My girlfriend and I co-hosted a surprise birthday party for our husbands last weekend. (They are friends from college and celebrated milestone birthdays within a week of each other.) So much fun!!! But, the planning started months in advance.
As we discussed the theme and decor for the party, we decided to use chalkboards on all of the food and drink tables.
It was too expensive to buy vintage chalkboards, so I decided to make them. It turned out to be a fairly easy project.
After reading many blogs and talking to several people that make & sell vintage chalkboards, here are my “comprehensive” directions for DIY Chalkboards …
- Empty picture frames
- MDF (1/4 inch) – available at hardware stores
- Chalkboard Paint – also available at hardware stores
- Primer (recommended; I used gray spray primer)
- Fine grit sandpaper
- Glazing Push Points
- Chalk & Soft Rags
- Select the frames you wish to use. I picked up four frames at our monthly flea market for a total of $12. Most of us can probably re-purpose old picture frames we have around the house.
- Have the MDF cut to fit the size of your frames. (Measure carefully! You want to make sure your boards will fit snugly in the frames. If your frames still have the glass or cardboard back, these make great patterns.) Most hardware stores will custom cut for free. I even went back to Home Depot twice to have the large boards cut into smaller pieces.
- It’s best to prime the MDF. I used a gray primer spray paint, since I was using black chalkboard paint. Once the primer is dry, lightly sand the MDF with very fine grit sandpaper. Use a soft cloth to wipe away all dust.
- Paint the primed MDF with chalkboard paint. I used a disposable sponge roller and painted three coats. (I wrapped the sponge roller and paint tray in Saran Wrap and placed them in the refrigerator between coats. This way I only needed 1 roller and didn’t need to clean out my paint tray.)
- When the boards are completely dry, you need to “season” them, so you can wipe off the chalk writing and reuse your chalkboards. Season the boards by using the side of your chalk and rubbing chalk all over the entire surface of your chalkboard. Wipe off all chalk dust with a soft cloth.
- Paint, distress, wax or glaze your frames, depending on the desired look you want to achieve. (I sprayed my frames white, using white spray paint that I had on hand.) Be sure to paint in a well ventilated area if you are using spray paint.
- To secure the chalkboard MDF into the picture frames, you can use Push Points to secure the board to wood frames using a large screw driver or metal putty knife.
I ended up with four large framed chalkboards and several other non-framed boards (including a very large board that we used at the party to display messages from guests that couldn’t be with us for the party and a long skinny board with a “thank you” message).
I spent $41 on the entire project … I couldn’t have purchased one framed chalkboard for that price!