Monday, July 5, 2010

How to make a magnetic chalkboard wall (pt 1)

I've decided to try out using a picture communication system with Maya.  She understands so much of what we're saying (that's called "receptive language"----hers is very good---vs. "expressive language", which is the ability to talk and express yourself---she has none), but she can't really tell us anything (except for some signs, pointed glances, making noises, etc.).  I want to give her the ability to communicate with us, and using pictures (which can be pointed to, lined up to create schedules, handed over like trading cards, etc) works really well for a lot of families.

So I printed little picture cards (here are some examples) and laminated them----but Maya likes playing with the cards so much that I don't think she's understanding the point of them.  My sister said that we could buy magnetic paper and print the pictures on that---then use them on a magnetic wall----sounded good to me!  So off we went to Home Depot, where we got the supplies.  Phase one was completed today.  This is a super simple project, and you can easily do it at home. 

What you need: small paint roller with roller pad, Rustoleum magnetic primer, Rustoleum chalkboard paint, a small paintbrush (for edges and corners), painter's tape (I like the thick kind), a paint tray (if you don't have a paint tray, you can cut off the bottom of a cardboard box and cover it with aluminum foil)

Side note on painitng & aluminum foil: Foil is the best painter's tool ever.  I always have a sheet on the floor to put my paint can on, and an extra sheet for wet brushes, etc.  It makes clean up really easy.

What to do:
1. Tape off the area to paint.
(This is the larger wall I'm painting)

2. Paint a zillion coats of the magnetic primer.  Try to look stylish in case someone comes along to take your picture.
(This is the smaller wall I'm painting)

3.  Um, that's as far as I've gotten :) 

Actually, at this point if you wanted your newly magnetic wall/door to blend in, you could cover it with any normal paint you wanted.   Rustoleum also makes "White Board Paint" too---so you could cover the magnetic base with that and then have a wall that you can use wipe-off dry erase markers on! 

Tomorrow (or tonight) I'll be coating ours with chalkboard paint so that we can draw on it, too.  I'll let you all know how it works out.

Oh, and here's my favorite 4th of July pic---Maya & my mom hanging out and giggling on the steps in NJ:

Actually, I had one other 4th of July pic that I really liked---I posted it up on the FB fan page---check it out, and "like" us (officially) while you're at it!


Lisa said...

looks great! i've never thought of using tin foil like that before!! thanks for the tip!!! :)

Up past 9 in Ithaca said...

I don't recommend white board - dry erase markers get really grungy.

Chalk is a good idea!

Lisa and Joe Bisti said...

The PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) is a great way to help her communicate - sounds like the receptive is really there. That is what we look for when we work with PECS. Good luck!

jelly andrews said...

This idea is really brilliant. And I love to try this idea at home too. But I am just quite concern on its cost since you have to paint the wall several layers in order to achieve it magnetic effect.