Basically Free Chalkboard

Every now and then I get on these kicks. And just to be clear, when I mean every now and then, I basically mean all the stinkin’ time. I’m fairly certain that it drives Alex crazy; that man puts up with so much! I find a new bread that I like (like Sandwich Thins, for example) and buy ten packs. I eat two or three of them and the rest sit in the freezer to slowly collect a nice layer of frosty burn. Eventually, Alex gets annoyed and throws them away.

Or I decide that I want to hang a picture wall full of pretty white frames. I collect handfuls of frames and squirrel them away in a closet. Knowing that I need another dozen frames to complete my wall, I don’t exactly get to them in a timely fashion and they lose their forefront location in my brain. But man, I tell ya – when I’m thinking of my frame project, I’m collecting those bad boys with a vengeance.

I make a smoothie for breakfast every day for two months. Then I get tired of them and start eating oatmeal every day. As you can imagine, after a couple months of that… I move on.

The point of all this rambling is that when I get on a kick, that’s it for me. I’m a goner. I spend way too many hours every day researching it, dreaming about it until I finally do something about it!

Last week I infiltrated Alex’s inbox with pictures of chalkboards. How random is that, right? Did we need a chalkboard? No. I just wanted to make one, that’s all there is to it. When we finally got a minute of downtime last Sunday afternoon, I knew exactly how I wanted to spend it! Yep, with a trip to Home Depot. BOOYAH.

We planned on grabbing a piece of MDF (particle board, faux wood) for it’s smooth finish, a can of chalkboard paint, and some wood for the frame. However, we noticed that the particle board would be around $5 for the size we wanted and the chalkboard paint would be $10. Still cheaper than buying an already made chalkboard – definitely! After looking around at the different wood options, we noticed that Home Depot sold MDF that was already coated in a chalkboard-ey goodness for only $9. Buy both the MDF and chalkboard paint for $15? Or buy it for $9? Yeah, it wasn’t a hard choice for us to make either.

For the frame we bought two cheap, cheap, cheap 1″x4″x8′ pieces.


Nothin’ fancy. Then Joe (our friend who was in town from NY – who graciously agreed to help!) and I started beating up the wood! We threw it around the pavement, banged hammers and nails on it, and even used the drill to rough up the wood. Have you ever “distressed” wood before? You should. It’s a GREAT stress reliever.

After the wood was sufficiently owned distressed, I broke out my trusty stain and got to work. I’ve used Rustoleum’s wood stain in Kona before and loved the color. And since I already owned a quart — it seemed like a no-brainer! I found ours at Lowe’s – you can see it here.

Here’s the wood after I applied the stain and wiped it down. Notice also that it’s already cut to length. Cutting and routing it first allows the stain to get on all visible sides. How annoying would it be to stain it, cut it, and then have to stain it again since now you have fresh cuts?



Oh and I should tell you that I didn’t want my frame to come out too dark so after I applied the stain, I didn’t wait too long before wiping it down. You can completely control the end color – keep that in mind!

Alex did all of the work that required any cutting. Here you can see how he routed the back of the frame so the chalkboard would sit flush and how he drilled pilot holes so the screws wouldn’t be visible from the front.



Alex also used a staple gun to mount the chalkboard to the frame and then re-inforced the sides of the frame together with a metal bracket.

And like the awesome husband he is, he surprised me when I came home from work on Monday night by hanging it! Ten points for Alex.

Here was our first drawing, complete with a silly-looking Christmas tree. Yeah… that’s a masterpiece and rightfully deserves a spot on this ol’ blog.


And here’s an updated one – one that required a tad more effort πŸ™‚



So, all in all it cost under $15 since I already had the stain on hand. And for something that is over two feet wide and four feet tall, I’d say that it was a good bargain. Plus, it took less than two hours. Seriously, you can’t beat that. Unless it was free. Or wrapped in bacon.

ALSO – the man of the house has been working on the reclaimed lumber that he purchased way back here (which will soon be our new mantel). Can you imagine how great this space will look with a “vintage” mantel to complete the fireplace. Oh, so good.


We also finally hung some wedding pictures in the basement – on the wall directly across from the fireplace. And, you know by we… I mean Alex. That’s a given, right?


Better late than never.

What have you guys been up to lately? Any random crafts? Do you have sudden urges to make chalkboards, too? Please say yes. Have you gotten all your holiday wrapping done? No? Me either. Yeah, I know… tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I have waaaay too much stuff to do. AND – I think I’m coming down with the flu 😦

Off to wrap presents slash blow my nose slash cough up a lung.

And no post is complete without a thorough dog-fest.







8 thoughts on “Basically Free Chalkboard

  1. I’m planning on a chalkboard but have NO clue where yet. Maybe even a chalkboard wall whenever we get around to redoing the office/playroom. I LOVE your little messages. What wonderful fonts you have up your sleeve. πŸ™‚

  2. Pingback: Little Things Lately | Life With a Crazy Pup

  3. Pingback: Year Two Review | Life With a Crazy Pup

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