3.13.2014

diy framed chalkboard

For a while now, chalkboards have been making a huge comeback in home decor. And with good reason...they're super versatile and pretty! I've had my eye on a few ideas but I didn't want to jump in until I had a clear plan (a rare ideology for me). I had put the idea on a crafting back-burner until I recently saw a blogger who used a large chalkboard for quotes in the kitchen. Most kitchen boards just display the week's menu, but that's impractical for me since I know for sure that I would never get around to changing it every week. However, the idea of putting up a quote or Scripture is definitely one I can warm up to.

I started at our local thrift store to hunt down a frame but their prices were surprisingly high for scary motel art. I hopped over to Hobby Lobby just out of curiosity and found a gorgeous empty frame in the clearance section...90% OFF! Seven bucks later, I walked out with a frame and a plan. I measured the inner frame and went to Lowe's for an 18"x24" piece of plywood. I already had a can of chalkboard paint at home so that afternoon I was all set to start.
Two coats of paint later and I hit a huge speed bump. The paint was fine but the texture of the plywood was still coming through. Maybe this would have been remedied with 8-10 coats of paint, but ain't nobody got time for that!

I headed back to Hobby Lobby and ended up purchasing a dry-erase board with the same dimensions as the frame and since the board had a smooth chipboard back, I knew the chalkboard finish would be much cleaner. Using wood glue and a couple stacks of books, I adhered the dry-erase side of the board to the plywood. 

Next, I started over with the paint, using four crosshatching layers. While this was drying and we finally had a sunny day, I took the frame outside with some leftover soft-white spray paint. Once all the pieces were dry and gorgeous, I used a medium coarseness sanding block and lots of elbow grease to give the frame some character. 
The next step is very important -- priming the chalkboard. It says it clearly on the paint can, but for some reason, lots of people skip this step and then are frustrated when the chalk "stains" the board or it doesn't clean properly. Simply take a piece of chalk and rub it sideways across the entire surface of the board. Clean with a felt eraser then a wet rag and it should be good to go!
To attach the board to the frame, I laid it flat and used a staple gun to bridge the gap between the wood and frame. Inevitably, the board will not be flush with the frame, especially if you have someone at the store cut the plywood for you. That's okay though, cause no one will be able to tell from the front. Post-stapling the back looked a little like Frankenstein...but I wanted to make sure it was really secure since it's a bit heavy.
Then just flip it over and get creative! I opted for a Chalk Ink marker since I like the cleaner lines and no dust, but regular chalk will do the job too. This weekend, I'm getting hardware to hang it in the kitchen over our table, replacing the current poster, but for right now, it's in the living room. Ultimately, I'm aiming to put up a new bible verse at the beginning of each month. Our main door to the apartment opens into the kitchen and I spend lots of time in there now, so it's definitely the central location for Scripture to be seen. And what a promise to have hope in!
Cost (not including everything I already had at home):
Frame = $7 (originally $59.99!)
Plyood = $5
Dry-erase Board = $6
Total = >$20

Note to self: work on writing in straighter lines before showing off stuff like this. Oops

4 comments:

  1. This is beautiful! I really, really like it. I'll have to try your tricks out sometime. I usually just do chalkboard paint on the glass that originally came with the frame, but I imagine the dry erase board would be better. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. It looks awesome! Very cute. And I love what you wrote on it. It looks straight to me :)

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Thanks so much for your comment! I really love reading them and look forward to hearing what you have to say!