Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Project: Magnetic Chalkboard Door

I've been using the back of my closet door in the mudroom as a place to stick random notices, reminders, and general odds and ends that I need to keep for later but have no where to keep them. I had a magnetic dry-erase board stuck on the back of the door, but wanted a little more space to stick my stuff up, so when I came across Rust-Oleum's Magnetic Paint, I thought I had the perfect solution. 

Since this paint is only available as a primer, I decided to try Valspar's Chalkboard Paint as a top coat. I thought it might be cute to have a chalkboard that is also magnetic.

Here's how the door looked before I started:

I took off all the riffraff so I wouldn't embarrass myself with my lack of organization.

Rust-Oleum suggests applying three coats of the magnetic paint. Here's what the door looked like after coats one and two:

I wasn't having much luck getting magnets to stick after three coats, so I applied five coats on the areas I thought I would use the most. Here are some tips if you choose to use magnetic paint:

*First of all, this paint is super-thick, and you have to keep stirring it every so often to keep whatever they use to attract magnets (I use the term "attract" very loosely) from collecting at the bottom.

*Use this paint in a well-ventilated area. I thought my area was well-ventilated enough, but afterwards, I felt like I could taste the paint. Yuck!

*The directions suggest using a foam roller, which wouldn't work as well for my project because of all the grooves in the door. I used a regular paint brush. Be sure that whatever you use to apply it can be thrown away, since it doesn't clean up with soap and water. Also, when you use a brush, make sure you blend your brush strokes well. I found that after the paint had dried, I could still see some bumpy brush strokes.

*After five coats of magnetic paint, the magnets would stick (but only really, really light-weight ones, and they would slide down the door sometimes, especially when I tried to hang a piece of paper up). The pictures on the box suggest that you can hang picutures, papers, etc. up, but I haven't found that to be the case. IF I use two or three magnets, the thin paper MIGHT stay up, but you can forget anything thicker, like pictures.

You can't go much bigger than these tiny magnets, and they don't have much oomph behind them. Be prepared for your magnets to slide down the door!

*Magnetic paint has a very rough texture, which looks just okay, and isn't that great when trying to use the surface as a chalkboard.

*All in all, I wouldn't suggest using magnetic paint. Usually when something seems too good to be true, it is.

The chalkboard paint was much easier to use and has so far turned out exactly how I expected. It doesn't erase all that well, especially because I have the magnetic paint under it, but it looks cute and its serves it purpose on my door. I choose to use two coats of the chalkboard paint just to be sure I covered the magnetic paint.

Here are some tips on using chalkboard paint:

*It has more of the consistency of regular paint, so dip your brush sparingly, and don't paint too thick of a coat on.

*It cleans up well with soap and warm water.

*Lowe's has tintable chalkboard paint, tintable in 10 different colors, like green, pink, purple, navy blue and apricot. I initially chose pink tinted paint, but quickly found that it would take too many coats to cover the black magnetic paint, so I scrapped that idea and traded the pink in for black. However, any of those colors would be super cute! Just make sure you buy chalk that you can see on whatever color you choose. I only painted a section of my door pink, but here's a close up of how the pink looked on top of the black.

*The can suggests waiting 24 hours in between coats and before use, so plan on making this a weekend project (or a day longer if using the magnetic paint).

Here's the final product:


  1. This seems a great idea. I love it. But it seems to involve a lot of work. Thanks anyway for sharing this information.

  2. Hi Heather. I agree with Jelly that it does seem like a lot of work, but I think the end result is worth it. It not only gave your door a different look, it also added another practical use, such as it became a place to post reminders. It can be really useful, especially for busy people who forget a lot of items on their schedule.

    Wayne Wright

    1. Hey Wayne! Thanks for reading. The door has been fun, although if you're thinking of trying it, I'd caution you to be very careful with the magnetic paint (or just forgo it altogether). It makes for a rough surface to use chalk on, which in turn makes it more difficult to erase. It's been a life-saver for remembering chores, though. Good luck!