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Trailer Trashtastic: Chalkboard Command Center

If you’ve been reading Sugar Dish for awhile then you know that my family resides in a single-wide mobile home. If you’re new here, then the secret’s out.

This is a judgement-free zone.

You can read all about our decision to live in and love our mobile home HERE.

So I’ve had a few projects in the works and figured it was about time to put a few of them up so you all don’t think I’m full of empty promises.

The Kitchen Chalkboard Command Center. I love it.

Like many homes, the kitchen is at the center of ours. Maybe it’s because I am literally ALWAYS in the kitchen? Maybe it’s because we almost always come in and out of the back door into the kitchen? Or that there are almost always muffins or cookies on the table? It’s probably a combination of all these things. It makes me happy and crazy at the same time.

Our kitchen becomes a dumping ground for all things: permission slips, homework that needs to be checked, the calendar, bills that need to be paid, coupons, the mail, Chad’s tools (MAJOR pet peeve). Also- our refrigerator is nestled in the little walkway between the kitchen and our bedroom with the closet door for our heating unit situated across from it. There is room enough to open the fridge and rummage around accordingly, but anything that gets pinned to the front of it has little chance of being seen. My kids LOVE to plaster their artwork to the fridge, but  it falls down into the floor whenever you walk past one too many times. The coupons I stick to the freezer are forgotten and out of date. Evan had 3 unused homework passes from last year- that’s how inconvenient and out-of-view that space was.

The wall where I hang my calendar is pretty big, but if you have any experience at all with the walls in a mobile home, you know that they are suuuuper flimsy, the chances of finding a stud are slim, and they are covered in wallpaper that is completely atrocious. So I nail the calendar to the wall… and it falls down into the floor. I put the nail back in. It falls out again.

The solution for me was to remove EVERYTHING from the front of the refrigerator, throw out all the out of date things, and then make a plan.

The plan was chalkboard paint.

So if you read the post (linked at the top of this post) about our trailer not being trashy, you know all about the offensive wallpaper. I am campaigning to systematically eliminate each and every bit of it, but it is time consuming.

To Paint Wallpaper – I HIGHLY recommend one of two products : 1) Glidden Gripper (available at Home Depot) or 2) Valspar’s Bonding Primer (available at Lowe’s)

These two primers are made to adhere to slick surfaces. They work great on furniture, faux wood paneling, and in my case, the ugliest wallpaper on earth. I’ve used both products and don’t really have a preference of one vs. the other, but to cover the wallpaper effectively I did have to use two coats so I didn’t have pattern bleed.

I taped off my area, primed two coats (using a regular old 3/8 nap roller), and let them dry completely. I wanted to prime part of this wall with magnetic primer, which is really a cool project. But magnetic primer USED to be like $10-$15/quart. And now it’s closer to $30. I will probably still do a portion of this wall as a magnet board, but only after I’ve price-shopped nearly everything and am convinced that $30 is actually the going rate.

In the meantime I affixed a cork board square (about $4/pack of 4 at Wal-Mart) to the wall using wall anchors (CRUCIAL to trailer crap wallboard hanging efficiency), and punched up important things like homework passes with thumbtacks.

The chalkboard wall gives us adequate space to write lists, leave notes, and scribble inspirational quotes everyday.

I’m sure you’ve noticed our defunct smoke detector in these photos. It’s wired into the house (because when this place was built that must have been cutting edge technology- we also have a built-in AM/FM stereo!! Yeah!) and is disabled because it likes to shriek whenever I boil water and there is steam. I might have hit it with the broom. Don’t worry. We have others.

To Apply Chalkboard Paint – follow the instructions on the product you purchase, I used THIS and it has worked wonderfully every time I’ve ever used it. Make sure you STIR IT WELL before applying. I like foam rollers for applying chalkboard paint because they give a really smooth finish. On top of the primer they do seem to slide around a bit, and this WILL take a couple of coats, but the end result looks great.

You can see that scribbling on the wall is fun for everyone. Evan likes to add things to my shopping lists.

This little central hub for family activity adds lots of charm to what was a really boring and out-dated space. I have plans for a mini-version on one of my cabinet doors over the stove, which may be a good idea for those of you that don’t have spare wall space. The smaller version will be for meal planning and grocery lists. Magnetic primer would be excellent there, too.

The tools that kept landing in my kitchen are disguised behind the simple tab-top curtains that we originally bought from Target, but are actually hand-me-downs from my little sisters’ old bedroom. The mounting hardware is from Ikea, and if you have one near you, I guarantee you won’t find stylish window hardware any cheaper.

The refrigerator is free of clutter! Notes and lists go up and then get erased.

So that’s it. Go paint something.



Tuesday 16th of October 2012

Love the are extraordinarily talented. And why would anyone judge? I bet your place is gorgeous...I can tell you have style. Amazing style.

Sugar Dish

Tuesday 16th of October 2012

Hi, Ameena! You are so sweet! I do love our little house and I try to make it cozy. But I won't lie-- I can't wait until we have a house that isn't mobile in any way! Then the storm warnings won't freak me out so badly. And closet space. I really need it.


Sunday 14th of October 2012

OMG HEATHER! THIS IS GENIUS!!! What an adorable idea first of all and I think it adds so much character and fun to your home I love love love love love it!!! Makes me want a chalkboard and some chalk right now!!! lol I've heard of chalkboard paint but I've never seen someone actually do it and in your case a whole wall, that is so cool!!! I bet the boys love it!!! I would have to doodle on that like every day if that was me haha Best part is now you can't forget things, no need for a calendar and if you mess up you can just erase it!! haha well done!!!

Sugar Dish

Sunday 14th of October 2012

Thanks, Michelle!! Love this wall. You can paint over chalkboard paint-- hint hint :) You could do it in your apartment and then cover it up!! Anyway-- that stuff is kind of addictive. You buy it and then you wanna put it on everything!! The boys DO love it-- Evan especially. I had a friend that did just a piece of a wall in her kitchen, but she put a big frame around it. Soooo fun at parties. I still have the calendar, but it's pinned to the corkboard! You can also make a grid for a calendar using narrow strips of colored tape and then just change the numbers every 30 days. Glad you liked it!


Friday 12th of October 2012

I LOVE this! If I was allowed to go around painting my classroom, this would be done. Might make us a little note and list centre though :) The calendar that doesn't stay up made me laugh - I have a calednar in work, all of last year it was blu-takked to the wall. Every morning, I would come in, pick it up and stick it back up. Every evening it would fall back down. This year, I invested in some sticky backed hooks and stuck it up that way. then picked it up the next morning. Then it fell back down... Finally, it's on a hook we found in the wall on the other side of the classroom - nowhere near where we need it, but at least it stays up! And I love that you have a built in am/fm radio! Amazing. It has put this song in my head though... xx

Sugar Dish

Friday 12th of October 2012

Can I just clarify that I ADORE Everclear. And how special is that video? I really love my chalkboard. I forget everything all the time and it's great to have a centrally located reminder. We leave each other notes, draw each other pictures, and pin up everything that needs to be seen. Like homework passes. I think your fallen calendar story might be better than mine!

Peggy Campbell

Friday 12th of October 2012

Great post, Heather. Your chalkboard is charming and would look great anywhere!

Sugar Dish

Friday 12th of October 2012


Sandra - The Foodie Affair

Thursday 11th of October 2012

Your command center came out great, Heather!! Looks like a lot of fun is in store. Tick-tac-toe anyone?!

Sugar Dish

Friday 12th of October 2012

We love tic-tac-toe! My little one writes alllll over this board. It's not quite done yet, but the paint has gone up. Primer is $20/gallon, chalkboard paint is $12/quart, and the magnetic paint was going for $28/quart. It was a lot to spend on one wall all at once so I'll probably finish it out and update soon!