Friday, April 8, 2011

Repurpose Me: Framed Chalkboard Tutorial

When I saw this bear print at our combined garage sale a while back I managed to look past the freaky-looking bear and saw the big, solid timber frame around it. I knew I could do something with it so took it off my sister's hands.

It's only been this week that I had time to actually do anything with the frame, and I'm pretty chuffed with the results. So chuffed that I think I might have to do it again sometime!

So here's a quick how-to to turn a fugly print into a sweet little chalkboard.
You need:
- an old framed print, glass removed (you won't need the glass for this project)
- a can of spray paint in any colour (I used High Gloss Cherry Red in the Squirts range from White Knight - I bought it at Bunnings for about $7)
- a can of chalkboard spray paint (White Knight too)
- an old sheet or a plastic drop sheet
- newspaper (I didn't use it and it was annoying)
One creepy bear print.


1. Remove the print from your frame and give the wood a quick wipe over with a clean cloth to remove any dust or dirt. If it's particularly dirty you may need to wipe it with warm, soapy water and give it a thorough dry after.

2. Lay your drop sheet down and newspaper down and put your frame on top. Be careful not to spray near anything precious or white. Time for the first coat of spray paint. I followed these tips and was really happy with the result:
  • shake the can of spray paint really, really, really well. for longer than they suggest on the can. this stops any flat or super shiny spots and gives even colour coverage.
  • start your spraying off the piece and finish off the piece. this stops any big chunky splotches of spray paint where you first begin
  • keep the can about 15-20cm away from the piece you're painting
  • keep your paint strokes even
  • apply a light, misting coat first and then follow up straight after with a fuller coat (though not too heavy, otherwise it will drip and look splotchy)
3. Check the results of your first coat, get really excited and grab other objects to coat in paint.

After the first coat

I grabbed a heap of frames from our bedroom cause I got so excited!

4. Leave these all to dry for at least 30 minutes before applying a second full coat.

5. Meanwhile, take the print and turn it over, exposing the bare board at the back. (If your print is constructed differently, you may need to use a sheet of thick cardboard here). Give it a wipe over with a clean cloth.

6. I totally forgot to get a shot of this, but, using the same tips as above, spray the board with a misting coat of chalkboard paint, followed immediately by a good, full coat. The can suggested two coats, but I found I only needed one to get really good coverage.

7. Let the frame and the board completely dry (I left mine overnight) and then, with the help of your trusty assistant, put them back together with the chalkboard facing out and the print at the back. You know, in case you ever want to use the print again. Not likely in this case.

Best assistant going round.


8. I think different brands of chalkboard paint vary here, but the White Knight suggested conditioning the board before using it, which means covering the entire surface with chalk and then rubbing it off. I did this, not too sure if it helped anything or not. Also, try to avoid using dirty chalk like I did, as it left some ugly scratches in the paint.


For about an hour's work all up, and only a few dollars (I only used half of the can of red paint and maybe one-tenth of the blackboard paint) this was a fun little repurposing project!

I'll be back later with some happy-making!

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Merci! Ta! Xie xie!