DIY: Chalkboard

I come from a family of teachers, including my mother. For many years I would stay late with her after school and play teacher with my younger sister. We had the perfect setting- a real classroom- to let our imaginations run. We also did our homework, enjoyed Little Debbie Oatmeal Cookies and practiced our writing on the chalkboard while waiting for my mother to finish up her day. Many classrooms don’t even use chalkboards anymore. They are simple and classic and for some reason make me feel at ease. I never thought it would one day find its way into design.

This past winter I researched how to make a chalkboard. Every blog or source I read said how easy it is to DIY a chalkboard. All the sources also said to reuse an old frame that you love. We didn’t have one of those. So we hunted for one and came up short. The size wasn’t right or the frame was the wrong material or stain; we kept coming up empty-handed. Finally, I asked M to make the frame with molding, but doing that we could choose the size and the stain color.

Nearly $43 later we have a chalkboard- it will cost you a lot less if you already have Gripper primer and chalkboard paint. This chalkboard is also magnetic, due to the metal. Please note we did not purchase the magnetic chalkboard paint.


  • Flat (heating duct section) aluminum sheet from The Home Depot- $6
  • Molding from The Home Depot- $18
  • Gripper primer (Glidden) from The Home Depot- $9.98
  • Chalkboard paint from The Home Depot- $9.98
  • 2 small foam roller- already owned
  • Wood glue- already owned
  • Liquid nails- already owned
  • Wood stain- already owned

Step 1: Determine the size of the finished chalkboard.
Step 2: Prime (one coat) and paint (3 thin coats) the flat aluminum sheet
Step 3: Cut molding to size- ensure all ends are 90-degrees
Step 4: Stain molding pieces
Step 5: On a raised platform, using wood glue, glue the frame together. Let dry. The frame may be a little flimsy.
Step 6: Cut the aluminum sheet to size. We made sure it hung over the frame a bit more than half.
Step 7: Using liquid nails, adhere the frame to the aluminum sheet and dry completely
Step 8: Using the flat side of the chalk, rub the chalk all over the chalkboard and erase. According to the package and other blogs this helps the chalkboard paint last longer.
This was one of the easiest DIY projects we’ve taken on and we love it!
About five minutes after I left the room, Marshall changed the message- I can see we are going to have fun with this! (picture via my iPhone!)

4 Replies to “DIY: Chalkboard”

  1. You can also make chalkboard paint to make a board in any hue.

    The neatest idea I’ve seen of it are old wine bottles painted different colors and then written on.

    One more thought – when I worked at Wegmans and we used to do the chalkboard signs – we’d re-black them by rubbing chalk pastel all over them and then wipe them off with a damp paper towel. Don’t know if it will work with the paint – but worth a try if it gets a little too non-black 😉

  2. Teacher, here. They have installed SmartBoards in my classroom *over* my blackboards, and while I love the new tech, I can’t help but feel a little nostalgic. Love your blackboard project!

  3. Looks great! Love Marshall’s message. I have a lifetime’s supply of chalk, in a sundry of colors, if you ever need more!

  4. Pingback: Happy New Year «

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