chalkboard paint rules

Since work is so slow, I'm using some of my daycare time to catch up on the never-ending list of projects around the house. It's a two steps forward, one step back feeling, with two projects popping  up for every one that you successfully cross off the list. But ever since baby #2 was born, it's been simply two steps back, and two more steps back, and so on. You get the idea. So it's nice to have some time, if not the money, to tackle some of these projects.

I've written here before about making over my son's room when he transitioned from a crib to a "big boy bed." Less than three years later, we've tweaked things again, adding an IKEA Expedit bookshelf on one wall for books and toys and a dresser on the other, using his closet now primarily for overflow toy storage.

When we decided to get him a desk for all of his art supplies that were previously in a corner of the living room, I thought it might be fun, if a bit dusty at times, to add a few half-wall areas of chalkboard paint. And it turns out you can get any color of Benjamin Moore paint as chalkboard paint! Awesome!

I asked my son what color he wanted. Initially he said red but I steered him toward a color already in his room's "palette", thinking red against the green might be a bit too ... festive (not to mention intense!). We settled on Ol' Blue Eyes (not to be confused with Old Blue Jeans which is the color the guy at the paint store initially ordered), a shade remarkably close to the blue on the side panel of the loft bed we have in his room (also from IKEA).

I spent a little time each week over the past three weeks doing the actual painting, giving it three coats to sufficiently block out the bright green underneath. After that, it's advised that you let it "cure" for three days, then apply chalk to the entire surface and wipe that down before using it. Wiping with a wet cloth is recommended over a traditional chalkboard eraser and I have to agree, it works really well. It wipes very clean and there is little dust.

In addition to the chalkboard paint, I added some old-school wooden rulers as a decorative trim between the chalkboard paint and the original green wall. I'm pretty pleased with how that turned out. One is tucked behind the bed a bit for now but otherwise I didn't have to do any trimming or cutting. I used brown furniture nails I picked up at my local Ace Hardware store to match the other bits of brown in his room (my least favorite color in his room but I find I keep tying it in to match the brown of his curtains, always trying to use or incorporate what we already have).

I did a fair amount of touch-up of the green color, you know, while I was at it (a kid can be rough on a wall in 2 1/2 years!). To avoid random push pin holes here and there I added three cork board tiles to his closet door (and another one went into little sister's room, previously known as my studio), for random and temporary things he might want on display.

To decorate a bit more, I used a couple of his art projects from this year so far and from preschool, finally installing the flying hamburger we made together a few months ago and using this crazy long snake he made during his last few months of preschool last spring/summer.

When I first unfolded it (I've been keeping a bag of possible art projects to use as decoration - things that wouldn't fit into his box of saved projects or binders of drawings), I thought it would wrap around his wall like a border.

In the end, the snake twists and turns a bit more than I originally anticipated but I made it work and I rather like the way it winds underneath that set of three drawings by Neal, don't you? Hey, man, I paid big bucks for my MFA; it oughtta be good for something, right?

As with most things like this, I think this probably turned out better than a more straight-forward border-like presentation would have been, winding instead under artwork, below his bed, underground and behind his dresser (not really, but that's the look I'm going for here), and winding back out above his bed.

The snake should make for some sweet dreamin', don't you think??

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