DIY Chalkboard Wall Map – In Progress

A few months ago we painted our bedroom to cover up a bright orange accent wall. I mean, I love orange, but maybe not looming overhead in our already bright bedroom. We used black chalkboard paint because I wanted to draw something graphic and awesome on the walls, maybe inspired by Dana Tanamachi:

But I had other ideas floating around too, and I couldn’t make up my mind. It’s completely ridiculous – the whole thing is going to be chalked and couldn’t be easier to change. Finally I settled on a map of Chicago for a few reasons: 1. It’s where we are from and a city we love, 2. I could trace it off of Google maps, and 3. I was inspired by the look of these papercut maps.

Supplies required: chalk, computer, projector, darkness, endless patience, and a crazy person.

Fancy setup, right? Note the Quickbooks for Dummies leveling the projector – best use I’ve ever gotten out of that book.

Here I’m lining up the image with the work I’d done the previous night. Since it’s too bright during the day (our bedroom has no doors and tons of windows) I have to wait until at least 8:30 to get started. I can get a few hours in and then I start going cross-eyed and have to call it a day.

Project fuel last night included Gossip Girl (seriously, can’t Chuck catch a break? I’m tired of them torturing him), Bethenney Ever After and Dogfigh Head 60 Minute IPA.

Here’s how it looked this morning. Yes, I stood on the fire safe box on the step stool to reach the top. I had to- the ladder is holding the projector! I’d say I’m about 1/3 of the way finished. And to think I originally planned to knock this out in a weekend, ha.

Overall I am excited about the project but DREADING the rest of the chalking. After I finish the outline I’ll go back in and clean up any crazy parts, figure out how to differentiate the river and rail lines, maybe add some designations for major streets, neighborhoods or our favorite old haunts. Check back in 2015 :)

Also, I’m considering putting a sign on the front door- NO ERASERS ALLOWED!


  1. Lori says:

    You should use a chalkboard paint pen instead of regular chalk! It’s a lot easier on the hands and looks fancy compared with the dusty stuff.

  2. I think this is fantastic! It encompasses a lot of things that I love all at once – chalk design, maps, murals. . .throw in some typography and I may have to move in with you. Or, try it myself.
    Please tell me – what kind of projector is that?? I’m searching for a way to transfer simple designs onto vertical surfaces. . (walls or boards for signs) and this looks perfect. Expensive?
    Any details you could offer would be greatly appreciated!

    • alicia says:

      I don’t know the details on the projector, I just talked my husband into the borrowing one from the IT dept at his office :) Wish I could be more help!

  3. I’m glad Yahoo pointed me to it. I was able to get the know-how I was searching so badly for days now.Thank You very much for your really good web page. Have a good day.It’s very useful for everyone for sure.

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