Framed Chalkboard Tutorial (and tips for writing on it!)
November 7, 2012 by Lara
Ladies, it is officially the holiday season!! I took a last-minute trip to the store for a bag of candy on Halloween and, to my surprise, I found a teeny tiny section for Halloween, and 8 AISLES for Christmas!! Can it really be the Christmas season already?! I have been dying to do this little project and share it with all of you. Chalkboards are so much fun. I love that it can be hung year-round, yet decorated for every season. For those of you looking for an easy handmade Christmas gift, this is perfect!
The first step is finding a frame. There are lots of options! Find a frame from a thrift store or garage sale. A coat of paint can always change the look! A custom frame, handmade frame, or a pre-made frame work great, too. I found this rustic looking frame at Hobby Lobby, with no glass or back (perfect for this project). You can always use coupons at craft stores and the frames end up being very reasonable!
You will need a board which will become your chalkboard. I had some trial and error with this. You want to make sure you get a very smooth board. I originally bought a sheet of plywood and, after I sprayed it, I realized how strong the grain actually was, the chalk sunk into the wood grain and left chalk stripes all over the board. So, I headed back to the store and decided to try MDF instead and it worked perfectly. Home Depot and Lowes sell sheets of MDF for super cheap, and they do the first 2-10 cuts for free! Just find someone and tell them you want to get some MDF cut, and make sure you take your frame so they can cut it to fit exactly!
Chalkboard paint is something I haven’t had a lot of experience with, but I will say I prefer the spray paint version for a perfectly even and smooth surface. I think the KRYLON brand works great, but I have heard wonderful things about Rust-Oleum brand, so I might recommend that one instead.
Here is a shortened version of the supplies you will need:
A sheet of MDF, cut to size
Chalkboard Spray Paint
This would be an easy bulk Christmas project to do. Get a bunch of boards cut for different frames for all of your friends and family, and do it all at the same time! Set up a little painting station outside, in a garage or the yard. Lay down a piece of drop cloth/plastic to keep the paint off other surfaces. If it is a bit breezy make sure you secure the drop cloth/plastic so that it doesn’t blow onto your project and ruin your hard work! Brush off the board with a dry cloth, or your hand, to make sure there are no dust or wood particles on the surface.
Spray in layers. Start off the edge of the wood and spray back and forth across, in a thin even layer. Let the layers dry between coats for about 5 minutes. Spray until the wood is completely covered and the paint looks even. About 3-4 thin coats should be enough. If you spray the paint on too thick it will run and ruin your board, so be careful!
The paint needs to dry completely. Follow the instructions on the spray paint can. Mine needed to dry for 24 hours. It is important to follow the directions exactly! Once the paint has dried, it is time to install it in the frame! Lay the chalk board inside your frame.
Staple across the frame and board to secure it. I placed staples every 3-4 inches.
My frame didn’t have any hardware for it to hang from. If your frame doesn’t have hardware you can either buy “frame hardware” and install it on the back of the frame, or you can do what I did, and use a staple as the hanging hardware! This would only work for smaller frames but it was a cheap alternative for me!
Find the center of the frame, mark it and on a low setting shoot the staple into the wood!
The chalkboard frame is done! Now this is the fun part! First you need to prep the chalkboard: Take a piece of chalk, lay it flat and cover the entire surface of the chalkboard. Then use a tissue or a chalk eraser to blend and remove some of the chalk. This gives it that dusty chalkboard look instead of just being flat black. AND it is really important, if you don’t prep the entire surface you might end up with a permanent residue from the first thing you wrote or drew. Then it is ready to be written on!
I do enjoy art and handwriting, but for me.. it takes a long time and a lot of creativity to make a chalkboard look perfect. I came across this AMAZING chalkboard tip. Seriously, it may have changed my life. You basically create and print out the message you want written on you chalkboard and then make a sort of chalkboard carbon paper!!! It’s the coolest thing ever! Read this tutorial over at IndieCraftParade.com. I followed the instructions exactly and I had a perfect chalkboard message in no time at all!!
To clean up mistakes, wet a paintbrush or the corner of a cloth, and wipe it up!
Search Pinterest for chalkboard messages and quotes for inspiration! You will be amazed with what you will find!
I hope you have fun with this little project!
I am planning to make one for my kitchen, and a big one for my kid’s Christmas!
What are some of your favorite holiday quotes?