How to Make a Chalkboard with Easy to Change Panels

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Hi parents, grandparents, and other people with kids in their life (that they like)! I’m so excited, because today I have another super simple, super cheap, super AWESOME DIY project for a kids’ room or playroom: behold this wall-mounted chalkboard with changeable panels! Go ahead and swoon, I’ll wait…

Today’s post is inspired by the age-old pastime: aimlessly wandering the aisles of Home Depot. I seriously love discovering random items at HD. (We’re really close, so I can just call Home Depot “HD.”) This particular time I was in the lumber section for some boards when I found a small section devoted to craft boards. There was a pegboard, a white board and a chalkboard – oh my! At less than $10 each I instinctively grabbed them and put them in my cart. It was seriously involuntary on my part.

chalkboard panel
An example of the chalkboard panel that inspired it all. Image – Home Depot

Now, what to do with them? I envisioned a way to get them on the playroom wall for my kids. Now that the weather is getting cooler, we are spending a lot more time indoors, and they are driving me crazy with their antics! I mean, they are just so sweet. Anyway, it was going to be a long few weeks of holiday breaks, so I wanted to have a way to easily switch the boards out as they got … um, bored.

After weeks of planning and some way-too-complicated designs, I finally came up with this.

DIY chalkboard
Ta-Da!!! Easy DIY chalkboard.

Kinda genius in its simplicity (if I don’t say so myself), and at about $10 for all the wood used, it’s a bargain!

Behind the face frame is a gap in the top to slip the chalkboard/marker board/peg board in and out as you please. I also left some extra space to store a spare panel.

easy to removel panels
Easy to remove panels! For this pic, I was channeling my “Happy mom in a Pottery Barn ad” pose. NAILED IT.

All it takes are a few crosscuts and some pocket holes, and this baby can be ready in an afternoon.

Awesome DIY Chalkboard Plans Instructions

Lumber Used:
1 – 2×2 (furring strip) for the inside frame
2 – 1×4 (furring strip) for the spacers and outside frame
That’s it! You’re welcome, fellow cheapos.

The construction is simple. First, the cuts I used:

Inside frame:
1 – 2×2 @ 49 ¼”
2 – 2×2 @ 23”
3 – 1×4 @ 49 ¼” (although I used two and it was fine)
Face frame:
2 – 1×4 @ 47 ½”
2 – 1×4 @ 27 ½”

Inside Frame Assembly

Attach the 2x2s with pocket holes and glue in a “U” shape.

Inside frame
Beginning to look a lot like a wall mounted frame …

Next, attach three (I used two #lazymom) 1×4 spacers in between the sides of the “U” frame, making sure they are flush with the back of the 2×2 frame. The spacers will hold the U frame together and will be your “cleat” to attach it to the wall when it’s all assembled. Since this part will be concealed by the chalkboard panel when it’s mounted on the wall, the pocket holes can face forward.

spacer into frame
Hello spare drill! You’ve seen better days. One spacer of two (or three).

Attach the second spacer toward the bottom of the “U” frame.

spacer into frame
Attach the second spacer toward the bottom of the “U” frame.

That’s it for the inside frame assembly!

Face Frame Assembly

Now for the face frame, I just used butt joints because I had made a wrong cut and needed to use these particular boards (whoops), but you can use mitered edges if that’s more your thing. #AKAbeingdifficult

The face frame will be used to (1) look pretty (obv) and (2) hold the panels inside the 2×2 frame.

Drill 2 pocket holes at each end of the 47 1/2” face frame boards and attach to the side boards.

face frame
Drill and attach 8 pocket holes total.

Almost done! Now just center the face frame on the sides of the inside frame, and make the bottom of the face frame mostly flush with the inside frame. This part is more for aesthetics. Do a test fit to make sure there is enough of the top face frame to cover the top of the panel.

Glue and nail the face frame to the inside frame. Done!

final frame
Attach face frame to inside frame with glue and nails.

Stain or paint at this point if you haven’t already.

Use the spacers to attach to the wall studs with 2 1/2″ screws. You should be able to get 2-3 studs.

attaching DIY chalkboard to wall
Use screws to attach into the studs.

Here is the side view when it’s mounted on the wall:

side view
Side view, with white board facing the front and the chalkboard stored behind.

Now just place the panels in, and you will have some happy kids. Mine didn’t even wait until the chalkboard was fully in place to start drawing quietly. Mission accomplished!

kids playing chalkboard
My kids playing quietly makes it worth every bit of effort.

For extra credit, you can build one of my Super Simple Ledges to hold pens, pencils, erasers, etc.

Here’s an example of one of the chalkboard panels from Home Depot for around $10:

Buy Now - via Home Depot

And the whiteboard panel, also around $10:

Buy Now - via Home Depot

Photo of author

About Monique

Monique is indeed “home fixated.” She and her family currently live in Houston but originally hail from Northern California - where you can buy a small, run-down bungalow for $2 Million. She is a freelance writer/stay at home mutha, and in her "spare" time, Monique presides as the family handyman, fixing and building anything she can get her sometimes-manicured hands on. Monique loves anything home-related, loves a challenge and loves learning more about DIY every day.

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