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Make a Chalkboard out of an Old Framed Picture

No need to build or buy a huge chalkboard when you can make one from a thrifted print and a few craft supplies!

When I saw this beauty in one of my favorite thrift stores, I knew she needed a makeover. I had been searching for the perfect framed picture to remake into a chalkboard for my kitchen, and this one fit the bill perfectly.

Print Before

Why? Because it’s not actually a painting. If you want to try this project for yourself (and save LOTS of money on a large chalkboard), look for a framed print with no glass. I know that’s kind of specific, but the reason is that the chalkboard paint will adhere better to a paper print than to glass, and you don’t want any brushstrokes from an actual painting raising lines on your chalkboard.

(Also, the painter in me hates to desecrate anyone else’s painting like that. But mass-produced prints are fair game.)

There’s a certain amount of satisfaction in taking something old and…ahem…ugly, and turning it into something beautiful and useful. I like to think it’s a metaphor for life, but I may be overthinking it just a tad. Maybe it’s just because I love a good bargain.

Anyway, here’s how to make your own DIY Chalkboard from an Old Framed Print.


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You’ll need:

Getting started:

  1. Remove the print from the frame if possible. (I didn’t do this, and it definitely made the process harder when it came to painting the edges between the print and the frame.)
  2. Use the roller to cover the print with chalkboard paint. (Then use a brush to fill in the edges, if it’s still attached to the frame.)Brushing-Paint
  3. While that’s drying, you can paint the frame with the first layer of chalk paint.Painting Frame
  4. After plenty of drying time (I waited a day in between), repeat steps 2 and 3. (You may even need a third coat of chalkboard paint. You want to make sure the whole surface is covered really well.)
  5. If you’re redoing the frame, lightly sand the edges for a weathered look (I love how the gold shows through on mine!) and follow with a light coat of finishing wax.Sanding Frame
  6. After the wax has dried for about 1/2 an hour, buff with a clean soft cloth to get a nice sheen.Buffing Wax
  7. Finally, season your chalkboard by rubbing a piece of chalk all over it. (I used sidewalk chalk because it covered more area in less time.) Run the side of the chalk all over the board and wipe it off with an eraser or dry paper towel. This step is important, otherwise the first thing you write will never come off!Seasoning-Chalkboard
  8. Now your chalkboard is ready to use.

Not until I finished this whole project did I realize that my chalkboard handwriting is terrible! I’ve never been a teacher, so I failed to pick up that skill. I’ll work on my chalkboard lettering game, but in the meantime my 9-year-old daughter has taken over.

Have a Good Day

Luckily, I’ve met some really talented bloggers who can help. While you’re getting your own chalkboard ready to go, take a look at some of their tips and tricks for getting those beautiful chalkboard designs…


Erin at Lemons, Lavender, & Laundry


Erin at Elizabeth Joan Designs


Christina at The DIY Mommy


Sara at Twelve On Main


Now I’m off to practice my lettering skills, so I can start using my new chalkboard, but let me know if you have any questions about how to make your own re-fabbed chalkboard! (Or tips on what to do with it once you’ve made it!)

Judy Babcock

Saturday 14th of January 2017

I wonder if you could do some graphics and print out the basic design as one or in pieces and coat the back of the printed piece with chalk and then trace it onto the board. You would be able to enhance the transferred graphics and type after you have done the tracing.


Wednesday 18th of January 2017

Yes, you absolutely could! Some of the tutorials mentioned above go into more detail about how to do that. I'm more of a "wing it" kind of person, so I haven't tried it myself.


Friday 22nd of July 2016

Love your chalkboard! You totally scored at the thrift store. I keep looking for a big beautiful frame but haven't found one yet.


Friday 29th of July 2016

Thank you Kati! I was looking for a LONG time before I found this one. You'll find yours!


Thursday 21st of July 2016

Such a fun and easy tutorial. I am in love with that frame!!!!


Friday 29th of July 2016

Thanks Jessica, me too!


Thursday 21st of July 2016

This is such a great update!


Friday 29th of July 2016

Thanks so much Michelle!

Corinna - ADesignerAtHome

Tuesday 19th of July 2016

What!? That frame is incredible! Painted or not painted, that thing has beautiful detail. I'm definitely going to look at the thrift art a bit differently now.


Friday 29th of July 2016

Thank you Corinna! That frame really captured my heart, and I almost hated to cover it up with paint, but it ended up being better overall with the kitchen decor. Now I can't pass up a framed print like this without wanting to pick it up!


Creating a color-filled life. Conquering my little world one DIY project at a time. With lots of coffee and chocolate. Albuquerque NM. Pinterest ~ Instagram ~ Facebook