GROWING A SCHOOL GARDEN: MAKING CHALKBOARD PAINT

Welcome back!  This week we’ll focus on how we made chalkboard paint to paint the concrete walls surrounding our garden area.

Making chalkboards was a fun job.  After everything else we had tackled, it was an easy, quick job.  A few of us met after school one day and hammered it out.  The hardest part was making straight lines to outline our chalkboards.  We felt a bit like ninjas working in the night, even though it was daytime and we knew that with our school scheduled for demolition in the coming years that we wouldn’t really get in trouble.

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You can see I’ve gotten ahead of myself in terms of our timeline.  I haven’t explained the experience of planting with the kids, how we got seeds and plants, and what we learned from that experience yet.  That will come.  We also haven’t finished the perimeter of the beds.  Everything looks a bit unfinished in these pictures, but it gets better, don’t worry.

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But back to chalk paint.  At first, we were hoping to purchase chalk paint, not realizing how expensive it is!  So then, we thought maybe we would try for a donation from Home Depot, but while we were going back and forth with ideas, I googled how to make chalk paint and it turns out it is really easy and was a much, much cheaper option for us!

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We had leftover paint from our last project of painting the cinder blocks thanks to a generous parent donation, and so we had that.  The mixture we decided upon called for three parts paint to one part plaster of paris.  A trip to the hardware store for the plaster of paris and we were set.

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We used a recipe that asked for 3 parts paint to 1 part plaster of paris.

Using painters tape we outlined areas to paint (not an easy task, even with a leveler), while one person followed behind painting in the chalkboards.  We tried so hard to get the lines straight.

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I think they turned out pretty good, even though not perfect.  It is a school garden afterall, built and made for kids.  The imperfections are what make it a wonderful and accessible for all the beginner and future gardeners at our school.

I picked up paint pens from Michaels to do quick borders around the edges.  We also used one of the boards to write, “What grows in your garden?”

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Next week, we’ll dive deeper into irrigation and how we got our garden planted.

Happy Teaching!

Love,

Ms. Holland

Here’s a visual recap of the weeks prior of work and problem solving.  Click on the montage to go back in time to Part III.

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