Project: Chalkboard Votive

Is it .. … could it be … … wait … oh yes! It’s a PROJECT! A bona fide, real life, DIY Bride project! I bring you the first project I’ve done for this site in a long, long time. And it’s an easy one for all of you craft neophytes.

Behold, my DIY disciples: the versatile, simple, and cheap chalkboard votive. What’s a chalkboard votive, you ask? It’s a glass votive cup that’s been sprayed with – get this – chalkboard paint. Genius! (And utterly inspired by some pricey but wonderful chalkboard vases found elsewhere.) These little guys can be used to house candles or candies or even small bunches of flowers. The cool factor is that you can write whatever you’d like on the outside. Great for place cards, no? Or how above little love notes to your guests? A word of thanks? Supplies Needed

  1. Chalkboard paint (found at craft stores and home improvement centers)
  2. Votive cups
  3. Newspaper or other covering to protect your work surface
  4. Well-ventilated work area (do this outside if at all possible)
  5. Chalk


  1. Cover your work surface with newspaper.
  2. Wash and thoroughly dry your votive cups. This removes any gunk and fingerprints to ensure you get a nice, even coverage of paint.
  3. Turn the votive cups upside down on the work surface. (So you don’t spray inside the cup.)
  4. Spray the votives with chalkboard paint. Hold the paint can about 8″ – 12″ from the cup and spray lightly. Too much paint will leave runny marks down the side of the glass.
  5. Let the paint dry per manufacturer’s directions. (About an hour should do. Your time may vary.)
  6. Add another coat, if you want. Sometimes it takes a 2nd to cover any spots you may have missed or to get a good base on larger pieces.
  7. After the paint is dry, write your message on the votive. Voila!


  1. The paint is seriously stinky! I highly recommend spraying outside.
  2. Really let the paint dry completely between coats and before using. If the paint is even the tiniest bit wet, it’ll peel away from the glass when you try to write or you’ll leave permanent chalk indentations.
  3. Terra cotta pots work well for this as do larger pieces like vases, bowls, wine bottles, jars. You can use stone, wood, tile — just about any hard surface.
  4. Mask off parts of your project to create little areas of chalkboard instead of spraying the whole thing.
  5. Don’t spray inside the cup if you’re going to use it for food. The paint is not non-toxic.
  6. I that the big pieces of chalk (like for sidewalk art) that had a pointed end were easier to use than the standard skinny chalk sticks.

(the final product, complete with smudgy fingerprints from yours truly)


9 thoughts on “Project: Chalkboard Votive”

  1. Is it really that easy to do this project? I almost bought those vases at $40 each! My FI and I are both teachers. We want a blackboard project or two at our reception. diybride, did you seal the paint with anything? How long did it take to dry? Thanks!

  2. Hi,

    It really is that easy. The hardest part is getting an even coat without drips. Holding the spray can 8″ away from the glass and using short, quick strokes helps a lot.

    It took a full hour for each coat to dry. (It was a warm, humid day.) So, start this project early.

    Do not seal the paint!! Any sealant will completely ruin the project. The chalk needs direct contact with the chalkboard paint to work.

    This would be totally cute for a teachers’ wedding! Not too long ago, I saw wood apples at Michael’s. It’d be really sweet to paint them with cb paint and write guests’ names on them for place cards. 🙂

  3. humm… We are the designers/ creators of these vases and yes sure do it yourself, but please give us credit for our idea- maybe thats what one really is paying for, not the materials (ie blown glass) and our time actually making them. Check out our website- there are lots of other shapes and styles one can copy.

  4. LBK studio,

    I sincerely apologize for not properly crediting you for the inspiration, as the retailer who carried the vases I was inspired by,, did not (to my recollection) list the designer of the vases once sold on their site ( Looking at your site, I cannot say for certain that you are, indeed, the original designer. Would you verify for that for us, please?

    Holly at the ever-fab Decor8 blog has the picture of the vases and a pointer to the product site dated January 2007 —

    Urban Outfitters also once sold chalkboard vases in the last year or so (but they’re no longer listed on their website) but they weren’t the inspiration for the chalkboard votive project here at DIYBride.

    Mea culpa on the whole chalkboard-painted container idea. Alas, during some research, I discovered that Martha had done something similar (with clay pots) way back in March 2001. Wow! (search for chalkboard pots at

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