The next installment in my homeschooling journey’s adventures in do-it-yourself fun is to re-task the mirrored closet doors in in our new schoolroom. There is a lot of light that filters into this room, which is a good bonus for us, but then it reflects all around off of a set of double closet door that are mirrored glass. There were multiple options, but after discussing things with my husband we ruled out buying different doors and did not want to just leave the doors off and put in something like a curtain. So after we discussed it we were able to come up with the idea to try to make them into a large white board or chalkboard for school use. I debated the pros and cons for each type of board and came to the conclusion that the best thing would be to make them into chalkboards, if my husband could.
My husband did some research and discovered that with the right tools and materials he could do it. Most of our DIY projects include the kids, but this one sadly would not need too much help past the planning and procurement phases of the project. Unlike my DIY Lectern (See post HERE) there was no color to choose except black board or green board. Elizabeth and I decided on a green chalk board to not darken up the room. Beck and my husband went outside and found that we had a left over paint roller kit from a previous project, some Frogtape for the edges, and some paint brushes too.
The materials that I used for this project did cost a little of money to obtain. I did have some of the supplies listed above already, but the main cost was the steel wool, primer, and chalkboard paint itself. All-in-all I was able to obtain these three items for roughly $30 from my neighborhood True Value Hardware Store. While my husband and the kids were at the hardware store he also noticed that the extra steel wool can also be used to clean cooking pans, like SOS pads, but with the soap. My husband and I are still finding things that have other uses these days. It is also worth noting that the paint department employee at our local True Value offered to tint the primer for us. The reason he said is that with a darker primer you would get better coverage and then not have to use as much of the finishing paint as the color of the primer would help meet the color of the final paint. This sounded good to my husband because the chalkboard paint does not cover as much surface as standard paint, and is more costly because it is a chalkboard surface.
So, once my husband and the kids returned from the local True Value, here are the materials that we used for this project, besides the mirrored doors of course:
A list of these materials is as follows:
- White Latex Primer (tinted grey to help use less chalk board paint)
- Rust-Oleum Green Chalk Board Paint (latex paint)
- Paint Roller
- (2) Paint Roller Pads
- 1 1/2″ – 2” Chip Brush
- 000 Gauge Steel Wool
- 1” Frogtape (any painters tape will do, I just had some Frogtape left over)
Not pictured are:
- The mirrored closest doors
- Glass cleaner and rag
- Wood paint paddle stirrer
- Metal paint can key
As a note, the True Value was nice enough to give us paint stirrers and a paint lid key for free when we bought the paint and it appears to be company policy too.
Now that my husband had the materials it was time for him to start the project. He took the doors out of their tracks, carefully, and placed them on the deck outside. He carefully used the 000 gauge steel wool to scratch the glass. He said he did it for two reasons. The first was to clean some sticky residue off the surface and the second was to etch the glass to have grooves for the primer and paint to adhere to. He said that this step was critical because in theory, the paint might just peel itself right off the smooth glass surface. My husband could not see, nor feel the etching, so he made sure he did it in both directions. He did it left to right, then did it top to bottom on both doors glass areas. Here is Beck inspecting the etching:
Next it was time to clean the glass and prepare it to be painted. Here is Beck helping clean the doors after my husband used the Frogtape to protect the frame from being painted:
It was important to use some sort of painters tape because when you are rolling a surface with a roller I have found that paint gets almost everywhere you do not want it. Once the frame was fully taped off I took a photo of the corners with Frogtape on them:
Then it was time for Beck to stand back and watch his dad roll out the primer on the glass doors. As he was re-applying paint to a roller I took this progress photo:
And here the doors are now with the first coat all applied:
You can see that between the roller and the steel wool that the mirrored door surface now has a texture. We were both now convinced that the steel wool did in fact etch the glass enough to give the paint something to adhere to, but was not too much to cause a problem with painting it. My husband ended up waiting the required primer dry time of about 4 hours and then insisted on applying another coat of primer to make sure no glass could be seen on the application. This meant that we had to wait overnight and the project stretched into a second day. My husband brought the doors inside to further dry overnight and it was worth it because in the immortal words of the Thomas train Fergus, we had to ‘Do it right!” The next morning my husband took the doors back outside and applied the first coat of the chalkboard paint. Here is a progress shot of the application of the chalkboard paint:
My husband said that using a roller for the application of the paint was critical to this project. I like that the doors ended up with a texture, but it is not a brush stroke texture. I am was afraid to hand apply this paint with brushes because when it dried we might have problems writing on it. My husband did use a hand brush to get the corners and edges first, but then rolled over those areas for consistency while he was painting the main section of the doors. We also noticed that the chalkboard paint is a little thicker than normal paint, so it was harder to evenly spread and probably would have been gloopy if it was all applied with a chip brush. Besides, it would have taken for ever to hand paint the doors with a 2” brush too. Can you see the thickness of the paint here?
All-in-all it ended up taking two coats of chalkboard paint, but the doors look wonderful to me. We let the doors dry overnight again and then re-installed them the following morning, on the third day of the project. The doors looked great and ready to write on, but according to the directions on the chalkboard paint can we had to wait 7 days to prime the surface for use with chalk. After waiting the proper time, here are my new sliding chalkboards primed and ready to be erased for use this school year (it took me three calk sticks to start if off):
Overall, my husband was very shocked that the project came out as nice as it did. He was afraid that the paint would not stick to the mirrored glass, but it has and it will add a nice, new element to our school room this year and it was a fun project to see completed.
Make sure to check out my other DIY projects for other fun do-it yourself themed homeschooling ideas and projects by clicking HERE.