One of the sad casualties from the move was the glass in my beloved scroll mirror. :(

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This mirror has had a prominent place in our past couple homes - I love its unique shape.

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The movers accidentally knocked it over when they were loading the truck in Brooklyn. Luckily, there was no damage to the brass frame or to the composite wood backing.

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I can always go and get more mirror cut, but I wanted a chalkboard in our kitchen and this spot over the garbage cans was that perfect place. The frame just barely fit, so I was worried a traditional black chalkboard would be too dark for the space. My sister reminded me I could custom mix chalkboard paint colors, and there was no looking back!

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Here's how we turned my old mirror into a chalkboard:

The backing board was in good shape so we just needed to trowel on joint compound to create a new, smooth surface to paint.

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It's just like frosting a cake, but significantly less tasty.

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One of my readers gave me this tip for smoothing joint compound. Rather than sanding the dried compound (which is an unbelievably dusty undertaking) using a damp grout sponge and "wet sand" the compound by smoothing it with the sponge. It is SO easy to get a silky finish this way, and there's absolutely zero dust. Works great on walls and for small applications like this one.

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If you have any air bubbles or spots that need touch ups, I like to water down the joint compound a lot. It's easier to put on a small amount when the compound mixture is thin.

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After the joint compound is completely dry (maybe wait an entire day or two?), it's a good idea to give the surface a coat of primer (like Zinsser) before painting on the chalkboard paint. Then to make your own chalkboard paint color, you just need a bag of unsanded grout, which you can find at any hardware store, and a bit of regular latex paint in any color you want.

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I wanted my chalkboard to be a medium gray, so I mixed some Chelsea Gray and some Brushed Aluminum together until I got about what I wanted. To make the regular paint chalkboard paint, I added two tablespoons of the unsanded grout for every cup of paint. It's important to mix the grout in really well - clumps are no good here! An old whisk works great.

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I gave my primed backing board two good coats of my custom chalkboard paint using a foam roller.

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Once the paint was totally dry (only about ten seconds later in the AZ heat!), I smoothed out any bumps in the paint with a fine grit sanding block. Then Heather and Gracie helped me condition the chalkboard surface by rubbing the entire surface with chalk. This helps make the chalkboard more easy to erase - the chalk sits on top of chalk rather than getting into the pores of the painted surface.

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We put the frame back together (there are eight individually cast scrolls!) and hung it up in the kitchen. I love having a place to write up a weekly menu.

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It's a fun place for the girls to doodle, too. Last night we had a lot of our extended family over for a dinner party to celebrate Michael's mom's birthday and the girls decorated the chalkboard for the party.

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It's a little big for the wall there, but I still love it. I have lots of art hanging in our kitchen right now (to make up for the current lack of shelving) and I like how the chalkboard is a part of that. It all sort of works well together.

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And I think the gray is a little more subtle than black would have been. Since I used half Brushed Aluminum, which is the wall color in the living room, I think the chalkboard doesn't feel too imposing, even though it is huge on that tiny wall. :)

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