I love chalkboard paint. I use it on just about everything. Even my dining table is covered in chalkboard paint. There is just one problem.... chalk.
Even if you forget about allergies, and the mess that chalk dust makes, chalk still has a serious flaw. Chalk will not hold a point, it simply breaks too easily. So it is nearly impossible to write fine lines or on small surfaces with chalk. I have seen a few new liquid chalk pens that write wonderfully, but they are very expensive (around $5 or $6 per pen). What is a thrifty, chalkboard loving gal to do?
Buy a soap stone marker like the one pictured above. Soap stone is an extremely soft stone. It is so soft that a small amount of it will actually rub off on hard surfaces and leave a light mark. This mark can be removed, but it does not rub off as easily as chalk, making it ideal for marking on items that will be handled (like the above food jars). They can even be sharpened like a pencil, so they can write very fine lines.
Soap stone markers are traditionally used by metal workers, as they write easily on metal. And since they are a tool they can be found, rather cheaply, at hardware stores. My soap stone marker, seen above, was found at my local hardware store for about $2, and refills can be found for about $1 for a five pack (not that you will need them - I have used the same piece of stone for about 1 year now).