Introduction: DIY Framed Chalkboard

About: Find me on YouTube and Instagram (@robertjkeller)!

Here's how I made this large framed chalkboard!

Watch the video of how it's made here:

Step 1: Measuring and Marking the Cuts

I measured and marked the locations of the 45 degree miter cuts. These dimensions are completely up to you! Use whatever will work best in the space that you have.

Step 2: Cutting the Frame

At the miter saw, I cut the miters into one side of each board. Make sure your saw is set to EXACTLY 45 degrees or you will have gaps in your miters.

Just as important as cutting exactly 45 degree angles is cutting each pair of opposing sides of the frame to exactly equal lengths, so I clamped the top and bottom together before cutting to make sure they were identical. Then I did same thing for the left and right side pieces.

Step 3: Routing a Rabbet

I used a trim router with a stright-cut bit to make a 1/2" rabbet in the back inside edge of each piece. This will form a recess for the chalkboard to rest inside.

Step 4: Drilling Pocket Holes

I drilled pocket holes in the ends of the top and bottom pieces of the frame. This will provide some reinforcement of the joint, but it will also make glue-up easier since the screws will provide clamping pressure.

Step 5: Assembling the Frame

I then applied yellow wood glue and drove pocket screws into each corner. This is 3/4" thick hardwood, so I used 1-1/4" inch fine-thread pocket screws.

Step 6: Cutting the Chalkboard Backing

For the chalkboard backing, I used 1/4" plywood. I measured the dimensions from the edges of the rabbets in the frame and then cut the plywood to size with a track saw. You could also use a tablesaw or a circular saw for these cuts if you don't have a tracksaw.

Step 7: Applying Polywall to the Plywood

I was originally going to use just the plywood as the chalkboard, but as I applied the paint I could still see the grain of the plywood through the paint. This wouldn't have happened if I'd primed the plywood first, but there were also significant gouges in the wood.

I decided to use contact cement to adhere a layer of Polywall to the plywood and paint over that. Polywall is meant to protect bathroom walls from moisture and can be found at most home stores.

After the contact cement set up, I used a utility knife to trim the Polywall flush with the plywood.

Step 8: Applying Chalkboard Paint

I applied 2 layers of the chalkboard paint with a foam roller, sanding between coats with 220-grit sandpaper. I applied a third coat with a plastic scraper in order to get a smooth finish.

Step 9: Marking the Keyhole Locations

I cut a strip of wood to the exact width of the frame and used that to mark the locations of the studs in the wall where the chalkboard will hang. Then I transferred those marks to the back of the frame itself.

Step 10: Routing the Keyholes

I used a 1/2" Forstner bit to drill starter holes for a keyhole router bit into the back of the frame.

With the keyhole bit in my router, I set up stop blocks on each side of the router. In combination with the guide on the router, this ensures that the bit will not wander side to side, and that each keyhole will be exactly the same height. This is essential for the chalkboard to hang straight and level.

Step 11: Finishing the Frame

I finished the frame with Minwax Dark Walnut wood stain and wipe-on polyurethane.

Step 12: Installing a Chalk Holder

I drilled two holes through the frame to connect a drawer pull. I installed it upside down to act as a chalk holder.

Step 13: Installing the Chalkboard Into the Frame

The chalkboard is fastened in place with brad nails.

Step 14: Hanging

And the final step is to hang it up and use it!

Step 15: Thanks for Following Along!

Be sure to check out the video for this build (here), as well as my other projects on YouTube and Instructables.