Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Magnetic Chalkboard Tutorial

Little by little our new family office is coming together. I just have a few key pieces to finish and then I'll be able to share the complete makeover with you!

One of the things I really wanted for me and the girls was a magnetic chalkboard. I am a huge list-maker and while I'm very organized, sometimes I need a visual reminder. The girls, especially Lo, do great with lists too. It really cuts down on me having to remind them over and over (...and over...). Initially thought I could use magnetic paint under chalkboard paint, but after a quick unofficial Facebook poll I found I needed a Plan-B (It was pretty much unanimous that the magnetic paint doesn't work). I decided to use sheet metal sprayed with chalkboard paint. In the end it was the perfect solution and I'm beyond pleased with the result!!! I used a combination of supplies I already had and a few purchased with coupons. In the end I spent under $10 to make both boards! 

Here's what you'll need:
  • Empty frame - You can usually get a good deal on frames without glass in them at Goodwill or at your local craft store. The one I used was from my clothespin frame. It was originally purchased at Michael's in their "mistake" frame bin. The one I put over my desk is huge, 24x30in. The girls' is 11x14in.
  • Chalkboard paint - I like Krylon spraypaint. In my experience the regular paint kind doesn't adhere to all surfaces well. They sell Krylon at Jo-Ann's so you can use a coupon. 
  • Tin snips - Giant scissors for cutting metal. I borrowed mine from a friend.
  • Leather gloves - I used my gardening gloves. Once you cut the metal the edges are sharp and can cut you. 
  • Sheet metal-I went to 2 different home improvement stores before I got smart. I guess the secret is out that people are using sheet metal for various crafty projects. When I asked for the sheet metal the sales people at both stores took me to a display of "decorative" metal. The sheets were in various sizes and the one that I needed for my large frame was marked $29.99. Um no thank you! There was no way I was going to pay that much for thin, flimsy metal! Instead I "borrowed" a magnet from the store and went in the plumbing aisle and basically stuck it on every piece of metal I could find to see which ones were magnetic. The one I purchased was 30"x36" and was only $7.99 a sheet (as an added bonus there was a $3 rebate on them too!). You could easily make two smaller boards with one sheet of metal. 
Here's what my frame looked like before:

  • I removed all the fabric, twine and pictures and painted it one of my favorite colors left over from Noa's yellow room (It was a mistake paint so I'm going to be so sad when it's all gone!).  I did the same with the girls' frame.
  • Using the cardboard backing from the frames I traced the shape on the sheet metal. You really need to be exact. I found that it's hard to trim with the tin snips, instead of cutting it just bent the metal. One of my sheets was too big for the frame and it took a bit of work to get it to fit properly.
  • Follow the directions on the chalkboard paint and cover the sheet metal with several thin layers of paint. Let it dry according to the directions on the paint. Once it is completely dry you can put your metal into the frame, just be careful not to scratch the paint. The metal is fairly flimsy, so you'll want to make sure you have some support behind it. I found using the cardboard and backing from the original frame was enough. My mistake frame didn't have backing so I cut a piece of cardboard to fit it and then used duct tape to keep it in (no one is going to see the back). 
  • Before you can use your board it needs to be seasoned. Basically you cover the entire board with chalk. I usually let mine sit for a bit. I have no idea if that makes a difference, but that's how I roll! Once it's seasoned it's all ready to use. The more you use it, the more seasoned it becomes and the better it will wipe off


I'm in L-O-V-E love! Now I have a place for notes, reminders and pictures of the family. The girls love theirs too and keep asking me to write down homework for them, that NEVER happens!
I've got some cute ideas for magnets that I'll be sharing with you soon! You certainly can't have a cute board without cute magnets too!

Thanks for checking in!

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