Product Review– Martha Stewart Chalkboard Paint

It is no secret that I am madly, passionately, happily in love with Benjamin Moore paints.  And they don’t pay me to say that (although I wish they would!), so you can forgive me for wanting to cut a corner and go with something ‘cheaper.’

Well, ahem– “Cheap” is what I got.  I initially priced the Ben Moore, and for their chalkboard paint, it is $18 for a quart.  I thought, “That’s way more than I need!”  After all, I was only coating a 1 foot wide strip about 10 feet long.  That’s not huge, right?

When I visited the craft store and looked at the products on the paint shelves, I saw that there is a Martha Stewart Craft product that comes in a 6 oz bottle for $6.99.  I think it’s available in four colors, but all my local AC Moore had was black and the classic chalkboardy deep green.  I read the back of the bottle while I was standing there in the aisle pondering it:

“Waterbased.  Shake well.  For best results, apply at least 2 coats.  Allow to cure completely, at least 24 hours.  Test for dryness.  Condition before use by lightly rubbing chalk over surface.”

Seemed easy enough.

My Project Supplies,  Including the Paint

My Project Supplies, Including the Paint

I guess I didn’t catch that “at least 2 coats.”  I guess I assumed that meant three?  I never suspected… SIX!  Yup, that’s right folks, six freaking coats.  That’s six times of rinsing my brush out, six times leaning into a fumey closet to paint, waiting one-hour intervals for it to dry six times.  And if you’re expecting perfection after all of that, well, you’re still mistaken.  I have a couple of patchy spots, but I had no time or energy for a seventh application.  It’s utter stupidity.

I expected more from Martha Stewart.  I expect her to know her crap– not to manufacture it.  I will certainly think twice before I purchase any more of her goods for a long while.  Had I been a novice crafter, this sort of thing might have been the kind of blow to my creative ego to make me want to stop crafting for a long time, if not forever.  Working with this stuff was hard on the psyche.  I upgraded my brush after the first coat, wanting to blame it for the spotty performance.  And then my husband– so baffled by this lousy product— made the mistake of implying that maybe I had incorrectly applied it.  How *galling!*  Did he forget– I’ve painted murals!  I’ve decorated dollhouse desks with rosebuds so miniscule that the brush I used had less than ten hairs!  I can certainly brush on paint in a taped-off area!  I mean, *REALLY!*  Are you happy now, Martha?  You’re making couples fight because of your crap!

I mean, I knew about the conditioning with a piece of chalk step, sort of like you need to season a new cast iron skillet?  I guess the the fact that the folks at MS Crafts included that in the instructions made me feel like they were being completely forthright and on-the-ball with their chalkboard product.  I thought two or three coats would be a reasonable amount of work for saving ten bucks on that can of Ben chalkboard paint.  I never imagined that after the fourth coat I would need to break down and buy more.  Oh yeah, I had to purchase a second bottle, because one was not enough.

Two Coats.  I Could Just Scream!

Two Coats. I Could Just Scream!

Yeah, that’s two coats on my project, there.  It sounds like I’m joking, but I assure you, no part of it is funny to me anymore.

So, let’s do the math–  That’s two six ounce bottles, which equals a cup and a half of paint for $14.  I could have bought four cups worth of a BETTER paint (paint I would have likely only needed two coats of, max) for only four dollars more.  And here’s the real kicker, as if my time and money weren’t enough– I could have chosen any of Benjamin Moore’s fabulous colors for his brand of chalkboard paint, they tint it for you.  Any color you want.  I wouldn’t have chosen black, that’s for sure.  So.  Sad.  I.  Could.  CRY!

It hasn’t made it through its 24 hours of curing or the conditioning stage yet, so I’ll update you on how well the product actually *works.*  All I know is, its taken me a looooot of work to get up to the point where it just looks like a chalkboard.  I am not happy that what I believed to be an easy project has already consumed so much of my time!

Grade:  D for application (pending results that the painted area actually works like a chalkboard)



Four Coats of Paint On the Door

Four Coats of Paint On the Door

This pic to the left is with four coats of paint on it.  Click twice to view with greater detail.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.  Notice the white still shining through, after four coats?  This product sucks.

After I Pulled the Tape

After I Pulled the Tape

Despite having used extremely high-quality blue tape AND burnishing it, the chalkboard paint seeped underneath in a multitude of areas.  I am no stranger to painting or tape, so I *feel like* I know how to pull tape the right way, slowly, carefully, from the direction of where the paint meets the tape…  The little nick in the indentation in the pic to the right was a small example, but this lifted my tape completely OFF in some areas… now, how am I supposed to patch that?  Is the expectation that I’m going to come through here and carefully daub on six coats of paint in all of those little areas where it peeled away?  I am so angry at this point I could scream!  I used a sharpie.  What are my other choices?!  Leave it ugly, that’s about it….  If I did that, Martha Stewart would win!

In Action

In Action

In the end, yes, it does work like a chalkboard.  Barely.  It stays really dusty and fuzzy and chalky when you wipe it, and we’re using the highest quality chalks I could find (Crayola), because I’d heard rumors about dollar store chalk messing up chalkboards.  And do you want to know something I find really interesting?  Within moments, kiddo had accidentally chalked over into the “Pike’s Peak Gray”/ Benjamin Moore wall paint area, and IT WIPES OFF JUST AS EASILY AS THE CHALKBOARD PAINT DOES.  Just their plain, ol’ regular wallpaint formula.  Now THAT is a product I can get behind!  Ben Moore for crafty president!  Impeach Martha!


5 Responses to “Product Review– Martha Stewart Chalkboard Paint”

  1. There is no way I’d be able to live with that. I know I would go out and buy the BenMoore paint and literally start all over. Good luck sweetie! Can’t wait to see the final product.

  2. Oh, how I wish I’d seen this review BEFORE buying this total crap! I had a very similar experience to yours, except I was trying to paint “labels” onto glass jars. Had I not held the paint down with my thumbnail while pulling the masking tape off, I would have no label left on the jar at all. Not only that, but as you say, this stuff is pretty much clear for the first several coats and you end up going through so much paint. (I was painting a 4″ by 2″ square on a glass jar, and it used about half the bottle only on the test run of ONE jar. I can’t imagine how much it would cost to do your project with as many coats as I used. I think it was around 10…)

    Thank you so much for posting this, though! Hopefully we can warn a few people before they go down that road!

    • Amber

      Oh noes, Lia! That sounds *terrible!* Yeah, I guess the best we can do is hope that someone else catches this before buying this stuff, it’s utter crap. I don’t know how big the jar labels you’re doing are (or if you’ve managed to be happy with them after using this stuff), but my nearby Target currently has stick-on chalkboard labels in their dollar spot– way cute and a lot easier. I got some to do some kitchen drawer fronts. Anyway, thanks for stopping by and reading!

      Oh, and you’ve now officially been entered into my giveaway with ends at the end of the month!

  3. yahoo_user_3d9886945e67f00ade9f9527459b5cd3

    Me too! Same awful experience. And worst part I found this only AFTER I had gone through it. Wanted to check the internet and see if others had the same experience. Your site is the ONLY one I found with a real review. Truly! All of Martha Stewart advertising websites overwhelm the search engine!!! Horrible product!!! Thanks for your posting. At least now I am validated.

    • Amber

      Oh thank you for visiting and for sharing your opinion! About halfway through my project I started looking online as well, and like you, I found NO honest reviews. Everyone gushed, and had a rather conspicuous advert somewhere nearby. Kinda made me madder, really. As of right now, this is the only product review on my blog, but I was so MAD I had to tell the world what a crappy product it was!

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