Chalk It Up.

My pantry is a disaster. Like, filled to the brim, produce bags overflowing, cans balanced haphazardly on each other, chunks of garlic and ginger lying about and unmarked bulk baggies strewn around disaster. So I decided to take the first step toward cleaning it out - just the first step, since this is likely an all afternoon job if it's going to be done right, and I simply didn't have all afternoon. I started by clearing out the bulk baggies and put that stuff in jars. Cool, that was easy.  But now how the heck am I going to tell which jar is millet and which is amaranth? For a while I had stuck a piece of masking tape on each jar and used that to label my grains. It was functional, but totally ugly, and I don't really like ugly. Then I remembered seeing a jar with a chalkboard label painted onto it at some home store ages ago and thought that would be perfect for my ragtag lookin' jars. I'm definitely not the first to DIY this project, and I'm surely not the last, but here's how I went from having bulk baggies messing up my pantry to having nicely labeled and organized jars worthy of outside-the-pantry display. (I didn't use a specific tutorial for this project, but I know there are many others, including this one, online.)

My blank canvases, all cleaned up and ready to be taped off. You could really use any old jar for this project. I used some lidded mason jars that I picked up from IKEA and an old spaghetti sauce jar for this project, but have some big applesauce jars and smaller mason jars from jam and salsa that would also be perfect to use as well.

I used the green painters' tape and really made sure that it was stuck onto the jars well to prevent any paint from oozing underneath the tape. I chose to do rectangles on each jar, not worrying too much about getting the sizes to match exactly from jar to jar. There's some charm in the irregularity. Another idea is to cut shapes into the painters tape to create a more special design (you could just stick two or three pieces of tape on the jar and then using an x-acto knife, just carve your shape out of the tape).

I then painted the labels using Benjamin Moore's Studio Finishes Chalkboard Paint in black, doing my best to be sure the brush didn't force excess paint under the tape. I should mention that I used a small foam paint brush, but you could just use any quality bristle brush made for latex paints too. As you can see in the photo below, one coat wasn't even close to being enough, so I ended up doing four coats, and alternated the direction of the brush strokes with each coat to get a sort of cross-hatch effect on the final label. I'm a fan of doing many thin layers rather than fewer thick layers when I paint. I find that it results in a smoother finish as each layer dries more quickly and coverage ends up being more even.

Despite my careful taping and painting efforts, a few smudges of paint happened to seep through and mess up my nice straight lines. No biggie, though, I am good with an x-acto, and with the smoothness of the glass, I was able to scrape the errant bits of black paint off the jar.

Good as new.

I think the paint can asked me to wait something like four days before writing on the chalkboard if I was going to wait four WHOLE DAYS to try this out? Unlikely. Here's how the jars look filled with goodies and labeled the following day. (I always recommend reading and following the directions. And if you're like me, not following the directions but being painfully aware of the potential consequences. This time it worked out fine for me.)

My cute little jars don't have to hide in the messy pantry anymore, they can live on top of the refrigerator, right next to the egg man, where they belong.

If you like what you see in this post or have questions, please leave a comment!

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