Thursday, February 7, 2013

DIY Chalkboard Closet Doors

Transform boring, ugly doors into Graffiti fun for your kids! My son's room is still under transformation, but I felt the need to get this DIY project posted ASAP so you can get on transforming your own doors! My son has basically a wall of closet doors in his new room. They were the hollow core, faux wood grain, bi-fold doors with no handles might I add! So, ugly and impractical.

My chalk drawing here is really symbolic of the design aesthetic I am going for in his room-- essentially a city-themed toddler room with lots of creative-provoking features. I loved the concept of having a "graffiti wall" so these doors were destined to become chalkboards. The catch with these, though, was the textured wood grain surface. We have been resurfacing walls throughout our entire house, so the first solution that came to mind was to use drywall compound and resurface them. As I didn't really have an alternative, I just went for it. I had nothing to loose but a set of terrible doors. Luckily, they turned out really, really well.

I began by cleaning the surfaces with Comet. Next, I lightly sanded them. I mean lightly. Just enough to buff the surface. For a joint compound, we use the Sheetrock brand Lightweight All Purpose Joint Compound picked up at our local Home Depot. I applied this very thinly. Have the notion of less is more so really make sure to scrap off the extra and get as smooth of finish as possible. Once the first layer was dry, I again lightly sanded and applied another thin coat. I want to note here that the doors actually had a cool look to them just with one skim coat. You'll see in the pic to the right that it almost gave it a whitewashed look still showing the wood grain. The one on the right has 1 skim coat. The left has none.

That look would have really worked in his old nursery! I believe it only took 2 coats to get a completely smooth surface on my doors, but use your judgement. If you still have grooves or divots; do another coat. You don't want your chalk skipping these dips and giving you a shaky line. After the last coat give the surface just a quick light sanding, and you're ready to prime! You need to then seal the compound with a drywall primer. One coat should do it. Once again just a light sand and you're ready for painting. I personally used the Rust-oleum brand black finish chalkboard paint 30 fl oz. from Home Depot. I didn't even use a whole can with this big surface. I applied two coats using a microfiber roller, and they were good to go!  Be sure to talk with a representative in the paint department to make sure you get the right roller. You want the one that is going to give you the smoothest finish. No orange peel texture. And, be sure to splurge and get the better roller here. It makes a difference!

 My original concept with the handles was to use galvanized steel pipes and run them vertically. But, what I thought was a creative, inexpensive hardware solution turned out to be over $50. Needless to say, that didn't fly. I ended up using galvanized steel garage door handles instead. They actually turned out really cool and still have the industrial feel I wanted. I did replace the screws that came with the kit with the ones you see above for aesthetic reasons but we actually had too as well because the original screws weren't long enough to go through the door completely and adhere them with a nut on the back. These handles were about $5 each, again from Home Depot.




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