Before beginning, I should preface this post with a confession:
My name is Elizabeth Shafer and I cannot remember anything without writing it down.
I mean, sometimes I can, but anything important or professionally relevant must always be taken down in notes or put into a list or it will be out of the sieve that is my mind by the end of the day. I'm a visual-tactile learner and because of this, I think the constant stimulation that I have going on each day while teaching can often push the day to day things I need to remember out to make room for new stimuli.
Because of this, I am a list making machine and have dozens of notes open on my phone, saved as files in my computer, or written down in my sketchbook (which is often covered with Post It notes when I need to write something down at my desk in my classroom and my sketchbook is not handy). I'm sure that you've seen the likely hundreds of tutorials for chalkboards in blogs and on Pinterest, as I did. I thought that making my own chalkboard, to be prominently displayed in our kitchen, would be a great way to keep track of household things like shopping lists, grocery lists, and various to-do's. It also is great way to let your husband know what needs to be done!
I started by first going in search of a large vintage frame to mount the chalkboard in. You can find these at thrift stores, at estate sales, or at antique/salvage stores. There is a phenomenal shop in Norfolk called Country Boy Antiques. While I automatically associate the concept of an antique store with high end and high markups, over the years, Country Boy has really become more of an architectural salvage shop with a large selection of dusty, rusty picked items on the cheap. It is a maze of a shop and you spend the whole experience worried that a teetering pile of stuff may fall on you, but I have never gone in there and not walked out with what I needed, whether it was plantation shutters, glass doorknobs, marquee letters, decorative china, vintage art, or a frame. I picked up this large, ornate frame for about $12.
It definitely needed some cleaning and priming, but after that, I painted it a deep, dark eggplant color that is very nearly black. I painted this with a basic foam brush and I think it took about three coats (disclaimer: I may have been watching the Real Housewives while I worked on it).
After finding your frame, you'll need a board and some chalkboard paint. Lowes or Home Depot will cut a board to size for you for free (awesome). I bought some cheap, thin plywood board. You're going for lightness in weight, so it's very budget friendly. To find the right size board, you need to measure your frame from the back side, from where the board will attach to the inside frame, rather than the picture window.
For this project, I used chalkboard spray paint rather than a liquid chalkboard paint. It has held up well and at the time I was buying it, I assumed that I would be spray painting something else to be chalk-able in the future. After sanding the plywood down to a smooth finish (you do want it to be a writing surface, after all), I primed it and then applied three coats of the chalkboard paint. The paint has to overnight before it can be written on.
After it had cured, I simply used hot glue to attach it to the inside of the frame. I imagine that wood glue or Liquid Nails would work well too. Finally, you hang up the chalkboard (attach d-rings if necessary) and start the list making!