the evolution of chalkboarding

I decided we needed another mascot in the house.

I mean, most houses have a mascot right? I feel like it's been the Ship's Wheel since day one around here. And by feel like, I mean I KNOW it's been the Ship's Wheel. Everyone has been VERY vocal about it.

It feels like a lifetime ago that Chuck "went there" with our living situation and attached a Ship's Wheel (I'm being literal here) to our staircase.

He really made this house a home, didn't he? Lord, he went overboard with that wheel. The intricacies of making it. The obsession. I never thought I'd see the likes of that again.

Good thing I didn't put money on it.

Like I said, I decided we needed another mascot. More like, I decided I needed a permanent play toy and it just so happened that Chuck needed a new computer. It seems unrelated, doesn't it? It's actually not.

See, Chuck's computer died and we've been living the past 3 months as (gasp) a one computer household. Remember, we are nerds. Big time. We need two computers for conversation. It's how we stay connected to each other. It's our whole evening routine.

You've seen this picture. Right? This is a candid moment. Chuck didn't know I'd set up the timer. Jack did, though, which is weird. Anyways, I wanted to capture our world and I did.

Back to the computer death. We are not meant to be a one computer household. Nope. No way. We decided to go the "computer-TV" route and actually spent real money to buy a flat screen that now acts as Chuck's computer. We still have TV, but we also have a computer attached to the TV for our Interwebbing and general computer usage.

"Hey Susie, where did you buy a computer to do that?"

Thanks for asking. We didn't. Chuck built it.

Why? Because we are nerds.

So, we got our flat screen computer/tv thing and needed some furniture to flank it. I thought two bookshelves would be a tad heavy for our space (don't I sound all knowing), and it turned out to be the perfect time to push my Chalkboard agenda. Chuck bought in, hook, line, you get the point.

I guess I didn't ever really see Chuck getting so into this project. I never imagined the level he'd take it to. I should have seen this coming and that to me is truly the most terrifying part. How did I not see this? How did I not know it would come to this? Of course it would come to this. It's CHUCK. Ship's Wheel. On our banister. IT'S CHUCK. I feel like I've been studying 10 years for a test and right is me failing that test. When's the retake?

The level Chuck took this project to.
The effort he put in.
The shear obsession.

Well. It started simple enough. Here's how to build a chalkboard, Chuck Allison style.

Measure the space on the wall and mark it off.

Which, yeah, I get it we need it to be straight and yeah, yeah I know the level isn't bad, so thanks for taking this step. But then, we fell down the rabbit hole of obsessive behavior and ohmygosh, really?

The Plumb Bob came next. You can decide if you want to use on or not.

Personally, I hate him. The Plumb Bob (for those lucky enough to wonder) is what Chuck makes EVERY TIME we do a house project. You know how it isn't Christmas until the peppermint lattes come back? It isn't a house project at the Allison's until Chuck's made Plumb Bob. It's string with something weighted on the end for additional straight measuring to check the accuracy of the level. I don't like them.
Jack does.
It's a difference of opinion.

Next, a tape border just outside the pencil "chalkboard boundary". We'd be covering that later with a frame anyways, so Chuck wanted a buffer to ensure full and even painting coverage. I would never have thought to do this.

Little chalkboard lesson for you. Chalkboards are smooth. Our walls are not. Chuck suggested sanding the wall (again, this was not part of my original "just throw it on the wall" plan) so we prepped.

Sanding block. Check.

Shop vac to catch the dust because Chuck's anal. Check.

Total failure because there is no way you could sand it without needing a new arm.

That's when Chuck bought - read it - bought an electric sander.
He needed a bigger boat.

If I could ear mark moments in time when life changes, then I'd mark this as the moment Chuck became hyper obsessive and ultra concerned with the smoothness of the wall.

The sanding (this round -- there will be three total rounds) lasted 4 hours.

4 hours.
Note his ear plugs.

Finally (finally) we were ready for primer.

I primed it.

Chuck didn't like it. Not the priming part. The wall part. He felt it could be smoother.
So he stared.
And he stared.

And then it got creepy staring.

Over the next 4 days, I would catch Chuck sanding at 6:45 a.m. in his pajamas and robe, at 4:30 p.m. in his work clothes, and at 9:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. when everyone else in the house (ME) was sleeping. At one point, he sanded so much that he actually went through the dry wall to the paper beneath.

Patching was required.
More sanding was required after that because the patching made it "bumpy".
And then more sanding.
And a little more after that.

We sanded with 60 grit. And 80. And 150. And 220 grit sand paper.

I really want to make sure I impress upon you the amount of sanding that went on in this house. I hope I've done that. Because, see, unlike Chuck, I'm just going to let this lie and be as it will be and move on.

So, 6 days later Sand-a-Polooza was over.
Should you ever make a chalkboard for your house, I'll let you decide how many days you want to dedicate for sanding. In fairness (ew, I hate being fair...middle kid...), the wall by this time was baby bottom smooth. Actually, smoother. Almost too smooth.

Chuck painted his pride and joy with 3 coats of magnetic primer.

This can easily weighed 25 pounds. Metal pieces are heavy.

And metal pieces are rough.
So...guess what Chuck did? HE SANDED the now magnetic wall one more time for good measure.

Next came chalkboard paint. Duh. The fun with the chalkboard paint was how the Can said to wait 24 hours before using it, but Chuck made me wait 96. He's nothing if not thorough. And by thorough I mean obsessive. You'd think that's the end. It's not.

Then, the frame.

We bought standard molding from Lowe's and Chuck cut it all to fit. There was some extensive leveling, Plumb Bob, and measuring going on along with the fact that he nailed AND glued it to the wall, but we'll just skip and forgive all that and be thankful that at least it didn't involve sanding.

The chalkboard is perfect.

Absolutely perfect. I don't think I thought it was going to take 9 days to build, but meh.

I got my chalkboard and Chuck got put on sanding restriction. Win. Win.
I really feel like this chalkboard could be the new mascot. Jump on board people (


  1. So is it magnetic also? I knew they have chalkboard paint, but had no idea they made magnetic paint, go figure.

  2. You two are ridiculous! So, building a chalkboard and hanging it on the wall was not good enough for you? I will have to come see this some time.

  3. WOW!!Very impressive you two. Cant't wait to see what shows up on the board :) MIL


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