how to write on a chalkboard

Chalk art is everywhere. And it’s lovely.

Chalkboards, too. Whether a framed diy chalkboard or an entire painted wall, it’s one of the simplest and least expensive ways to add a pop of graphic style to your home.

But have you ever tried to write on your own chalkboard and couldn’t quite get your lettering to look crisp? Me too.

Until I discovered a few new options for writing with chalk.

four-types-of-chalk-wm

tip-size-options-for-chalk

You can see the difference in tip size … which obviously makes a big difference in the width you will get in your lettering.

Here’s an example:

chalk-styles

{oops. I misspelled continually. that’s what I get for trying to do this and occupy four kids and a puppy at the same time}

CHALK TYPE ONE: chalk pencil by Fons and Porter {available here}

be-skinny-chalk

These pencils are used for sewing – making little marks on fabric for seam allowances or appliques and can be removed from fabric with a damp cloth. They are not intended for chalkboard use, but from my experience, they work well. The chalk does not smudge which makes it nice when doing small details. It does require a damp cloth to remove and may leave a faint line on your chalkboard from the oil in the pencil.

CHALK TYPE TWO: mechanical chalk pencil {available here}

pray-chalk-skinny

My favorite of all the options, this red cartridge with refillable chalk is also meant for sewing, but it works perfectly on a chalkboard surface. The chalk is very skinny which makes for clean lines. If you are going for a bolder look, it will take a bit more filling in than regular-size chalk. Can be wiped away with a dry cloth.

CHALK OPTION THREE: chalk marker {available here}

  give-chalk-pen

The chalk marker is a great option if you want bold and smooth letters that won’t be smudged. It does not have the beloved chalky look, but it is very easy to write with. This one takes a bit of effort to remove – especially on textured walls painted with chalkboard paint {lesson learned the hard way when Ryan and I had a brainstorming session all over the chalkboard wall in my office and they only way to fully erase it was to repaint it}.

CHALK OPTION FOUR: regular chalk {available here}

always-regular-chalk

To tell you the truth, this is what I use the majority of the time just because it is easy and I keep a stick in our kitchen junk drawer.  It works well for larger words/images, but it’s hard to get a nice fine point. If you love the look of regular chalk but want a thinner line, go with the mechanical chalk pencil.

So there you have it. Options for what to write with on your chalkboard.

P.S. I use a technique I affectionately call fake calligraphy to write on my chalkboard. It makes everyone’s writing look fancy. You can learn how right here.

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44 Responses to how to write on a chalkboard

  1. Alicia @ La Famille April 5, 2013 at 5:21 am #

    thanks for the chalk tips! I have chalkboards all over…I need to try some of these.

  2. alison April 5, 2013 at 6:00 am #

    I love to know there are more chalk pen options out there! Thanks for this post. Also–”continually” is misspelled in your picture above. Just thought you’d like to know.;)

    • emily April 5, 2013 at 11:34 am #

      oops! That’s what I get for trying to write and occupy my children at the same time :)

    • alison April 5, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

      I’ve certainly been there! Love your blog so much.

  3. Jenny Collier April 5, 2013 at 6:14 am #

    Thank you for this post! I am painting a whole wall in my kitchen with chalkboard paint in my new house and have been curious about a chalk pencil. Will look into the mechanical chalk pencil.

  4. Jenna April 5, 2013 at 6:31 am #

    Had no idea these things were available! Thanks for sharing!

    Jenna @ Rain on a Tin Roof

  5. Madaline April 5, 2013 at 6:45 am #

    They have chalk pencils in the drawing section of the craft store too. I had a couple in my stash from art school and it never dawned on me to use them until a few months ago!

    Also — for a bit of color you can use oil pastels! Takes some effort to remove but I love the pop of color!

  6. Seriously Sassy Mama April 5, 2013 at 7:02 am #

    Mechanical chalk pencil! I love it.

  7. Judy Beltrez April 5, 2013 at 8:15 am #

    this is great! I am painting and doing my own chalkboard this weekend.
    thanks for the tip! :)

  8. Rebecca @This Nest is Best April 5, 2013 at 8:15 am #

    Ah! Thank you for this reference! I, too, learned the hard way when it comes to those chalk markers! I love them for events (particularly if I’m transporting the chalkboards) but it’s good to know going into it that it’ll need to be repainted.

  9. Sarah Barksdale Design April 5, 2013 at 8:32 am #

    That Mechanical chalk pencil is so nifty! I may have to get one of those

  10. Andrea April 5, 2013 at 9:19 am #

    I just painted a chalkboard wall in our kitchen and made the mistake of using a chalk pen and was wondering if I could repaint over it–glad I’m not the only one who’s done this!

  11. Emily April 5, 2013 at 10:02 am #

    ooo – thanks so much!

  12. Mindy April 5, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    Your handwriting (fake calligraphy or not) is beautiful! I am leaning toward the mechanical pencil but am sure I won’t come close to your creations! Thanks for sharing with us…

  13. Kat April 5, 2013 at 10:29 am #

    What a great post! Thanks for sharing and for the links to purchase!!

  14. Amanda April 5, 2013 at 11:12 am #

    This is perfect timing. I was writing a verse on a small board in my kitchen last night thinking there HAD to be another way!

  15. Melissa April 5, 2013 at 11:21 am #

    You’re awesome for posting this! I just KNEW there were better chalk options out there somewhere!. I love writing creatively on my chalkboard wall & the traditional chalk just aint cutting it.

  16. emily April 5, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    I just sharpen my regular white chalk with a pencil sharpener- gives me a (Somewhat) sharp point for quick writing : ) Thanks for all the beautiful inspiration on your blog! Wish I had your naturally beautiful handwriting!!

  17. Chelsie April 5, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    I was just asking my friend about what kind of chalk to use for my kids joint birthday party! Perfect timing! Bought myself some new chalk! Thank you!!!

  18. Ashlee April 5, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    You can use a makeup pencil to sharpen your regular chalk and get fine tips that way too!

  19. Jeannine @ The Concrete Cottage April 5, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

    The mechanical chalk pencil is exactly what I’ve been needing! Thank you so much for this post!!

  20. Rosa @ FLUTTER FLUTTER April 5, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

    Your calligraphy is wonderful, fake or not! I just posted about a chalkboard wall I saw in San Diego. It inspired me to try my hand at lettering, and chalk. I’m going to pick up one of those mechanical chalk pencils in the next couple of days now. Thanks for showing all the options out there! Happy Friday!

  21. Shauna April 7, 2013 at 6:53 am #

    Praying conually means even when things are imperfect, crazy, and busy. ;)

  22. Meghan April 11, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

    I was JUST looking for this on pinterest last week. I needed a “How to write fancy on a chalkboard” tutorial! Thanks!

  23. Anna April 18, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    I really wish I could have a lovely handwriting as yours!!

  24. erin August 25, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

    this is an old post, but i just discovered your blog and was scrolling through it.

    Magic Erasers erase chalk pen! i make a chalkboard calendar with paint pens and used chalk pens for the dates and appointments that i didn’t want my kids to erase too easily. When a new month rolled around it was time to wipe the board but the they didn’t wipe up fully until i used my magic eraser! it was just like a freshly painted chalkboard!

    • emily August 26, 2013 at 9:05 am #

      Thats a great tip!

  25. Shannon August 27, 2013 at 6:01 am #

    I also use the chalk markers because I love the bright neon colors they come in. I use it on chalk board vinyl that I have on my fridge and the only way to get it completely off is to use the magic eraser sponge. Comes perfectly clean!! Great post I will have to check out the pencils!

  26. Jolleen ~ The Graffitied Gardenia August 27, 2013 at 7:54 am #

    Awesome! Found you on Pinterest. Love this post! I use a chalkboard for my meal plan and love the idea of a thinner option. Added the chalk mechanical pencil to my wish list! Thanks for sharing!!

  27. Layla October 4, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    Thanks for the tips. I had never thought of using my Tailor chalk pencil and i ordered ur mechanical pencil suggestion. Ur link to amazon is best deal and free ship

  28. Ariel December 19, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

    I know this is an old post but thought I ‘d toss in some feedback.

    I often times dip the tips of my chalk sticks in water and they make the cleanest lines. Sometimes I roll the sticks with a baby wipe and they work like a charm to get those tight clean edges, but it doesn’t show up right away….but after a minute the white comes through very vibrantly.

  29. Kiri January 22, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    Thank you!! I just painted a tree slice with chalkboard paint and had purchased the chalkboard markers for it but got nervous when it said it was for non-porous surfaces. Your post comparing the different types of chalk was so helpful. I’ll be saving the markers for another project (chalkboard labels, maybe?) and just ordered the mechanical chalkboard pencils from Amazon. Going now to check out your “fake calligraphy” post.

  30. Sherrie April 14, 2014 at 6:47 am #

    Our home is up for sale and want to write something on our framed chalkboard near kitchen. Want a positive saying that potential buyers will see when we show the house. Any creative ideas?

    • emily April 16, 2014 at 9:38 am #

      How about home sweet home?

  31. Lauren May 28, 2014 at 4:47 am #

    Fyi – I used regular chalk to make a sign for my sister’s wedding recently. In a moment of desperation (an hour before the ceremony and I couldn’t get the letters to look right!) I stuck that piece of chalk in a little pencil sharpener to make a fine point. It worked fantastic! You’ll need to sharpen slowly so you don’t crush the whole chalk stick, but it makes a nice semi-fine point. Hope this helps someone!

  32. Lori-Anne June 16, 2014 at 6:39 am #

    I keep a pencil sharpener with my (regular) chalk. It’s one of those ones with a double/2 hole size sharpeners. Pointy tip, easy!!

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