Have you ever wanted a reusable writing or drawing surface? Creating an accent wall where children can be creative or practice different skills, making a calendar or message board to keep track of what’s happening, or producing unique gifts is easy with the right paint. So, how do you choose the best chalkboard paint?
Select the chalkboard paint with the most durable slate-like finish, and offers the best coverage for the project you plan. If black or green aren’t creative enough, choose the paint with the desired sheen and color choice. It should form a long-lasting bond with a variety of surface mediums.
In this article, we’ll review ten top chalkboard paints, explain what chalkboard paint is, and discuss what to consider when buying the paint. I also explain how to apply the paint for the best bond and finish, and how to maintain your chalkboard. By the end of the article, you’ll have a better understanding of what chalkboard paint is best for your project.
At a Glance: Our Choices for Best Chalkboard Paint in 2021:
- Krylon K05223000 Special Purpose Brush-On
- Rust-Oleum Specialty Chalkboard Brush-On Paint
- American Crafts DIY Shop Paint
- Rust-Oleum Chalkboard Spray Paint
- The Rainbow Blackboard Paint
Other Good Choices:
- FolkArt Multi-Surface Paint
- PEBEO Porcelaine Black Paint
- FolkArt Chalkboard Paint
- Benjamin Moore Studio Finishes Chalkboard Paint
- DecoArt DS90-62 Americana
Best Chalkboard Paint Reviews
Chalkboard paint can turn everyday items into reusable writing and drawing surfaces. Create patches on boxes, bins, wood, metal, earthenware, and many other mediums for labels, communication, or your creative flair. I review 10 of the best chalkboard paints on the market to assist in your selection.
1. Krylon K05223000 Chalkboard Paint Special Purpose Brush-OnIf you’re looking to create a blackboard for you or children to use, consider Krylon Chalkboard paint. A 29-ounce quart will cover up to 90 square feet and provides a flat sheen and looks and feels like the real thing. The premium-quality paint goes on thick and dries hard for a long-lasting, durable, non-porous smooth slate-like finish.
Use Krylon on drywall, wood, glass, metal, plastic, ceramic, and plaster to make writable surfaces, or as a finishing paint. The liquid is thick, not runny, but is for interior use only. It is touch-dry in one hour, although you should allow at least 24-hours drying time before using the surface.
Use a brush or roller to apply one or two coats of paint; however, a sprayer isn’t recommended due to the consistency of the paint. The environmentally friendly paint is ideal for large wall or furniture applications, or to create labels on bottles or jars, boxes, toys, or on the refrigerator for lists and messages.
For best results, prime the fully cured surface with the side of a chalk piece and wipe it clean with a dry cloth or felt brush. Use dry chalk on the surface, not oiled chalk or pastels. Some chalk markers may also prove difficult to erase, so test on a small area first.
Krylon Chalkboard paint is also available in green, blue, and clear-coat aerosol spray which is touch-dry in 15 minutes. For greater color paint choice, Krylon offers the chalkboard paint in a tintable version for hundreds of color options.
- durable, scratch-resistant finish that won’t peel or chip
- brush-on or aerosol with multiple color selection
- apply to multiple surface mediums
- environmentally friendly
- interior use only
- chalkboard markers may not erase
2. Rust-Oleum 206540 Specialty Chalkboard Brush-On PaintTurn a wall into a chalkboard or use on lids, jars, flowerpots, doors, fridge, furniture, and toys to make a writable surface with Rust-Oleum Specialty Chalkboard Brush-On Paint. The 30 fl. oz. oil-based chalkboard paint provides up to 120 square feet of coverage. Although touch-dry in 30 minutes, the recommended wait time is 72 hours before conditioning and using.
Prepare the surface by removing any loose material, lightly sand surfaces if glossy, and make sure it is clean. Cover the surface with a quality primer, and apply two coats with a brush, sponge roller, or sprayer. Use it on drywall, wood, glass, metal, plastic, paperboard, hardboard, concrete, and masonry to create a chalkboard surface anywhere.
The paint is available in black, green, or clear-coat paint or aerosol and provides a hard, durable, non-porous, scratch-resistant finish. After the three day drying time, rub the side of a piece of chalk over the surface and wipe off to condition it for use. Wait 7 days after conditioning before using soap and water on the surface to return the luster. Repeat conditioning after cleaning with soap and water on a sponge.
The paint is for indoor use only but can be used outdoors if covered with an exterior sealer. The finish is easy to erase after conditioning. Remove messages with a dry cloth or felt brush.
- easy to erase
- smooth, durable, scratch-resistant finish
- green, black, and clear-coat finish options
- prep work and drying time
- chalk markers don’t erase well
3. American Crafts DIY Shop Chalkboard PaintWrite erasable messages or draw pictures on wood, drywall, paper, fabric, ceramic, plastic, and metal anytime using chalk or chalk markers. The 16.5 fluid ounce plastic jar has a resealable twist lid for ease of use and will cover approximately 96 square feet.
The American Crafts high-quality black chalkboard paint goes on thick, doesn’t run, and is great for toys, mugs, glass wear, doors, lunch containers, walls and so much more. The non-toxic paint is environmentally friendly and emits low VOCs. It is mold and mildew resistant and washable when dry.
Apply the paint with a brush or sponge roller to a clean surface, let dry before applying a second coat if necessary. Wait at least 48 hours before using chalk. Some chalk markers don’t erase well, so test on a small surface before using elsewhere. Clean with soap and water, and let dry before using the surface again.
- goes on thick, so it doesn’t run
- low VOCs
- sticks to any surface
- only available in black
- takes 48 hours to dry
4. Rust-Oleum 1913830 Specialty Chalkboard Spray PaintThe 11-ounce aerosol oil-based spray has coverage of approximately 7 square feet and is available in a black or clear coat. Use it on drywall, plaster, masonry, concrete, wood, glass, paperboard metal, plastic, or hardboard. The spray paint is touch-dry in 20 minutes and ready for a second coat after 60 minutes. The manufacturer recommends letting it cure for 24-hours before using.
The spray produces a hard, thin, durable, smooth surface that doesn’t scratch easily. The surface should be conditioned by rubbing the side of a piece of chalk all over it and wiping it clean with a dry cloth or felt brush. Use it to create a chalkboard surface anywhere or for décor and furniture. Apply two or three thin coats on glass or metal surfaces, but don’t use on galvanized metal.
Due to the aerosol, apply the chalkboard paint outdoors and bring items inside after they dry. The VOCs can irritate eyes and cause respiratory concerns, so wear protective gear. Additionally, the aerosol residue drifts and sticks to other surfaces, which require a solvent to remove.
- surface versatility for more uses
- easy to clean smooth surface
- works well with chalk
- high VOCs so use in a well-vented location
- aerosol residue or mist
5. The Rainbow Chalkboard Blackboard PaintInterior-exterior water-based chalkboard paint comes in 8.5 and 33.8 fluid ounce cans in matte black, yellow, green, gray, pink, red, white, blue, orange, or clear. Other sizes are available too. Apply the non-toxic paint with a brush or roller to smooth drywall, wood, metal, and glass surfaces to create a chalkboard anywhere. The 8.5 fl. oz. (250ml) tin will cover up to 3 square meters or 32 square feet and is touch-dry in 15 minutes.
Use the paint to create message boards, calendars, labels, menus, mini signs, posters, bistro boards, or paint table tops or doors. Surface prep is important, wash and let dry before painting. Use two coats or more on light surfaces for a more opaque finish. Wait an hour between coats. The manufacturer states it is ready to use within four hours, but I suggest waiting 24 hours, especially if using dry chalk. The matte finish is durable, non-reflective and smooth, and works well with chalk pens and traditional chalk.
- indoor and outdoor use
- non-toxic and low VOCs
- multiple colors available
- requires multiple coats
- only use on a smooth surface
6. FolkArt Multi-Surface Chalkboard PaintThe non-toxic, fast-drying water-based paint can be used indoors or out and is available in black, white, slate gray, blue, hot pink, and purple. Use for chalkboard or décor, the paint comes in 2, 4, 8, and 16 fl. oz. containers. The 4-ounce container will cover approximately four square feet.
Apply with a brush to drywall, primed metal, glass, terra cotta, ceramic, fabric, and other surfaces to create writing or drawing surfaces. However, it doesn’t stick to plastic. The durable, weather-resistant finish is glossy and may show brush lines. The paint is thick and may need to be thinned with water for a smoother finish.
After the paint dries – I recommend 24 hours – the chalkboard surface needs to be conditioned by rubbing chalk on it and wiping it clean with a dry cloth. The finish is top-shelf dishwasher safe when used on glasses, mugs, or plates.
- environmentally safe
- interior and exterior paint
- color choice
- paint is thick and shows brush strokes
- glossy, not a matte finish
7. PEBEO Porcelaine Chalkboard Black PaintPABEO is a water-based paint that must be baked onto surfaces. It has an opaque matte black finish and comes in a 1.5 fl. oz. (45ml) jar. The coverage is between 1.5 and 2 square feet. Use it to create a blackboard surface on china, porcelain, terra cotta, earthenware, metal, and glass. Ideal for painting message boards on mugs, boxes, jars, glasses, plates, and other surfaces. The surface should be cleaned with soap and water or alcohol and air-dried for 72 hours before painting.
Apply with a soft synthetic brush, sponge, or fingertips. If you make a mistake, wash off with soap and water, dry, and start again. For small mistakes, moisten a cotton-tip in rubbing alcohol and remove it. The paint is touch-dry in minutes and ready for the next coat in about 10 minutes, although many reviewers suggest waiting 24 hours between coats.
Wait 24 hours before baking, and bake at 300F or 150C for 35 minutes for a permanent enamel finish. Bake in an oven, not a microwave or toaster oven. Let cool in the oven to avoid cracking due to the temperature change. There will be some non-toxic fumes that you may not appreciate, so open some windows or turn on the exhaust vent.
The baked surface is top-rack dishwasher and microwave safe, and UV resistant to fading. The paint works best with dry chalk and some chalk markers. Remember, it’s always wise to test on a small or waste surface before using any markers.
- dishwasher and microwave safe
- bake on for enamel finish
- hard, durable, permanent surface
- small quantity
- long preparation time
8. FolkArt Chalkboard PaintThe water-based acrylic paint is non-toxic and available in black, white, slate gray, electric blue, hot pink, and purple. The 8 fl. oz. container has a wide-mouth for easier brush or sponge application and covers 10 square feet. The glossy paint sticks to any porous surface, so drywall, wood, paper, fabric, terra cotta, ceramic, primed, or roughened metal, but not plastic.
Use the fast-drying water-based paint for chalkboard, décor, or furniture is touch-dry in 15 minutes. Wait at least an hour between coats and 24 hours before conditioning the surface with the edge of a piece of chalk. Wipe clean with a dry cloth or felt brush. If ghost letters appear, wipe with a damp soapy cloth, rinse, let dry, and then condition with chalk.
The paint turns surfaces into chalkboards for craft, gifts, or play. Create picture frames with messages, menu and shopping lists, labels for containers, children’s play areas, and many other ideas. The paint is ideal for gift ideas too.
- multiple colors available
- child friendly
- not for use with chalk markers
- doesn’t stick to plastic
9. Benjamin Moore Studio Finishes Chalkboard PaintBenjamin Moore’s interior chalkboard paint has an eggshell sheen and is available in black and 3500+ colors. A 32 fluid ounce can of 100% acrylic latex paint has a coverage of approximately 100 square feet. Use on drywall, wood, earthenware, metal, some plastic, glass, ceramics, and furniture. The craft or décor paint can create labels, lists, calendars, and other drawing or writing surfaces.
Surfaces to be painted should be dulled and cleaned, or cleaned and primed for better adhesion. The environmentally friendly paint has a low odor and no VOCs. It is touch-dry in 2 hours and ready for a second coat in four. The manufacturer recommends allowing the paint to dry or cure for 14 days. Condition the surface with the side of a piece of chalk, and then wipe the chalk off with a damp cloth.
Once cured and conditioned, the durable finish is washable with soap and water. It is recommended that chalk and chalk markers be tested on small areas as some leave residue that is hard to remove. Use a damp cloth to erase, or soap and water to clean the surface. Remember to condition the surface after it has been cleaned.
- 3500 plus colors
- low odor and VOCs
- easy to clean surface
- long drying time
- interior use only
10. DecoArt DS90-62 Americana Chalkboard PaintAmericana Chalkboard Paint produces a hard, durable, scratch-resistant matte finish that won’t peel. It is available in 2, 4, and 8 fl. oz. plastic bottles of blue, black, or clear non-toxic chalkboard paint. A 2-ounce bottle covers about 5 square feet, a 4 does 10 sq. ft. and the 8 delivers 20 square feet.
Apply to drywall, glass, wood, canvass, terra cotta, poster-board, and much more. It is great for stencil work, label blocks on jars and containers, memo or menu boards, art walls, and calendars. Surfaces work well with dry chalk and some chalk pens, always test pens or markers for erase ability before use. Wipe chalk off with a dry cloth or felt brush, and clean the surface with soap and water, and recondition.
The manufacturer recommends that porous surfaces or rough surfaces be sanded and primed for a better bond. Shake the contents well to fully mix it. For optimal coverage, apply two or three coats, one horizontally and the other vertically, and repeat the pattern if more coats are required. Let dry an hour or more between layers, and cure at least 24 hours before conditioning with the side of a piece of chalk. Wipe clean with a dry cloth.
- non-toxic and hard, durable finish
- quick drying
- soap and water clean-up
- difficult to apply due to thick consistency
- Complaints it doesn’t wipe clean
What Is Chalkboard Paint?
There are many ways to organize, create crafts, gifts, décor, and entertain children, but a reusable chalkboard surface offers so much potential. Labeling boxes and bins, jars and lids, and making messages and menu boards is a breeze with quality chalkboard paint. Turn toys, cupboards or the fridge into a chalkboard that can be written and drawn on, erased, and used again.
Chalkboard paint is water or oil-based liquid that can be applied to almost any surface and turn it into a chalkboard. It commonly contains titanium and silicon dioxides and talc to create a paint film able to hold chalk. The formulation produces a smooth, durable, scratch-free, slate-like surface that can be used with dry chalk. Similar to boards in classrooms around the world, the surface can be drawn and written on, wiped off, and decorated with numbers, words, and pictures repeatedly.
Chalkboard paint isn’t just black, different manufacturers offer a variety of colors and it can even be customized to suit your décor. It is also available in clear-coat and can turn any surface into a chalkboard without detracting from the original surface color. The paints can be applied with soft acrylic brush, sponge roller, sponge, cotton tips, or fingers and are available in dry powder, pre-mixed liquid, or aerosol formats.
Does Chalkboard Paint Work?
There are many different brands of chalkboard paint on the market today, and like everything else, some work better than others. If you’re looking for a paint that can be used repeatedly to hold dry chalk, select quality paint such as one of those reviewed in our article. Some paints are for interior use only, and a few can be used outdoors.
Chalkboard paint produces a smooth, hard, slate-like finish that holds chalk. The surface can easily be wiped clean and written or drawn on multiple times. It adheres to drywall, wood, metal, glass, ceramic, earthenware, and many other materials. Use for crafts, décor, and other applications.
Some paints require surfaces to be primed or scuffed, and drying times often differ too. There are even paints that need to be baked in the oven but produce dishwasher and microwave safe surfaces. For the best chalkboard paint results, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you plan to use chalk markers, pens, or oil chalk, read the reviews and select a paint that produces an erasable surface they can adhere to and wipe off of. Many classroom chalkboards require conditioning with the edge of a piece of chalk, and it is common for the paints to require conditioning once they are dry too.
Types of Chalkboard Paint
Different types of chalkboard paint produce surfaces to use for exciting and creative work or fun. Do not confuse chalkboard paint with chalk paint, they are not the same.
Chalkboard paint for interior surfaces comes in a matte black and many other colors, including clear-coat. It can be used to create reusable drawing and writing surfaces throughout homes and businesses. The paints work well on drywall, wood, metal, earthenware, and other surfaces. Some paints work better on glass or plastic, so check the reviews and manufacturer’s write-ups for different surface use. The paint is ideal for craft and décor use.
There are chalkboard paints formulated to withstand harsh outdoor conditions. Some are water-based, and others oil-based. The paints can be applied to wood, primed metal, and even concrete or masonry surfaces. Available in matte black or a multitude of other colors, it can create fun outdoor play areas, message boards, label garden markers, and much more. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for surface prep and maintenance.
I was unable to find magnetic chalkboard paint. However, there are several ways to make a magnetic chalkboard surface. Applying chalkboard paint to a metal surface such as a fridge, metal sheet, or a steel door creates a magnetic writing surface. Alternatively, use a magnetic primer or paint on the surface, and then cover it with the chalkboard paint. The magnetic paint has a ferrous base that magnets stick to.
Chalkboard paint produces a matte black, slate-like finish that has become popular with interior decorators. The paint can be used to create a distressed or antique look, or as a low sheen finish. The paint is often sealed when applied to furniture and not used as writing or drawing surfaces.
Applying chalkboard paint to walls produces writing and drawing surfaces. Use for a multitude of purposes from messages, memos, calendars, art, sketching, discussion, to education. The low reflective matte finish is ideal for TV and entertainment rooms and can be enjoyed by both children and adults.
An enamel, baked-on finish for crafts or gifts is possible with some chalkboard paints. The paint is applied to a prepared surface, dried for some time, and then baked in a household oven. Once baked, the product is dishwasher safe, and even microwave safe for some paints. The chalkboard finish is durable, easy to wipe off, and easy to write or draw upon.
Best Chalkboard Paint Brands
Many brands produce chalkboard paint and as with many products, some are better than others. Sifting through reviews, write-ups, and other literature isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, so we’ve done some of it for you.
The three we’ve identified we consider having the best chalkboard paints currently. I recommend you always read the reviews and make your own decisions, and follow the manufacturer’s directions.
Krylon carries both brush-on and aerosol chalkboard paint in multiple colors. It can be applied to a wide range of surface mediums and produces a long-lasting, durable, scratch-resistant finish that won’t peel or chip. The smooth surface is easy to clean and ideal for craft and décor ideas.
Rust-Oleum also has both brush-on and aerosol chalkboard paint. It’s easy to use, durable, scratch-resistant, and the smooth finish is easy to erase. Although limited to matte black and green colors, there is a clear-coat option that will turn any color surface into a chalkboard.
Benjamin Moore produces chalkboard paint in black and more than 3500 other colors. The 100% acrylic latex paint produces a smooth matte finish that is easy to clean. The low odor and no VOCs make the interior paint more environmentally friendly.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Chalkboard Paint
When selecting chalkboard paint, there are many factors to consider.
Health Issues: Chalk produces dust that may irritate those with asthma. If you are planning to use chalk markers or pens, select paint that they will erase from. Additionally, select a product that has a low odor and minimal VOCs. Check the manufacturer’s site and also independent reviews.
Surface Prep: Check the manufacturer’s directions and the reviews to determine if the best results require sanding or priming, or the product works on porous or non-porous surfaces.
Paint Coverage: Select paint volume for the amount of surface area required. Volumes range from a couple of ounces to a gallon, with larger quantities available by special order.
Location: Some paints are formulated for interior use and others for exterior surfaces. Choose the paint that is best for the location you plan the chalkboard paint to be used in.
Sheen: Chalkboard paint often has a flat, low reflective sheen, and a matte finish. However, some products range from eggshell to semi-gloss, so shop around for what works for you.
Color: Although chalkboards are commonly black or green, you’re not limited to the institutional school colors. Some paint brands offer limited options, and others carry thousands of chalkboard paint colors.
Brush-on or Aerosol: Indoor or outdoor surfaces that require delicate brushwork or are large and may be done with a roller work best with brush-on paints. Aerosol paints produce fumes and paint ‘dust’ that can stick to other surfaces. Use it on intricate surfaces for even coverage, or with stencils. It is best to apply the spray version outdoors or in a well-vented area.
Enamel: If you desire an enamel finish that is dishwasher and microwave safe, select a paint that needs to be baked on in the oven. Check the instructions and reviews, and be cautious of surfaces that come in contact with food.
Drying Time: Drying time is important if you are on a limited schedule or are in a hurry for the surface to be usable. Most chalkboard paints require at least 2-hours to dry, and some aren’t cured for 14 days or more.
Conditioning: Some paints, similar to older school chalkboards, need to be conditioned before use. Conditioning requires the surface to be covered with chalk by rubbing it with the side of a piece of chalk. The chalk is then wiped off and the surface ready to write or draw upon.
How to Apply Chalkboard Paint
Once the surface is prepared and clean, and the paint has been stirred or shaken as the manufacturer recommends, it’s time to paint. The surface size, paint consistency, and instructions determine the application method – soft-bristle brush, sponge, cotton-tip, or fingertip, etc.
I suggest applying the paint in a uniform horizontal left to right strokes working from top to bottom. Some paints are touch-dry in minutes so you may have to work quickly. Multiple thin coats are better than one thick coat. Allow the paint to dry according to the directions and apply the second coat in even vertical strokes from top to bottom. An alternative method is to begin in the middle and work outwards to the edges, especially on small surfaces or when using stencils.
Priming is not required if the surface is not too porous or too shiny. Porous surfaces like concrete or brick should be primed, and some metal, glass, and plastic bond better if primed. Additionally, if using light-colored chalkboard paint over a dark surface, priming is recommended.
It is typical to apply two or three coats of paint to a surface. The thickness and consistency of chalkboard paint influence how many coats are required. You may decide one is enough, or apply more than three to produce the desired result.
Lightly scuffing glossy or shiny surfaces with 60 or 80 grit sandpaper may improve the bond between the paint and surface. This is especially true for some plastics, glass, metal, and painted surfaces. It is not recommended to sand between applications of chalkboard paint unless there are drips or bubbles to smooth.
Sealing chalkboard paint isn’t a common practice as it interferes with chalk bonding to the surface. However, some artists and businesses seal parts of chalkboards to prevent written or drawn work from being erased. You may also choose to seal the surface so chalk markers and pens are easier to erase.
Drying time varies for chalkboard paint. Some are touch-dry in a matter of minutes, and others in hours. It is common to wait three hours between coats but some paints suggest 24-hours. Once the paint seems dry, many manufacturers suggest allowing 72 for curing, and a few recommend two weeks.
Can You Paint Over Chalkboard Paint?
Chalkboard walls are presently in vogue, but as children age or times change, you may wish to paint over the surface. The process is reasonably easy. Clean off any chalk residue with a damp cloth.
Once the surface is dry, sand it with 120 or 150 grit sandpaper until the finish feels rough. Make sure the edges are smooth with the surrounding paint. Vacuum or wipe up any dust and let dry. Apply a good primer to the surface. Once it’s dry, cover with one or more coats of the desired color of topcoat.
Chalkboard maintenance covers a variety of topics from cleaning to touch-up and depends on the type of paint used. It is common to wipe the board with a dry cloth or felt brush to remove pictures or print. Weekly or monthly, depending on use, clean the surface with a damp cloth. Once the chalkboard is clean and dry, it may need to be conditioned again.
Before using chalk markers or pens, always test them on a small surface. If they require much effort to remove, try a different product. If the surface won’t clean up, or markers won’t wash off, apply a fresh coat of chalkboard paint on the surface to spruce it up.
The paints we discuss in this article are the best-reviewed. Krylon K05223000 Chalkboard Paint is our recommendation. The paint forms a durable, scratch-resistant film in matte black and hundreds of other colors. Whether aerosol or brush-on, the environmentally friendly paint dries hard for a smooth, long-lasting, slate-like finish.
I hope you have a better understanding of what chalkboard paint is and how to apply and maintain it. If you found this article helpful, please share it with others. Your comments and suggestions are always appreciated.