Jan 22, 2009

DIY: Glam Chalkboard

Gilded Frame Chalkboard
You can find fancy framed chalkboards in stores or catalogs, starting around $200. They’re a fun way to let your guests know what’s in store by listing the menu for the evening, what’s being served at the bar, or just a warm welcome. Commercially made versions can lack personality though & your frame selection will be limited. Instead, try making your own – it’s easy & can be done in an afternoon on the cheap – mine cost less than $100!

What you’ll need:
A great frame
A piece of MDF (medium density fiberboard) cut to fit your frame
Handful of small nails
1 can of chalkboard paint (I used the spray kind)
1 heavy-duty hanging kit (it’ll depend on how heavy your frame is & what your walls are made of)
Power drill (optional, but makes hanging a lot easier)

Finding a frame:
Large, ornate gilded wooden frames can cost a few hundred bucks at a framing shop so stop by a local antique store, flea market or art shop & see what’s available. And check out a swap meet – you can usually find some really bad, framed paintings super cheap. Buy the piece & rip out the ugly art… just look for a frame shape, size & material that appeals to you.

I found mine at an artists’ supply store that was having a big sale. Originally $300, I got it for $85 and I was able to pick up most of the other supplies I needed as well for about $15– one stop shopping!

Put out some chalk & let your friends 
create their own masterpiece! 

How to assemble:
Once you’ve got a frame, take careful measurements for how big your chalkboard piece will need to be. Head to the closest big box hardware store & look for the lumber/building materials department. Find a sales clerk (this could take awhile) and tell them you need a piece of MDF cut down to size. They’ll be able to get a sheet of MDF & trim out a piece for you. You’ll probably have to pay for the whole sheet, so if it’s big enough – have them cut two pieces just in case… always better to be prepared than have to come back later if you mess up the paint job. 

You’ll want to spray the paint outside – it gets everywhere. Lay down a few sheets of newspaper & position your MDF on top. Read the instructions on the chalkboard paint & lay down a solid layer of paint. Once it’s really dry you’ll need to do a second coat & you may even need a third – you want really solid coverage. Be sure to keep the can moving as you spray to avoid any puddles of paint & get an even finish.

Once your board is completely dry, fit it inside your frame & secure to the inside using small penny nails (if your frame is wood). Your hanging kit should come with a long piece of wire – unroll it & secure to either side of the back of your frame. Find a spot to hang it, measure to see where to drill and use the anchors & screws in the hanging kit to get it up on the wall.

Write a cute message, a to-do list or the menu for tonight’s party on your new glamorous chalkboard & marvel at how handy & accomplished you are!


T.Ro. said...

I hate to steal all of your ideas, but I am so doing this. I think I'll wait for summer though. It is a little too cold to do anything outside right now!

T.Ro. said...

I got my frame today! My office is moving into new space. On the tour of the space, we came across some old office art the previous tenant left behind. I took the piece in the prettiest frame... Looking forward to this project! Especially since we will be painting the dining room soon!