Ever wonder what the difference is between chalkboard paint and regular black acrylic paint? So did we. Read More to find out how we felt about our chalk doodles on black paint, clear chalkboard paint, black chalkboard paint, and a Matte Varnish coating.
*clump clump clump clump* (The sound of Patty walking down the hall into the team’s shared office.)
“Do you guys have any chalk?” She asks.
Jess S (Scans her desk) “No, I don’t think so.”
Joe (From behind his computer full of scary techy code) “What do I look like, an artist?”
Dustin (ever prepared) “Yes!”
So the chalkboard experiment began!
These are the candidates. Basically Patty coated the whole board in “Lamp” black paint, then coated certain sections with the black chalkboard paint, the clear chalkboard coating, and some Matte Varnish. Then she brought it in to have us try drawing and erasing, and getting our thoughts on each chunk of board.
1. Black Acrylic PaintCandidate Number One.
The Black Paint got mixed reviews. This is the method Patty has been using for years, which was the real reason for the whole experiment. She’s always been perfectly happy with this method, and wanted to see if there was enough of a difference to want to get a specific product. When she brought it in to me, out of the four, this was my least favorite. We all found that, although it’s pretty durable and there’s little to no shine, it doesn’t wipe clean with a dry paper towel. Most of us felt this was a deal breaker.
Patty still thought this was okay, you just have to wet the paper towel to get your surface really clean. So I guess it’s purely a matter of preference. If you’re okay going to the sink when you want to erase your board, just using your black paint is perfectly fine, and keeps you from having to buy something new.
2. Matte VarnishCandidate Number Two.
The Matte Varnish was, in my opinion, the most surprising candidate out of the four. It wiped remarkably clean with a dry paper towel, and was actually the smoothest to draw on. Our only problem at first was that the surface was quite shiny when compared to the other three. Unfortunately it then failed the durability test, and caught a rough spot in the chalk and had some pretty bad scratches on it by the time we finished.
So, if you don’t plan on being rough with your chalkboard surface, and you don’t mind the little extra shine, the Matte Varnish is something you might already have that will work pretty well.
3. Clear Chalkboard CoatingCandidate Number Three.
The Clear Chalkboard Coating made us pretty happy. It wasn’t too shiny, was smooth to draw on, and wiped clean with a dry paper towel. As would be expected, something that is made specifically for chalk worked quite well.
The special thing about the clear coating is that you can take something of any color, coat it, and turn it into a chalkboard surface. This means any color paint, wood, terracotta pots, whatever you want to chalk up without making it black- this stuff will work like a charm. Even more complicated artwork. In short: *hearts*
4. Black Chalkboard PaintCandidate Number Four.
Our overall favorite for the classic black chalkboard effect was, not surprisingly, the Black Chalkboard Paint. Smooth writing, wipes clean, and was quite durable. Dustin actually took a quarter out of his pocket and tried to scratch both the black and the clear chalkboard paint, and they came out unscathed.
The ResultsA Matter Of Opinion?
So is it worth making the jump to chalkboard paint? Out of these four candidates, the majority of us thought it very much was. Hassle-free cleaning, durability, low shine, and the clear coating gives you the option to have any color surface. But it really depends on what you plan to do with your surface, how much you plan to use it, and whether you’d prefer a “wash” clean or a “wipe” clean.
Now, there is one other wild independent candidate that we weren’t able to test. We’ve found these instructions on Pinterest for using any color acrylic paint and unsanded grout to mix your own chalkboard paint if you were feeling like a super messy chemist. I feel this might be a fun method if you were planning on having an entire wall in your home dedicated to chalking. So obviously there are other options out there.
Have you tried to make a chalkboard surface? What has been your experience? We’d love to hear about it!