How We Made A DIY Chalkboard

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For years I’ve held onto this stunning old gold wooden frame that once housed a beautiful landscape oil painting over my grandparent’s mantel.  I always loved the frame, but given its size, I could never find the right piece of art to fit it, so it just sat collecting dust in our basement, until one day recently it finally hit me… we should just make our own art.  And thus – a fun family project was born.  I picked up all the supplies we needed at our local Home Depot, and we were ready to transform our main kitchen wall into a blank canvas for silly doodles, sweet notes, grocery lists, and unlimited rounds of tic-tac-toe.

Here is how we made our DIY chalkboard:

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IMG_9126– First we hung our frame.  Of course, this step is optional.  You don’t need a frame if you’re using an entire wall.  We were careful to choose picture hangers that would not require a wire or string to run across the back (since our frame would essentially be empty).  Instead we used 2 self-levelling metal zigzag mounts (not their official name), that each rest on a nail neatly hidden behind the top edge of the frame.

– Once the frame was in place, we traced the inside opening with a pencil, to mark our painting area.  Then we removed the frame and set it aside, and used our green painter’s tape to outline our rectangle (laying the tape just slightly outside the pencil lines, and ensuring there were no air bubbles).

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– Then we prepped for painting, by setting up our drop cloth, moving any chairs or stuff out of the way, and getting our tray and brushes ready.  We used Rustoleum Chalkboard Paint in the classic black, but they also sell a colourless version that can be tinted with pigment to create any colour chalkboard you want!  I recommend using a foam roller for a smoother application (we found that a paint brush may leave streaks and will likely require an extra coat of paint if it’s not uniformly applied).

IMG_9148– After the first coat, we waited a few hours and then applied a second coat.  Within 30 minutes or so the wall was dry to the touch, so we very carefully removed the tape, replaced the frame, and stepped back to admire our work… but the job wasn’t complete yet.

– The instructions insist that you let the paint ‘cure’ for 3 days before attempting to use it.  So, after 3 torturous days passed (with constant chants of “Mom, can we use it yet?!  Can we, can we?!?!) it was finally time to ‘season’ the board.  Using the long edge of a piece of white chalk, we coated the entire area with an even thin layer.  Then, using a clean dish rag, we wiped it all off, leaving behind that cloudy grey chalkboard surface you recall from the classroom.  Note:  if you don’t season the board before using it, it may be harder to erase properly, and your first drawings could faintly haunt you forever.  If that happens, you can always clean the entire area with water (and return it to it’s dark black finish), just remember to season it again before using.

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