I am sure we were all doing the same thing this past weekend. Grieving for the families in Connecticut. I felt pure horror when I heard the news and just could not stop crying, for a long time.

I hugged and kissed on my (newly) six-year-old boy a ridiculous amount, we did family things, we carried on through our weekend, but especially when I would look at my son, I was overcome with grief. Grief and joy. A weird and uncomfortable mixture.

Saturday evening, I sat in my office with my face in my hands, crying again, when I realized I had to figure out a way out of it. I was at a low I’m not sure I’ve ever been at before and I made a decision right then that I needed to do something.

Because I could. I am a lucky one who gets to function right now. So I decided to.

I tried watching TV, but the first movie I came to, the first scene, was a teacher in a room of kids. I tried surfing the net, but I was pulled to news sites instead. So while it may sound trivial, I decided to DIY. And it soothed my soul.

It was a project that had been sitting half way done for weeks, and I finished it. It was the only thing that quieted my mind. So I am posting about it today and will be posting this week. It doesn’t mean I’m not grieving, it just means I need to do something normal and I think others do too, simple as that.


I actually started this project the day after Thanksgiving, late at night. It had been tumbling around in my brain for a while and I had one of those it’s-ten p.m.-why-not-start-now? moments.

We have a little wall in our kitchen that I have BIG plans for in the future – until recently it held a couple Goodwill shelves and a small magnetic chalkboard for my son:

kids chalkboard in kitchen

There were a couple of problems with this cutie wall though – one, the magnetic chalkboard, although painted with no less than ten coats of magnetic paint, didn’t hold magnets well. They had to be supersonic and it’s hard to find supersonic magnets suitable for a little one.

That’s the thing too, the little one is getting bigger. He’s getting a little too big for that chalkboard – not in the way that he doesn't use it, but in that it was getting too short for him.

I liked putting his art up there, but you can see that it became either an art board or a chalkboard – it couldn’t really be both.

The other biggie was the shelves – they were becoming a bit of a hazard. We’ve had more than one visitor bang their head as they came around the corner, and I prefer to have my visitors unharmed, so the shelves had to go.

That left a great little wall with a light switch right in the middle – and we all know how light switches can mess up art for a perfectly good wall. :) So I took it all down and started prepping the wall for paint:

chalkboard in kitchen

This little space had a TON of holes – I’ve had two different frames around that chalkboard and I’ve hung numerous things on that wall over the years. I think I must have filled 100 holes:

Finally it was time to paint – three coats of chalkboard paint, that I already had from the original one on that wall.

I tried the whole foil in the paint tray thing and it worked beautifully. Doing this again for sure!:

foil lining paint tray for easy clean up

No mess, no clean up. Awesome!

When it was dry, I started the priming of the wall. Priming with chalk that is – I never did this with the smaller chalkboard and it always cleaned up fine, but I kept reading you were supposed to do it. And I’m a good blogger so I did it:

priming a chalkboard priming a chalkboard

I started with small pieces of chalk, which was a little maddening. Those ran out fast, and then I remembered I had sidewalk chalk in the garage. That worked like a charm – but no white chalk left for the Bub come spring. :)

I wiped it off, it felt like six or seven times to get all the chalk off, then we started playing – making list, drawings. And it sat like that for weeks, until I finished it up this weekend.

I knew I wanted to have the chalkboard, but I also knew I would want more than just the plain wall. I still wanted a spot where I could display the kiddo’s art too, so I came up with a plan that involved empty frames.

Usually I just start hanging things and don’t worry about holes in the walls, but this is such a narrow spot, I knew I needed to plan it out a little. So I grabbed my delicate FrogTape and put the dimensions of the wall on the floor:

planning a gallery wall

I added the light switch, but forgot the plug, which messed me up a little later. I picked out some frames from my stash in the basement and played around with placement:

planning a gallery wall

I had some small projects in mind to fill them so I picked some of the frames on purpose, others just because the size worked. I ended up moving things around a bit for the final result, but putting it all on the floor first helped tremendously.

I painted the frames with leftover chalk paint – both Annie Sloan (the aqua) and the CeCe Caldwell gray I used here.

I absolutely LOVE how this wall turned out!:

chalkboard gallery wall

I didn’t want to fill it up too much because I wanted the kiddo to have room to use it. I’ve already started using that area above the switch as a spot for the grocery list.

It’s functional, fun and pretty, and I just love it!:

DIY chalkboard gallery wall

I know chalkboards are SO trendy and the thing and are everywhere, but I’m always late on trends. And actually, if I think about it, I created the original little chalkboard five years ago, waaaaaay ahead of the trend. So I’m both in front and behind of the trend…yeah, that’s it! :)

Here’s a look at this spot, before and after:

chalkboard gallery wall   

I loved the before too, but it just wasn’t working for us anymore. Now the Bub still has a place to draw, I have a spot for lists, and I can showcase art and fun stuff (like during the holidays).

And I’ll share how I’ve made it into a gallery wall for the Bub’s art soon too! It’s so easy to change the art out and I love having the whole wall to show off his schoolwork and pictures.

So there’s the project I finished up this weekend – it made me smile a real smile and my boy helped me along the way. Both very good things.

Are you on the chalkboard wagon? They really are too fun and I don’t see them going anywhere anytime soon.