bringing creativity back.

Around Christmas time, Andrew and I were discussing how (in spite of us both being designers) our everyday lives don’t seem to allow for much creativity. One small way we decided to combat this is by adding a small chalkboard wall to our kitchen. We’re hoping that this will give us a good place to make art that’s intentionally temporary and help us remember to have fun creating things.

I remembered that Barb of Knack Studios did this a while ago, and she kindly gave me a few tips. The most important: Don’t skip the conditioning step. Even though you won’t want to mess up your beautiful wall, you need to do it.

There are all kinds of varying reports online about whether or not this step is necessary, so her advice was really helpful. I would definitely have been tempted to skip it since that eliminates most of the process. Here’s what we did:

Step 1: paint the wall
For such a small area, I was really pleased with how quickly this went. I did three coats for this wall. It was really tempting to stop here because it looks finished!

Step 2: condition the wall
This is the part where you use up half a box of chalk by covering the entire wall with chalk. Using the chalk on its side makes it go fairly quick though.

Step 3: erase
Although it makes you wonder if the wall will ever look good, these conditioning steps make sure your wall erases better down the road.

Step 4: clean
Use a wet cloth or sponge to wipe down the wall. Surprisingly, it returned to the beautiful rich black it started out! You’ll also want to clean up your floor here as well since steps 2 & 3 leave a fine coat of chalk dust next to the wall.

After our one-weekend project, we can now draw fun things on our wall any time we feel like it! It’s been really nice to have a place to practice hand-lettering and be creative without the aid of a computer!

Andrew drew this for Melanie the day she came back for school.

We’ve also used the wall to keep track of weekly menus, welcome friends when they come over or just to leave each other notes.

I tend to be a perfectionist at heart, which means this wall has been a good exercise for me โ€” making myself draw and write and not worry so much about how it looks. I can always erase and start over.

Note: I was worried about a chalkboard wall in a kitchen because of the mess, but the wall is small and away from where we prepare food so it hasn’t been an issue at all.