk on the entire board, and then erase it. This will prevent the writing from scarring the board so that it is permanently marked. Once this is done, your board is ready to use.
Here is the board that I screwed into the wall at the entrance to my kitchen. Though my original intent was for phone messages, the kids take turns doing seasonal drawings. The chicken basket on the right holds the chalk, so it’s always at the ready.
You’ll notice that one drawback to having the chalkboard on the wall like this is that the wall around the board can get pretty grungy. We just clean it now and then and it doesn’t bother us too much.
Before I wrote this I did a bit of googling and found some pretty good sites on the subject. Check these out for some clever ideas.