I'm building and installing various cabinets and shelving units around the house, and when it's time to install them, knowing the exact stud and cross-bracing locations is very helpful.

I have an electronic stud finder that works well enough. I often want to mark the stud locations with an easily removable mark because the mark location may not be hidden by the cabinet, so I've been using chalkboard chalk. The problem is, it's not easily visible on many painted surfaces.

I was thinking of using colored chalk, just regular Crayola kids chalk to create a more visible mark. Is that a sensible thing to do?

I was wondering:

  • Is there a more specialized chalk suitable for that job?
  • Am I going to have trouble getting colored chalk off the kitchen or bedroom wall if it has flat paint?
  • Is there some other standard way of marking stud locations with a removable mark?

2 Answers 2


When I don't want to make messy marks, it's blue painter's tape all the way. (There are various options, in terms of how long you can leave it on. Just remember to peel it in time.)

  • You know, this occurred to me for some reason while I was rummaging around looking for some colored chalk. I think this is the best solution. With this method, more precise pencil marks (and even remarks, dimensions, etc.) can be made and it won't leave any mark at all behind, not even a scuff mark from the mildly abrasive chalk. I'm also thinking it can be placed both horizontally and vertically depending, to show various aspects. Thanks! :)
    – scanny
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 3:22
  • 1
    There is even yellow painters tape! It might be easier to spot pencil marks against a yellow background instead of the blue background.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 14:03
  • 1
    I ended up using drafting tape (like removable masking tape for holding down blueprints/drawings) on my latest project for that exact reason; I was having trouble seeing the marks on the blue masking tape. I tried using a white paint pen, and those marks were visible, but in the end it was just too much trouble. The drafting tape has a mild adhesive so it hasn't been any trouble getting it off the wall so far, and the traditional masking tape color allows regular pencil marks to show up nicely.
    – scanny
    Commented Oct 30, 2016 at 9:18

denatured alcohol will remove pencil lines from most surfaces without attacking paint.

  • This can work well on bare wood but DNA is a solvent for the binder in many wall paints however (which are acrylics or acrylic/styrene paints despite the common use of "latex" in the name).
    – Graphus
    Commented Oct 23, 2016 at 8:04

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