Use these simple, step-by-step instructions to learn how to make a DIY framed chalkboard and discover how easy framing a chalkboard is! Get inspired to create your own custom chalkboard with this fun DIY project!
Chalkboards are fun, aren’t they? They have all sorts of uses – for adults, we can use them to keep track of things, make lists or give ourselves reminders and for kids they can be a spot for creativity and games.
I especially love watching my kids’ imaginations run wild as they scribble drawings all over a chalkboard. My favorite restaurant in town has a large chalkboard in the lobby and our kids routinely draw on it as we wait for our table. Endless enjoyment, my friends. 😉
As a family, tic-tac-toe is one game we have been playing a lot lately, so when I was invited to participate in this month’s DIY challenge with a “DIY Game” theme, I knew a large chalkboard would be perfect for all our tic-tac-toe gaming.
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Our finished DIY large chalkboard is currently hanging in between the living room and kitchen, but as soon as it’s nice outside I plan to move it out onto the deck. I can just imagine late nights of tic-tac-toe in the warm evening weather!
I hope this simple tutorial teaches you how to build a chalkboard frame so that you can easily customize your chalkboard to be any size you want. Feel free to print the instructions at the bottom of the post if you prefer to have them with you while building.
If you’re interested in learning how to make framed chalkboard signs, simply use my tutorial to build your chalkboard and then check out this video for instructions on chalkboard calligraphy and you’ll be making creative and beautiful signs in no time.
Have fun making your DIY picture frame chalkboard! And be sure to check out all the other fun DIY game projects from my fellow bloggers that are linked up at the bottom of this post too. 🙂
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FRAMING A CHALKBOARD
How to Make a DIY Framed Chalkboard
STEP 1: BUILD YOUR INTERIOR FRAME
The first step in framing a chalkboard is building the interior part of your two-level frame. We chose to miter the corners to make it look more like a picture frame.
If you do miter (45 degree) cuts on the corners, for this part of the frame make sure your LONGEST length of each board is the same dimension as your chalkboard sides.
Start by cutting a 45 degree cut off the end of one of your 1×2 boards.
Then, measure your chalkboard (ours was a pre-made 2’x4’ board) and cut four pieces out of your 1×2 material – two the length of the chalkboard plus 1/2″ and two the width of the chalkboard plus 1/2″.
Based on the size of our chalkboard, we cut two boards at 24.5” and two at 48.5”.
Now, apply glue to the cut edges, and nail the frame together in each corner.
We used 16 gauge nails here.
For each corner, nail in from both sides of the corner making sure it’s very sturdy.
STEP 2: ADD YOUR OUTER CHALKBOARD FRAME
In order to hide the edge of the pre-build chalkboard, we wrapped our first frame and chalkboard with a second frame of 1x2s on edge. This gave the frame an extra dimension and made the edges nice and finished.
For the second step in your process of how to make a chalkboard frame, cut and install another frame using 1×2 boards (on edge) to fit around the first frame and the chalkboard.
Do this by cutting four more pieces of 1×2 out of your second board – this time measuring the SHORTEST side of the board with two at your chalkboard length plus 1/2” and your chalkboard width plus 1/2”.
Be sure to cut the miter cut with the 1×2 ON EDGE – meaning it’s sitting tall, rather than wide.
Measure the gap needed in the back for the chalkboard to fit into this second frame from behind.
Nail your second frame into the first one making sure that gap is present on the back.
Chris used clamps to hold one end of the boards in place as he nailed them around.
This completes the frame building.
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STEP 3: STAIN THE FRAME
Now that you’ve finished building the chalkboard frame, it’s time to stain it!
This stain is my go-to, and we typically just apply one coat, let it sit for about 10 minutes and then wipe it off.
Let the stain dry for 24 hours.
Note: For added durability, you could also choose to seal the frame with a polyurethane at this point. We always seal our stained wood if we know it’s going to be coming in contact with fabric or people – which in this case is highly likely.
STEP 4: INSTALL THE CHALKBOARD
After your chalkboard frame is stained (and sealed) it’s time to do the final assembly!
Turn your frame face-down and set your chalkboard down into the groove.
Use small nails and a hammer to manually nail the chalkboard into the frame from the back.
We did a nail about 2″ from each corner in each direction and 3 others along each side.
And that’s it! You’ve successfully built a DIY framed chalkboard.
I love the way the two-levels add some depth and style to the chalkboard frame.
Our kids love having a spot to draw or play tic-tac-toe! 🙂
Be sure to keep reading for some good tips on prepping and hanging your chalkboard.
How to “Season” a Chalkboard
Have you ever started drawing on a brand new chalkboard only to realize that that first thing you drew never truly erases? That’s because new chalkboards need to be seasoned before they’re used!
In order to season your chalkboard, take a piece of chalk and lay it long-ways on your chalkboard. Now rub that chalk all over the entire chalkboard until the whole face is covered in chalk.
Now, use a rag to rub the chalk into the board until the entire board has a nice coat of chalk and then wipe all the excess chalk off.
It is so very, very important that you do this before you write anything on it. If you skip this step the first thing you write on there will be there forever…
I actually seasoned mine before installing it in the frame we built to make it easier to clean.
How to Mount a Chalkboard
For hanging, I recommend using screws, nails or heavy-duty command strips – four along the top and two along the bottom. I love the strips because they’re adjustable and can make getting your frame level much easier.
Here are the printable instructions:
- Cut your first frame out of the 1x2 boards. Two pieces with the LONG side of the miter cuts at 24.5" and two at 48.5".
- Apply wood glue to the the mitered corners and nail the frame together with nails into each side of each corner.
- Cut your second frame out of 1x2 boards on edge. Two pieces with the SHORT side of the miter cuts at 24.5" and 48.5".
- Nail each piece of this frame into the original frame, making sure to space it back by 1/4" to have a gap for the chalkboard to fit into on the back.
- Stain the entire frame and seal it with polyurethane (if desired.)
- Nail the chalkboard into the back of your frame with small nails spaced at 2" from each corner and about 12" apart for the rest of each side.
We recommend sealing the frame with polyurethane to protect people and fabric from the stain.
And be sure to check out all the other wonderful DIY Game projects from my fellow bloggers listed below too!
Let me know if you decide to tackle this chalkboard frame DIY project – I’d love to see your finished projects!