Make your Own - 1. Chalk and cheese

Shopping List
Image credit: Photo: Anastasia Bow-Bertrand
Shopping List
Image credit: Photo: Anastasia Bow-Bertrand
Prepare frames
Image credit: Photo: Anastasia Bow-Bertrand
Paint frames
Image credit: Photo: Anastasia Bow-Bertrand
The finished product – Instagram ready!
Image credit: Photo: Anastasia Bow-Bertrand

Make your own chalkboard (cheese accompaniment optional) for the start of the Lent term. This column will be bringing you crafty fans some tempting weekly projects, and this one’s an easy starter that will also be a nice fresh addition to your move-in boxes. Useful to remind yourself of those new-year’s resolutions, your shopping list, maybe even assignment deadlines – or simply use it as an obscenities board. Don’t worry though, if the list gets too long to bear, a swipe of a damp cloth will make it seem as though it was never there…

Difficulty: 1/5

Total Creative Time: 2 hours (plus curing overnight)

Shopping list:

  • Picture frame(s) (A4 size or larger works best)
  • Blackboard paint (available at or any hardware store)
  • Chalks (available at Ryman’s or WHSmith)
  • Spray paint (optional; available at hardware stores)
  • PVA glue (optional; available at The Works, near the Grafton Centre)
  • String or shells (optional)


  1. Gather your supplies. I picked up my frames on eBay and in a local charity shop; these are your best bets for cheap, and antique styles. Carefully remove and dispose of the front pane of glass if there is one. You should be left with a clean, flat, wood or cardboard surface.
  2. My frames already have embossed details, but if you have a plain one and want to give it more texture, consider PVA-gluing coils of string or shells onto your frame, to be sprayed a uniform colour.
  3. Skip stage 3 if you are happy with your frame as it is. However, if you want to gild your frame, put out a protective sheet of newspaper and go crazy with metallic spray paint (don’t worry about going onto the wooden back, as this will be painted next). For a shabby chic approach, use a matte white paint or pastel colours. For a burnished look, apply paint with a sponge. Allow frame to dry completely (about 2 hours).
  4. Carefully paint the backing with blackboard paint (cover the dry frame with masking tape if you are worried it will get messy). Leave to dry (1 hour). Paint vertically for the first coat then horizontally for the second (and final) coat, to avoid streaky stripes.
  5. Leave overnight to ‘cure’. Peel off the masking tape, hang/stand your new board on your desk, and enjoy! Damp cloth erases chalk, while hairspray fixes those messages and Picasso-esque doodles you want to keep forever… 
blog comments powered by Disqus

Related Stories

In this section

Across the site

Best of the Rest