The Painted Chalkboard… That Wasn’t

Friday, April 5th, 2013

30 Days of Pinterest – Day 5


The Pin!

I love chalkboards – and I love antique trays! This pin combines two of my favourite things, and after scoring a beautiful silver tray at a garage sale last summer I knew it was something I would eventually have to try. I have a stand up chalkboard that I use to write happy notes on frequently, so I was very excited about the prospect of having another inspirational board around the house.


The Project Process:

For this project, I gave my garage sale find a good wash (and dry) and tightened the screws keeping the handles in place. I had already purchased a bottle of Martha Stewart Chalk Paint from our local Michaels a few weeks ago, and figured now was the perfect time to make use of it! Using a foam brush at first, I spread an even layer of the paint all over the tray. Once there was a good amount of paint covering the tray, I used a paint brush to carefully go around the edges, making sure they looked clean and neat. I found the paint looked quite a bit lighter than I had expected it to, and it wasn’t until the third coat that I really reached the “opagueness” that I was looking for. If you are doing multiple coats (I would recommend at least 2), just make sure to allow the tray to dry completely between layers – you don’t want any weird streaks on your tray!


Once the layers were completely dry, Martha recommends ‘curing’ the chalkboard by rubbing chalk all over the board and then wiping it off. This is meant to ready the board for future chalk notes, and helps the chalk stick to the board.

To be completely honest – this is one Pinterest project I wasn’t totally in love with; I didn’t really care for how the writing looked on my completed board. I’m fairly certain my lack of satisfaction was partially my fault, so here are my pointers so you can learn from my mistakes:

1. Choose a darker paint colour: I thought I was being super crafty by using a chalkboard paint colour other than the standard black. Turns out, white doesn’t really show up too well on seafoam green, and coloured chalks just looked kind of silly. Next time, I’ll be trying black or dark grey.

2. Choose a smoother tray: The tray that I chose to use for this project had beautiful flower designs all along the bottom of the tray. I thought this would add a really nice feature to the project, as you could see the designs through the paint after it dried. Although it looked really nice, it really interfered with the smoothness of the chalk application, and caused the letters I made to look pixelated and bumpy.

3. Invest in a decent paint applicator: Although I’m fairly certain the paint went on smoothly, I was very concerned with being able to see brush strokes once the paint had dried. As a result, I think some layers were applied too thin and some too thick, which could have had an effect on the overall quality of the project.

Even though my chalkboard project turned out to be a bit of a fail, I still have a beautiful silver tray to show off, so it’s not a complete waste! Instead of using it as a sign, we now use it as a decor piece on our bar to show off our antique decanter set. Isn’t it pretty?

Have you ever tried a craft project that didn’t turn out quite how you expected it to, but were still pleasantly surprised with the results?


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