DIY framed chalkboard (Have I mentioned I enjoy spray painting?)

We have lived in our house four years, and for most of that time, my mantel has looked something like this:

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I agree. WHAT IS GOING ON THERE? We received the lovely mirror as a wedding gift. I still love it! But it's not really my style anymore. And then! I went ahead and added "a few" things. My word, lady? Why on earth could you not bring yourself to switch out those orange candles from Thanksgiving LAST YEAR? And must you REALLY display that awkward kissing photo from your wedding that even YOU don't like? And why are there so many THINGS up there?

Ahem. What I'm trying to say is that it looked cluttered and awkward and it needed some serious help.

Anyway, I got the Spraypainting Fever this summer and redid my typewriter table and then these candlesticks, which pushed the mantel makeover into full swing.

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I started with this:

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I repurposed the oval mirror (it belonged to my grandmother) but it was too small. Things really weren't very "stylish" or "tied together" yet. AND THEN! IT HIT ME! I wanted a huge framed chalkboard on this wall. Thanks for the inspiration Pinterest, where I can find enablers for my addiction to spray painting and obsession with chalkboard paint!

Aaaaand here's where we hit the skids for like 2 months. Because where on earth does one find a large, framed chalkboard? The answer, just to kill the suspense: NOWHERE.

And then I got it in my head that I would make one.

AND I DID!

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Wanna know how?

First I went to Homegoods (aka Heaven on Earth!) and found a large framed print on clearance: $25.

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I took it all apart and tossed the glass. Kept the, er, calming beach scene and the cardboard back that was attached. More on that in a minute!

Spray paint time! Whee!

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(as if you had any doubt it too would be Colonial Red).

While I was out in the yard going nutballs with the spray paint I decided to experiment with the spray can of chalkboard paint I'd picked up on one of my many spray paint shopping trips. My original idea was to find a thin piece of plywood and paint it with chalkboard paint and then somehow affix it to the frame, but seeing as I had a perfectly-sized piece of cardboard and a can of chalkboard spraypaint on hand that claimed it could turn ANY surface into a chalkboard, I went to work. I figured it wouldn't hurt to try (especially if it saved me another trip to Home Depot and the trouble of figuring out the plywood situation!).

Thus:

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The cardboard immediately warped a little, which later made getting it to lie flat in the frame a challenge. I had to weight it overnight with some books to get it flat before I could re-frame it. I tried using a staple gun to hold the cardboard in the frame but good old duct tape ended up doing a much better job!

A note about chalkboard spray paint: the paint job was too thin and there was barely enough for such a large and absorbent surface, so I would only recommend that for smaller jobs. I bought a can of regular chalkboard paint and I plan to re-paint the cardboard/chalkboard with a roller as soon as these kids of mine take a nap (so, in like two-six more months I guess). As you can see in the first photo I've written and erased on the chalkboard a few times and the chalk really sticks. I'm hoping a couple coats of standard chalkboard paint helps with that!

And so, I now present my new mantel (still a work in progress. But much improved in my humble opinion!):

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Next on my spray paint hit list? The goofy-looking gold fireplace insert (I plan on fixing it up like this!).

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6 thoughts on “DIY framed chalkboard (Have I mentioned I enjoy spray painting?)

  1. HereWeGoAJen says:

    Awesome! That looks really great. Also, chalkboard markers! I just bought a set but haven’t used them yet. They are supposed to be prettier than actual chalk.

  2. Steph says:

    My teacher used to sweep the blackboard with a broom to get it clean- it worked better than the eraser thing!

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