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Fancy Chalkboard

I needed something to go on the wall beside John & Alice’s breakfast table.  I considered a plate wall, but that seemed a bit too plain.  Artwork seemed too predictable.  Then I thought of a chalkboard.

I know what you’re thinking…a chalkboard is nothing if not predictable!  And perhaps a bit boring!

Well, hopefully I sidestepped the “boring” part with this one…

fancy chalkboard 1

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I had seen this chalkboard design well over a year ago, and saved it in my inspiration file on my hard drive.  That was long before the days of Pinterest, and of course, I failed to save the source.

fancy chalkboard 6

 

But I always hoped that I’d have a reason to make it, and this seemed like the perfect time.  I love how it turned out, and I like the touch of whimsy it adds to the room.

fancy chalkboard 7

 

I lightly distressed the finish to give it some age and character.

fancy chalkboard 4

 

It hangs from a thin black chain, which is hooked onto a glass door knob.  I love the black chain.  I’m not sold on the glass doorknob.  Perhaps I’ll look for something better.

fancy chalkboard 8

 

The project really wasn’t difficult at all, and it only cost about $35.  The chalkboard measures approximately 39”w X 32”h.

fancy chalkboard 5
If you’d like to make your own, but need a little guidance, I’ve got you covered!

 

Project Cost:

Approximately $35.

 

Tools & Materials:

  1. Two pieces of 1″ x 3″ lumber, 39″ long each,
  2. Two pieces of 1″ x 3″ lumber, 24″ long each,
  3. Two pieces lattice, 39″ long each,
  4. One piece of 1/2″ MDF or plywood, approx. 8″ x 34″,
  5. Wood glue,
  6. Chalkboard paint,
  7. Spray primer,
  8. White paint,
  9. Screw hooks,
  10. 4-foot section of small black chain,
  11. Two staircase spindles,
  12. One piece of 1/2″ MDF, cut to 24″ x 29″,
  13. Nail gun with 1.5″ finishing nails (if you don’t have a nail gun, you can assemble the mantel with finish nails and a hammer),
  14. Miter saw,
  15. Jigsaw,
  16. 150-grit sandpaper,
  17. Paint brush.

 

Instructions:

I started with a piece of 1/2″ MDF cut to approximately 24″ x 29″. This would be the actual chalkboard portion.

How to make a fancy chalkboard

 

On one of the short sides, I used my measuring tape to mark the center.

How to make a fancy chalkboard

 

Then I placed one of the spindles on the MDF, with the center of the spindle lined up with the mark on the center of the MDF. I then used my pencil to mark the cut lines on the top and bottom of the spindle. (It needed to be the exact height as the MDF.) I repeated the same thing with the other spindle.

How to make a fancy chalkboard

 

Using my miter saw, I cut the spindles on the pencil marks.

How to make a rough hewn wood fireplace mantel

 

Next, using my miter saw, I cut two lengths of 1″ x 3″ lumber to 39″ in length. Then I cut two more pieces to 24″ in length. (I used pre-primed MDF boards, but solid wood lumber could be used as well.) I also cut two lengths of lattice, 39″ in length. (not shown)

How to make a rough hewn wood fireplace mantel

 

The last pieces that needed to be cut were the top and bottom scroll details. I used a scrap piece of 1/2″ MDF for these.

How to make a rough hewn wood fireplace mantel

 

I wanted my design to be about 34″ wide, so I taped two sheets of paper together so that they were 17″ wide (exactly 1/2 the width of my scroll design).

How to make a rough hewn wood fireplace mantel

 

Then I drew half of my design on the paper.

How to make a rough hewn wood fireplace mantel

 

After cutting out the template, I lined up the edge of the template with the center of the MDF, and traced the left half of the scroll design.

How to make a rough hewn wood fireplace mantel

 

Then I flipped the pattern and traced the right side of the design. This ensured that both sides of the scroll design were exactly the same. I also traced the design on the opposite edge of the MDF since I needed one for the top and one for the bottom of my chalkboard.

How to make a rough hewn wood fireplace mantel

 

I used my scroll saw to cut out both pieces.

How to make a rough hewn wood fireplace mantel

 

For the top scroll, I cut out a little fancy detail, and traced that onto my cut scroll.

How to make a rough hewn wood fireplace mantel

 

Flipping the pattern just like before, so that both sides were exactly the same. Then I cut out the detail with my jigsaw (and a new blade!).

How to make a rough hewn wood fireplace mantel

 

With all of the pieces cut, I was ready to assemble the chalkboard. Using my two pieces of lattice as support, I stood the lattice on edge, and then rested the MDF on top.

How to make a rough hewn wood fireplace mantel

 

Using wood glue and nail gun, I attached the 24-inch pieces of 1″ x 3″ lumber to the sides of the MDF to form a frame.

How to make a fancy chalkboard

 

On the longer pieces of 1″ x 3″ for the top and bottom, I glued the strips of lattice onto the middle…

How to make a fancy chalkboard

 

And then attached them to the MDF with wood glue and nail gun.

How to make a fancy chalkboard

 

After repeating this on the top and the bottom, the chalkboard looked like this…

How to make a fancy chalkboard

 

Next, I slid the spindles between the 1″ x 3″ lumber, and nailed them into place on the top and bottom.

How to make a fancy chalkboard

 

The last pieces to attach were the top and bottom scroll details.

How to make a fancy chalkboard

 

I attached them using wood glue, and then one nail on each side.

How to make a fancy chalkboard

 

Because the nail split the wood just a bit, I filled it with wood glue to stop it from splitting more in the future.

How to make a fancy chalkboard

 

I repeated the same thing with the bottom scroll detail, and then set it aside to let all of the glue dry completely.

How to make a fancy chalkboard

 

At this point, the basic construction was finished. I sanded all of the edges with 150-grit sandpaper, and gave some extra attention to sanding the spindles because they were very rough.

How to make a fancy chalkboard

 

Next, I used a spray primer over the entire chalkboard.

How to make a fancy chalkboard

 

I did two coats of primer, but between coats, I used latex caulk to fill in all of the nail holes, and fill in any cracks where pieces of wood met.

How to make a fancy chalkboard

 

I used a spray chalkboard paint (although I really wish I had used the brush-on kind).

How to make a fancy chalkboard

 

When I had enough coats of chalkboard paint on the main chalkboard area, i used the rest of the chalkboard paint on the other areas. I did this to provide a nice black undercoat for the white paint so that I could do some distressing on the white finish and let some black show through.

How to make a fancy chalkboard

 

When the chalkboard paint was dry, I painted all of the non-chalkboard areas with white paint (I used a paint brush and brushed on the paint). When it was dry, I lightly sanded some of the edges and corners to give the chalkboard an aged finish.

How to make a fancy chalkboard

How to make a fancy chalkboard

 

The last step was to add the screw hooks on the top, one at each end, and attach some chain. I didn’t actually hang the chalkboard by the chain. The chalkboard is hung with screws that are screwed into drywall anchors. The chain is just decorative.

 

Helpful Hints:

I wasn’t really pleased with the finish of the spray-on chalkboard paint. It seemed blotchy and uneven, and the chalk didn’t erase easily. I’ve had much better success with the brush-on chalkboard paint in the past.



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29 Comments

  • Reply To This Comment
    Tanya @ dans-le-townhouse.blog
    June 28, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I never tire of a good chalkboard idea.  I love how it turned out!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Talysa
    June 28, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Do you happen to know what that wall color is??? PS. Just pinned this chalkboard…love the idea.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating
    June 28, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    The wall color is called Rainwater.  It's a Martha Stewart color from Home Depot.  (I had it color matched in Behr paint.)

  • Reply To This Comment
    Elle The Heiress
    June 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    I love the glass knob – keep it!

  • Reply To This Comment
    ginakinard
    June 28, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    That is great! I just may have to make one myself!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Felicia Joscelyn
    June 28, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    LOOOOOOOVE the chalkboard!!! Oh my goodness was a cool idea! Will be saving this one 🙂 

  • Reply To This Comment
    Felicia
    June 28, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    LOOOOOOOVE the chalkboard!!! Oh my goodness was a cool idea! Will be saving this one 🙂  

  • Reply To This Comment
    Alissa
    June 28, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    I really love the idea of the DIY chalkboard. another choice someone could use is a bold, creative work of art such as ones that artist Stephanie Hirsch creates: http://www.clos-ettetoo.com/blogs/clos-ette-favorites/3476662-clos-ette-favorite-stephanie-hirsch

  • Reply To This Comment
    Erin @ His & Hers
    June 28, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    That IS a fancy (and unpredictable!) new chalkboard! I just found your blog via Centsational Girl, so I'm new to it, but I love all your inspiring ideas so far!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Stacie
    June 28, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    I love the glass knob idea! Don't change it.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Kim Perdew
    June 29, 2011 at 12:44 am

    I am lovin on this chalkboard. I have some artwork that I have hung in previous homes and I was thinking on taking the print out and then painting the frames white and distressing them to hang EMPTY on the walls but HMMMMM maybe one needs to be a chalkboard in the kitchen. Thanks as always for your GREAT ideas.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Crystal
    June 29, 2011 at 3:06 am

    I think your chalkboard is very charming and anything but predictable!  It is very unique and I imagine all your guests will enjoy it as well.  Can't wait to see what you do with the chair.  Hope you are having a great week!  🙂

  • Reply To This Comment
    The36thavenue
    July 2, 2011 at 6:30 am

    Adorable… I'd love for you to share it at my link party.

    thirtysixthavenue.com

  • Reply To This Comment
    Jo
    July 2, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    This is awesome! I still have a thing for chalkboards and have a bunch around my home. Nothing live changeable art!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Dayle
    July 3, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    I love, love that Frederick William Faber quote.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Barbara Jean
    July 4, 2011 at 6:15 am

    Barbara Jean

  • Reply To This Comment
    barbara jean
    July 4, 2011 at 6:16 am

    Love your chalkboard!!!

    blessings barbara jean

  • Reply To This Comment
    Shan
    July 6, 2011 at 4:42 am

    Just. Gorgeous. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment
    Kristin Durham
    July 6, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    It's lovely, but I think the doorknob-as-hook is actually my favorite part! It really complements the more rustic feel of the distressing and the simple black chain.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Allison Hepworth
    July 7, 2011 at 2:56 am

    I love this project so much I featured it at my weekly Hookin' Up with HoH Link Party!  Congrats!

    Feel free to stop by and grab a button!

    xoxo

    Allison @ House of Hepworths

  • Reply To This Comment
    Amy
    July 7, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    i love how this turned out!  awesome!! i would love for you to link it up at our link party,
    amy
    http://www.Sistersofthewildwest.blogspot.com

  • Reply To This Comment
    Jessica
    July 7, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    New follower here!!  This project turned out fantastic!!! I love the framing around the chalkboard!….I have been browsing through your other DIY projects, and you have me HOOKED!!!  I can't wait to see what you come up with next!!!!

    http://www.balancingthedream.blogspot.com

  • Reply To This Comment
    Lynda
    July 8, 2011 at 10:37 am

    A great idea- this would work well in so many rooms

  • Reply To This Comment
    Venetian Blinds
    August 16, 2011 at 6:27 am

    Great idea for present our daily thoughts. I really appreciate it..

  • Reply To This Comment
    Online blinds
    September 12, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Really fancy chalkboard and very good idea to teach our child at home..

  • Reply To This Comment
    2011 Year In Review:: Favorite DIY Project Of The Year (Link Party!!)
    December 26, 2011 at 8:59 am

    […] I had narrowed it down to three, including my Framed Magnetic Chalkboard Spice Rack, and the Fancy Chalkboard, but in the end, my favorite DIY project from the year is this Sea-Inspired Gallery Wall that I […]

  • Reply To This Comment
    jc
    June 23, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Great Chalkboard – got my wheels turning – you could do this as a painted or fabric covered magnet board too- love the architectural element you added to an otherwise overdone chalkboard idea!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Kristal
    June 22, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Love this chalkboard and am planning on sweet talking my hubby to make me one for my weekly menu/grocery needs. You mentioned you used the spray on chalk but wished you had used the brush on kind. Can you explain why? I have never worked with chalk paint yet but am looking forward to it!! I would think the brush on wouldn’t give it a smooth finish for writing on a lot. Any tips on this would be great! Thanks!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Linda
    June 4, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    I also LOVE the knob!!

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