Old Frame to Shabby Chic Chalkboard


chalkboard grph hdr

Back when the hubby was doing his storage wars, we ended up with a ton of old frames and mirrors.

I up-cycled a lot of these and made chalkboards out of the frames, taking the time to paint chalkboard paint over and over, then season the chalkboards (where you rub chalk all over the board before you write on it, let it sit, then erase it all).  I would then sell these at our Peddler’s Mall booth or on Facebook groups.  One thing that always bothered me about the chalkboard paint is that you can’t use the chalkboard markers and the finish on the boards is ALWAYS bumpy.  

Then I found these panels at Home Depot (btw, I noticed Menards has these as well)!

Home Depot Chalkboard

They are pre-made, come in a 2 ft by 4 ft sheet, AND you can use regular chalk or the chalkboard markers on them.  They are more expensive…but when you factor in the time it takes to paint the chalkboard paint, let it dry, the repeat 3 more times…it’s totally worth it.  You can see the cost breakdown below.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • An old ugly frame (I like ornate frames, they really bump up the shabby chic-ness of the chalkboard).  Check out Goodwill, the Salvation Army Store or thrift shops for these.  I typically don’t pay more than $5-$10 for the frame.  The one I used was $3 from Goodwill, not as ornate as I’d like… but it will do.
  • Chalkboard panel – $9.97 from Home Depot.  Typically I’ll get AT LEAST 2 chalkboards out of one panel (FYI, the bigger the chalkboard, the more you can sell it for).
  • Chalk Paint – I had this on hand, I like using the cheaper FolkArt paint for my frames, it’s thick and covers well… plus I save my Annie Sloan paint for furniture projects.  🙂  (I had this on hand).
  • Wax to seal the paint – Chalk paint is very porous…so you have to seal it or any time you touch it, there will be finger prints, it won’t be durable and BAD things happen… So seal it up with either wax or a poly (had this on hand).  I DO use my Annie Sloan wax for this.  Wax should be solid, right?  Folk Art’s wax is liquid and I’ve never had any luck with it looking right.  Annie Sloan wax is AMAZING!
    AS Wax
  • Chalk!  Of course you’ll need chalk or chalk markers.  I picked up a box of chalk for $1.

Let’s get started!

  1.  You’ll want to clean your frame first and let it dry.
    ugly frame
  2. Pour out some paint and paint the frame.  Since I was using chalk paint, I used the special chalk paint brush.  It allows you to mash and cram paint in all the corners and grooves.
    almost done painting
  3. Let it dry.  This is when I go and cut my chalkboard panel to size.  That way it’s ready to go when the frame is finally sealed and dry.  You may need to put on a 2nd coat, or if you are going to distress the frame, you can do it once the paint is dry.  I wanted to use dark wax to make the frame look worn, so I only used one coat of paint.
  4. Seal it with wax – I used a lint free rag and rubbed my clear wax on first.  This is very important!  If you are going to use dark wax to distress, you MUST use the clear wax first.  This gives the paint protection from the color pigment of the dark wax and allows you to fix mistakes.  If you just rub dark wax on chalk paint, you can not fix and it looks like you just put mud all over your masterpiece.
    solid wax
  5. After I clear waxed, I used Annie Sloan dark wax.
    as dark wax
  6. Next, you’ll put the chalkboard panel in place.
    back of frame
  7. My frame didn’t have anything to secure the chalkboard to the frame, so I used my point driver (I got mine at Michaels with one of their 50% off coupons).  If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen the time-lapsed video of me driving the points into the frame as a teaser to this post.  It’s as easy as using a stapler!
  8. Your chalkboard is done!
    finished board

Look at the beautiful detail on the frame!  I just love how the dark wax brings it all out!!

frame closeup

Now you can draw your masterpiece!  Here’s a tip when using regular chalk.  Dip your chalk in water before drawing.

chalk and water

When it goes on the chalkboard it will look light, but when it dries, it is BRIGHT white!  You can see in the pic below, some of my lines are lighter, those haven’t dried yet… but when they do they’ll be just as bright as the others!

Happy Fall


Total Price = $8  I had everything on hand except the frame and the chalkboard.  I’ll get another board out of the part I didn’t use in this project… So $5 for the chalkboard and $3 for the frame.

This is a larger frame so if I were selling this, I could get between $45 and $50 for it on eBay, Facebook groups, or at the Peddler’s mall.  That’s a minimum of $37 profit and it took me total about an hour.. not bad!  FYI, the more ornate the frame, the more you can charge!

Here’s another chalkboard I made, with a more detailed frame.


Easy as that!  Have you used the chalkboard panels from Home Depot?  Ever made a framed chalkboard?  Going to now?  🙂


This post is linked up to the following FAB link parties:

Thrifty Decor Chick


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  1. A great tutorial! I would love to have you share at my new link party: http://craftymomsshare.blogspot.com/2015/10/crafty-weekend-thanksgiving-activity.html