DIY Latex Chalkboard Paint – tips and tricks

DIY Latex Chalkboard Paint – tips and tricks

There are lots of posts on the internet for DIY latex chalkboard paint. Finding different versions of this recipe was a little confusing, at first. I was afraid that I’d pick one and find out that it didn’t work.

After working on a few projects recently, including my Garage Cabinet Chalkboard Makeover and Phil’s Chalkboard Reminder Sign, I realized all of those DIY latex chalkboard paint recipes are probably right. Let me tell you why. I have seen 3 different recipes in my most recent searches. There are probably loads more. Here’s the 3 I have found.

  1. 1 tablespoon of non-sanded grout with 1 cup of latex paint.
  2. 1 tablespoon of non-sanded grout with 1/2 a cup of latex paint.
  3. 2 tablespoons of non-sanded grout with 1 cup of latex paint.

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Disclaimer: Make sure to always read the directions for any products or tools you use while building. Always check for square and double-check those measurements too. Read the full disclaimer.


Step by step photo guide to mixing and using DIY latex chalkboard paint
Check out how awesome these chalkboard garage cabinets turned out

I’ve painted every room in this house, sometimes twice. I’ve flipped 3 houses of my own and helped my parents paint a handful of custom homes they built. So, I’ve used a lot of latex paint. I can safely say, it’s not always the same thickness. Some stuff seems drippy and some seems close to being like pudding. I don’t know if it thickens with age or if it’s just brand to brand differences, but they can be different. You need to mix your chalkboard paint so that it slightly thickens the paint you have. Make sure it doesn’t get so thick that it can’t be brushed or rolled on in smooth even coats. I have made successful chalkboard paint with just a couple of teaspoons of non-sanded grout in 1 cup of latex and was just as successful with a thinner latex when I added 2-3 tablespoons of non-sanded grout. I really just based my recipe on the desired thickness.

Some people wonder if the sheen of the latex is important? I have tried Eggshell and Satin, so far. They both look great and just like any other chalkboard. Many people recommend flat. So, I imagine flat, eggshell, and satin are all safe bets. If you have some old trim paint (semi-gloss or gloss) that has a color you’d love as a chalkboard, it wouldn’t hurt to make a test batch with it and try it out on some scrap wood. If it looks good and works, go with it.

Step by step photo guide to mixing and using DIY latex chalkboard paint
Non-sanded grout, latex paint, and a container for mixing

DIY Latex Chalkboard Paint Recipe

  1. Put 1 tablespoon of non-sanded grout in a clean container.
  2. Use a plastic spoon to press any fine lumps out of the grout to make sure it is as smooth as possible.
  3. Add 1 cup of latex paint to the container.
  4. Mix the grout and latex completely. Make sure to break up any remaining lumps.
  5. If it seems too thick to spread, try adding a bit more latex to get a spreadable mix.
Step by step photo guide to mixing and using DIY latex chalkboard paint
After breaking up the non-sanded grout with a flat edge or spoon
Step by step photo guide to mixing and using DIY latex chalkboard paint
Straight from the package, non-sanded grout is slightly lumpy
Step by step photo guide to mixing and using DIY latex chalkboard paint
Added latex and started mixing

Applying DIY Latex Chalkboard Paint

  1. Clean the surface you will apply the paint to with a mild soap or cleaner specifically designed for paint prep. (Ex. TSP for paint prep)
  2. After the surface has completely dried, sand if necessary. If you do sand, use a fine grit sandpaper then remove all sanding dust with a slightly damp cloth.
  3. Mix the chalkboard paint NOW. It does seem to dry out quicker than latex. So, I wait until I’m ready to use it before I mix it.
  4. Apply a thin layer of chalkboard paint with a good brush, foam roller, or foam brush.
  5. Allow to dry before applying 1 or 2 more coats.
  6. Clean your brushes and container with water, as you normally do with latex.
  7. Allow 24 hours after the last coat for the paint to cure.
  8. If desired, sand surface with 150 grit sandpaper to smooth. Then wipe off dust.
  9. To prep the chalkboard, rub the entire surface with white chalk. Then rub it off with a clean cloth or chalkboard eraser.
  10. Now you’re ready to use your new chalkboard.
Step by step photo guide to mixing and using DIY latex chalkboard paint
Latex and non-sanded grout completely mixed. Still slightly lumpy, but the brush will work 99.9% of that out
Step by step photo guide to mixing and using DIY latex chalkboard paint
As you brush the paint in, it smooths out.
Step by step photo guide to mixing and using DIY latex chalkboard paint
Nearly perfectly smooth. Lightly sand any tiny lumps away after the paint dries.
Step by step photo guide to mixing and using DIY latex chalkboard paint
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Feeling inspired? Want to make your own chalkboard paint? Follow the links above to get the things you’ll need from Amazon. Have fun and let me know if you have questions. Or post pictures of your work and tag Abbotts At Home on FB, I’d love to see it!

14 thoughts on “DIY Latex Chalkboard Paint – tips and tricks

  1. I didn’t know you could turn any paint into chalkboard paint! Good to know and pinning for future reference.

  2. Thanks for showing how easy this is – I have been wanting to try this, but like you, was afraid I’d pick the wrong recipe.

  3. Love diy chalk paint. It’s a great way to use up some leftover paint

  4. It seems like a great chalk paint recipe I can’t wait to try it out!!!!

  5. So cool! I love the garage cabinet doors.

    • Thanks Heidi. Me too! It’s kind of a stretch, but they remind me of the classroom Indiana Jones taught in during the first movie. And it never hurts to be reminded of Harrison Ford. 😉

  6. Thanks so much Stephanie for clearing up all the confusion. I’ve been struggling to figure out why all the recipes are so different. Great post and super helpful, thank you

  7. Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

  8. Great tutorial Stephanie–thanks so much for sharing your creative posts with us at Vintage Charm 🙂

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