Letting Life Lead
I’ve learned a lot about paint since the usable, but weirdly bumpy chalkboard project 1.0 (I may post that at a later time), though not enough obviously to remember that a brush doesn’t work so well with magnetic paint, and the 1 inch foam brush you had on hand was woefully inadequate. I had to make a special trip to the local hardware store to remedy the situation.
I do not suggest using a brush for magnetic paint. The bits in it get stuck to the brush and clump and just make you mad. If you want to cause a Pinter-Disaster on purpose by all means take a pretty picture of all the supplies with a paint brush and watch your mailbox fill with hate mail.
The project below is a homemade train table constructed by my husband who had other plans for it, but then got married and had kids.
The supplies: Leftover black magnetic paint from Project 1.0. If you buy it new, take it to the paint counter and have them mix it for you. Two cans of tinted chalkboard paint. You can request a variety of colors at the store, but if you buy online that may or may not be an option. Usually only black or school green is available. Get a few high density foam rollers (not two like I did and then have to wash it between coats of chalkboard paint), and a wide foam brush. I cannot emphasize enough this point: Do not use a bristle brush.
Day 1: I primed. What I used was dry to the touch in thirty minutes (essential for kids and cats). I didn’t prime the whole table because the table is heavy and on carpet. I decided to do the painting in phases. Phase 1 was to prepare a playable surface. The back did not need primer because the magnetic paint doubled as a primer.
Putting on magnetic primer on upright. I suggest wearing gloves and protecting surrounding surfaces; it does not wash out. You can’t see the wonk y paint job on the first coat from the bristle brush disaster. I tried to save with napkins and a one inch foam brush. It was comical.
High density foam roller is our friend. The magnetic primer won’t be strong enough to hold up heavy paper with a magnet (especially with paint over it), but it is strong enough to hold magnetic poetry words, small magnets, magnetic letters, and DIY magnets glued onto those free magnetic advertising calendars and such. I put on four coats, but five or six would have been better.
You need layers of magnetic built up upon each other or else it just won’t hold, especially under another coat of paint. If you want something with real grip, you might want to do more coats and test it until you reach the desired strength. Even though the can says to apply three coats, that is just not strong enough in my opinion.
Day (Uh…Something. I lost count. Kids, you know?)
I used periwinkle tinted for the sky. This water based chalkboard paint washes out of skin and tools. Use the foam roller for the main application, and the foam brush for smoothing and touch ups. I did two coats to get it nice and smooth.
The next day:
I went for the Peapod green rather than the dark schoolhouse green for the grass part of our train table. Because the paint had been sitting for a while and I didn’t mix it well enough, the first coat went on pretty thin so I ended up putting on three coats. Again, I used the foam roller for coverage and a foam brush for touch ups and smoothing. Let the paint cure before moving to the next step. You CANNOT use it for chalk until it is cured and conditioned.
The next day or the day after:
Conditioning the chalkboard! If you do not do this step, the first time you write on it — whatever it is will be permanent. Turn a piece of chalk on its side and cover the entire surface in a layer of chalk. This is messy! To be on the safe side, I rub it all in with a piece of newspaper. Brush off most of it with a dustpan brush, then vacuum it, then wash it with a damp rag.
I hope you enjoyed this mad craft. Tell me what you think!
Oh, as far as part two. Don’t hold your breath. I will eventually finish the unpainted surfaces. But, you know. Kids.
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Author of suspense novels Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, The Stix, and New Age Lamians. As well as the short story collection Time Wasters and (co-author of) The Suspenseful Collection. Columnist for The Conscious Talk Magazine.
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