Don’t Use Chalkboard and Magnetic Paint Until You Read This!

Most of us have seen those painted chalkboard and magnetic walls and thought, “maybe I should do that!”  Well, here’s the lowdown on what works, what doesn’t, and how to get the effect you really want.

get this peel and stick chalkboard here

 

The claim:  chalkboard paint can easily create a message board or art display in practically any room.  The truth:  it really can, but you don’t need to use a specific chalkboard paint that may come in a limited palette of colors.

source

 

Here’s the secret formula:  for each cup of regular paint in any color, add in 2 tablespoons of unsanded tile grout and stir to break up clumps.  Apply paint with a roller or sponge paintbrush, and use multiple coats for even coverage.  After it dries, sand lightly with 150 grit sandpaper and wipe off dust.  Rub the side of a piece of chalk over the entire thing, then wipe away chalk with a barely damp sponge.

Pottery Barn

The claim:  magnetic paint can transform a wall into a spot to display anything you want to display with magnets.  The truth:  it just doesn’t work well.  A couple of years ago, one of my design clients wanted to create a magnetic area for her daughter to display her art and school work.  After 3+ coats of magnetic paint, the area still was not magnetic enough to hold most magnets, much less a magnet holding a piece of paper!

source

 

Have you seen those tiny super-strong magnets?  They work pretty well, but those are kind of scary for kids to use (easily swallowed).  Don’t know if you saw the Grey’s Anatomy episode about the kid who ingested a handful of magnets, but it was NOT pretty.  Anywho, my client ended up being able to use those very light word magnets found in those magnetic poetry kits – her daughter creates sentences and poems on the wall, but is unable to hang anything on it.

source

 

Here’s how they arranged the magnetic words in the form of a Christmas tree last year:

Photo by The Decorologist

So, forget the magnetic paint.  If you want a magnetic space that actually works – go to the hardware store and purchase a large sheet of galvanized steel (make sure it’s magnetic before you buy it).   You can even use a metal backsplash for a stove (just don’t get a stainless steel one).  Then you can paint it any color you like – painting won’t impact the magnetism.  Attach a hanger on the back and mount it on your wall.

source

 

So now you know the good, the bad, and the truth about chalkboard and magnetic paint.  If you’ve had experience using either, please share! If you want to become an expert in all things paint colors, find out more about our ONLINE paint color certification course here!

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Sherry
Sherry
9 years ago

Great post, Kristie! I did not know this about chalkboard & magnetic paints!

David B. Lytle
8 years ago
Reply to  Sherry

Why is it people seem to be so enamored with putting a chalkboard in their homes? Understand that the way chalk makes a mark on a chalkboard is that it is rubbed across the surface that is rough. This roughness bites into the chalk and grinds it away, thus leaving a line or mark on the chalkboard. The line or mark on the chalkboard is made up of millions of tiny microscopic bits of the chalk. These bits then fall off the chalkboard and end up on the floor or the smallest particles fly through the house landing on every possible horizontal surface. Forget chalkboards. Put up a write and wipe surface for the kids. They can write with the special write and wipe markers in all the colors of the rainbow. The markers are non-toxic. I have a web site where we make and sell all sorts of magnetic mounting and display products for the home. We make magnetic paint additive that you can easily use to make a beautiful and functional magnetic wall. We also have write and wipe boards that will stick to your wall, either magnetically or by self adhesive. The address if the site is http://www.lyt.com.

karin
karin
8 years ago
Reply to  David B. Lytle

Note that wipe-off markers make a mess of children's clothing, furniture, and rugs when the markers get dropped, or the kids aren't paying attention to the business end of the marker.  They have made permanent marks on some cute clothes and a carpet.  They might be good for older kids, but not good for toddlers, etc!

Kristen
Kristen
7 years ago
Reply to  karin

Dry erase CRAYONS are where its at!!!

Danielle Meehan
Danielle Meehan
1 year ago
Reply to  Kristen

never heard of dry erase crayons…I’m googling now

Elaine
Elaine
6 years ago
Reply to  karin

Markers are not in our home until my 5 year old can put the caps back on–I’m DONE trying to re-cap the markers, dry-erase or otherwise and tired of throwing dried out markers away! Chalk is a mess, too and the chalkboard never looks as good as new. I’m leaving the artsy stuff to the playroom, not my kitchen, thank you.

Megan
Megan
4 years ago
Reply to  Elaine

Wait guys! Don’t throw out your dried out markers!!!

Put your them in a jar with water and let them sit awhile. Homemade watercolors. My favorite watercolors were from my kids’ dried out markers. Highlighters are GREAT to use. It’s also a great opportunity to introduce color theory by using different colors to make “new” colors.

Samantha Bruce
Samantha Bruce
3 years ago
Reply to  Elaine

You sound like a really fun parent…

Let kids make a mess and enjoy their childhood. ‘Cute’ clothes and your carpet shouldn’t be thought of as more important than your own child’s chance to learn, grow, explore and enjoythis world, form
Being so consumed by cleanliness

Stinky
Stinky
1 year ago
Reply to  Samantha Bruce

I mean, I agree, but there’s a balance. Ruining a carpet is a good lesson for a kid, hence the invention of carpet tiles – but if my kid needs to learn the lesson more than once, then I’ll buy a new kid.

sam
sam
2 years ago
Reply to  Elaine

My 2 year old learned how to replace the caps before she was even 2. it’s all about teaching. Try teaching your child instead of taking the fun/learning experience away.

Paityn Masters
2 months ago
Reply to  sam

I bet you had a lot of pressure growing up, huh? Stress is one of the factors for early development of fine motor skills. Don’t get me wrong… stress within the window of tolerance is essential for development. Yet, with every skill that is finely tuned… there is a neuronal pruning away of other possibilities. If a child correlates putting caps on markers with pleasing their parents… and pleasing their parents as a condition for receiving love… that would be a skill a child would develop very quickly. Then the child grows up… pleasing everyone else, becoming attuned to everyone else’s needs and desire, rather than living from her own true feelings and her own deepest dreams and desires. Do you have enough love for yourself in order to risk the failure that comes with living creatively?

Paityn Masters
2 months ago
Reply to  sam

I also wanted to add… I hardly ever leave a comment, and I’m usually pretty good at minding my own business. My feeling and my reaction tells me that there is something deeper within my own Self that I need to look at. I may not be objective… I just wanted to be honest about what I realized.

Michelle
Michelle
6 years ago
Reply to  karin

Smaller children leave the caps off of markers also, and they dry out.

Jenny
Jenny
6 years ago
Reply to  karin

Yes, good point Karin! I’m all for the chalkboard and chalk. I mean so what if it creates some dust. Buy some pledge and vacuum once a week. If chalk falls onto the carpet it doesn’t stain. I can recall always wanting to be the one called on in class as a young grade schooler to get to write on the chalkboard. I loved it. I think kids hVefun with it. I’m doing a project right now with the headboard of a crib and I’m making the solid panel on it the chalkboard and painting the rest with a little school chair to match for my granddaughters Bday. I can’t wait to see it all finished.

Pualani
Pualani
6 years ago
Reply to  karin

Completely agree. Chalk…no mess..dusting is so much easier than soaking clothes, shampooing carpets, shampooing couches. Cleaning other walls that the kids deside to draw on…

Teresa
Teresa
3 years ago
Reply to  karin

Not to mention the toxic smell of dry erase markers gives me a headache before my first word is written. Chalk is much cooler, in my opinion.

Laura
Laura
7 years ago
Reply to  David B. Lytle

Sounds like David has a vested interest.  Boo.

Amanda
Amanda
7 years ago
Reply to  David B. Lytle

I have a 3 and 6 yr old and theres NO way I’d give them markers for their room. Chalkboard dust I can handle.

Kelsey
Kelsey
6 years ago
Reply to  Amanda

I don’t know if you have done anything with the chalkboard or not, if so, or if you still wanted to… I went through Amazon and found DUSTLESS chalk. It is amazing. We have a 2 yr old and 4 yr old, they LOVE their wall. And dust is very hard to find unless they scrub the chalk on the wall.
Just thought I would share what I found

Carmen
Carmen
5 years ago
Reply to  David B. Lytle

What is the footprint ratio for markers and chalk. How much waste are you throwing out?

elisa
elisa
4 years ago
Reply to  David B. Lytle

Plus chalk is biodegradable and that is a nice feature – without having to toss markers.

Liza
Liza
3 years ago
Reply to  David B. Lytle

Sydney, did you just use the word “jew” as a derogatory comment? Seriously? I feel like I went back in time to 1935.

jewlie
jewlie
1 year ago
Reply to  Liza

juw

Srsly?
Srsly?
3 years ago
Reply to  David B. Lytle

I can’t believe this comment is still here…

Lea
Lea
1 year ago
Reply to  David B. Lytle

It has been studied and children learn how to write better on a surface with resistance. A markerboard does not provide that. So thats one reason. I have had a chalkboard in my basement for two years now. I got it for free – so thats another reason. Painters tape comes on and off it without damage, very useful for a preschool teacher; reason three. Chalk and water are cheaper than markers and a special cleaner, and water is safer for the kids. We have used chalk bombs, chalk sponged, chalk spray; all made by the children with Dollar Store items. As far as residue, children create residue. I vacuum up after them and I run it under the chalkboard. Never had a surplus of chalk dust all over everything. Those are somethings for you to consider instead of taking an indignant stance against people who like chalkboards. I could not do a quarter of the things I do with a markerboard and their fine motor coordination would suffer.

Mkovak
Mkovak
7 years ago
Reply to  Sherry

Use the new chalk pens and you won’t have that problem. They are at hobby lobby.

brenna
brenna
6 years ago
Reply to  Sherry

Hi, would the chalkboard paint work with acrylic? I need to paint a pane of glass, and want it to stick.
Thanks! (Great Post!!)
Brenna

Lauretta
Lauretta
6 years ago
Reply to  Sherry

Can anyone tell me if there is a magnetic paint that could be used as a white board as well with dry erase markers? I’m looking to prepare a wall that we could post things to with magnets or with writing, but we also need the space to remain white so that we can use it as a projector screen. Our space is limited it must serve many purposes. Any suggestions would be most helpful!

David B. Lytle
5 years ago
Reply to  Lauretta

I make and sell Magically Magnetic Paint additive. You mix this dry powder with white primer paint and paint at least two coats on any wall, three or four coats for greatest strength, and magnets will stick to the wall like it was made of steel. Finish with a coat of your regular color finish paint with no additive and you are done. We also make and sell a material that is white, write and wipe on the front and sheet magnet on the back. It will stick beautifully to the magnetic paint on the wall. You can use markers on this Write and Wipe Magna-Mount material as well as use it for a projector screen. When not in use, simply remove it from the wall, roll it up and store it in a mailing tube. You can find all our products at http://www.lyt.com. I have been in business since 1989 and invented the first magnetic photo frames, which also stick beautifully to my magnetic paint on walls.

Ashley B.
Ashley B.
4 years ago
Reply to  David B. Lytle

Here’s a question for you david…can I double the additive for say my first coat? Or here’s another idea…adding your powder additive to the magnetic paint they sell at the store to make it stronger for one or two coats and then put regular strength coats on top-just to cut down on how many coats I have to do. 2 extra magnetic coats sounds better to me than 4-5 less magnetic coats.
I’m trying to make a magnetic (strong) chalk board backsplash for my kitchen.

MEZ
MEZ
3 years ago
Reply to  David B. Lytle

David

Can you please respond to Ashley B comment as I am interested in the response

slivings
slivings
6 months ago
Reply to  Lauretta

Buy a magnetic whiteboard

Eliza
Eliza
2 years ago
Reply to  Sherry

Instead of paints we used self-adhesive films recently, we have 2 in 1, magnetic wall that you can write on and we were even able to print on them. Looks cool.

Kelly
9 years ago

I did not know that about the chalkboard paint. Good to know for future projects!

Chantal
Chantal
7 years ago

I just recently made my own chalkboard paint in orange and purple… it worked amazingly. I can claim that this recipe is tried, tested, and true!

Jamie
Jamie
9 years ago

Love, love, LOVE THIS! I’m obsessed with chalkboard paint. I repainted a chalk board for our house, plus I’ve made chalkboards for a certain niece and nephew. I’ve always used the spray paint, which isn’t bad, but it isn’t great. Plus, you can’t get it in all those fun colors – ha! I’m pretty excited to know how to make my own now. And good stuff about the magnetic paint. I’ve thought about doing the same thing (for the purposes of magnetic poetry) on kitchen cabinets or some other fun place and now I’ve got the scoop. This might be my favorite post so for!

Cammie
Cammie
9 years ago

When you make your own chalkboard paint, do you use oil based or water based? Latex or no? Thank you!!

Denise
Denise
7 years ago

Can’wait to try the chalkboard formula…I have alot of black latex paint , but it may be a satin finish, is that o,k, or does it have to be flat paint

Ashley B.
Ashley B.
4 years ago
Reply to  Denise

I would say matte/flat….no sheen at all if you can help it.

Sarah
Sarah
9 years ago

Do you need to let the chalkboard paint dry for 3 days like the commercial stuff? something to do with the grout being added? I’m about to refinish the front of our fridge which is old and rusty (real fixer upper we moved into) and chalkboard would be perfect, would like to find the cheapest option. what about primer, any old will do?

Julie
Julie
9 years ago

I am currently on coat 12 or 13 of my magnetic paint project…I can get the magnet to actually stay on the board now. Just wondering how many coats it would take to get a strong magnetism in the paint. I am thinking 20 -24 coats! Anybody tried it??

David B. Lytle
8 years ago
Reply to  Julie

It should only take two coats to get magnets to stick. Spray magnetic paint may take more. The most important thing is to stir the magnetic paint very throughly when you start to get the magnetic particles in the paint held in suspension in the paint and then stir it again every time you add more magnetic paint to your paint tray. The magnetic particles are heavier than the paint and will settle to the bottom. When you get a premixed magnetic paint, these heavy particles are all on the bottom of the can in a thick sludge. Even the store mechanical mixer can’t giggle them loose. You need to mix it by hand. My Magically Magnetic paint additive is a dry powder that mixes instantly with any white primer paint and stays white. It only takes five seconds to stir it up and you are ready to paint. Some people prefer three coats and even four coats of magnetic paint, but it your are needing more than four, you are either doing something wrong or asking magnetic paint to do what only solid steel can do. Learn more about magnetic paint and what you can do with it on my web site at http://www.lyt.com .

Chris
7 years ago
Reply to  Julie

We did magnetic paint for our daughter’s room in our last house. I think the key to getting a good bite out of the magnets is to be constantly stirring up the paint. The magnetism comes from metal filings in teh paint, and they really want to settle out. By having a helper constantly stir the paint, and only applying as much as you can before settlement, you may get better results. I got a good hold out of 2 coats of paint, but not a fantastic one.

Dominique
Dominique
9 years ago

Silly me – I Googled “painting a magnetic chalkboard” after I went through the trouble of 4 coats of magnetic paint (still barely holds a magnet) and a coat of chalkboard paint. I’m looking for some clever trim ideas to finish up the project. But really, the work, the mess, the cost, it has occurred to me that I should have just found a source for a good, strong magnetic board. Next time. You’ve got a lovely site. First time I came across it, but I’ll be back. Cheers.

Tabitha
Tabitha
6 years ago
Reply to  Dominique

Dominique.. I am doing that VERY same thing right now… So bummed!! I can not stand wasting my time on ANYTHING that doesn’t work! Because I/we have to fix it to boot!

Jessi
Jessi
9 years ago

I literally just wrote on my things to do: return metal primer and purchase magnetic primer for chalkboard. I’m putting one in my daughter’s room. After reading your site, I had to rewrite me to do list, which included going to the recyling plant to see if I could get a chunk of steel. Thank you so much for posting what you did – I can get super frustrated, and I know I would have flipped out for sure at putting on more than 3 coats! Thanks so much : ).

David B. Lytle
9 years ago

I came across your site and read with interest your “truth about magnetic paint”. Much of what you say is correct, but there is a lot more to know about magnetic paint than paint it on your wall and magnets will stick. First there are different brands of magnetic paint. Some are pre-mixed with primer paint and are difficult to stir up. They go on black or a very dark gray color. I invented a dry magnetic paint additive that mixes with white primer. It mixes up easily in seconds and is fresh every time you use it. It goes on white and stays white on your wall. Because it stays white, it covers easily with one coat of any color finish paint. Two coats of any magnetic paint is required to get any magnets to stick. Many people prefer three or even four coats for maximum magnetic attraction.

Not all magnets will stick well to magnetic paint on a wall. Cheap magnets and heavy magnets may actually fall right off. I had some plastic letters once that were made in china. They had small plastic magnets in the center of each letter. They were so weak that they would not even stick to the steel door on my fridge. They didn’t have a chance of sticking to magnetic paint. Magnetic paint only attracts magnets because it has millions of microscopic metal particles in the paint. It is these particles that attract magnets, not the paint. The paint only holds the particles on the wall. The more coats of the magnetic paint you get on the wall, the stronger the magnetic attraction of the wall. That is, unless you didn’t get the magnetic p[aint mixed up well enough. In the pre-mixed brand, the metal particles are heavier than the paint and settle to the bottom of the can and sit there for months on the store shelf. When you have the paint store man mix it on his mechanical mixer, it won’t mix. The metal particles just stick to the bottom of the can in a thick packed mud. You need to scrape it off the can bottom with a screw driver and beat it into submission with a paint stick. My Magically Magnetic Paint Additive mixes up instantly and easily in seconds every time.

If you want a strong magnetic area to stick the magnets on you fridge door, the ones you have collected over the years on trips and in cereal boxes, get the steel panel like the article says and adhere it to your wall. Nothing attracts magnets like solid steel. But if you want to have a beautiful magnetic all to display photos, the kid’s art or a million other things magnetically, magnetic paint will do the trick beautifully. You just need to know what you can and can’t expect from the materials. Magnetic paint is made to attract sheet magnets and rare earth magnets. Sheet magnets are the kind of magnets used to make magnetic business cards and magnetic signs for car doors. They stick well because the also have millions of tiny metal particles in them that have been magnetized. Their strength is weak compared to a strong rare earth magnet but they are much larger and very light so they stick well to magnetic paint. Sheet magnet is what is used for the magnetic poetry in the article. Sheet magnet comes in 15 mil, 20 mil, 30 mil and 60 mil thick. The thicker the magnet, the stronger the attraction.

In summary, mix the magnetic paint well before you paint. Before every coat, mix it up again to keep the metallic particles in suspension in the paint. Particles left in the paint can or the paint tray don’t do your wall any good. Use a 1/4 inch foam paint roller to apply the magnetic paint. A regular fiber roller can allow the particles to get trapped in the spaces between the fibers. Again, what gets caught in the roller doesn’t end up on the wall. A foam roller is closed cell meaning there is nowhere for particles to get caught. It will also allow you to get the smoothest magnetic wall. All magnetic paint will have a slight texture since the particles don’t dissolve in the paint. When the paint dries, the particles will show as a light texture. Tape around the area you want to be magnetic and paint the magnetic paint inside this taped off area. That will produce a nice clean straight edge around the magnetic area. Finish with a coat of your choice of any color finish paint on the entire wall. This will make a nice looking finished job and the light texture of the magnetic material will be less obvious. The finish coat of paint also helps to protect the magnetic particles. If you want to make a magnetic chalkboard wall, don’t use a mixture of magnetic paint and chalkboard paint. Paint the magnetic paint first and when its dry, sand it lightly with 000 sandpaper to get rid of any high tips of excess texture. You aren’t trying to make the wall completely smooth. Then paint the chalkboard paint as your finish coat.

Visit my web site for more information on using magnetic paint and all kinds of magnetic picture frames and magnets to use on your wall. Magnetic paint is a wonderful product and works very well if you know how to use it. I hope I have added to your knowledge on the subject. Check out my site and if you have particular questions you are invited to call and speak to me. Look at our testimonials pages and see how my customers have successfully used my Magically Magnetic Paint on their walls. http://www.lyt.com

Joane
Joane
8 years ago
Reply to  David B. Lytle

From a lawyers perspective I think it is very important to know that anyone who buys the additive from Lytle and mixes the paint themselves is violating patent law. I would advise that anyone recommending this technique further on blogs do their homework and understand the implications. David Lytle should know this as well, he is playing with fire here.

Phil
Phil
8 years ago
Reply to  Joane

I do not understand how this would involve making the people who mix the paint themselves guilty of violating patent law. Patent law generally doesn’t apply to an individual making something of this nature for themselves, but more by making a profit selling something. While it is possible that Lytle may be violating patent law, I have doubts that the selling of a dry mixture of metal filings (and whatever else may be in there, if anything) for addition to paint is covered by a patent since the mixture ratios would be what is patentable. It is not like metal filings are a unique product that the big companies are making and he has copied. As well, what type of patent (there are more than one) is held by the companies (plural) who make magnetic paint. If multiple companies are selling magnetic paint, the patent cannot be that broad ranging.

I also don’t see what is different from buying his additive than you telling people to buy an additive (unsanded grout)and putting it in regular paint to create a chalkboard. While I think Lytle did a TERRIBLE job of selling his product, and the product isn’t worth the money he wants (Metal filings don’t cost that much, the markup must be huge on this), I do not think that people who buy the product and put it in paint themselves are violating patent law. And definitely not any more of a violation than following your advice.

I do like the website, have visited it before, but this is a weird comment for you.

Mikel
Mikel
8 years ago
Reply to  Phil

Agreed! This is not violation of patent law unless you intend to sell. Also we had done this sort of thing long before it had became a patent.

Great post though op.

Sean
Sean
8 years ago
Reply to  Joane

Almost anything that’s legal to own is legal to construct for personal use. There are a few devices that are illegal to tamper with or modify but purely for safety, security, or substance control reasons. Unless you live in North Korea don’t be so willing to get nannied by the State.

Josie
Josie
8 years ago
Reply to  Sean

I just wanted to say how I love the above comment by Sean “Unless you live in North Korea don’t be so willing to get nannied by the State”. It is too funny but very true making it more funny. So many people live in fear of the government through media and lack of knowledge about our laws and the constitution. Anyway just wanted to say that and I love this blog.

Daniel
Daniel
8 years ago
Reply to  Joane

First, I work in patent law and I can guarantee you that without a through legal read of the claims in a patent you CANNOT make the statement that someone is infringing a patent. To the others,a patent prohibits others from making, using,importing, offering for sale, and selling, this not have to have a direct commercial connection. Anyway ignore Joane.

David B. Lytle
5 years ago
Reply to  Joane

Joanne “says” she is a lawyer. I say she is a scare monger. I have been selling the magnetic paint additive I invented for over 15 years with not a problem from anyone. You are doing nothing wrong or illegal by using it to paint your walls.

David B. Lytle
8 years ago

After writing the above, I thought it might be good to show your readers this picture of one of my customer’s walls with a collection of their family photos, all in heavy wooden frames, hanging nicely by magnetism, on a wall painted with our Magically Magnetic Paint. Here is the link to the photo. http://www.lyt.com/images/InitialSet/wiley02.jpg

Here is another link to our Testimonials page with many more photos of magnetic walls and letters from our customers showing how they used our Magically Magnetic paint. http://www.lyt.com/servlet/the-file/testimonial.html/Page

Jack
8 years ago

Thanks,

I built a restaurant in SF back in 1998 using a lot of galvanized metal sheets. One large wall was galvanized metal painted with chalkboard paint. This was before the secret of the ingredients was exposed. I am now building a children’s tech and science museum in Assisi, Italy and I wanted to do this again. I was considering the magnetic paint, but it is double or triple the cost here and the surface area I need to do is large. After reading your post, I think I will stick with the galvanized sheet metal.

Tracy Davis
Tracy Davis
2 years ago
Reply to  Jack

I am working on painting sheet metal with appliance paint and finding out if I can create a decent magnetic whiteboard for my class room wall. All of these specialty products are so pricey, and my test piece is doing well- $10 for a 2 x 3 piece of metal and maybe a dollar’s worth of appliance paint successful so far. Letting marker sit for a couple of days to see if it still erases. This was one crappy coat and no sanding… I contacted the sheet metal place to pick up 5X 10sheets for $70 each. Way cheper than a tiny thing of paint that covers “up to 35 square feet” may this will help you

Paula
Paula
8 years ago

Thanks for the post! I just made a small magnetic chalkboard for my fridge using chalkboard paint on galvanized metal and was ready to buy the magnetic paint to do a portion of a wall (then overcoat with the chalkboard paint). I will stick with the galvanized metal. I already have a quart of the chalkboard paint that I don’t want to waste so I will not be trying the other product mentioned above. The chalkboard paint covers well in 2 -3 coats so you will save me a tremendous amount of time!!!!
Does anyone have any cool ideas about how to attach the galvanized metal to the wall????

David Lytle
8 years ago

Paula, the most direct way to mount the sheet of metal to your wall would be with a few well placed wood screws into the studs behind the wall board. It will require making holes in the wall to find the wooden studs.
Hold your metal piece up against the wall where you want to mount it.
Get it straight and level and then draw a faint pencil line around the metal piece.
Take the metal down and draw a straight horizontal line across about an inch below the line at the top of the outline and another about an inch higher than the bottom of the outline.
Now, with a thin nail, about three inches long, use a hammer to drive it in about 3/4 of an inch into the wall along the line. If it goes in and hits nothing, there is no stud there. You only need to go about an inch into the wall to know.
When it hits a stud, try a couple more holes close to the left and right of the hole that hit the stud. The stud should be 1 1/2 inches wide. Mark it.
You can hear a difference in the wall when you knock on it. The sound changes to a solid sound when the stud is behind the wall in that area. The rest will sound more hollow. That will give you a good clue to where to look for the studs.
The studs run up and down so a stud at the top will also be where you find a stud at the bottom of your outlined area.
Drill holes in the metal sheet slightly larger than the screws you will use at these locations where the studs are and use screws about two inches long to fasten the metal to the wall.

Lady O
Lady O
7 years ago
Reply to  David Lytle

Or you could just use a battery-powered stud-finder…

Lynnea
Lynnea
4 years ago
Reply to  Lady O

That’s what I was thinking!

kelly
kelly
8 years ago

I just tried the store bought chalkboard spray paint on a portion of white enamel plyboard that I had cut to fit in an antique frame that I had purchased. I was so excited and and couldn’t wait for the third and final coat to dry so that I could try it out and was SOOOOOO disappointed to find out that it didn’t! I used the colored crayon shaped chalk that my daughter had so maybe that is part of the problem but I can just tell by the way it applies to the board it isn’t going to ever work well. I’m thinking about trying your recipe if I can talk my husband into a thirty-plus mile trip to Lowes to get some unsanded grout. I was worried that the surface might be the problem. I sanded the board and sprayed a white primer on it before applying my chalkboard paint and even sanded the board slightly between the second and third coats. Is it because it’s the spray you think? I’m wanting a cute little message board to set up as decoration for my SIL’s baby shower in a few weeks. I’m really trying to get all these little things out of the way so that I can have plenty of time for everything else. Any suggestions you could give would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks and God bless!

Patrish
8 years ago

Hi,

Quick question…. Can I paint a piece of sheet metal with chalboard paint and use it as a magnetic board as well as a chalkboard?

Thanks,

Patrish

Leslie
Leslie
8 years ago
Reply to  Patrish

If it’s for your kitchen, try a cookie sheet. Works great!

David B. Lytle
7 years ago
Reply to  Patrish

Patrish, yes you can paint chalkboard paint on a piece of sheet steel and make a magnetic chalkboard. The thing that interrupt the attract tion of magnets to a sheet of steel is space between the steel surface and the magnet. A coat or two of paint will not add enough space between the steel and a magnet to interfere with the magnetic attraction. Many sheets of paper will sometimes interrupt the pull of a magnet on magnetic paint or a sheet of solid steel by adding enough space between the steel and the magnet.

The problem with painting on a sheet of steel is the steel is very smooth and paint might not stick well to it. After the paint is dry it may scratch off very easily when you write on it with chalk. If you want to paint on steel, first sand it with fine emery cloth sand paper to rough up the surface to give the paint something to stick to and hang on. They call that “tooth”. Then clean it well with detergent and rinse it clean. Many steel companies coat their product with oil to keep it from rusting in transit and on store shelves. This oil will keep your paint from sticking.

You can buy a sheet of steel at your local big box hardware store or for a larger sheet, try a local heating and air conditioning shop that makes their own duct work. Then can even bend over the sharp edges for you and drill mounting holes.

Jeff
Jeff
5 years ago
Reply to  David B. Lytle

You can paint Metal as long as you use a bonding primer and a little scuffing of the surface. Any paint vendor can tell you what you need.

The trick to magnetic paint is you must stir it constantly. I am a commercial painting contractor we have installed this on quite a few occasions for some clients who demand a working product. 2 coats wont do it. 4 coats is best. When the product fails is mostly because the metal is in the bottom of the can and not thoroughly mixed into the paint. To help with this for a home user grab a cordless drill and a whip from a mixer. Use a sturdy wood paint stick or like item to ensure you have the compacted material in the bottom of the can loose. Whip it on a medium speed don’t put to much air in the product, your not making mashed potatoes here. Once you have it thoroughly mixed, a paint stick stirring the product in the can after that will mix it plenty. if you think you’ve stirred it enough stir it again.

Dave B
Dave B
8 years ago

Just left the store and all they had was the spray paint… Bought it knowing it would suck and make a mess… Hopefully I can save my project with your method

Joyce Snelten
Joyce Snelten
8 years ago

Hi..Kristie….thank you for this post! I was at Home Depot yesterday because I had an idea to paint galvanized sheet metal (magnetic) with chalkboard paint to use in my craft room (to sketch ideas/adhere products etc…) I want a black background as the chalkboard, but do I need to prime the metal first? Do you think the regular chalkboard paint in black is not good to use? Or will it be fine in my application?
Thanks for your help!

Shanagh
Shanagh
8 years ago

Hi! Thanks for this, I’m on a tight budget but really want to make a magnetic chalkboard, so this is great, the only issue I’m having is that I have no idea what unsanded tile grout is! Would the standard (I’m guessing sanded) tile grout do the same trick?

cindy
8 years ago
Reply to  Shanagh

sanded grout will be too gritty and difficult to write on. Unsanded grout is used for wall tiles, that usually have a glossy finish- the unsanded grout won’t scratch the surface of glossy tiles. You can usually find it anywhere they sell tiles or local hardware stores. You don’t need much- the hard part may be finding a small bag/box of grout.

cindy
8 years ago

have you tried the homemade chalkboard paint yourself?

I just finished a whole wall in my kitchen and even though I carefully stirred the lumps out, after it dried, I’ve found in many places tiny bumps of grout.

and what about the sanding off with 150 grit? I just used 220, and lightly, lightly sanded. But it seems to have taken off some of the paint in spots. I had given it two good coats and still I have some spots wearing through. Now I will have to touch up several spots and then re-sand before I condition with chalk.
Not sure the homemade stuff is that great for large surfaces.

-having some regrets

Chris
Chris
8 years ago

I have used the Benjamin Moore chalkboard paint numerous times. It’s great. Of course it’s black, but it works. Very well.

I have also used the Rustoleum (I’m pretty sure) magnetic paint. This is a roll on product. 5 coats works well if you have reasonably strong magnets.

The most recent project was an easel for my daughter. 5 coats of magnetic, one coat of chalkboard. The Melissa & Doug magnetic numbers and letters stick just fine. The chalkboard wipes clean with a damp paper towel. I always use a WhizzFlock (google it) roller cover to apply these products.

They are water based and as someone else mentioned, you have to stir the magnetic paint to evenly distribute the iron that is in it. And stir periodically throughout the job.

You can paint over the magnetic paint with any regular paint and the black color is not a problem at all if you are using a high quality paint. I use Benjamin Moore Aura.

I am a professional painting and decorating contractor. These are high quality products that I use. Remember, most things that are cheap, are cheap for a reason. Top quality materials will yield a top quality job.

Ramiro
Ramiro
7 years ago
Reply to  Chris

Chris, I am doing a few researches from school and it would be really helpfull to me if I have the chance to talk to you. My email is ramiro_blanco87@hotmail.com, if you have the chance shoot me an email.

 

Thank you very much.

Beeg
Beeg
8 years ago

Thanks for the tips! We currently tape our child’s artworks on our beautiful stainless steel fridge. Needless to say, it’s not the prettiest sight. I want to create a magnetic wall somewhere in the kitchen so we can post her artworks there. Yet, the only wall space available is narrow. I searched for magnetic boards for the size I need, and it could cost upwards of $100+! I don’t have the time to paint 24 coats of magnetic paint either. I am now heading over to Home Depot to get a galvanized sheet!

Emily
Emily
8 years ago
Reply to  Beeg

You probably have been long done with your project, but I just got 2 custom pieces of sheet metal for a very specific area (galvanized for a magnet board) at a sheet metal fabricator in town. These guys usually are making gutters or roofing things, but some are happy to cut custom sheets. It cost me $30 for part of a wall…which is kind of expensive, but at least I know it is the right size, fits the right place and will do what I want it to do.

Mary
Mary
8 years ago

I have a question- I just bought some picture frames at a garage sale that I was planning to paint with chalkboard paint. I spray painted the frames black, but wanted to paint the inner part chalkboard. Can I paint directly on top of the glass with the acrylic paint/unsanded grout or will this not work? If not, what do you suggested that I do instead? Thank you!

Kim
Kim
8 years ago

Hello, I was wandering if you would please tell me what kind of paint to use for the chalkboard paint. Acrylic craft paint or interior wall paint if wall paint would I buy flat? I have an idea of a craft I want to start making for kids so I need to know off this method is kid friendly? Thanks in advance for your help, Kim

Johanna
Johanna
8 years ago

I’m planning on painting an entire wall with chalkboard paint, so would it still be smart to put galvanized steel on the wall first? And if so, what is the best way to make it stay in tact?

Jennifer
Jennifer
8 years ago

For those of you who have done the chalkboard paint, has the mess been an issue? Trying to convince husband to do it in daughters room but he is determined it will cause a big mess when writing. We could do it over tile or carpet, which would ya’ll recommend?

Jennifer
Jennifer
8 years ago
Reply to  Jennifer

Go to home depot and get a gutter that you would put on your house (with endcaps) and put underneath the chalkboard paint. It serves as a holder for the chalk and it will collect the chalkdust without it going on the floor.

Candy
Candy
8 years ago

Like most of you, I tried to create a Magnetic Chalk board prior to reading this post. Again, the chalk board work great but the magnetic effect was a waste of effort. I have managed to find a piece of 8’X4′, 20 gauge sheet of metal. Very Reasonable price. Good tip to take a magnet to make sure it is magnetic. I am looking forward to making a large Magnetic Chalk Board for my kitchen. I loved my stainless steel kitchen appliances…until I tried to post my daughters wonderful artwork. Live and learn..

David B. Lytle
7 years ago
Reply to  Candy

Stainless steel is beautiful but unless it is cheap stainless steel, made with less nickel than the more expensive stainless, magnets will not stick. Magnets don’t stick to nickel, only steel. I make a material I call Magna-Mount that has self adhesive on the back and a clean smooth write and wipe surface on the front. It looks like a white vinyl sheet and magnets stick to it like they stick to steel. Just cut the material to the right size for your fridge door, peel off the protective paper backing, stick the sheet on your fridge door and you have a beautiful write and wipe magnetic mounting surface. Here is a link. http://www.lyt.com/servlet/the-file/magmtwritenwipe.html/Page

Ashley
Ashley
8 years ago

I found this article while looking into making a magnetic chalkboard. Benjamin Moore just came out with a chalboard paint product that can be tinted to any Benjamin Moore color (except for the Color Stories Collection). Thanks for the info about galvanized steel–I will probably stick with that tip and use BM’s new product. Most BM stores can save your name in their computer and keep track of the colors/products you buy so that they are easily duplicatable. Thank you for all this info!

Lydia
Lydia
8 years ago

I just found this page while searching for “how to make magnetic paint.” I’m glad to have found it. I will use your galvanized-steel trick instead. Thank you!

Anne
Anne
8 years ago

Can the magnetic additive be added directly to chalkboard paint rather than painting the magnetic surface and painting the chalkboard over it?

David B. Lytle
7 years ago
Reply to  Anne

Anne, it is always best to add the magically Magnetic paint additive to a white primer/sealer paint and paint enough coats on the wall to give you the desired magnetic pull and then sand the magnetic paint lightly with 000 sand paper when dry. You are sanding to knock off any little high spots of texture from the magnetic paint, not to sand it smooth. Then paint the magnetic paint. If you mix the magnetic additive with the chalkboard paint, the resulting texture may be too rough for your needs.

Courtney Schwab
Courtney Schwab
8 years ago

Would it work if I painted the magnetic galvanized steel with chalkboard paint? I'm looking for a two in one combo for my daughters' playroom. Do they sell the steel at Lowe's you think? Thank you!

H. Bodle
H. Bodle
8 years ago

We tried painting magnetic paint under our chalkboard paint on a big piece of wood.  The magnetic paint works only a little bit (which I would have found out earlier had I actually researched it).  So we have the chalkboard paint over top.  It is working well as a chalkboard, but the surface is rough because of the magnetic paint.  Do you have any suggestions as to how to smooth it out now that the whole thing is already finished?  I didn't know if sanding it down and then painting a little more chalkboard paint on would work or ruin it?  Thanks!!

Amanda
Amanda
8 years ago
Reply to  H. Bodle

We did the same thing, Bodle. Definitely not a fan of the magnetic primer and really wish I would have researched it beforehand. We had the same problem you did and I knew we couldn't leave it that rough, so we took sandpaper (pretty sure most any will do, but the finer the better) and went ahead and sanded it afterwards and it is MUCH better now. The original result of the magnetic primer is still the same and everything is nice and smooth. We added a coat of chalkboard paint again afterwards, just in case. But fair warning, it's a messy job. Since your project is mobile I'd take it outside, otherwise there'll be a layer of black dust on everything. I'd also recommend a face mask or something, even outside. 

 

For people who want to know more about magnetic primer: it's messy – we did a whole playroom wall and it's thick and goopy and splatters everywhere; the cleanup is similar to oil based products – mineral spirits or similar; and in the end you're left with a surface that isn't very magnetic at all and is very rough, even if you follow the application directions. In case you couldn't tell.. I don't recommend it. 🙂 

 

MaryEllen M.
MaryEllen M.
7 years ago

Hi, when you said when you add they regular paint, did you mean that your adding the regular paint to the chalkboard paint or are you making your own chalkboard paint?? I really found this very informational I just found that that part very confusing, so if you or anybody can define what that text means, I would be very, very grateful. Thank you!

Anita @ Cedar HIll
7 years ago

Kristie, I just saw this post, although clearly it was written a long time ago. Thanks for the tip, since I'm working on a mambo chalkboard, and how I rethinking how I will make it. Maybe a sheet of metal would work well, since I could use magnets and chalk. I already bought the blackboard paint, but I guess I will use it, but I will keep this in mind for future projects.

 

Ramiro
Ramiro
7 years ago

For what I read, one of the biggest concerns of using a paint for chalkboards is that you cannot choose colors. What about if you have the chance of buying paint for chalkboards having different colors to choose?

DeAnna
DeAnna
7 years ago

Hey.. found this post after painting 5 coats of magnetic paint! I went back to Lowes and bought the larger round magnets that came 6 in a pack for $3… they work great and hold up paper well… my girls and I glued glass beads on them and made our own decorator magnets… I fou d that the premade magnets that you buy from stores that have ceramic/resin decoratjons on them can be heavy and that seems to be the problem, not the magnetic paint…. atleast it was in my case. …

karyn
karyn
6 years ago
Reply to  DeAnna

Hi DeAnna did you get your magnetic paint from lowes? thanks!

Carole
Carole
7 years ago

Thanks for info will use metal panel on wall

Rachel
Rachel
7 years ago

I really wish I could Pin this 🙁

lisa
lisa
7 years ago

I have a question that I hope you can help with. I have used the commercial brand of chalkboard paint twice, following the directions to the T. Both times the finish has come out “pocky” and after a short time even when cleaned with a damp cloth has become blurry. Is there a top coat that needs to be put on to make it smoother or should I just re do both projects (one is a wall, so I am leary!) thanks Lisa

Amy Snow
Amy Snow
7 years ago

What type of paint have you found works best on the galvanized steel sheets? Unfortunately, I found your post after have invested time and money in the magnetic paint . . . . . but also FORTUNATELY found it because I was wondering if paint would stick to galvanized steel. I thought I’d found my dream product in stainless steel mosaic tiles, but can’t find any that contain an alloy to attract magnets (my fridge is actual stainless, not stainless look, and magnets stick to it, but I don’t want to scratch it – sure wish someone would make tiles out of that!). Thanks for any tips you can give me! Amy

Crystal
Crystal
7 years ago

Can you use chalkboard paint over the galvanized steel?

Sam
Sam
7 years ago

I loved your project, and was thinking about doing it on a wall in my soon-to-be home. I voiced it to my boyfriend and his only concern was the magnetizing aspect messing up other appliances in home.
Now that he brought it up, I can’t get it out of me head.
So, does it? Have you, or anyone seen a large magnetic sheet of steel covered in chalkboard paint present polarity problems with other appliances?

Thank you in advance, Great read btw. Saved.

Sam

Kasha
Kasha
7 years ago

I have a question. Can you paint the galvanized metal?
* can chalk board paint be used on it?
* will it maintain it’s metallic shine?
Can dry erase markers be used on galvanized metal?
Does anyone know if thee is a special paint/coating that can be used, that allows dry erase markers to be used on it?

Philip
Philip
7 years ago

Do you have to mix the unsanded grout with water before mixing with the paint? I am having some difficulty removing lumps from the mix! Please help. Thanks!

BrittneyAnne
BrittneyAnne
7 years ago

Does anyone have any photos to share of their multi colored chalkboard project? I’m excited to use this idea and need color ideas!

Jenna
Jenna
7 years ago

I’m thinking about painting my (white) fridge with red chalk board paint! Any tips?!?

hope
hope
7 years ago

hi there
I wonder ( does the magnetic work with the black chalkboard ) ..
can i put a magnetic stuff on my wall after i paint it with chalkboard paint ?
thank you

hope
hope
7 years ago

hi there .. I wonder ( does the magnetic work with the black chalkboard )
can i use a magnetic stuff on my wall after i pain it with the black chalkboard paint ?

thank you

Layla
Layla
7 years ago

Hi, I painted my fridge with black matt laquer and after it dried i used the charkoal. When I tried to wipe it, with a damp cloth I saw it didnt wiped it all. It looks like it’s stained, like an old used charkboard. I didnt however, rob the entire thing with chark. anny sugestions?

Mia
Mia
7 years ago

Nice! how do you remove it if you don’t want it anymore? if you put on the fridge?

Debbie foster
Debbie foster
7 years ago

Magnetic primer works like a charm. Roll it on what ever surface first. The more coats the more magnetic it is. Then paint over it. And there you go! Strong enough to hold most magnets. I used it to make a magnetic painting. Can be found at most home improvement stores..I got mine at Home Depot.

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