DIY, Random Therapy Ideas

From Blank Canvas to Stylin’ Therapy Room

You might be one of those people who stays on top of the latest painting revolutions.  Wall shades that don’t require primer? DONE.  “Textured” paint that looks like you nailed leather panels to your living room? YUP.  There’s probably some kind of spray on gel that removes wall paper, primes and paints your walls, and gives you a manicure at the same time! While I’d love to say that I’ve deprived myself of precious sleep researching all the possible painting nuggets of knowledge floating around out there, the truth is that I’m really here to talk about 3 kinds of paint I believe you should at least consider adding to one (or more) of your therapy room walls.

1. Blackboard Paint

I know that chalk is messy and it gets all over your cute little black pencil skirt you convince yourself is functional for crawling around on the floor with kids (you justified buying it because it was “work-appropriate,” right?).  BUT, kids love chalk.  There’s just something about it’s dusty residue and imprecise drawing capabilities that sucks kids in.  So…why not make part of your wall (ideally a big strip that’s at “kid-height”) into a chalkboard?  You can find chalkboard paint at just about any retailer that sells a variety of paint types.  Having read reviews on sites like, it sounds like a pretty simple DIY project.  Plus, between the paint, chalk, and minimal labor involved, this is an affordable way to spice up your treatment room and bring a whole new world of possibilities to your sessions!

If you’re not quite ready to make a wall transformation, start small!  Add some chalkboard paint (or any of the paints mentioned here) to projects you are doing in therapy.  Chalkboard-paint on a jar you use to collect beans for accurate artic productions (and let the client draw on it as a positive reinforcer)!  Slap some onto the back/main part of a picture frame to have an ever-changeable artistic creation by your client!  You can pull it out as part of treatment or just as a fun break-time activity.

2. Dry Erase Paint

Did you ever think you’d see the day when you could turn your clinic or classroom into ONE GIANT dry erase board?  Well, that day has arrived and you can do it for short(ish) money and minimal effort.  Check out major paint stores to get yourself a gallon or two of this paint and get decorating!  You could certainly cover an entire wall, or your can get your creativity flowing by painting this on in a particular design that’s relevant to the therapy you do (thought bubbles, shapes, etc.).  You can even paint a door to keep your painted surface somewhat contained!

3. Magnetic Paint

This is SOOOOO cool.  You can actually create a magnetic wall…with paint!  Am I the only one who thinks this is the epitome of genius organization?  Make it easy to stick your session schedule up where your kiddo can easily see and access it.  Use it to tack up photos you want for identification/artic/phono/social skills activities! Play games where you can toss target stimuli, flashcards, ChipperChat “coins,” etc. up at your wall…and have them stick!  Again, you can find a good place to purchase this paint by simply googling it in your zip code.  There are lots of DIY sites that give advice on the appropriate number of coats to expect to use with this paint as well as do’s and don’t’s when it comes to making this work well.  Often, the magnetic paint doubles as chalkboard paint…so it’s a two-for-one! 

I would love to see one (or all) of these added into a therapy room or two at the University of Washington clinic.  I suppose we’ll see how convincing my blog is after all…


3 thoughts on “From Blank Canvas to Stylin’ Therapy Room”

  1. I had never heard of magnetic paint, but that is the coolest thing ever!

    Random question: Where did these pictures come from? I’m just asking because I have a chair almost exactly like the one in the first picture, and I am looking to purchase another one. thanks!


  2. Dry erase paint is great stuff – we are kind of biased, but there are also some really affordable options that allow people to experiment (some of the major retailers of this paint charge an arm and a leg).

    One thing to be careful of if using it is surface preparation. While whiteboard paint can go on nearly any surface, it is much easier to use if you reduce any surface texture prior to painting.

    Also – going to have to look into magnetic paint!


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