A DIY alternative to a chalkboard wall

July 20 | Guest post by Stephanie Segall
All photos by Stephanie Segall.

I've been wanting some sort of chalkboard in my son Jackson's playroom for some time now — I just wasn't sure what would work. The room was built to be a living room and has outlets everywhere. We have them baby-proofed, but the placement of the outlets blocked me from being able to just paint a chalkboard onto the walls.

When I discovered chalkboard spray paint exists, I knew just what I wanted to do. I measured out the wall where the chalkboard would be to find out how wide I'd need to make it so it could both be centered and cover the outlet. Three feet wide was just perfect.

What you need

In the clearance aisle of the craft store, I purchased a 2′x3′ frame that was 50% off. It was a tacky gold that wasn't my style at all, so I also grabbed some spray paint. At the hardware store, I had them cut down a 2′x4′ piece of chipboard (I brought my frame and tested it after he cut 12″ off the board. Good thing I did — it was too short because the board hadn't been 2′x4′ after all!) I also grabbed the chalkboard spray paint there. Here is the full list:

How you do it

I started by sanding the frame so it was no longer shiny and sanding one side of the chipboard to rough it up. Then I set up a drop cloth outside and laid out both pieces. I did three light coats of spray paint on the frame, waiting 15 minutes or so in between. I did about four light coats on the board with the chalkboard paint. (Quick tip: I thought my paint was clogged, but it turned out my too-big gloves were blocking part of the spray and causing spatter!)

The hard part comes next: waiting! When everything was dry, I brought it inside to cure. Resist the urge to try the chalkboard for 24 hours. Easier said than done!




Twenty-four hours later, it was time to prime the chalkboard with a layer of chalk. I found that the spray paint left a layer of black sooty dust after it dried, so I covered the whole thing in chalk as directed, then used paper towels to get all the chalk and black dust up.

All that was left was to put the frame back together (minus the glass it came with) and hang it up! My frame came with one teeny tiny picture hook so I got a picture hanging kit rated for up to 50 lbs. It looks great under his art gallery! I chose a frame that had a perfect dip in the molding to hold our chalk.





In the playroom

My son absolutely loved our little project — what do you think?

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  1. Love it! We had actually planned to make a diy chalkboard this weekend, so I'm glad to see some of the tips here. Instead of one that hangs, we're painting one side of his train table surface. His table has 3 removable panels-one side is printed with a city scene, the other is plain green. The green side will become a chalk table!

  2. That is super neat! I love this idea for when my son finally moves into his own room!

  3. I wanna see more of that artwork gallery! Can we have a montage of kids artwork? I'm off to take pictures of what I have now!

    2 agree
  4. I can't wait to do something like this when I have a huge wall to work with! (But this portable version works too. I never would have thought of using a frame!)

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