Chalkboards, DIY Style

Chalkboards are trendy, but the indecisive imp inside me loves that it can chameleon into anything you want. (sort of) and when you have a handy husband, you can have any size and shape you want. My quart of chalkboard paint is one of my favorite things in my craft cupboard beside the Modge Podge and my hammer.

My newest chalkboard didn’t begin that way, it morphed from a failed project. You know these awesome ‘vintage bus scroll’ wall-art pieces from Restoration Hardware?


Pretty awesome, right? But who in real life can pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars for a shadow box with stenciled letters? Especially when I have Ryan and his skills available to me. So he built me a couple shadow boxes. They were perfect, about 2×4 feet, and about an inch and a half deep and painted in a dark grey that was almost a purple.

But then it was my turn and my crafty skills in ratio to my patience failed me.  I couldn’t get the stenciling to look right and crisp. Maybe I had given up on them in my head in the time it took for me to get the paint and plan out the street names.  I do have a very short attention span. (working on that…) Anyway, now I’ve learned the process, and when we have a bigger house, I will give them another go when I have walls big enough to show them off.

In the meantime, I painted over one of them with chalkboard paint and painted the frame red.  I ran sandpaper over the edges to give the frame age and dimension and may end of going over it again with milk paint when I get tired of the red. Then I went searching for inspiration on what to write. If you’re like me and sometimes need a little help…Pinterest and Etsy are your friends. I found the verse I wanted, and printed off someone’s chalkboard as a jumping off point of inspiration.

First step on a brand new chalkboard is to prep it. After the paint cures a few days, turn a piece of chalk on its side and coat the whole thing. Wipe it off and then do it again. Use a barely damp rag to wipe it clean, not a chalkboard eraser, which just makes a mess.

photo 4

Tip #1:

Lay out your words/picture to make sure it fits.  Just scribble it on to see how it fits the space, with curly-cues wherever you’re going to want some.  Here’s my ugly version.


Then go back, and rub off  the words or phrases one at a time as you work. That way you won’t end up with weird gaps or squished letters (hopefully).

Tip #2

If you need more ideas for how to make letter dimensional, choose a cool font in Word and make huge letters in it on the computer screen.  That let’s you see the details and lines of the words to copy. word

With patience and frequent erasing and redoing and getting chalk dust all over yourself and the dining room table, and forgetting to make dinner, you end up with this:


I have a place on the wall picked out once Ryan has a chance to tack a wire to the back to hang it.

Here’s our little 8×10 chalkboard that changes with the seasons. It was a cheap plastic picture frame  but with the last of a bottle of bronze spray paint and chalkboard paint, it became this cute little guy.  It takes about 20 minutes to change it, which makes it much more manageable than the big one. Here’s  a few changes from this past year:



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