Make Your Mark with Chalkboards Around the House

Martha Stewart
At Home

Chalkboards aren't just for history class anymore. Thanks to a slew of clever paint products, you can create your own wipe-off customized writing surfaces at home to track appointments, keep lists, and leave messages -- or simply cover your kid's bedroom walls for oodles of doodles.

Wall Calendar
Turn a wall in your home office into a mega family planner, with six weeks' worth of squares in a variety of shades to accommodate lots of busy schedules. To create yours, start with a base coat of store-bought black chalkboard paint, and mix in varying amounts of white chalkboard paint to create lighter squares. Then, cover the rest of the wall with chalkboard paint for even more memo-making.

Plus: Fall Organizing Tips

Mudroom Mural
The bottom half of a mudroom wall is just the right height for pint-size Picassos. Coat with store-bought green chalkboard paint, and let the drawing fun begin! The canvas can then be wiped clean with a damp sponge. Apply corkboard, available at home centers, to the wall above the chair rail for displaying more of your kid's artwork; you can use latex paint to cover the cork in a room-matching color.

Message Center
To make miniature chalkboards, measure and cut pieces of sanded plywood, and slip them into picture frames. Cover each panel, frame and all, with primer and chalkboard paint, and lean them on an entryway shelf for on-the-go reminders.

Pantry Reminder
Covered with chalkboard paint, a pantry door serves as the perfect place to keep a running shopping list. You can custom-color the paint so that it blends seamlessly with the rest of the door. This idea also works well on children's closet doors. Just remember to tape off those areas you don't want to paint, such as knobs and hardware.

Plus: 12 Homekeeping Multitaskers

Custom Chalkboard Paint How-To
Most store-bought chalkboard paint formulas come in traditional green and black, but you can mix your own batch in any shade using this recipe:

1. Start with flat-finish latex paint in any shade. For small areas, such as a door panel, mix 1 cup at a time.
2. Pour 1 cup of paint into a container. Add 2 tablespoons of unsanded tile grout. Mix with a paint stirrer, carefully breaking up clumps.
3. Apply paint with a roller or a sponge paintbrush to a primed or painted surface. Work in small sections, going over the same spot several times to ensure full, even coverage. Let dry.
4. Smooth area with 150-grit sandpaper, and wipe off dust.
5. To condition, rub the side of a piece of chalk over entire surface. Wipe away residue with a barely damp sponge.

Decorating by Color
Ideas for Decorating with Photographs
A Peek Inside Martha's Kitchens
Gorgeous Fall Flower Arrangements