Category Archives: DIY Projects

DIY Project: Build a Chalk Board with Cork Board

We were looking for a chalk board for our condo so that we could post notes, menus and other things. I wanted it to have a distressed look and did not want to spend a lot of money, so I decided to build it myself. In this blog, I will step you though the process.

Finished Chalk Board

Finished Chalk Board

What Materials are Needed?

To create a chalk board, you just need a few things, the cost will be about $30 – $40 in total:

  • Thin Plywood – This will be the actual chalk board. I bought a piece from Home Depot for less than $10 and had them cut it to fit (24″ wide x 30″ tall).
  • 1 x 4 boards for frame – I used boards from an old pallet but you can also purchase 1 x 4 white pine board from Home Depot for about $2.50 for an 8 foot piece (purchase 2 of those).
  • Chalk Board Paint – You can purchase Valspar spray-on Chalk Board Paint at Home Depot for about $6.
  • Screws – You will need some screws (#6 x 1/2″) to secure the plywood to the frame, cost of this will be about $4.
  • Sandpaper – I used some existing sand paper (medium grain), it will set you back a couple of bucks if you need to purchase it.
  • White Paint – I used some existing ceiling paint, but any type of non-glossy paint will work well.
  • Stain – If you don’t have an old pallet, you can purchase white pine 1 x 4 wood for your frame. If you wish to make it appear to have a distressed look, you will need some stain as an undercoat. I used some stain I had lying around the house.
  • Cork Board – You can pick up Cork Board from Michael’s or Home Depot.
  • Painter’s Cut-In Brush – You can pick this up from Home Depot for about $3.

Step 1 – Paint the Plywood

Paint the chalk board

Paint the chalk board

If you did not get the plywood cut from Home Depot or wherever your purchased it, cut it to your desired size. I had mine cut to 24″ wide x 30″ high.

Once cut, lightly sand the plywood then spray the chalk board paint by holding it about 8-10 inches away in a sweeping motion.

Allow it to dry for about 30 minutes and apply one more coat.

Step 2 – Paint the Frame

If you have access to an old wooden pallet, it will most likely be distressed looking so there is no need to make it look distressed, you will just need to sand them so that they are smooth to the touch.

Wooden Slats from a Pallet

Wooden Slats from a Pallet

However, if you don’t have access to an old wooden pallet, you probably purchased (2) 8 foot 1″ x 4″ white pine slats.

White Pine Slats

White Pine Slats

To make it look distressed, first sand both sides of the white pine slats. It should be somewhat smooth to the touch once you are done sanding it.

Next, use a hammer and a nail to make nail holes in the white pine board.  Drag the sharp end of your nail along the grain of the wood to make marks — giving it an aged look.

Hammer nail holes to make it look distressed

Hammer nail holes to make it look distressed

Next, apply some stain to the wood slats. It really does not matter what color stain you use, I used English Chestnut.

English Chestnut Stain

English Chestnut Stain

Stain the wood

Stain the wood

Once the wood is stained, you can begin painting, no need to wait for it to fully dry. Use a painter’s cut-in brush to apply the white paint to the stained board. I like the painter’s cut-in brush because it does not leave any brush marks and allows you to vary the pressure of the brush to allow stained areas to show through — giving it that aged look.

Painter's Cut-In Brush

Painter’s Cut-In Brush

Notice how I let areas of stain show through

Notice how I let areas of stain show through

As mentioned earlier, if you were able to get some wooden pallet boards, there is no need to stain them, simply paint them with the white ceiling paint as I described above for the white pine slats. Here is what that might look like:

Pallet wood before painting

Pallet wood before painting

Pallet wood after painting

Pallet wood after painting

Step 3 – Cut the Frame

Once you have stained / painted the wood pieces, you will now cut them for the frame. I used a miter saw and cut each end at 45 degree angles. I measured them so that the long side was 3 inches wider and 3 inches longer than the plywood chalk board. That will allow you to screw the chalk board into the frame.

The trickiest part of this entire project was getting the 45 degree cuts correct because if you are off by one or two degrees, the joints will not align properly. So it is best to cut those pieces about 12 inches longer than you normally would and test out your joints first. Once you know you have the cuts right, you can shorten them.

45 degree cuts for the frame

45 degree cuts for the frame

You will want to secure the back of the frame with an L-bracket as shown here:

L bracket

L-Brackets

 

The final step is to simply attach the cork board to the plywood (I cut the cork board to 10 inches tall and the exact width of the chalk board) and attached the plywood to the frame. I secured the plywood to the frame using small screws (#6 x 1/2″) spaced about 6 inches apart.  Below is the finished project, hung on the wall:

Finished chalk board

Finished chalk board

I hope you enjoyed this post, if I can do it, so can you!

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