Monday, January 6, 2014

Artsy Monday – Repurposing a Frame into a Chalkboard

For my first Artsy Monday I thought I would show you the project I just finished. If you are a Pinterest person you have surely seen all the chalkboard projects popping up. I love the looks that I’ve seen and thought I’d take the plunge and make one for my kitchen.

True to my nature I looked at the pictures and off I went, directions – who needs directions?

My first stop was my local Goodwill store where I picked up this frame. It is a great size and shape for the location I had in mind so I was pretty happy. The downside was that it is black but for the price I couldn’t pass it up.

Once I got home I pulled out the can of chalkboard paint I got on clearance about 10 years ago to see if it was still any good. My luck was holding because it was perfect!

Next I removed the glass from the frame and cleaned it with an alcohol wipe. This removes any dust or dirt and I had it in my tools so it was easy to reach. If you don’t have alcohol wipes lying around you can use Windex®, hot soapy water or the Witchy Green Mirror and Glass Cleaner that I’ll be posting the recipe for on Wednesday. You just want to make sure your glass is clean and dry before you start painting.

I used a foam brush and painted the glass in long strokes. Once I covered the pane completely I went back over it with my brush (adding more paint as needed)to even out the strokes and smooth over and lines left by my brush. I applied two layers of chalkboard paint to the glass, letting the first dry completely before applying the second.  Two coats of chalkboard paint gave me great coverage so I set that aside and started work on the frame.

The frame itself was covered in a black plastic type paint which is pretty standard on cheaper frames. I lightly sanded the frame to give the surface a place for the new paint to stick. Then I grabbed some fabric scraps I still have left over from the curtains I made for my kitchen and started looking for the perfect paint. 

Once I found a couple that I thought would work I took them down to my kitchen and held them up against the wall to see which color worked best with the color of the wall. This was a really good idea since it really changed the way I looked at the colors. The color I originally thought to use would have blended right into the wall and certainly would not have given me the look I wanted.

I used Americana Acrylic Paint found at local craft stores and I did get good coverage after about 6 coats. If I were to make another one of these (which I probably will) I would do one of two things differently

I would either:

1 – Apply a primer coat to the surface before I painted with my color (actually, next time I will use a primer regardless of what type of paint I choose)


2 – Use spray paint (If the frame has lots of details I would suggest the spray paint for the best coverage)

Spray paint gives you nice even coverage in a fraction of the time. The downside to spray paints is that you do not have quite the selection of colors. So even after using almost an entire bottle of paint (cost about $1.25) I would go with the acrylic paint again and use a primer with it. That should cut down on the number of coats of paint needed for good coverage.

Once the frame was dry I took it outside and sprayed it with Krylon’s Triple Thick Crystal Clear Glaze. This sealed the paint and made my frame all nice and shiny. I love this stuff and use it on lots of my projects. It provides a beautiful shine that doesn’t turn yellow.

This was the hardest part, waiting for the glaze to dry. In the summer this would have only taken about an hour but during this time of year it takes a bit longer. Once the glaze was completely dry I had to decide if I wanted to hand the frame using the hooks on the back or if I was going to hang it with ribbon.  This required me to make another trip to the kitchen, frame in hand.

I decided to go with the hanger on the back. I may add a bow to the top, I need to see how it is used first. I also hope to add a white vinyl decoration or word to the top but the vinyl I ordered has not arrived yet. So once that decision was made I installed the chalkboard into the frame.

Here is the finished chalkboard on the wall of my kitchen.

This project took me a couple of days, most of which was drying time. Fortunately, I was able to leave it out in my studio and just add a coat of paint when I had a chance to run in there. It was an easy project and I love the look.

Truly, the hardest part was finding a box of chalk! With the popularity of chalkboard labels, chalkboard DIY’s and Pinterest, I had to visit 7 stores before I found a single box of chalk!

I think I will be making another one of these for my office so I am off to buy paint primer.

Happy crafting!


  1. You're my kind of adventure crafter. Start in the middle and work it all out. Good for you. Your project looks wonderful and I am sure you will enjoy using it.
    Oma Linda

  2. I have been seeing these big, gorgeous frames with a chalkboard in them at so many home stores! Upwards of 75 dollars, too expensive to justify. I want one so bad, your instructions will help me to (hopefully) make one for myself one of these days.