Do it Yo’self: Chalkboard Style

All right, ya’ll.  Let’s get some DIY action on this blog, shall we?  I mean, let’s face it: this winter is NOT going away anytime soon, at least here in Wisco.  So while you’re cooped up yearning for spring to make its debut, create a fun and versatile addition to your home with this DIY chalkboard.

I may be a little behind on this trend but it does not seem to be fading out anytime soon.  There are tons of tutorials for how to chalkboard pretty much anything in your home, but what if you don’t actually own anything in your home?  Don’t get me wrong, I would love to chalkboard paint an entire wall or area of a wall in my home, but as a terminal renter/leaser (thx, student loans), I had to come up with an alternative choice.

Cue the awkward area underneath the peek-through in my kitchen.  It wouldn’t be that bad if it weren’t for the wood paneling that looks like it was taken from the waiting room of my childhood dentist’s office.  And living in a studio means I had to stare at that wooden atrocity most of the time I was home.  It was just … awkward, and something needed to be done about it.

Part of me wanted to just throw caution to the wind and paint the whole area with chalkboard paint or something, anything to make the paneling disappear, but sound mind and fear of losing my security deposit advised me to find a different solution.  Although I am not a master carpenter by any means, I knew I could handle some wood (insert perverted joke here), so I wandered to Menards, got lost somewhere between plumbing and lawn care, and (eventually) got shit done.

DIY Chalkboard (for any space!)

  1. Get yourself acquainted with some wood.  Not just any wood; you’ll want something adequate for the size of your desired chalkboard, of course, and something that will hold the chalkboard paint.  Make sure the board will be easy to cut, and that you have the proper equipment to cut and adjust the size of the wood, if needed.  I had a brain fart and can’t remember the specific wood I purchased, but here is a picture.  It was thin enough to easily cut through yet still sturdy, and had a description along the lines of “great for painting and crafts!” so it was an easy choice.  Basically it was one step above cardboard and fairly inexpensive, around $8, so I threw my money at the cashier and went home to manipulate my wood.

    My wood. You like?
    My wood. You like?
  2. Cut your wood, if necessary.  If you’re an imperfectionist like me (AKA I’d rather get the project done than spend a ridiculous amount of time on minor details), this step is no big deal.  The most difficult part for me was figuring out where to actually cut, as in a physical location, since it was freezing outside and I didn’t want a neighbor to see some crazy lady wielding a handsaw around in the shared basement area.  I settled for a makeshift workbench constructed out of a storage tote and ottoman and got to cuttin’.

    My makeshift workbench. Nope, not safe. Not safe at all.
    My makeshift workbench. Nope, not safe. Not safe at all.
  3. Paint!  I used a spray-chalkboard paint since 1. it was cheaper and 2. the
    only other choice at the store was a quart-sized roll-on paint.  I settled for Rust-Oleum Specialty Flat Black Chalkboard Spray Paint.  Besides getting several finger cramps while spraying it on and blowing black snot out of my nose for several moments afterward, this paint worked splendidly and after applying 2 coats and some touch-ups, my chalkboard was almost complete.  (Follow the directions on the paint can; but honestly, it’s spray paint … fairly difficult to screw up here.)

    Yes, you will inhale the paint and your snot will turn black.
  4. Place your new, amazeballs chalkboard in your desired location.  Since the wood I used was fairly thin, it wouldn’t look that great just leaning against the wall.  And, since I had to use a non-permanent form of adhesive, I
    used Command picture hanging strips and stuck that sucker over the nasty wood paneling. (PS don’t forget to print out these coupons!)
  5. Decorate!  I created my chalkboard just in time for the winter holidays, so after a turkey adorned the board, I transformed my peek-through into a fireplace and mantle area for Christmas.
     A countdown now covers the chalkboard, which tells Boyfriend and I how many days until we leave for NOLA for, what else, Wrestlemania.  If you’re in need of ideas for your chalkboard, check out these masterpieces for inspiration.

So far, my chalkboard has been a hit.  I did have some leftover wood paneling peeking out since the area is an awkward dimension, so I bought some cork tiles from Jo-Ann Fabrics and used more Command strips to create a corkboard area.

This project honestly took minimal effort yet provided a drastic improvement to my apartment.  Plus, the versatility of this DIY chalkboard means you can put it anywhere you have some dead space in your home.  Make it your own and chalk it up!

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