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Friday, November 11, 2011

Chalk & Awe

I'm house-sitting this weekend with the best dog and cat ON THE PLANET!  I'm serious, these guys are amazing.  You'll see them in the pics later on.  Now for the craft:

I've wanted a chalkboard forever.  There are two main purposes I'm interested in.  I have a few friends who have featured them in pictures.  I love the idea that you could write something on the chalkboard and have it appear in the photo more organically than if you were to put it in with a photo editing program later.  The other reason I wanted one is that I have wanted a cute, decorative way to feature inspirational quotes in my bedroom and a chalkboard is just the thing.  Every time I look for them in craft stores or the school-supply and craft aisles of my neighborhood big-box store, I can't handle how much they cost.  I'm looking at a minimum of $10 for a plain-jane one, then I have to decorate the raw wood edge. would take all weekend.  Blah.  So, while wandering Walmart, disappointed that they hadn't magically gone down to 5 cents overnight, I had an epiphany!  It went something like this:
 Even better, I had a few hours to spare between Chem Lab and work, so I got a head start on it, since I knew I would need time to dry.

So here we go!

Things you need:
  • $2 picture frame.  (Mine is actually a "document frame" because it was so much cheaper, just make sure it has the glass, because that becomes the chalkboard.)  Go ahead and get an ugly one, because it won't matter later.
  • Spray paint
  • CHALKBOARD SPRAY PAINT!!!! (How have I not realized how much I needed this before?)
What you do:
Take the frame apart.  Discard the family photo or pretend document that came in the frame but mean nothing to you.  Unless you really like it... then save it for another craft.  Make sure you save the back so that you can put it all back together at the end!
Spray the glass (one side only) with 3 smooth, even coats (not too thick) of chalkboard paint.  Let it completely dry between coats.  (Mine took about an hour to completely dry because it was really cold outside.)  Alternate spray direction between coats, so one is applied in landscape passes and the next in portrait.  Does that make sense?  I hope it does, because I can't really think of another way to describe it.  Once your 3rd coat is dry, set the glass aside in a safe place.  The paint needs to cure for 24 hours before we can chalk it up. 

While you wait for the chalk paint to set up, go ahead and spray paint that ugly frame a cute color that will accent your room well (or one that just jumps out at you)!  I went with the accent color on my comforter (which happens to be the color of my sheets).  Mine was made of some sort of cheap plastic material which STRONGLY resisted being spray painted.  With several persistent, super-thin coats I was finally able to achieve the color I was going for.  It honestly took 6-8 coats before I was getting full coverage. (this pic is before)

Side Note:  I strongly recommend getting a great cardboard box from the produce department of your local grocery.  They are great for catching all the crazy spray dust from spray paint.  Also, they have handles, so you can spray outside and move it inside to dry after the smell has dissipated some and you don't have to put fingerprints in it.  Magical.

After your 24 hours of settling is done, you have to "prime" the chalkboard by rubbing the side of a piece of chalk all over the board.  It would be more stable if you put it back in the frame first, but I like a good struggle, so I did it before I put it back together.   Once you erase the chalk, put the frame back together and get to chalkin'!  If you're house-sitting, make your new furry friends pose with your creation!    I have a feeling you'll be seeing this board again...  What would you do with your very own chalkboard?


  1. Great post. I have also heard of (and am going to purchase) chalk board contact paper. At it's pretty cheap, like $7 for a roll. You can stick this anywhere, frame, fridge, wall.....possabilities are endless.

  2. That sounds just great! I've been considering painting on my wall, but since I'm a renter, I never commit to it. I'm so glad I finally found an alternative, but the contact paper sounds like another fantastic option!

  3. Love it! I may make these for boyfriend's kids for Christmas!

  4. haha Love it!! such a great idea!

    Thanks for linking up to Serenity Saturday.
    Hope to see you there again tomorrow

    Natasha xxx