How to Create a Chalkboard From an Old Picture Frame

  • 01 of 08

    Chalkboard Picture Frame Tutorial

    Chalkboards are becoming a thing of the past in classrooms, but they are a fun addition to everyday home decor. Most of us have an old frame or two that we aren't using or have outgrown. In these instances, it's very affordable and easy to make a chalkboard frame that can be used time and time again. 

    You don't need a lot of supplies to complete this project. Keep reading to learn about the method that worked best for us. 

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  • 02 of 08

    Pick Out an Old Frame

    Search your home or a thrift store for a frame that has a glass insert. Glass will provide a smoother surface for chalkboard paint than canvas or a cardboard backing. It will also save you money from having to buy a separate board.

    Check out the back of the frame and make sure that the glass can be easily removed and put back into place. Some frames use cheap staples as fasteners, and those can be hard to put back together. 

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  • 03 of 08

    Gather Supplies

    For this project, you'll need:

    As long as the primer will work with glass, it doesn't matter the color or tint. The black chalkboard paint will cover it. 

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  • 04 of 08

    Carefully Remove and Clean the Glass Insert

    Remove any nails or tabs that are holding the glass in place and carefully remove it. Use a glass cleaner and a lint-free cloth to clean both sides of the glass thoroughly.

    Let the surface dry completely before going on to the next step. 

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  • 05 of 08

    Prime the Glass With a Thin, Even Coat of Primer

    You can tint your primer with a spoonful of chalkboard paint or leave it white. If a spray primer is easier or what you have on hand, that will work, too.

    The goal here is to add a thin coat of primer that will help the chalkboard paint to stick to the glass. If you opted to use a board insert instead of glass, we recommend at least two coats of primer. 

    Paint on the primer using light brush strokes in one direction and let it dry overnight. Let the first coat of primer dry at least 24 hours before adding any additional coats. If the primer is not completely dry, it will bunch up and come off the glass when you try to paint over it. 

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  • 06 of 08

    Brush on a Thin Coat of Chalkboard Paint

    Use a light hand to apply a very thin coat of chalkboard paint with brush strokes that are in the opposite direction that you painted the primer. 

    When you brush on your first coat of chalkboard paint, you'll notice brush strokes and the primer showing through. Don't worry because these brush strokes will even out when the paint dries so long as your coat is thin and even.  

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  • 07 of 08

    Let Dry Thoroughly Between Coats

    Let the first coat of chalkboard paint dry at least two hours before going on to the next coat, and alternate the brush strokes between each coat. 

    If you notice after two coats of chalkboard paint that you still have brushstrokes, use a high grit sanding block to lightly sand the surface before applying your final coat.  

    Carefully put the glass back inside the frame once the final coat has dried completely. Some paint might have built up around the edges. If this is the case, carefully scrape it off with a razor. 

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  • 08 of 08

    Add a Message That Resonates With You

    You can use regular chalk, chalk pens, or chalk pastels to draw on your chalkboard frame. Be aware that some chalk pens dry to a smooth finish and are permanent or very difficult to remove. If you want to change up your message often, we recommend using regular chalk

    DIY Chalkboard Message Tips:

    • Plan out your message and design on a separate sheet of paper before you write it on the chalkboard. 
    • If you make a small mistake on the chalkboard, dip a Q-tip in water to make it damp. If the mistake is larger, wrap a damp paper towel around your fingertip. 
    • To preserve a chalk message, spray a light coat of hairspray over the top. This won't make the design permanent but will make it less likely to accidentally rub off.