Chalkboard “brush” paint vs “spray” Chalkboard paint

I have deduced that I am a “Chalkboard-ologist”.

A Chalkboard-ologist you say?

Well, I believe that 747 posts on how to transform mirrors, trays, frames and whatever you can into a chalkboards, makes me a “Chalkboard-ologist”.

In my quest to further my studies on chalkboard-ology I recently experimented with my favorite chalkboard paint vs. spray chalkboard paint.

Many of you have asked me my opinion regarding and I really didn’t know.

But I do now.

Ready? This is a serious study so there will be a ton of photos. Be prepared……

What I used:

I have used different chalkboard paints and Rust-Oleum by far is my favorite.

I don’t have peeling issues and it goes on smoother.

They are both on sale right now at Amazon. They also qualify for super save shipping. WIN/WIN!

I ordered 700!

I didn’t.


I wanted to!


For real. My husband about had a heart-attack.

On sale? Free shipping? It was a no brainer. PLUS my Lowes stopped carrying it and I could not find Rust-Oleum brand chalkboard paint anywhere. RUST-OLEUM…do you hear me? I think you should send me some free stuff to talk about!

My chalkboards have been pinned thousands of times and are number one on google searches.


Send ME some…..then I can give you some. ; ) FOR FREEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!

I’m off track……

Back to my research.

Two thrift store mirrors.

First off…..spray paint mirror.

I can tell you that I have ALWAYS painted my “brush” on chalkboard paint right on mirror and glass. You know that from  my 1000 different chalkboards BUT I was not confident about spray paint right on. I need my chalkboards durable. I sell them and if I use them, I use a damp rag to erase. I don’t want to worry about peeling, scratching etc. So….I primed the surface of the “Spray paint” chalkboard.

Then I did a layer of “spray paint” chalkboard paint.

No, I didn’t tape. I knew that when I distressed dark wood would peep through and I wasn’t too worried if parts were “darker” because of the black paint. So don’t be “hating” on me. : )

I was worried about these “dots” or “wet” looks though, that spray paint can give when spraying too closely. No worries….they eventually dried.

It was a super smooth finish and I was feeling pretty good about it.

Then my brush lightly scratched it and mirror showed.



So,  I applied three coats, like I do with my brush paint BUT there were “thin” spots though that I used my “brush paint” to cover.

Cost of spray paint……$7.19 right now on Amazon and I used maybe half the can? Could be less it was hard to tell by feel of the weight of the can. I think it had to be half though.

Ok…….”Brush on paint “chalkboard paint.

I am just going to show you the finished product. I didn’t prime. Just brushed on with foam brush and three coats.

It felt thick AFTER applying and drying. Just like I like it and durable. I also used maybe 1/18 of the can or less? These cans last FOREVER.

Price right now on Amazon for brush on paint……$14.93 for 30 ozs. I will get about twenty chalkboards (at least) out of this can.

Now….here is where personal preference comes in.

Can you see how the writing is smoother on the spray paint side?

It’s a little “rougher” on the brush side.

I like that look. It reminds me of a “real” slate chalkboard.

But if you like “neat and tidy”, you may like the smoothness spray paint offers.


My PERSONAL thoughts.

Spray paint cons:

* Scratches easily

* Not as cost-effective

Spray paint Pros:

* Smoother Finish


Brush paint cons:

* Rougher surface

Brush paint Pros:

* Price effective

* Longer lasting

* Durability


Does that answer some questions?

You can check out my other chalkboard posts under the “tags” on the right of my page. There are a ton!


Do you have a favorite? Spray paint vs brush?

What do you think of my “wooden” chalkboard vs painting it?

I think I really like the natural look. I bought it like this. Someone had attempted stripping it but I liked the rough look and uneven stain. I just polished.

So, am I an official “chalkboard-ologist? Should I add it to my resume?

Like the natural wood?

Have a preference?

Tell me what you think!

I can’t wait to hear from you!



PS. If you are just joining please “Like” on Facebook. It is such a neat place to get to know you and hang out. Subscribe to emails so you won’t miss a post and let me know if we can “tweak” this new design even more to assist you!


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  1. I’ve used both as well. The spray paint version has held up well on my non-glass/mirror surface. And I did like the smoother surface. But agreed- the brush on is much more cost-effective.

    • Thank you Molly! I love hearing that someone else has done as well. I was worried about how the spray would hold up on the mirror. So glad you took the time to comment! Love having you around! Love, Me

  2. I like the name thing-gives authority! I think I’ll be a trim painting-ologist. Why? Cause I’ve applied for tons of jobs this year and no one gives a hoot about someone 10 years out of the workforce. And I’ve painted more trim in this crazy house than I could shake a stir-stick at. Ahem.

    But anyway, about your post! :), I’m glad you did the review. I’m cheap so all I’ve tried is the roll-on, but I have been curious about spray. I like the cleaner finish but still I’m too cheap to go that route.

    And if you hear from Rust-o-leum tell them to give me a holla too! We’ve used tons of their deck products as well as spray paints :).

    • Ugh, I feel your pain about applying for jobs! Did you check out my Goodwill secrets series. Check out number #4. I think it may help your situation. It is me. Don’t forget to edit your resume to include “trim-ologist/paint-ologist”. ; ) I will give Rust-o-leum a “holla” for you too! Love, Me

    • I to have been out of the workforce; not by choice of my own. I was laid off about a 1 1/2 ago and have been on tons of interviews. I have been calling myself “the professional interviewee.” I love that you posted about spray vs. brush on chalkboard paint as I am opening a flea market booth in a few weeks. I have several ideas of using chalkboard paint for selling in my booth. I am going to try the spray chalkboard paint on glass because I have it on hand. I will definately check out the amazon sale on chalkboard paint.

      Thank you so much for your review!

      Auntie Em

  3. Great timing! I’m in the process of creating a few chalkboards today. I’ve never painted on glass or mirrors before, but today decided to keep the glass and paint on it. I’ve started with two coats of chalkboard spray paint. After reading this I do believe that I’ll be adding a coat of brushed on paint as a “just in case”.

    Yes, the brush on paint is much more cost effective and for that reason alone i’ll be continuing with that. Luckily, both forms were in my stash and ready to use. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m going to be certain to link your study on my chalkboard post when it’s completed. It’s great!

  4. I’ve only used the brush on but was curious about the spray. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject! Love all your chalkboards!!

  5. Good info! I haven’t been too impressed with the sprays. I am getting ready to paint a wall of my kitchen (brush of course).

  6. I’ve learned you can use regular black enamel paint to make a chalkboard, you don’t have to spend more for chalkboard paint. I brushed on some black enamel I had left over from another project, onto a thrifted metal tray. It took two coats of paint. When it was dry I primed the board by rubbing the side of a piece of chalk over the entire painted surface then wiped it off well with a dry cloth. It works very well as a message board & I even made some as gifts. Everyone loved them & no one ever noticed it was chalkboard paint.

  7. I wonder if you could just the canned kind in a paint sprayer? That way you could get the smooth finish effect like the spray can kind with the durability of the canned kind…Hmmm. Guess it might be too thick to use in a sprayer but I see an experiment of my own in the near future! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Hi Rebecca, I haven’t tried the brush-on yet but I just purchased a quart. I’m a chalkboard making fool…..I have been turning the mirror around in the frame and have used the back so if someday I get tired (or my customers do) of the chalkboard it can easily be reverted back to a mirror…..

  9. Thanks for the tips, love all your chalkboard projects!

  10. Thanks for the comparison! I’ve only used the brush-on chalkboard paint, but I rolled it on over some primer and it turned out really smooth. So, that’s an option that marries the best of both worlds! I blogged about it here:

  11. Hi – I tried only the Martha brand on an old mirror and despite several layers I still got some mirror peeking through. I the put a product called Primetch which I have used with great success on tile and stainless steel – and then applied the Martha chalk paint and it still showed through. So I guess I will give the rust oleum product. I also have some mirror peeking through on the very edges. Maybe it wS just a tough mirror to cover – it was pretty old, probably 50 or more years

    Rimer is in order?I also had trouble getting Annie Sloan chalk paint to cover some old trays that were made of copper and another I think was silver plated. I guess that means primer is in order?

  12. Hi, I too have rolled the chalkboard paint on with a foam roller it works really well. I only do two coats you are right about the can it lasts FOREVER!

    • Hi Connie! Can you tell me what type of roller brush you used. Nap? Foam?
      I tried both and they each had this bubbly finish rather than a smooth look.

  13. Hello! I’m looking for fast help!! I am trying to use the top of a finished wooden table (bought at Hobby Lobby with smooth paint on the top and “pencil legs” and turn the top of the table into a chalkboard. I have the can of paint an used a roller as recommended on the can. But when I started to roll the paint on, little bubbles formed, as if from the foam of the roller material, rather than from air.
    I used a recommended type of roller brush and something still seems wrong. I’m not getting a smooth finish. I quickly used water to wipe off the mess.
    Can anyone please help, or recommend anything! I’m trying to do this for my nieces birthday in a few days.
    I’m thinking of using the spray can method but not sure of its durability on a wooden table.
    Suggestions are welcomed!!! Thank you!!!

    • Hey Jenna! I emailed Connie directly and asked her if she could help you and the issue you are having. Let me know if she contacts you!
      Love, Me

      • Thank you so much Connie and Rebecca for your help and input. I ends up purchasing the spray paint and it worked wonderfully!
        Gonna try and see if Home Depot will return my paint can and roller since I was told they have a guarantee. But either way, it worked! Yay!
        Thanks again!

    • For the ‘bubbles’ issue when rolling on chalkboard paint, I’ve found two ways around it.
      I’ve had less bubble issues with a cotton mini roller than I’ve had with the foam mini rollers – try a different type of roller.
      The other work around for bubbles is to roll it on then I set my air compressor to very low output pressure and gently blow over the whole thing using the air gun attachment. This essentially ‘pops’ the bubbles and all is well.

  14. WONDERFUL, HELPFUL POST. I love it!! Only ever used spray, now I know the the pros and cons without testing myself ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks Reb

  15. This is so funny. I was in the shower (don’t you do your best thinking there?) And I thought to myself, that I would post on FB about this very subject. To see who likes what. I have always used rustoleum in a can. I bought spray for the first time ever yesterday. Used it today. I got mine at The Home Depot for $4.98.
    Anyway, after I got out of the shower, I forgot to do the fb post and I saw this on Pinterest! I couldn’t get over here fast enough to read your thoughts.
    I too do 3 coats with the quart (using a foam brush) I have a particular project in mind for the spray. I hope it works.
    Thanks for your thoughts!

  16. Great post – I have also turned into a chalkboard paint fanantic. I am painting everything with it that I can. Have not tried the spray paint version but, good to know the pros and cons. Stopped by from Debbidos Pinterest Party….am now following your blog and facebook page…..

  17. I found the best paint is basic FLAT paint and a foam brush work best. Cheap and no brush marks. Using flat paint you can use different colors for your chalk board!!

  18. Hey ya’ll,

    I have to make a chalk or dry-erase board for a “pictionary” type game and thought it would be easier and cheaper to make my own chalk board. I am considering the Rust-Oleum Spray paint since it is only $4.98 at Home Depot, but my only concern is if it will be durable enough for a “pictionary” type game.


    Thank you!

  19. They also make chalkboard contact paper. It’s fantastic. Just peel and stick!

  20. Have you ever tried sanding the brush-on with a super fine grit sandpaper?

  21. Hello. I’m making a chalkboard frame for my husband for Valentine’s Day and used the spray form chalkboard paint…I can’t find a chalk that will write smoothly, evenly and dark enough. Any suggestions, please?? Thank you!!

  22. I actually have 2 chalkboard paint projects drying right now. One is spray chalkboard paint and the other regular brush chalkboard paint, both Rust-oleum. The spray paint is being used on a piece of wood that will be fit in to my pantry door to make grocery lists. I applied the brush paint directly to my laundry room wall, where it will be framed and used as a place to write my “To Do” list. My husband is worried about the spray paint on the wood because he thinks it doesn’t seem smooth enough. The first coat is still drying. Have you used the spray chalkboard paint on wood? And if so, is it supposed to dry perfectly smooth?
    Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I am sorry for the delay in responding to you! You actually went to my spam. I have used chalkboard spray paint on wood and it does go on smoothly, if your wood is smoothe. Did you finish your chalkboards by now? : ) Tell me about it! XOXO! Rebecca

  23. Howdy!

    I can imagine the finish that was on the wood frame, and I’m glad it’s stripped. And all the marks just draw out its depth and character even more. Great choice and good job NOT buffing it out to a more uniform look! I love that colonial or federal style (especially square notched trim!)

    • One of my favorite chalkboards and hated letting it go…..the lady that bought it loved it like we do though, so that is a good thing. XOXO! : )

  24. How long do you wait between re coating with the paint brush method?

  25. Stephanie says:

    Have you ever tried the make your own chalkboard paint ? With latex paint and sand free grout ? Also have you ever painted ceramic tile ? Want to know if I need to primer them because they have a smooth finish slightly glossy.

  26. Do you happen to know if you can spray or paint onto Styrofoam? I decorate cakes and my kids always want to help. Thought it would be fun if they could each have their own 3 tiered cake to draw on. I’ve seen it done with hat boxes but Styrofoam cake dummies would be cheaper. Any advice would be great!

  27. cindy jones says:

    I did a mirror. Using spray and when it dried it had a crackel all over the dried surface

    • Cindy! What a pain! I am wondering if it was too many coats before it dried? You could lightly sand and now do another coat. Let me know how that works. What brand did you use? XOXO! Rebecca

  28. Carol Ujan says:

    Hi ๐Ÿ™‚

    Today I made my very first chalk table! It had been an idea in my head for quite sometime as we had an old Ikea side table that was stained beyond belief with our kids’ markers and what not that needed re-purposing.

    I had originally thought of mixing my own chalkboard paint after reading so much about it and had even decided on a nice dark purple paint colour. But the Ace Hardware store in my area only had one box of unsanded tile grout left and it was a huge, big old one that cost way too much for one simple little project.

    So I ended up buying a can of Krylon chalkboard spray paint in green (it was the only chalkboard spray brand they carried). It went on nicely and dried up smooth. I primed it with chalk before letting my kids use it but it wasn’t long before I noticed that my two-year-old had scratched a small area of paint off and the white table surface peeked through.

    I’m wondering now if I had missed something out? Should there have been a layer of something else underneath before I sprayed the table top? I’m new to this and would love to hear your opinion on what I should have done differently ๐Ÿ™‚

    A friend of mine saw the table I did on my FB page and she wants one for her kids as well. I would love to make one for her but am worried that the chalk table won’t stand up to normal wear and tear by young kids like the one I did.

    Carol (From Malaysia).

    • I am so sorry I missed this. It was in my spam! I have not really used the spray paint on tables. If it were a heavily used and you think your friends kids will use heavily, I would suggest just spray painting with “any” color over the surface first. That way it will give the spray paint “chalkboard paint” something to stick to. I’m still so impressed that I have a reader in Malaysia! You are so cool! ; ) XOXO! Rebecca

  29. Thanks so much for the tips. I painted a mirror with a brush and did get the brush strokes. I agree with you that I like the look of the traditional slate chalkboard. Have a great weekend!
    House on the Way

  30. Hi, i painted a piece of wood with rust-oleum brush chalkboard paint, i applied like 3 coats in total, waiting hours between each one, the last coat like 12 hours ago but i dont like the glossy finish, it doesnt look like a normal chalkboard, it looks really shiny and glossy. I did applied a primer, altough here in Mexico they told me to use a sealer telling me it was the same thing. Is this glossy look normal?

    • Hey Rebeca? Is that your name? We match! : ) I want to make sure I understand. They told you to put a sealer on the wood. That is what you primed with, correct? Not a sealer on the last coat? It shouldn’t be glossy. I am wondering if your chalk paint could be mixed differently. Here is what I suggest, because if it messes it up, you can always put another coat on it. Lightly sand the chalkboard. See if it takes off the shine. You could also buy a small can of FLAT black paint. Mix it with an equal part of chalkboard paint and do the final coat. See how that goes. I am convinced your paint must be mixed differently. I am going to try to find out from Rustoleum. Let me know how those attempts go! XOXO! REbecca

      • Yes, my name is also Rebeca with one “c” because im mexican and we only use one “c”! So, thanks for your reply and yes, the sealer was my primer and used it before, and of course already dried, the chalkbooard paint. Its been almost 48 hours since the last coat but still remains looking really glossy, i have not written anything yet or neither rolling the side of a chalk over it, i dont know if that is the cause, but the instructions advise to wait 3 days before using it. I will try to do what you suggest, i hope to do it before my baby is born (due next week) because i was planning to use it as decoration in the hospital room. I’ll let you know any news and thanks a lot Rebecca! Best regards!

  31. Which did you find to have a cleaner appearance after erasing chalk from the board? Or do they both eventually have a chalk buildup giving them a white coat leaving them less black over time?


  32. I am making a sorority sister a wooden paddle that I have painted in chalkboard paint from michaels and have put on so many layers that I cannot remember including a sealer as my first layer and it has dried over 48 hours. It still remains shiny and does not really feel like chalk board. How do you prime it with chalk? Or keep it from peeling? Or even get chalk to work on it because I am afraid it wont.

    • I just saw this comment. I’m sorry! I think your issue is that you used a sealer. I do not use a sealer with chalkboard paint. You may need to just do another coat over the sealer and let dry. Also, MAX coats that I do…..three. Check out some more of my chalkboard posts. Such a cute idea! Hope it turned out and so sorry that I didn’t see your comment. XOXO! Rebecca

  33. Awesome post. I just threw on a few coats of rustoleum onto a couple surfaces (one old window, another sheet of plywood I want to frame). I have put three coats on each and wondering a) if that is enough and b) how do i best move forward from here? I’ve heard that it’s best to wait a number of days before rubbing the whole thing with chalk as that will help somehow… have you found this to be a good approach? Thanks!

    • Cari, I am NOT the norm. I do not season my board and I just make sure they are dry. I literally have made…..a bajillion chalk boards the same way. No complaint from clients or friends. I also only sue three coats. Check out my other chalk board posts. Keep it simple. You are starting out perfect. I love the surfaces you have chosen so far! XOXO! Rebecca

  34. Jennifer Vitale says:

    Thanks for the tips! VERY useful information as I am painting my very first chalkboard…and using a brush, not a spray can ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Did you use a “chalk” pen or just plain ‘ole chalk? I use a damp….not wet….paper towel when I erase. Try that and let me know what you think. Otherwise you may have written on it before it totally “cured”. Do one more quick layer and let it dry hard in the sun. Then give it a shot with regular chalk. Let me know how it goes. XOXO!

  36. Brian Webb says:

    My question is I want to refinish an old blackboard can you give me some recommendation

  37. Have you ever tried spraying the can stuff with a paint sprayer? I have a couple of mirrors to do all at once, just thought it might be worth loading up the sprayer for to get them done quick and get a smoother finish.

    • Hello Deanna! This email was in my spam! I’m sorry! I would think the paint may be too thick for a sprayer but I am not really familiar with a sprayer. You will be surprise how fast you can get done with just a spray paint can. I would suggest Rustoleums spray paint nozzle that I use in many of my posts. It makes the projects fly and coverage smooth. Super affordable. XOXO! Rebecca

  38. Thanks for this post! I’m making a big chalkboard on masonite for my wall to use for Waldorf-inspired homeschooling. I’ll be using it to make really beautiful chalk drawings, with layers of color using quality chalk. I read somewhere online that for this type of chalkboard you really need to have some “tooth” to the texture, so the recommendation was to avoid using spray paint. Now, though, I’m wondering whether I should use a paintbrush or paint roller. Either way you’ll get some tooth, right?

    • Hello Mindy! I would “think” that you would get some “tooth” with a roller, but I guess you would have to be careful what type of roller you choose. Some say for “smooth” finish etc. That is a great question. My favorite chalkboard paint is Rustoleum by the way. It has been so much hardier than Valspar, even though I love Valspar for my furniture items. Sounds like a big project and I would suggest going with a roller. Good luck! XO! Rebecca

  39. Angela Kloss says:

    I was googling the spray on chalkboard paint I just purchased and ran across your blog. I absolutely love this post! I just used the spray on chalkboard paint yesterday on a wooden tray from Goodwill and a metal tray I got from there as well. I noticed how easy it is to scratch the surface. I’m actually doing about 3 to 4 coats but mostly because I’m learning how close is too close when spraying on the paint lol. I do love how you can see the different colors glinting off the paint with the spray on. Also it goes one just like regular spray paint which I wasn’t sure how thick it would be. I have definite plans on purchasing the regular chalkboard paint as well. Thank you for such a fun and informational post!

    • I can’t wait to hear about what you create. Make sure to stick around. Like my Facebook and post your projects. I would love to see them. XO! Rebecca

  40. Love your website! What is the best way to preserve chalk board art? I am making a housewarming gift and tried to spray hairspray on it, but it faded the chalk and left spots all over the rest of the board ๐Ÿ™

    • Beth, I could only try to google your answer as I am not a chalk artist. Many said hairspray like you tried but there was also some other kind of product mentioned. I am pasting it below. Good luck and stick around! XO!

      Best Answer – Chosen by Voters
      There are many schools of thought on this subject. It is a practice by a lot of artist to spay then with a fixatif but I do not. I use good quality pastels and good quality paper and I am not interested in introducing a chemical covering which will destroy the highlights have worked so hard to get.
      Pastels can be stored with a sheet of tissue paper between them. I use a big sketch book and put the work between the pages with tissue paper to protect. I frame the ones I like as soon as possible so they are up and untouchable. Be sure your framer, does a reverse cut on the bevel of the mat and puts a spacer between the work and the mat. Anything that dusts off will then fall behind the mat.

      Other than that spay the “puppy” with fixatif or hair spray .

  41. Hi,

    I did not read all the posts… sorry! But I was wondering if you have ever tried to “flat” the surfaces? We have a woodworking factory, and before a last coat of paint, all objects gets “flattened” you use a very fine abrasive paper to get rid of all ridges, like a 260 or 320 grit. I have not tried this with blackboardpaint, but need to make some for my photography. So was maybe wondering if anyone had experience with this?

    Thank you for a great post…. I will be going through shops in South Africa to see if I can find the spray can version….. Maybe after flattening, you can touch up with the spray can…?

  42. Hi Rebecca! Thanks for posting and thank for all the comments! I added about three coats of primer to a piece of wood to make a playroom chalk board. I am trying to get an old-school traditional feeling chalk board. Would metal have been a better choice? Is the chalkboard going to be glossy now that I added the primer? and, lastly…I have the Rust-oleum spray paint, should I exchange it for the paint before I get started? I don’t want a clean look, I want a chalkboard look:-)

    • Hey Bonnie! Ok…..a couple of thoughts. ONE: Exchange the paint for the Rustoleum can. The spray paint will be too smooth for what you are looking for, I believe. TWO: Use a brush. It doesn’t have to be a good brush. I like the brush strokes to some degree and you will get that “rougher” look with a brush. THREE: test a section, if the primer made the board too smooth, what about using the un-primed side of the board? You could test both sides. Good luck and can’t wait to hear how it turns out! XO! Rebecca

  43. Magdalena says:

    I was wondering how well do they erase? I had a classroom where the previous teacher had used chalkboard paint to make a pseudo bulliten board and when she had tried to erase it the wall would not come clean! What a mess.

    • Mine always comes clean. I use a damp paper towel sometimes to get a really good clean but there is no leftover writing after I erase with just a paper towel. I wonder if it was the type of chalk. You can’t use chalk pen, I do know that! XO!

  44. Thanks for this helpful post about turning mirrors into chalkboards. A few questions I have are, do you recommend using a primer before painting on the chalkboard paint, and if so, what type/brand of primer should be used? Thanks, Kayce

    • I only used a “primer” of sort when I used spray paint chalkboard paint. Mainly because I wasn’t sure if it would work. I used the same spray paint or paint that I was using on my frame and just “slapped” it on the glass. Nothing fancy shmancy. : ) But…..99 % of the time, I do NOT prime. XO!

  45. I’ve been considering using the spray. I’m curious how well reversible this is. Let’s say I utterly hate it, will paint thinner/acetone take it off? I had purchased some of the Rust-oleum glass opacity spray paint and used it. Instructions said if I wanted to reverse the work, I could just wash it off with acetone. Curious if you’ve attempted to undo any of your work? Long shot, but figured I’d ask someone with product experience.

    • I really don’t know the answer to that question. Which is why I use yard sale frames and old pictures that I do not like. No realy big loss. I do think if you wanted to… could use a razor and scrape off the glass or mirror. Remember, I paint right on the glass or mirror. I know I really didn’t help. Sorry! XO! Reb

  46. I actually did a poster presentation several years ago addressing the spray paint chalk paint and white board paint. My recommendation was don’t. The spray paint flakes when one erases and the surface is not at all durable. Magnetic primers also not worth it.

  47. could it be the spray on was smoother because you used a primer? and not for the brush on

  48. I Work At Michaels Arts And Craft And We Carry The Rustoleum Chalk Paint. At Least Mine Does.

  49. Can you apply this paint straight onto a wall?

  50. I just tried my hand a the spray paint chalkboard on a coffee table I’m redoing to a fun table for my son to color on. It went on a finished wood surface with some wood filler to smooth the transition from glass to wood. There is no wood filler on the glass since it doesn’t stay on the glass. My question is this: I did not prime because I didn’t know I needed to. The can recommended it, but doesn’t state it’s a must (rustoleum can). So I’ve sprayed the wood and glass and it’s looking alright. Should I have primed on the glass (and possibly wood-filler) or will my chalkboard paint be alright after 3 coats? Will this last a while and possibly get to the point where I’ll have to redo the surface again? I don’t mind having to redo the surface later down the road if that’s what it comes to since I didn’t prime the surface. But I just want to know how long would it last and if I should have just stripped the spray paint off or put the primer on after the 1st coat and then continued spray painting?


    • Theresa says:

      I was wondering what would happen with 2 coats of roll on paint to save $ and make it more durable, then the last coat being a spray paint to smooth it out too! Has anyone tried this?

  52. Good post!!! I am going to be applying chalkboard paint to a table for my kids this weekend. Should this be something I should prime first to get the best coverage or just paint it straight?

    THANKS!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  53. Jenn beam says:

    I recently embarked on making chalkboards on silver trays… I have discovered the secret to using the paint… Prime, two coats of paint with a sponge roller, wait until it dries, and then I WET the trays and used a fine grit sanding sponge block. Rinse well.
    You can wash the sponge block and dry it to use another time.
    But the secret to creating a smooth finish is sanding wet!
    I didn’t even do another coat overtop of the sanding.

  54. My son and his girlfriend recently painted my old rusty fridge with brush on rustoleum chalkboard paint and it turned out amazingly wonderful

  55. Hello,
    I found your. ” Brush vs. Spray. ” Comparison really helpful but I think. I might have the perfect.
    What about Brushing I on the paint. Nice & thick. Then. At the very end do one nice spray on coat.? Then. You will have the best robots techniques..?
    Just an idea..?

  56. Can I hold chalk in place with hair spray? I am sending a gift in the mail with chalk writing and I would like it to stay on the surface I wrote on. If hair spray will not work, what will or is there anything? Thanks for your help! Deb P

  57. I used the spray paint on a mirror and it looks fantastic, but the (traditional, not wet) chalk isn’t sticking too it very well, it just glides right over it because it’s so smooth! Do you know whether or not the chalkboard paint in the can is compatible with the spray paint? Should I buy a can and paint a top layer over the spray for a rougher surface? I may try sanding the paint a little with emery paper to give it some tooth.

  58. I painted my fridge a Raider with Rustoleum spray paint I do not know how to clean my refrigerator I put the chalk board paint on it I do not know how to clean it or when to put the chalk on I touched it and it seems to pick up spots what can I clean it with thank you for your advice need your advice have a blessed day

  59. I am so frustrated with the valspar chalk board paint right now. I sanded, primed a wooden table, spray painted, and had to return the paint! The paint was bubbly & flaked off. Got a new can resanded & the paint crumbles off, uhhhh I hate the valspar chalk spray. I still have no idea how to fix this mess.

    • Sand and use Rustoleum. I only use Rustoleum chalk board. It is crazy how it can frustrate you! I am sorry. Don’t sand all away. Just flat!

  60. Here is my first chalkboard project – I used the Rustoleum spray and loved how it turned out!!

  61. I recently used Valspar spray paint to make a chalkboard message center out of a cabinet door. Its so incredibly textured its almost impossible to erase. Do you have any tips for getting it off so I can actually use it as a message center?

    ~Meaghan from DIYfaerie

  62. I really appreciated this. I am opening a smoothie bar and wanted to put my menu on the wall using chalkboard paint. If I use the rustoleam should I put a primer down first in order for it to work well? Thank you for any advice,


  63. I have a question for you as the chalkboard-ologist. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I am doing my very first chalkboard project turning an old window into a chalkboard chart.
    I have started my second coat of brush on paint but it looks like it is cracking the first layer.
    It is even bringing some of the first layer paint up.
    What have I done wrong?
    I stopped with the second coat after 3 out of the 6 panes were weird.
    Thanks for your help!

  64. So, i followed a blog on how to use the chalkboard paint brush on kind (not yours…I wish I had found yours first!) and didn’t prime. And now I am worried that I should have primed even though the blog said not to. I was painting over a very hard surface that is not completely smooth but almost (it was a painting…a very old one. Too hard to be canvas but definitely not wood…honestly I don’t know what it was it’s so old) Is there any way to fix it if it did in fact need to be primed? It’s drying now…..and clearly I couldn’t wait to google and find out if my project was trashed or not! Thank you!

  65. HI! I just found your blog. I recently painted a door on bookshelf i bought on craigslist. It’s a beautiful addition to my craft room. When i went to use Chalkboard Markers to write on it. I noticed the chalk barely shows up. I tried lightly sanding it and noticed that wood started peeking through in some spots. Ugh. Any suggestions on how I can fix this? Should i sand it all down and re-try again? Do i primer first?

    What do you think?

    • Hello! I would just put another layer of chalk paint. I do that periodically on my heavily used boards. I don’t use chalk markers myself because they stain your board. To have regular chalk show up darkly, wet it and then write. It will look soft at first and then it dries a super bright white. Good luck! Easy fix! : )

    • GILLIAN Drake says:

      Wonder why u didn’t get a reply ?

  66. Tegwen Kaufman says:

    I have an old full size school room chalkboard that is green. Would it be best to use spray on black or brush ?

  67. I am so glad I found your site. I want to spray or paint plates. The plastic large plates that you put smaller plates on top? Your site helped me to decide which is better.

  68. I find if you use primer first (water based) it doesn’t scratch off. I make my own Chalk paint using ‘flat paint’ & CC…. I add Plaster of paris if I’m making CB paint. MUCH CHEAPER – oops paint if I can find dark colors…… reds, navy’s, browns any dark rich color will do,— reg. white or light colored chalk shows up well.
    I have used garage sale or thrift store Mirrors, Picture frames, wood, directly on walls, kids tables, even ginger jar lamps…. cute as bedside table lamp….use your own ‘private message’ to be read at bedtime….(you know the messages) hahahaha
    Happy painting & creating….no limits
    P.S. I use Wooster paint brush’s ๐Ÿ˜‰

  69. Just a little heads up! I have a neighborhood Michaels that I always make trips to. Whenever I buy something, whether mason jars or $1 frames, on the receipt I get a 40% any ONE item from my next purchase.

    And guess what!?

    They sell spray on chalkboard paint for about $9!

    So if you’re like me and just want to experiment or just need the pain for a one time use, I suggest Michaels because it will end up being super cheap. But USE THE COUPON!!

  70. Veronika says:

    Thank you for the article! It helps quite a bit to know the difference.
    Have you ever experimented with spraying a stencil over a coat of brush paint? I wonder if it would leave a sort of secret message or image only seen in certain lighting. For those chalkboards you sell, I bet spraying a stencil of your signature, contact, or the address of this blog in the corner of the chalkboard might just intrigue some people.

  71. GILLIAN Drake says:

    HI,I Love what you do and enthusiasm, and I loved the Chalkboard Frames, you mentioned that you sell them, which is fantastic, my only criticism, if buying one, is from you photos that were very well taken, as close ups,there seemed to be many brush strokes, a bubble that had flattened out,so in,was the price was right, I would definately buy one, but I feel the chalk board part should be as smooth as a shop bought one, and I didn’t see that on the two you shows us….sorry, don’t want to upset you at all, but I couldn’t tell the difference between the two different products you used………I’m sure you sell many, but I personally wouldn’t want to see the brush strokes, because a chalkboard doesn’t usually show brush strokes bought from a shop….Jill UK

  72. How about painting sheet metal with chalkboard paint? Creating a menu board that will at times change? Do you think spray or brush and do you recommend a brand?
    Thsnk you chalkorista! ๐Ÿ™‚

  73. hey. i LOVE the unpainted wood with the chalkboard – looks classy and could be modern or vintage!
    i’m getting ready to paint a mirror with brush on. is it best to prime first, or just use a couple coats of paint?

  74. I found this along my journey for discovering the perfect dorm-decorating mediums and I love it!! (chalkboard paint has been bringing out the classics-loving, teaching major in me….) I’m planning on probably using the “brush” paint, but I was wondering if I would be able to do a few layers of brush paint for durability, then cover with a couple layers the spray for a smoother surface? Or do you think the texture of the brush paint would be enough that it would show through the spray?

  75. Hi, love your work! You mentioned that you used primer for the spray on paint- which primer did you use? I’m finding the world of glass primers a bit confusing!

    Thanks ๐Ÿ˜€

  76. priscikla says:

    To everyone asking how to REMOVE the chalk, I read today that a Mr.clean eraser works wonders for both the regular chalk and the chalk pens:)

  77. Just a though … When you sell these do you advise the buyer that there is an actual mirror under the paint? You do understand that kids play, hit with toys and can easily break the mirror… Right?!
    And these don’t look small and light… Just say’n

  78. I’m wanting to paint a wall chalkboard. If I did the brush and finished up with the spray, would that be smoother?

  79. Alex in San jose says:

    Use one of those small foam detail rollers and you’ll get as smooth a surface as with a spray can. The best of both worlds!

    Thanks for publishing this.

  80. I have just finished my first chalkboard painting project. I used a cabinet door with a recessed inside as a chalkboard surface. I found that the paint brush and roller left brush strokes and little raised areas (from roller). I did figure out that you can smooth out the brush strikes with fine grain sand paper and reapply. For the mirror it might help if you scratch up the surface with sandpaper to make it easier for the chalk paint to adhere (to a rough surface). Thanks for the spray paint vs paint brush info because I was about to try spray paint but I think paint brush is more cost effective.

  81. I have used both. I have learned with glass to sand it lightly and use the bush on paint and if you want a smooth finish do a few coats of the spray on over the brushed on, that way you get the smoothness and the durability.


  1. […] those to dry I check my email and found that Rebecca at You Are Talking Too Much has a great post ย Chalkboard โ€œbrushโ€ paint vs โ€œsprayโ€ Chalkboard paintย . ย Great information and as always a fun read. ย Rebecca is always entertaining and informative. […]

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