I’m not sure when or why it happened, but after many years of not giving a single fuck, I suddenly caught the decorative fever. My desk morphed from jumbled piles of electronic scraps to cute organizers and a rainbow of Sharpies. Every blank wall in my house abruptly begged for a framed photo or a tasteful bank of hooks. Luckily I still have my extensive wardrobe of hobo chic looks to fall back on, but even so, I’ve had a difficult time recognizing myself lately. Everything is just so … cute.
And then it happened. I wanted to label something, and somehow I discovered that chalkboard labels are a thing. Pandora’s box was open, and there was no going back.
Somehow, as I researched different brands of labels, I discovered desktop-sized freestanding chalkboards exist, and, well …
Here’s the thing though: there are a ton of substandard products out there, masquerading as chalkboards when they really aren’t. A lot of cute, cheap things marketed as chalkboards are actually just painted matte black, making them difficult or impossible to erase and reuse. That’s fine if you’re looking for a single-use item for an event, but if you want reusable stuff to decorate your space, don’t buy anything before you read some product reviews.
I’ve quickly become a big fan of the Versachalk family of products. Both the labels and the desktop board pictured above are their brand, and I haven’t yet had a problem erasing either. It might help that I also purchased and use their chalkboard cleaning kit, but regardless, I know that if I buy a Versachalk chalkboard piece, the writing surface is going to be high quality.
Quality chalkboard surfaces and good cleaning products let you get a little crazier with your writing utensils. Regular sticks of chalk will pretty much wipe off of anything easily, but chalk pens are another story, especially the cheap-ass Walmart variety I prefer. I like the look of the pens, and I’m too lazy to spend the time it takes to get strong colors and lines with plain chalk. If you enjoy the traditional chalk look, or plan to leave the design on a board for six months and then clean it off, you may not want to mess with the pens. Either way, starting with a quality natural slate base gives you the freedom to experiment and find out what you like.
If you’re new to covering your entire home and everything you own with chalk drawings, but you want to start somewhere, I recommend the Versachalk label set as your first baby step. They’re inexpensive, they have a wide range of possible uses and applications, and they even come with a complimentary white chalk pen so you can try that out if you’re chalk-pen-curious. If you think you can’t draw, put that aside for a moment, get a chalkboard in front of you, and start making marks. You might surprise yourself.
And if not, well… that’s what the cleaning kit is for.