Framed Chalkboard Tutorial

Have you noticed that chalkboards are all the rage right now, along with chevron stripes and burlap? I decided the perfect place for a framed chalkboard would be above my entry console, since I usually change the decor there seasonally I thought it would be perfect to have changeable artwork as well. It seemed like such a simple project, like so many do, but turned out to be a rather complicated and lengthy process. I’ll walk you through my trials and errors, and hopefully you will be able to learn from my mistakes. 🙂

You’ll need:
– a piece of chalkboard cut to the size of your frame
I used part of the chalkboard that was left over from my command center noteboard. My sweet husband cut it down to size, though it took a few tries to get it to fit since he didn’t want to accidentally cut it too small. Thank goodness for a man who is handy with a power tool! You could also buy a piece of wood at Home Depot and have them cut it to size for you, then paint it with chalkboard paint.

– A large frame
I waited until Hobby Lobby was having a 50% off sale off their open backed frames, then picked one that was the size I needed. You could also use an old frame if you have one, or shop garage sales or thrift stores for ugly art with cool frames. 🙂

– Paint
Unless you happen to find a frame that is the exact color you want, you will probably have to paint it

– Sandpaper
If you want a distressed finish

– Glaizer points
If you’re using an open-backed frame these will hold the chalkboard in place

– Chalk
To season the board before the first use, and to write with 🙂

The frame I found that was the right size was black. Since I wanted a white frame to set off my blackboard, I painted it.

First I sanded it down (not sure if this was necessary or not, but it seemed like a good idea at the time) and discovered the wood underneath was a redish color.

Next I tried spray painting it. This did not work out for me at all. Later research taught me I was probably trying to spray it on too thick, and I should have primed it first. It was also rather cold and windy, which complicated the process. I finally just gave up and decided to paint it with a paintbrush and some indoor/outdoor paint my hubby had gotten for another project. It took two coats, but I was eventually able to cover the spray paint mess as well as the black/red color of the frame.

After I finished painting it and hung it on the wall to see how it would look, I decided it looked way too “new,” and looked strange next to the old patina of the frames on the console. I decided to try my hand at distressing with sandpaper. It was actually very easy, and pretty fun to see the new paint wear away and let the old finish show through.

I focused on sanding down the edges and corners, anywhere that I thought would naturally be worn by time.

After I got the frame to look appropriately aged, I added the chalkboard. I’d never used glaizer points before, and I highly recommend you ask a framing expert at your local hobby store for a tutorial, since it was kind of hard to figure out and there were no directions on the package. The trick is to put the flat side down, and to use a flat head screwdriver to hold the notch as you tap the point into the frame with a hammer. I used about fifteen points…that chalkboard isn’t going anywhere! 🙂

By this point Charlotte was pretty fed up with Mommy’s attention being focused elsewhere. Until, that is, she discovered the bin of plasticware and paper napkins.

Well, sometimes a mess is a necessary sacrifice if it provides the distraction needed so that mommy can finish her project. Hey, at least I didn’t almost let her roll off the bed this time.

While Baby Girl busied herself with emptying the paper goods all over the floor, I quickly drew some guide lines with a pencil (did you know pencil erases from a chalkboard just as easily as chalk?) and penciled in what I wanted to say. I went over it with my handy chalk marker, and voila!

I finished this project up on Valentine’s Day, so this verse seemed appropriate. 🙂 So far I’ve only changed the quote out once, and it’s a bit of a pain since I needed to take the board off the wall, wipe it down with a wet rag, re-season it, draw the guidelines in pencil again…etc. etc. But I figure if I only do it every other month or so that won’t be too bad. I’m excited to practice my hand lettering and embellishment techniques, but so far have kept it pretty simple.

How about you? Have you bought into the chalkboard craze?


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