This past weekend I decided to create a framed chalkboard. I wanted someplace to post my weekly menu so I didn’t get asked every day “what’s for dinner?” I was going to buy one, but I couldn’t find one big enough or cheap enough – those things are pricey! So I headed off to the home improvement center and bought a quart of chalkboard paint and two 8’ pieces of 1X3 select pine, the wood is for the frame. I decided I needed to frame it since I’ve never been very good and coloring inside the lines. I already had everything else I needed; painter’s tape, tape measure, level, painting tools and left over trim paint (for the frame). I wanted my chalkboard to be roughly 24” X 60”, that would be wide enough and tall enough to fit 6 days of menus.
There was exactly one wall I could put the chalkboard on and it happened to be between my kitchen and dining room, score! Perfect place for a menu board! I used my 2’ level to draw a horizontal line where I wanted the top of the chalkboard, then I used the level to draw a horizontal line for the bottom of the board. The wall I chose is only slightly wider than the width of my chalkboard so I made sure that the ends of my lines were equal distance from each side. I actually tried to use my level to draw the vertical lines, but after I drew the first one I realized the wall was out of level and if I drew my frame straight it would actually look crooked, so I just connected the end points of the horizontal lines. After I had all the lines drawn I masked them off with painter’s tape – that took all of about 3 minutes!
Let it roll!
I wanted a really smooth finish so I used a foam roller made for cabinets and doors. Even with the foam roller there’s a slight texture. I think for a really smooth finish you might need to use spray paint, but indoors? How messy would that be? After the first coat dried I applied a 2nd coat. Afterwards I noticed that the directions on the can said to wait 24 hours to re-coat, but what the heck, I like to live on the edge.
While the chalkboard paint was drying, and in a very unKaren like move, I decided to paint the 1X3s in my trim color before cutting and installing them. My trim paint had a built in primer so I only needed 2 coats and I didn’t have to paint the back of the boards since they would be against the wall so that part went really quick too!
Once my trim pieces were dry I got to work cutting them. I measured and cut the first horizontal piece, I decided to use mitered joints since that’s how most of the trim in my house is, but you could just as easily do butt joints. I used the first piece as a guide for cutting the second one, it seems like if I try to measure each individual piece I end up with every piece being a different size. I also cut them about a half inch shorter than the area I painted, I wanted my frame to completely cover the painted area without having to go back and touch it up. Next, I cut one of the vertical pieces and then used it as a guide for the other piece.
Frame It Up!
I don’t know how anyone else does it, but this is the method I use whenever I want to install “frames” on the wall; I hang the top piece first, I lined it up with the top of the painted surface, shot one nail into the center, checked it for level then shot in 2 more nails, one on each side. Then I hang each side piece, I lined up the mitered corners at the top and shot one nail in near the top. This allows the side pieces to be moved so they meet perfectly at each corner when I install the bottom piece. Next I install the bottom piece, I lined it up making sure the bottom right and top right corners were flush then shot a nail into the center of the bottom piece and another one near the lower corner of the right side piece. Next I lined up the left side the same way as I did the right side, shot a nail in near the bottom left corner. Once everything was lined up I shot in a few more nails on each side and the bottom piece. It’s also a good idea to shoot a nail into the mitered joint to keep it tight. I filled the nail holes with drywall spackling since that’s what I had on hand, once that dried I put one more coat of trim paint on the top surface of the frame and called it complete!
It was really easy and I spent less than $25 for the paint and wood, I already had everything else I needed. This would be a great weekend project for the kid’s room, give them a dedicated space where they can draw on the walls to their heart’s content. Or, change out the blackboard paint for whiteboard paint and create a dry erase board. So easy! And useful!