DIY chalkboard

{subtitle: and painting diagonal stripes on a frame.} Big surprise. I went with diagonal stripes. On a frame. I can’t help it, okay?!? It’s like comfort food for me.

So do you remember our barn door for Christmas? I decided I loved it so much, to make it part of our winter mantel. Sucka was not coming down. I don’t know how you guys feel about taking those Christmas decorations down, but it’s always a bit of a challenge to come off that christmas high. I usually like to decide what to do, right away to make sure the room doesn’t feel so bare afterwards. It’s like the delicate combination of liberating depression ;} But I do love that splash of color the door brings to the space, and it feels quite winter-esque to me…so here we are!

I also added one of our letters off our veranda to personalize it all…only, I was kind of over our old firescreen. I’m also over how much those big fancy shmancy iron ones cost, and the only ones I could find weren’t really floating my boat. I love the idea of keeping art below, to balance out the top as a little impromptu gallery. This summer, I’d displayed some paintings over that daunting fireplace, when we did our living room. So for christmas, I simply stuck a chalkboard in, at the last minute because I was all, ‘I’m tired and I have no idea what else to put there.’ It wasn’t quite the perfect fit, but it ended up working with the stockings and the other christmas decor we had. I’ve posted on making various boards before, but decided to make a much larger one, for underneath…and thought I’d include a little how-to, today.

I know most of you guys have probably seen different versions of this lil quote floating around pinterest. I loved it so much, I decided to make this chalkboard {as if I don’t have enough floating around in my kitchen.} I was thinking of it as more of a display for temporary artwork. The best part? Because I know you’re all thinking it…the kids haven’t figured out its a chalkboard, yet. Emphasis on the yet. They think their crazy mom up and painted something again. I guess we’ll see how long that one lasts…

So here’s the basis of what you’ll need for this simple project: the paint for your frame, chalkboard paint, a dense sponge roller, {OR spray paint for the chalkboard part} brushes, hot glue, painter’s tape, and two cut sizes of MDF, as seen above. {I would go with a much thinner MDF for the back part of the chalkboard, for heaviness’ sake.}

Of course, you can make your own size…but I thought I’d include our measurements too if you were interested.

Beginning with the paint:

1. + 2. Get both sizes of MDF to whatever you decide on. Most home improvement stores will cut the outside parts for you, and all you have to do is handle the inside. Once they’re ready, with a dense sponge roller {or even spray paint…honestly, the smoothest finish you’ll get is with the spray paint} start on the chalkboard paint for the chalkboard portion. I used a high quality sponge roller because it leaves less texture behind. I probably did about five coats. In between, while waiting for those coats to dry, I put the first coat on the frame portion of the chalkboard, and then went to the steps below:

3.+4. for the frame: When your first layer has dried on the frame portion of the piece, {I used my trusty Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore because it’s my fave and it was already in a can…and for the stripes, used a grey that is close to BM’s Bear Creek.} Start placing your tape.

• Using the illustrations below and the photos above as a guide, start on one of the corners, and angle your tape to meet on both of the corners of the frame at a diagonal. {looking at no. 3 on the photo above} a natural, and accurate spacer will be your tape, as you take it all the way across. I simply tape consistently from there, piece after piece, after piece. When I am finished taping the first side, I then remove every other piece of tape. {I save those pieces for the next side.}

• Once I “round the bend” around to the next corner {see the second set of diagrams right below} you’ll reverse the pattern. So lay your tape the SAME way that you just did, but pick up the opposite ones as you come back across.

Note: on the third illustration, I included dotted lines running all the way across the center of the frame, not because you take the tape that far, but to remain conscious of the space in the middle. If those lines were to actually continue, is it believable that they’d line up on the other side of that frame? Are the angles right? Am I getting super complicated? 

Honestly, I had to play with this, because I was winging it as I went. I used the thickest tape I could find, so it saved time and made a simple stripe.

For the last step, I decided I didn’t want such a high contrast. More of a salvaged look. You can even see where I faked it on the last corner in the photo above, {bottom right} because if I were really good at math, and had all the time in the world, I would have meticulously measured each one. But I don’t care that much and math makes me cry so I did this instead:

I simply used my fingers to put on that top most layer of white paint, in every direction. A dry brush, if you will, rubbed on with my fingers. To read a little more on the painting and cutting side, check out this post, here.

And there you have it. A simple little “fire screen” aka something we’ll move when we’re not using the fireplace. Who am I kidding? We’ve been in this house for five years, and we’ve never used our fireplace. We live in the tropics of Alabama. Woohoo. The end.

Have you guys ever considered using anything else other than the typical decor in front of your mantels? I think its a great way to bring some instant personality to a space. Please do tell!

Here’s to hoping you all have a wonderful, creative day!

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Responses to DIY chalkboard

  1. That is beautiful. I have a one year old and she would be ALL over that lol!

  2. Tori says:

    I love this…great idea! we may be trying it soon:)

  3. Sarah G. says:

    Thanks for the tutorial! We are in desperate need of a screen of sorts because our little ones are crawling now (and getting into everything!). I hate those big old iron screens. I feel like they could easily get pulled over and hurt someone. I think I might seriously try this this weekend! What’s the ETA on the finished product?

  4. Amy says:

    It looks great!

    I am also over my old fireplace screen and can’t find ANYTHING this season that is worth the dough…. I might have to get crafty!

  5. Megan Brooke says:

    I love the barn door and I’m so glad you’re keeping it around for a little longer! And I love that quote. So cute :)

    P.S. Where did you get that wood to the side? Is it birchwood??

  6. Brittany says:

    Love this! We did something similar about a year ago to cover up the ugly green tile that lined the inside of our even uglier fireplace parts. They were not only ugly, but they were a recipe for disaster with two little ones. The babies were not yet ready for chalk play, so I used magnetic paint instead and they have spent hours there playing. I am planning to turn the other side into a flannel board…precious memories!

  7. This is adorable! I love the painted M. I’m trying to find a creative way of putting an M in our office for our last name, Moore. Originally I was going to do a wood M but I really love this idea. Can I use it but tailor it to our home?

  8. One more, do you have a DIY on how you made it? Or did you purchase it someplace?

  9. AnneMarie says:

    How do you do the letters?? Do you freehand them with chalk or do you us a stencil?? I just made this yesterday and it is all finished up accept for the words.

  10. Kara says:

    i made one of these and posted it today. i had to improvise a bit since i don’t have a saw. thanks so much for the inspiration. i really love it.

  11. JT says:

    Thank you for your inspiration and humor each day. Im wondering if you have ever used magnetic paint in conjunction with the chalkboard paint, and if so, how did it work out? I want to do a door in both, but Im worried about the weight of the magnetic paint. Any advice? Thank you.

  12. Jessica says:

    I love this! SO beautiful. I’m using it as inspiration for my own project over at! Thank you so much for posting!

  13. Daisy frisch says:

    Okay, I’m going to try this tomorrow, and I’ve been poring over this post tonight to prepare. (and lusting over it for months :-))
    I’m nervous about the striping, and when I was inspecting the pictures, I noticed that the taping in the photo that is right below the close up photo with the 3 on it, the blue tape is going at an opposite diagonal? But the finished project has all the stripes going in the same direction? Am I crazy?