DIY Coloured Chalkboard

Everybody kept asking me what ‘theme’ I was going for in the nursery. Theme? Does “no theme” count? I decided early on that I was going to make the nursery flexible for a growing human – I didn’t want to commit to a crazy wall colour or big piece of expensive wall art which I (or baby) might get sick of. Instead I decided to install a frame shelf which would run across the longest wall in the room so we could interchange art, books and toys along the shelf and keep the room interesting (see above pic!).

Once the shelf was installed I wasn’t sure where to start. I thought about getting an alphabet print, but realistically how long will it be before baby can understand the alphabet? Second I thought I might paint myself a piece of art or buy something fun, but couldn’t figure out exactly what I wanted. I was pretty keen on an inspirational quote (probably more for myself than a baby!) but didn’t know how it should be delivered. Then I thought about something really interchangeable – coloured chalkboards where you can make and change the art yourself. I had seen a tutorial on A Beautiful Mess about making your own coloured chalkboard paint using tile grout and it just so happened that I had some leftover from some tiling I had done recently! It was meant to be!

Coloured Chalkboard Squares

What you need:

  • WOOD – I bought 6mm MDF wood from the local hardware store (at a cost of around $6) and got my partner to cut it into three pieces.
  • PAINT – I bought 75ml acrylic paint in three different colours.
  • TILE GROUT – You will need roughly a tablespoon per 75ml bottle of paint. If you don’t have some lying around, ask your family and friends to see if they have any. It’s the kind of thing that sits in the back of someone’s shed unused!
  • CONTAINER – You’ll need something to mix the paint in. I always use old margarine containers.


Simply mix the tablespoon of grout into the 75ml of paint (try to make sure it’s consistent) and paint straight onto the board. I painted both sides as the back would be partially visible as it leans on the wall.

Acrylic paint is fairly quick drying, though to be safe I waited a day until I ‘chalked’ the board. This entails running chalk over the board and then wiping it off.

Once it’s chalked you’re good to go! A great idea for pre-school children is using the board to write a letter each week to learn (think Sesame Street!), or you could write a quote, draw a picture, or let your kids draw their own art! I love the versatility and affordability of this project!

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