Chalkboard Labelled Plastic Canisters DIY

Naptime Gnome Idea #30

Spring cleaning – Getting organized around the Bee hive.DSCN0072Does anyone else have a cupboard or closet that attacks whenever disturbed? Just about every storage space in my house has this tendency. So while I’ve pondered obedience training (or possibly even anger management) for the evil gnomes lurking on the higher shelves, waiting to pelt me with empty jars and bags of dried fruit… I suppose the better, and more effective alternative, would be to get a little more organized! The primary offender at present is the pantry – after exercising my spidey skills and cat-like reflexes for the hugely-over-exaggerated-eth-time, it occurred to me that there’s no better time than Spring to clean up our act. So I decided the best place to start would be organizing the shelf of un-marked, un-sealed, used-daily, but generally a huge-leaky-mess of plastic bags, bulk baking supplies.


Here’s where I let you in on one of my MANY weaknesses: THANK HEAVEN for 0-3% humidity! My food storage habits wouldn’t make it 2 days in a balmier climate… and yes, it was extremely difficult uploading this photo for all to see… more embarrassing than my sock drawer for sure!

I looked into canisters, but found them to be well beyond my price range for the sizes I needed. Happily I found some large Rubbermaid food storage tubs at Costco. Initially I’d planned on printing large labels for the fronts and Modge-Podgeing them on, but once I got them home and began gleefully dumping sacks of coconut flour, almond flour, rice, rice flour, tapioca starch, sugar, chocolate chips and various other dry goods, it occurred to me that I go through phases and use some ingredients more than others, so it would be advantageous to have labels that could be readily changed.  I thought about plastic windows, Velcro tabs, even gluing clothes pins to the front, but I had a bit of leftover chalkboard paint, so I settled on that.

The paint sticks to the plastic and doesn’t bead up, but if an edge gets scratched, the whole thing pries up. Lightly sanding the surface before painting roughs it up enough that the paint holds on better. I further protected the paint by edging it with puff-paint frames. This worked great, and made for a much more durable edge. Though my hand wasn’t as steady as the tape line… so they were actually a bit prettier before the puff-paint in my opinion. You can also even out any little chunks pulled up by the tape with the puff paint.  So here’s the quick run through if you find yourself contemplating this simple project.

DIY Chalkboard Paint Labels
Crafty Gnomes: 1-2, a steady hand with the masking tape and puff paint is helpful
 (See the Crafty Gnome Key)
Time to Complete: 2 naptimes to make 3-6
as you’ll need time for the paint to dry between steps.DSCN9877
Supplies and Tools
  • Items to be “labelled,” I used plastic tubs
  • Chalk Board Paint (I used spray, but you could use brushable if you like)
  • Painter’s Tape or masking tape
  • Round “Dot” stickers (optional, this is what produces the easy decorative corners)
  • Ruler
  • Brillo Pad, fine steel wool, or fine grit sand paper (for best adhesion results)
  • Rubbing alcohol (or water will work if your surface hasn’t gotten greasy/fingerprinted)
DSCN98801. Decide how you want your containers oriented when stored.
2. Lightly rough the area you’ll be painting with a scouring pad/”Brillo” pad or some other fine grit sanding material. Don’t over do it, just make light scoring. If you rough it up too much your surface will not be smooth once painted.
3. Wipe clean with rubbing alcohol or water (you may recall I regularly use vodka for this, as I have no other purpose for the stuff! <;’)
DSCN98814. Determine the space you want to paint and mask off with painter’s tape or masking tape. Be sure to tape anything that may catch over-spray. If you are using variably sized containers, you may want to make your labels a uniform size. For this, measure the smallest one first to be sure it will fit, and then do the rest to match.
5. Smooth the tape with a credit card to seal the edges and prevent bleed.
6. For a simple decorative corner, put a dot sticker in every corner (about 1/4 wedge off the masking tape).
7. Press with credit card again (be sure to press dots).

DSCN98838. Take outdoors and spray VERY lightly. The lighter the better, if you get a drip, wipe it and start again. The first coat does not have to be full coverage, you can coat as many times as you need to get full coverage.
9. Once paint is all matte, spray with another coat.
10. If you containers are clear, look from the inside and check for any light spots. Spray again if necessary.
11. Once the last coat begins to dry around edges, remove tape. This will reduce the chances of damaging the edges where they may stick to the tape.
12. Let dry until next naptime (or at least a few hours).
13. Run a thin bead of black puff-paint (t-shirt paint) around the edge to seal.


Wash the inside of tub with mild soap and water. DO NOT put in the dishwasher. Wipe the exterior clean with a soft rag or sponge and water. The less you abuse the outside the longer they’ll last. These are not indestructible, but so far so good!

Let me know what you label! I love to see pictures too! I’d really love to post a few from my gnomies!


The Naptime Gnome <;’)


One thought on “Chalkboard Labelled Plastic Canisters DIY

  1. Pingback: Simple Chalkboard projects | Mommy Vegas & the Naptime Gnome

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s