Sunday, May 15, 2011

long long ago

this post is made possible by the miracles of max AND ben napping, me not needing a nap, and the fact that i have to wait to pick up a tool from my brother before i can start my next project.

back in march, when winter was dragging on and on and i was about to go nuts, i decided to finally tackle a project i had been thinking about for a long time. i had actually planned on doing the project in january and my big sister was going to help as my birthday present, but i wasn't feeling well the night we had planned to start. then i kept putting it off, pretty certain that it was going to be more work than i had initially thought.

my plan was to turn this blank wall, between the kitchen and laundry room, into a chalkboard wall. the part that caused my hesitancy was deciding whether or not i wanted to also make the wall magnetic. the door next to this wall is metal and i use it to hang up the boys' art. did i really need two huge magnetic surfaces right next to each other? i didn't want the wall to get cluttered or to have papers get knocked off the wall as i walked by, and it just didn't seem like i would use the wall for magnets. but...if i didn't make the wall magnetic and then changed my mind, i would have to redo the chalkboard part, as the magnetic paint is a primer and the chalkboard paint is the top coat.

both tim and my sister, knowing me well, encouraged the magnetic primer so that i wouldn't have any regret. better to have it and not use it than to wish i had it.

because the magnetic primer would need at least three coats and it needed at least an hour to dry between each coat i had two choices-work on the project every night for a week, having to drag out my supplies each night, or, get rid of the boys for a whole day and tackle it all at once. knowing my usual lack of energy after the boys are in bed and the fact that i HATE paint clean-up and didn't want to have to do it each night i worked on the wall, i asked tim's mom if she could keep the boys for a day. because she's totally awesome, she kindly agreed.

i was glad the boys weren't around because the wall, as i suspected, took a lot more time and effort than it should have. instead of the three coats of primer the can recommended, i had to do five coats, waiting an hour between each coat. after each coat, i would check to see if a magnet would stick and the pull was too weak to hold anything up. i actually had to run to lowe's to get another can which really ticked me off since the stuff cost about $20 a can.

after five coats of the goopy, messy, horrible smelling magnetic primer, i called it good.

next went up the chalkboard paint. it went on a lot easier, but i was really nervous that it would actually work because it just looked like black glossy paint. i wouldn't know for 24 hours, because i had to let the paint cure, which was really hard for little 'ol impatient me.

as i drove to pick up the boys from tim's parent's house i was totally bummed. the project had taken all day to paint one silly little wall, i was a mess, and i was pretty certain the whole thing was a bust. i spent most of my drive writing mental letters of complaint to the two paint companies. it turns out, the chalkboard wall actually did work. i rubbed the whole thing with chalk and then erased it, per instructions that i had seen of other blogs but that wasn't mentioned on my brand of paint, and away we went a drawin'.

of course ben had to draw a rocket in my flowers.

and a jeep driving through my daisies.

the magnetic part is still pretty weak, but it has enough strength to hold one piece of paper. if i were to do it again, i think i'd just skip the magnetic part. and i did call the company that made the magnetic primer and requested a refund for the second can of paint, which i shouldn't have needed, and they sent me a check without any hassle.

i've had mixed feeling about the wall. it's great to use for my to-do lists and sometimes while max is napping, ben and i sit down and draw together. but mostly the boys scribble on it, then ignore it for days, which just makes one more visually cluttered thing for me to deal with. or they squabble while drawing because max likes to erase ben's work to get a rise out him. and it makes a lot of dust.

but last night my sister and several of her boys stopped by. the boys hadn't seen the wall yet and kept going on about how cool it was. my nine year old Godson is pretty selective about what he considers "cool", so it made me feel pretty good that it passed his approval. and then i saw this at the bottom corner of the chalkboard this morning, written, hopefully by the seven year old and not the nine year old ; )

that little message made all the work totally worth it.


  1. Aww, such a sweet note.

    in theory, I think the idea of magnetic paint or chalkboard paint is cool, but I'd have the same (legitimate) concerns you did about the magnetic-ity. And I hate chalk, so I know that would be a no go for me. I hope it grows on you some more!

  2. I have always wanted a chalk board cool!!! Nice work!!

  3. That is really cool! After painting and painting and painting while working on our house over the past few years, we're so sick of painting that I don't think I'd want to paint even one wall. Even though I do think the magnetic chalk board wall is cool.

  4. That is really cool! I would never have thought to do something like that! Also, love the little note you got on it. Made my heart melt.

  5. I really love your magnetic/chalkboard wall. I think it looks perfect in your house and not messy. And actually, if it did look messy I think it would still look good. I've always thought of doing this but would probably not do the magnetic part after reading this. Thanks for sharing this!