An Afternoon DIY - Framed Chalkboard

Photo taken by Paul Lorei

Make your very own chalkboard with only a few supplies.

Items needed:

  • Frame
  • Plywood cut to size 
  • Black spray paint primer
  • Chalkboard paint (I used Krylon spray paint)
  • Chalk
  • Screws (slightly longer than width of plywood)
  • Drill
  • Drill bit
  • Picture hanger hardware
  • Long thin piece of wood (or paint stirrer)

I found my frame at JoAnn's in the custom framing department. It was on sale for $30. I have seen several frames since then in the same area that were custom frames that were either made wrong or never picked up. I loved the shape of this frame - it is big so it makes a statement and the colors work well with our decor.  I knew at once it would be perfect for a chalkboard!

Measure the inside of the frame (the area where a picture or canvas would fit into). Go to a home improvement store such as Lowes or Home Depot and pick up a sheet of plywood. About 1/2" thickness will probably be the right width, but measure the depth of your frame before you buy it - you want it to fit almost flush with the back of the frame once inserted.

You can even take the frame with you and let an employee help you pick the correct plywood - they are usually very helpful!

Plywood prior to painting

When picking out plywood you want to pick a piece that doesn't have any knots and is overall pretty smooth. Keep in mind that you will be writing on the surface of it.

If you do not have a power saw at home, ask someone to cut it for you to the correct dimensions. I know that at Lowes and Home Depot they will do up to 3 cuts for free on a project (and usually even more if you ask nicely and don't take advantage of them).

Once home and your plywood is cut to the correct dimension you can begin painting.

I first used a black primer spray paint. I usually use Rust-Oleum.

Primer sprayed onto the plywood
I then sprayed 2-3 coats of chalkboard spray paint onto the board.

I used this spray paint, but they also sell it in quarts of black and green colored chalkboard paint

Wait for the paint to thoroughly dry and then place your chalkboard painted plywood board into the frame.

I then used some leftover wood we had in the basement from another job to secure the plywood into the frame.

Long wood piece holds the plywood into the frame.  Plywood fits almost flush to frame so it doesn't slide around.

I screwed a piece on the top and on the bottom so that it the board was securely in place inside the frame.

Picture of back of frame.  Plywood sitting inside frame as if it were the picture
You could also use paint stirrers for this part - the paint department usually gives them away for free and they are about the same dimensions as the scrap wood pieces we had in our basement.

Lastly, I added the picture hanger onto the back of the frame.

You can buy these in the picture hanging section (near hardware) at Lowes or Home Depot

It hangs in our dining room with inspirational quotes or menus. It adds a casual feel to the room. I like that the frame was probably supposed to have a very nice picture or painting in it and we repurposed it for a chalkboard.

It was used for my sister's wedding to display the menu - it was a great meal!

The frame brings elegance, yet the chalkboard brings a fun child friendly vibe to the room.

What do you think? Do you think you will try it? If you do, post a brag picture!