Creating a Chalkboard From an Old Picture Frame

Framed chalkboard
Anton Petrus / Getty Images
  • 01 of 03

    How to Create a Chalkboard from an Old Picture Frame

    Framed chalkboard
    Jami Delia

    Chalkboards are great for more than just the classroom. If you have a collection of old picture frames not getting any use or pick up a great bargain or thrifty frame that's missing the glass, you can easily transform the frame into a nifty chalkboard for just about any room in your home.

    All you need is:

    • a frame
    • a piece of board (you do not need this item if your frame already has a smooth and sturdy backboard or your frame has glass you want to use)
    • primer (spray or bottle)
    • chalkboard paint (spray, bottle or homemade)

    If your frame does not come with a backboard, you will need to purchase a thin piece of board from a home improvement store. If you only plan on using the chalkboard for a particular message (e.g., an inspirational quote or saying), you can use a sturdy piece of cardboard, such as a pizza box, or the glass that comes with the frame (if yours has glass).

    Take the glass (if your frame still has it) or the current artwork or picture to use as a template to cut your board. Trace an outline onto the board with a pencil and make your cuts. If you purchase a board from a home improvement store, they may provide free cutting services. Take your frame's measurements along with you just in case.

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  • 02 of 03

    Prime and Paint Your Board

    Spraying the glass of a frame.
    Jami Delia

    Before applying your chalkboard paint, prime your board or glass with gray primer. You can use either spray primer or from a bottle/can. However, applying multiple light coats will give your chalkboard a smoother finish. Let your board or glass dry for 24 hours to ensure it is thoroughly dry.

    After priming your board or glass, begin applying your chalkboard paint. Again, apply multiple light coats until you achieve your desired results.

    If you use a brush technique on a wooden board, you may need to sand the board with high grit sandpaper and apply a final light coat to remove any deep brush strokes.

    Let your board or glass dry for 24 hours.

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  • 03 of 03

    Assemble and Write a Message

    Finished chalkboard.
    Jami Delia

    After your board or glass has thoroughly dried, place it back into the frame and fasten any fasteners.

    If you plan on writing a permanent message on your frame, such as an inspirational quote or saying, write your message on your board before hanging on the wall or arranging on a shelf. This will give you a better angle to work with and enough space to create your design. You can either place your framed chalkboard on a table or work on the floor, whichever works best for you.

    • If you make any mistakes while writing in chalk, you can simply dab a little water on a paper towel or rag and wipe it away.
    • You can also spray a light coat of hairspray over your design to help prevent the chalk from being rubbed off easily. Don't worry, the hairspray will wipe off with a wet rag when you wipe your chalkboard clean.

    If you plan on hanging your chalkboard frame, make sure to hang your frame with proper reinforcements, depending on the size of your frame and the weight of your board (if used).

    Also, if you plan on changing your chalkboard message regularly, make sure to hang your chalkboard frame at a height you can very easily reach.