Chalkboards have been a huge décor trend for a while, and ever since I first saw one hanging on the wall at my cousin’s house I have wanted my own. They’re great for writing a little love note, lyrics from your favourite song, or inspirational words when you need them! Mine also did double duty as our wedding reception program sign.
I decided to also make mine magnetic so that I had a place to display photos and cards, and an excuse to use my repurposed skeleton key magnets.
Here is how you can make your very own magnetic chalkboard. Sorry for the poor photo quality, I took most of these photos about a year ago with my iPhone so they are not the greatest… hopefully you get the general idea!
Flea Market Frame Chalkboard
1) Find an old frame that you like the shape of and remove the picture and backing. Old mirrors from antique vanities where the mirror is broken would work well too, or you could luck out like me and find a frame where the picture is already missing. If the frame is damaged or the corners aren’t square, you will want to reinforce it before proceeding.
2) Measure the inside dimensions of the frame. There should be an edge that will hold the chalkboard in place, so make sure you measure from the outside of the edges (otherwise your chalkboard will just fall right through the frame, and nobody wants that).
3) If you want your chalkboard to be magnetic like mine, you have two options: use fiber board and paint it with magnetic paint, or order a piece of sheet metal to size from a metal shop. As you can see from the pictures, I tried the magnetic paint on fiber board option first, but I found that it gave the board a gritty, rougher texture because of all the little bits of iron ore suspended in the paint. It also wasn’t all that magnetic, so I ended up redoing it later with sheet metal, which gave it a smoother surface and a stronger magnetic pull. If you are going to be hanging heavier items like thick paper with your magnets, you will probably want to go with the sheet metal.
If you are using the sheet metal, clean it really well with rubbing alcohol to get any shop grease off. Once it’s clean and the alcohol has evaporated, prime it with a couple of coats of metal primer spray paint.
5) Once the magnetic paint/primer is dry, you’re ready for your first layer of chalkboard paint. I have heard that you can make your own chalkboard paint using tile grout and your paint of choice, but I just used ready-made chalkboard paint that I bought at Home Depot. I would love to hear from anyone who has made their own, though! I used a foam roller so that the paint would go on really smoothly and followed the directions on the chalkboard paint for the number of coats and drying time. I used 2-3 coats of chalkboard paint on mine. After my last coat, I left it for a few days before moving on to the next step.
6) To attach the chalkboard to the frame, apply silicone adhesive along the edges of the chalkboard and drop it on to the back of the frame. The metal should be heavy enough that you don’t need to use clamps while the silcone dries, it should stay in place as long as you don’t bump it. But if you’re using the lighter fiber board, you may want to clamp the board to the frame edge until the silicone is dry, or put a heavy object on the fiberboard to weigh it down. Follow the directions on the silicone for drying time. If possible, lean the edges of the frame on a workbench or stool so that you can look at the chalkboard surface from underneath, and wipe away any excess silicone that leaks through onto the front. Once it dries you can also try to scrape it off with a sharp knife blade but you might also take off some of the paint, so be careful!
7) If your frame didn’t come with mounting hardware, use a picture hanging kit to attach screw eyes/wire for mounting.
8) Choose your favourite quote and use your best lettering skills… or you can fake it like I did by following these steps (don’t worry, I won’t tell if you won’t tell).
(yes there is a picture of the chalkboard on the chalkboard. If only there had been a photo of us on that chalkboard too)
I love my chalkboard… I made it over a year ago and I’m still in love with it. It hangs in our bedroom on the wall that faces our bed, so these words are the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see at night. I love that I have the option of sticking up a nice photo or sweet card from my husband with our magnets too.
Anyone else have a mad obsession with chalkboards? We’ve made a few for friends and someone else just asked me to make another. I’m tempted to use adhesive chalkboard paper which I recently discovered exists, I would love to hear if anyone has tried it.