DIY Outdoor Chalkboard Wall

Toddlers make big messes when it comes to art projects.
Take the stress out of stained floors and furniture and paint an outdoor chalkboard wall!
Easy clean-up and hours of entertainment. 

Painting a pretty stenciled boarder around the edge of the wall will take some time, but well worth it for a whimsical and unique look. Once dried, the chalk paint wipes clean with just a damp paper towel, so drawing after drawing you can refresh the board like new. 
Here's what you'll need:
1. Water-based craft paint and chalkboard paint (preferred, Martha Stewart).
2. Paint brushes and stencil brushes (preferred, Martha Stewart).
3. Stencils in any theme you like (preferred, Martha Stewart).
4. Non-toxic chalk (preferred, Crayola).
5. Painters tape.
6. Paper towels.
7. A mason jar (or any type of jar or cup to hold water for cleaning the brushes).
8. A painters palette.
9. An unfinished, to-be-painted, wooden box to mount and hold the chalk. 
{ALL available at any major craft store chain, such as Michaels, or at Amazon.com}
HOW-TO:

1. Find a space for your chalkboard wall on an outdoor wooden fence and pencil-in measurements. Then, line the border of your measurements with painters tape, securing well.

2. Fill in the border with chalkboard paint. Apply AT LEAST 2 coats, allowing about 2 hours in between coats to dry. Then, allow to completely dry and set overnight. Remove the painters tape the next morning.

3. On a plastic paint palette, apply NO MORE than a 1 teaspoon sized dollop of craft paint to the wells of the palette. With a stencil brush, dab a TINY little bit of paint on the brush and then begin to stroke the brush against the palette about 15-20 times to remove almost all of the paint and spread evenly on the brush. It's very important to use a nearly free-of-paint brush because otherwise the paint will leak and run through the delicate stencil. 

4. Secure the stencil with painters tape to the wall, and brush the color with a series of light up-and-down and side-to-side strokes. Don't worry if it looks like no paint is coming through. Eventually as you repeatedly stroke the brush over the stencil, the color will come in. You should repeat with another coat when dried to maximize the brightness of the color. With water-based paint, if you make a mistake or want to start over, just wipe clean quickly after applying. Remember to also clean the stencil after each use with a little water so the paint doesn't leave a mark on the white wall.

5. Finally, paint the wooden box and add stencil details. Mount to the wall next to the chalkboard using a drill or heavy-duty tape. Then, fill with chalk. Add a second box and fill with erasers if you'd like!

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