Friday, June 8, 2012

DIY Chalkboard Message Board

It finally happened.  I was too busy this week to write a new blog post.  Monday and Tuesday evenings, I had to head to the Kansas City Corporate Challenge track meet to run in a couple of events.  I ran the 400 meter and the 1 mile race.  It wasn't pretty, and I didn't win, but at least I got our company some participation points! Last night I finally got around to finishing up this project that I've been working on since last weekend.

I've been thinking about putting some sort of message board in our kitchen for a while now and it needed to be something I could actually write on, but I wasn't really wanting a dry erase board.  That pretty much left me with the option of making a chalkboard.  My plan was to find a large picture frame that I could paint, and then I would paint a piece of particle board with some chalkboard spray paint and put it all together.  I finally found the frame I was looking for at our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.  If you've never heard of those before, it is basically a place where people bring their gently used or surplus building materials, light fixtures, paint, bathroom fixtures, and apparently, picture frames.  It is a pretty neat place and I've heard of people finding small slabs of granite or brand new appliances that someone replaced just because of color.  Everything is priced very reasonably and the proceeds go towards Habitat for Humanity.  Even if it you aren't looking for anything in particular, you should check it out if you have one in your area.  Never know what you'll find!  Here's the frame I found in its original state.

It had some cobwebs and a weird stick on velvet strip that needed to be peeled off.  I cleaned it up, sanded the part where the "velvet" had been and got ready to spray paint it.  First I used some primer, and then I painted it with semi-gloss white spray paint.

The top coat was really not covering it well, plus I realized that it was too white compared to our slightly off white trim it would up against.  So I sprayed it again with primer, then used a paint brush and our leftover trim paint to cover it again.  It looked much better after that.

Too white compared to the trim.

Much better!

The next step was to run to Home Depot for the wood that would become the chalkboard.  I needed something pretty thin, but also sturdy.  What I found is something that I think they call "hardboard".  I got a 1/4" thick piece and had them cut it to the size I needed right there in the store.  I gave it a light sanding once I got home since the surface was super smooth and I was afraid the paint wouldn't stick very well.  The original plan was to first use a magnetic spray paint as a primer so the board could also be used with magnets.  But the magnetic paint was not going on smooth at all, so I just let it dry and started with the chalkboard paint.  That went on just fine, and after several coats I was ready to assemble it all.

I used Gorilla Glue to attach the board to the frame, but that turned out to not be such a great idea since it ended up oozing out the front side and I had to scrape it off once it was dried.  Oh well, I think it is stuck together pretty well.  So without further ado, here is the finished product!

I mostly plan on using it as a place to write things we need to get at the store when we go on our weekly shopping trip, but for now it's showing the menu.  That way, Joe will know what kind of meat to take out of the freezer each morning :)  That's it for now!  Oh, and happy birthday to my sister Sara and my cousin Lizzie!  Have a great weekend!


  1. I like it, Lisa. Girl, do you ever slow down?

    1. I did take a nap for about 5 minutes on Sunday :)

  2. It turned out great! Too bad the magnetic paint didn't work. I'va never heard of that. I told Greg about the idea the other week and he thought it would be better in the office, but we never go in there. We don't have a good wall in the kitchen anyway, so this project will have to hold off for now. I love it, though!

  3. Love this! One of my friends just bought a house and we were planning on making something like this for her dining room. We saw one when we went to "Parade of Homes" about a month ago but it was 1/3 of the wall huge. Sorry to hear the magnetic paint didn't work. Maybe you could make one of those magnetic spice holder board-things with it? Then you could buy all those cute magnetic containers for your spices and free up some cabinet space!

    1. Thanks, Chase! It's not so much that the magnetic paint didn't work, it just made every little line from the sand paper feel like a giant rough gouge. Even though the board felt perfectly smooth before the magnetic paint. I could definitely use it on another project though. I've seen whole chalkboard walls in a lot of magazines and blogs but that is a little too big of commitment for me haha. Nextime I think I'd just buy a quart of chalkboard paint instead of the spray paint too. It would last a lot longer and probably look better.