Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How To & How NOT To Build A Framed Magnetic Chalkboard {Tutorial}

We absolutely LOVE our magnetic chalkboard now that is is complete but let me tell you...we had know clue what we were doing and mistakes were made. I will try my best to walk you through the process, including what we did wrong. 

DO measure your area and decide on a size of framed chalkboard. Once you decide on your frame you can subtract the width of the frame out from your total size and then get sheet metal cut to size. We had to go to a metal warehouse to find sheet metal this big but it was super cheap and cut to the right size!

DO prop your sheet metal up on a work table so that you can easily reach and paint it
DO buy material to frame your chalkboard with (sheet metal is sharp and you don't want it exposed)
We bought a package of interlocking siding since our plan was to "slip" the chalkboard edges into the siding groves (more on this later)

DO recruit your husband to measure and cut perfect angles for your frame
DO assemble 2 sides of the frame together to make a fixed corner
Liquid Nails for Wood

Securing with wood jointers

Use wood filler to fix any gaps in the corner on the visible side of the frame
DO paint all the pieces of your frame (we decided to use our baseboard enamel)

DO take a piece of course steel wool and rough up the surface of the sheet metal to allow the chalkboard paint to stick
DO buy quality chalkboard paint and a smooth surface roller
DO paint your sheet metal with the chalkboard paint (try and roll in the same direction)

After 1 coat

After 4 or 5 coats (I lost count...remember it fell and got scratched)
DO take a piece of fine steel wool and gently rub the surface of the chalkboard paint once it is dry. This helps get the roller marks out and also helps the chalk to stick better (sorry, no picture of this)

DO prime your chalkboard with a piece of chalk laying on it's side

Rub the entire board in chalk

Take a wet washcloth and wipe off all the chalk

A clean & primed chalkboard
DO buy a mount big enough to hold the weight of your sheet metal
Mount still packaged shown on top of unpainted sheet metal
DO screw the wall mount into the wall making sure you hit the studs (we used painters tape to map out the spot)

DO NOT secure the other 1/2 of the mount to the back of the chalkboard with liquid nails!

DO NOT try to hang with the mount glued to back of chalkboard
DO NOT try and "slip on" the frame while hanging. 5 Minutes after this... it came crashing down! (tearing a big hole in the side wall and scratching up the chalkboard paint)
*The glue on the back of the chalkboard could not hold with the slight bending the metal does when trying to lift it up onto the wall and with all the manipulation of getting the frame on.

DO secure the chalkboard to a larger piece of wood with a bunch of liquid nails (we got used the measurement of what the chalkboard would be framed for our piece of wood)
The wood acts as a support and prevents the metal from any bending
DO paint the exposed edges of the wood to match your frame color
DO glue your frame onto the exposed wood while it is still laying down - it is now merely cosmetic (sorry no pic of this)

DO screw the other 1/2 of the mount into the back of this supporting wood (again no pic)

DO hang your framed (& secured) magnetic chalkboard once all your glue has set (I did put some basic Command Strips under the bottom 2 corners so it wouldn't bounce off the wall any)
Completely secured Giant Magnetic Chalkboard (we even banged on the walls to test it out!)
You may notice I distressed the frame and this was not my intention. My enamel paint "bubbled" really bad despite a new enamel brush, sanding the wood and cleaning it off well. So I needed a new plan. I had never distressed before. I wanted the darker color to show through but I had already painted the frame white. So... I took a piece of fine sandpaper and lightly sanded out the bubbles and then got a heavier sandpaper and scuffed off some of the white paint on the ribbed design of the wood. Then I cheated (although no one can tell)! I took a stain pen (that I had for my daughter's crib) and rubbed the stain pen on the distressed parts of the frame. I then re-sanded the stain pen areas to help make it look distressed and not like fresh stain.


Britt said...

You have created exactly what I've been searching for! I am so much better at seeing it than visualizing with my limited extra time. Thank you dearly.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful room and chalkboard.

Jenn said...

Where did you get your cute little baskets and hanging rod? Too cute!

Tonya said...


Jenn said...

Sweet! We are building a chalkboard for our little gal this weekend and heading to Atlanta to visit friends with a stop at Ikea next weekend! Thanks for the great idea! : )

to said...

Very creative. I have one question: did you glue the metal sheet to the wood frame or you have to buy another wood?

Jaime said...

Very nice and I really love the bit of "age" to it. It makes it even more charming.

Unknown said...

Where did you get the sheet metal? I went to Lowes and Home Depot but they only have small pieces of sheet metal.

Tonya said...

I had to go to a metal warehouse here in town. Call around, I'm sure there is a business that sells it. Good luck!

Unknown said...

This is awesome! Do you have to wait for each coat of chalkboard paint to dry before applying the next coat?

Tonya said...

Yes I allowed the paint to dry. If not, you will pull the wet paint and create chunks.

Unknown said...

This is very cute. What size did your chalk board end up?

Amanda said...

What thickness is the metal?

Unknown said...

I love how it turns out. It is really beautiful. And it is really a great place to write your menus and maybe some reminders. Thanks for sharing this idea.

Unknown said...

about how expensive to make?

BMH said...

What kind of sheet metal did you use? I just called a metal place and they ran through a list of options and said none would work for this type of project....

Wolf Teacher said...

Oh, my goodness! SO happy to have found this! I appreciate the effort to explain what to/not to do rather than just posting the project as an oh-so-easy-and-incredibly-cute . . . . project. This kind of thoroughness is necessary and wonderful.

PS I think you might mean "coarse" sandpaper (sorry, teacher, can't help it, occupational hazard)

Wolf Teacher said...

Me again, the grammar Nazi. Is there a reason you specified Valspar chalkboard paint? The only one I can find in our little burg is Rustoleum. Thank you.

Tonya said...

Just buy quality chalkboard paint. You don't want it flaking off, etc. I haven't done any recent research on Rustoleum but if it has good reviews, go for it!!

themisunderstoodsoul said...

How many hours should I wait between coats? Also, I was under the impression that sheet metal will need a coat of primer..

Spinal Snap said...

You've made a beautiful board. I've been trying to do a similar thing in my kitchen with no frame. Do the magnets scratch the chalk board?

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing! I found Metal Supermarkets and they will cut to size.They are located all over the U.S. It took a while to figure out how thick and what type. But I took magnets with me. The least expensive that worked was cold rolled metal and I bought 24 gauge because it was the lightest. I used comet with a damp cloth and then used acetone ( home depot) to wipe it clean. Now I am ready to paint :) said...

Nice execution of work, i really appreciate your work. Keep working with this.

Thank you!

Galvanized Sheet

Nina Athena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nina Athena said...

Thank you for sharing this piece! It is very helpful and informative. Would like to see more updates from you.

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