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Decorating on the Cheap: Chalkboard Border – Frugal Novice

Decorating on the Cheap: Chalkboard Border

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Our house was built in 1972, and although the previous owners had done a few updates, much of that was left to us. They were also big fans of country decor, which we are decidedly not. Examples include a Texas-themed bathroom, complete with navy and white walls; pattern-bedecked wallpaper in the entry, and Americana border in the kitchen.

When we finally got around to updating the kitchen, we started trying to remove the border and learned pretty quickly what a difficult job it was going to be. We’d removed the wallpaper from the entry pretty easily, so we were armed with false hope that this would be an easy job too.

We chipped away at the first layer of border, only to find another floral border underneath. This second layer of border had been primed over, making it harder for the stripping chemical to soak through, but we finally got that layer off… only to find yet ANOTHER layer of border, adhered directly to the drywall. Check it out – definitely original to the house, don’t you think? Who wouldn’t want lime green and burnt sienna apples adorning their kitchen?

Um… us.

So, we started tackling the last layer of border only to discover that removing it meant removing part of the drywall too – not a good thing! We wanted to finish this project as economically as possible (and, let’s be honest, as quickly as possible too – there was the rest of the kitchen to finish working on!) so we came up with a solution that worked perfectly for us – texturing over the border.

Brian already had a big tub of joint compound that he’d used for an art project in college and then for tiling our bathroom floor, so he used that to skim over the border area (after we had carefully cleaned and sanded the surface). We thought about picking a color and painting over it, but then quickly settled on using chalkboard paint instead.

Chalkboard paint is great for a lot of household projects. Brian’s dad has a huge portion of his kitchen wall painted with it, and uses it as a calendar/memo board. I’ve seen people paint the walls of playrooms, which is great for letting kids get creative without having to worry about removing crayon or marker from white walls, for instance!

Back to our project. We bought a small can of chalkboard paint at Lowe’s for about $8. We applied the paint with a roller and brush, just like we would any other paint. I read that it can be difficult to get a smooth coat, but we already had a textured finish so it wasn’t a problem for us. We applied three coats to get it looking like we wanted, and then got to the fun part – figuring out what to write!

We decided we didn’t want to just write a quote around the room – partially because we wouldn’t be able to agree on a quote! Instead, we wrote the general contents of each cabinet around the room. There were a couple of spots that didn’t have cabinets beneath them, so we took some creative liberty. Brian is a graphic designer, so he chose to write some greeking (Lorem ipsum…) in one area. In another, I chose to write one of my favorite scriptures, Jeremiah 29:11.

We were really happy with the overall project, and guests almost always comment about it being one of their favorite parts of our house. Here are a few photos of the finished product!

We aren’t subtle with our labels…

Brian wanted to write “waste receptacle” – I wanted to write “trash.” We compromised.

I love the way the white and black contrast against each other. You can also see a little of the texture here.

Have you used chalkboard paint anywhere in your home?

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  • Charla March 17, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    No, I haven’t, but I think it’s a really cool idea.
    .-= Charla´s last blog ..Organic Foods at Jason’s Deli =-.

  • Lora @ Motherhood Moments March 17, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    I love the chalkboard idea! I haven’t used chalkboard paint yet, but I’m thinking about putting some in our play area for the kids.

    I’m brand new to your blog (your mom referred me here), but I already love it! I’m really into couponing and saving money, too….I used to have an entire blog dedicated to it, but I didn’t have time to keep up with it anymore so I just occasionally share exceptionally good deals at my parenting blog. :)

    I’m adding you to my feed reader and I’m looking forward to reading more great ideas here!
    .-= Lora @ Motherhood Moments´s last blog ..The Post In Which I Bare My Party Planning Mistakes… =-.

  • veronica lee March 17, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Great idea!

    Hi! I’m visiting from MBC.
    .-= veronica lee´s last blog ..Paul Lung =-.

  • Dianne March 18, 2010 at 9:18 am

    I am so glad I found your blog. You have some great content. Don’t you love MBC. I love connecting with mom bloggers. Come and visit my blog http://mom-stuffcommunity.blogspot.com .

  • Bree Anderson March 18, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    LOVE your chalkboard idea!!! (found you on mom blogger club)- Glad I found you!!! Can’t wait to read more :)

  • C. Lynn March 18, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    What a fantastic idea. I never even thought of putting this stuff anywhere aside from my sons playroom. I’m really considering this!

  • Charlotte March 18, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    This is a great idea! Might save my walls from my toddler’s crayons…

    You have a great blog (I found you through MBC)! I’m adding you to my blogroll.
    .-= Charlotte´s last blog ..Sanity keepers =-.

  • charlie March 19, 2010 at 7:33 am

    really cute use of the chalkboard paint. looks great!

  • Amie March 19, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Love this!!!

  • Lynne March 20, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    That’s looks awesome, and so quaint in the kitchen!!
    .-= Lynne´s last blog ..A New Softball Bag for A New Season of Softball =-.

  • Jessica March 24, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    That really looks great!
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..Are you crafty? =-.

  • Amy April 14, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    What a cute idea, and so fun!
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Parenting =-.

  • Chris Newald September 14, 2011 at 10:32 am

    This is a great idea – especially for kid’s rooms. It’s playful and interactive, one of those things that makes a house more like a home. Great post – thank you.

  • DIY Christmas Card Holder December 2, 2012 at 8:59 am

    […] painted the board with chalkboard paint we already had on hand from our kitchen border project, but you can buy a small bottle of it at Michael’s (it retails for $6, but you can […]

  • Rebecca Peters December 11, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    I have been tempted to get the chalkboard paint but afraid there will be ton of dust? It does look super awesome tho!

  • kelly mcgrew February 10, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    i love this for the kitchen! and the kids can’t get to it to mess it up ;).

    i love the idea of writing little notes to the kids, or even chore lists for that day.

    maybe during christmas santa can write a little message :)

  • DIY Chalkboard January 27, 2015 at 9:15 am

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