DIY Framed Chalkboard

by Julie on June 1, 2012 · 35 comments

For more posts like these, please visit my new blog, Creating This Life.

I have long wanted to have a framed chalkboard. Searching them out online convinced me that my budget required making one and not buying one.

Originally I was looking for a piece of chalkboard that was a standard frame size.

Then I discovered that there was chalkboard paint and it actually comes in spray paint form. (You can find it on Amazon here.)


I picked up the spray paint, an open frame and a piece of glass, all from Michael’s/Hobby Lobby, using coupons.

This project would cost next to nothing if you repurposed a frame you already had on hand. Or found a frame at a garage sale or thrift store.

And you don’t have to use glass. The chalkboard paint will work on almost any surface. In fact, glass may not be the best choice, as you’ll soon see.

Once you have the materials, the process is ridiculously easy.

First, use several coats of the spray paint to cover the glass, allowing a little drying time in between each one.

The can advises lightly sanding or priming the glass beforehand, but since I didn’t read that until later, it didn’t get done. No harm was done it seems.

Once the paint has dried at least 24 hours, you need to “prime” the board by covering it completely with chalk and then erasing.

Then you pop the chalkboard into the frame.

Actually, I wouldn’t “pop” it in, I would gently lay it. Because this isn’t really a chalkboard, it’s a piece of glass covered with chalkboard paint. So if you “pop” it in, a corner of the glass might break off just as you’re putting it in the frame.

Just as you’re getting to the fun part when you get to hang it and write on it and stuff.

If that happens you’ll have to go back to Michael’s and get another piece of glass. Or maybe buy a poster set that’s 40% off, so you will not only have the glass, but the backing as well. Actually, I would advise doing that the first time and skipping the whole “breaking off the corner” part.

Repeat the process: sand (or don’t), paint, let dry for 24 hours, prime with chalk.

Carefully put it in the frame and secure the backing.

I used the clips that came with the poster frame and then covered everything with packing tape.  I discovered that I didn’t have any picture hanging wire, so I took apart a wire hanger and used that. The back is lovely, but I was NOT going back to Michael’s again.

Now for the fun stuff.

One last piece of info: you’ll need chalk made of calcium carbonate to use on this paint. What that seems to mean is that you want to look for grown-up, anti-dust chalk and skip the kids’ nontoxic chalk. That part actually required a bit of research. Why don’t they label chalk like they do food?

And if you want to see some serious chalkboard writing skills, check out this post at Dear Lillie. But come right back and tell us:

Do you like decorating with chalkboards? How have you used them? Any DIY chalkboard tips?

This post is part of One Project at a TimeNifty Thrifty TuesdayFrugal Friday, Show and Tell Friday, Creative Things Thursday, Frugal Fridays, The William Morris Project, and Tackle It Tuesday.

Note: This post contains an Amazon referral link.

Note: I'm no longer adding new posts to The Family CEO. I am, however, writing at Creating This Life, where we talk about home, books, travel, and other life stuff.

Click here to subscribe to Creating This Life or click here to visit. I hope to see you there! - Julie

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Teresa June 1, 2012 at 2:15 pm

I scored a big 4ft x 4ft green chalkboard at an auction for $2. It hangs in my barn. I write the daily weights of newborn alpacas on it, feeding notes for hired help, to-do list for my husband! Chalkboards are so handy to have. You will love it.


Julie June 1, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Note to self: Must get barn. And alpacas.

Great score, Teresa. It sounds charming.


Carla June 1, 2012 at 6:10 pm

I want!! Actually, I wish you lived closer so you could come over & help me decorate!! lol!


Julie June 7, 2012 at 11:19 am

Carla, I would love that. And you could teach me to sew!


Sara Tetreault June 2, 2012 at 11:58 am

This looks really great, Julie! I like that it’s dressed up in the fancy frame. Good job!


Julie June 7, 2012 at 11:19 am

Thank you, Sara. :)


Dee June 4, 2012 at 12:36 pm

I love making chalkboards. You made a very pretty one!



Julie June 7, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Thank you, Dee. :)


Jules June 7, 2012 at 9:55 am

I love it! I’m definitely doing this. I’ve been looking for a way to display our “family rules” and this might be just the ticket! Thank you!


Julie June 7, 2012 at 11:20 am

Family rules is a great idea, Jules!


May June 7, 2012 at 10:17 am

So even buying chalk these days is tricky?! Who knew?
That looks great!


Julie June 7, 2012 at 11:20 am

May, yes, even buying chalk requires research.


Jenn June 7, 2012 at 10:56 am

Love the chalkboard! We’ve been thinking about a similar idea, but trying to put it into practice in a ‘neat and tidy’ sort of way, you’ve totally achieved this.


Julie June 7, 2012 at 11:21 am

Thank you, Jenn. I hope it was helpful.


Leilani June 7, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Fun! Good to know about the chalk. The only reason I haven’t gotten one yet is that it seems so messy. Where did you say you got your chalk again?


Julie June 7, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Leilani, I got the chalk at OfficeMax. I know what you mean about messy. To be honest, chalk and chalk boards kind of give me the heebie jeebies, but I like the look so much I did it anyway. :)


Rasonda June 7, 2012 at 12:45 pm

This is beautiful and I have scouring local thrift stores to no avail, so I think I am heading to HL soon. So was the poster frame kit from Micheal’s plastic, or did you get glass the second time around too?


Julie June 7, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Rasonda, great question. I thought I would be getting plastic with the poster kit, but it was glass again. This glass didn’t seem quite so fragile, however.


Shaina June 7, 2012 at 1:19 pm

I’m new to your blog – linked over from Pancakes & French Fries. I stumbled across a recipe awhile back for making your own chalkboard paint out of acrylic paint & dry non-sanded grout. I immediately pinned it to my Craft board (, at which point it disappeared from my brain. Your post reminded me that I’ve got everything I need except the grout (which is supposedly pretty darn cheap) just sitting in my garage waiting as patiently as clutter waits.
After looking at the link you posted to Dear Lillie though I saw that she used a chalk pen (?) to do her fancy work and since I have no way to procure that, I figured painting with a small brush might just work. I’m thinking instead of writing with chalk sticks, I’ll mix up a contrasting color of chalk paint (if I can figure out how the pens work) and painting a picture or saying on it! Maybe I could somehow funnel the excess chalk paint into an empty acrylic bottle?

Anyway, thanks for the renewed inspiration!


Shaina June 7, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Just in case anyone but me was interested – here’s a how to on making your own chalk ink markers.

This might be one of those instances where it’s cheaper to buy the product. I’ll have to do more research on how much of the ingredients is necessary but the Mica pigment is pricey.


Julie June 7, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Thanks for the links, Shaina. I also noticed that Jenni @ Dear Lillie does use a chalk pen, so I have my eye out for one of those!


Melissa@HomeBaked June 7, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Looks great! I like the size, too. We have one that’s just too small to write much on.


Julie June 7, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Good point, Melissa. I actually could have used one a tad bit bigger. I write big!


Christa June 7, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Very cute! I have a frame that would be perfect for this project!


Julie June 7, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Let us know if you do it, Christa!


Joanne October 29, 2012 at 8:40 am

I love this idea! Do you think the plastic would actually work better? What other backgrounds would you use besides glass? I can envision the chalk just scraping off if something sharp came across it.


Julie October 29, 2012 at 8:48 am

I would have preferred the plastic, Joanne, but the glass is working just fine. I think you could use any smooth surface at all. Just check the chalkboard paint to make sure it will adhere.


Derricka November 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm

i will definitely be trying this for my dining room kitchen area!!!
but i have a question i wanted to make a chalkboard for my sons room i have some old bulletin boards lying around that i thought of using would the paint work on bulletin boards as well? and would you recommend using the bulletin board or glass for a chalkboard for kids it will be for them to draw on and have fun thanks in advance for your help


Julie November 15, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Hmmm…I’m not sure about bulletin boards since the surface isn’t smooth. If you have some old ones around I would say give it a try. It may be best to avoid glass for kids’ rooms, however. I would probably go with plastic or wood if the bulletin board doesn’t work. Good luck!


Marsha Fiellder January 4, 2013 at 12:46 pm

This sounds like a great idea for my Girl Scout troop. I saw on Ellen that plastic trays can make a good surface for a blackboard. Later, can be used to hold a few serving dishes & chalk written on it pointing to what was what in the dishes.


Julie January 4, 2013 at 12:48 pm

That’s a great idea, Marsha. It’s been a long time since I had to think about Girl Scout projects, but this sounds like a good one.


Amanda Rinear-Youn January 23, 2013 at 9:36 am

I am trying the glass idea, but am using glass bottles to decorate with via chalkboard spray paint. I could not find chalkboard paint locally like the one you used, BUT ….I did find a brand at Lowes called Valspar. It did not say you can use on glass – but did anyway via spray can. Looks good, but will it hold up you think for writing? Tonight will be 24 hours of drying time. I sprayed 4 thin light coats ….thanks for any feedback.


Julie January 23, 2013 at 9:46 am

Amanda, I think it will hold up. Mine has a few small scratches from the chalk, but I figure when it gets too scraped up, I’ll respray it. Hope you enjoy your chalkboard!


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