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DIY Magnetic Chalkboard

Fall '22 One Room Challenge - Week 5: DIY Magnetic Chalkboard for Kid's Playroom

Before reading all about our DIY Magnetic Chalkboard, be sure to check out our ORC Week 4 post on our DIY Kid’s Workbench!  As well as the other participates who are working to complete their own ORC!

wall removal

I cannot tell you how many times my oldest son (4 years old) walked into the playroom as I have continued to renovate it and asked me where his chalkboard was!  I knew they liked their chalkboard but I was surprised how upset he was with it being gone! 

Anyway, after going through the process of removing the chalkboard that I had painted directly onto the wall, I knew I would NEVER paint a chalkboard directly on my walls again!  For more on that check out our ORC week 2 post.  

After my son asked me about his chalkboard for the 5th time I knew I needed to come up with a plan for a new one! 

Initially, I thought I would just grab a thin (1/4 inch) sheet of plywood, cut it to size and would paint the chalkboard paint on to the board, mount the board, and then frame it out.  But, as I was walking through Home Depot I came across this 36 inch by 48 inch piece of sheet metal and that’s when it hit me!  I could paint the chalkboard paint onto the sheet metal and then I would have a strong magnetic chalkboard!  I was so excited, as soon as I got home, I got started on painting it!

magnetic chalkboard

Step One: Paint the Sheet Metal

Using a mini roller, I painted the chalkboard paint onto the sheet metal.  The metal needed a total of four coats!  I thought I would have only painted two coats but just felt like the paint was not thick enough and I could still see some slight shine through the paint.  I painted my sheet metal flat on the floor allowing 2-3 hours dry time between each coat. 

chalkboard magnetic

Step Two: Cut the Frame Boards

magnet

I decided to cut my boards at a 45 degree angle.  I prefer this corner finish but you could just as easily square cut the boards.

Since the sheet metal is 36 inches by 48 inches and I knew I wanted the frame to overlap the metal edge.  Therefore, I cut my frame boards at XX inches for the side boards (inner corner of the 45 degree angle measurement) and XX inches for the top and bottom boards (inner corner of the 45 degree angle measurement).  

 

Step Three: Hang the Chalkboard

For this step be sure to grab a friend!  This would be hard to do with out an extra set of hands! 

To hang my chalkboard, I started by putting two screws in the top corners of the painted sheet metal.  I knew my trim boards would cover these holes but this would give some support while holding, leveling, and nailing the trim boards. 

Additionally, I used my stud finer to mark where my studs were and made sure to nails as much as I could into the studs. 

magnetic chalkboard

I started with the bottom board of the frame.  Since I had cut my boards at the 45 degree angle to make a clean corner we made sure to hold the side boards up to ensure the edges of the metal would be covered (and the holes at the top as well).  With the bottom board hung and nailed the other three frame boards were fairly easy to hang.  I hung the right side board next, removing the screw at the right top corner first.  Then, I hung the top frame board, removing the left top corner screw.  Lastly, placed the left side board meeting both the top and bottom corners of the boards.  Then I went back over the boards and added in additional nails where needed to ensure a strong hold. 

Step Four: Fill the Nail Holes

magnetic chalkboard

Depending on how you plan to finish your frame boards, you could use either a spackle filler or a wood filler.  I knew I wanted to stain my boards so I used the Minwax Stainable Wood Filler

To fill the holes, I just put a little bit of the filler on my finger and pressed it into the nail holes.  I also used the wood filler to fill any gaps at the 45 degree corners. 

Step Five: Sand & Clean Frame

Once the wood filler has dried, go over the frame with a fine standing block to remove any excess filler.  Sand only until the filler is flush with the face of the board. 

After sanding, wipe down with denatured alcohol to clean the board and prep for stain. 

diy magnetic chalkboard

Step Six: Apply a Finish to the Frame

diy magnetic chalkboard

In most cases I would prefer to finish my boards before hanging. However, in this case I knew I would be nailing my boards to the wall and would have to fill several nail holes so I chose to wait to finish them. 

Since the boards are on the wall, I decided to run painter’s tape along both sides of the 1×2’s to best limit any stain on the chalkboard or the wall. 

Once it was taped off, I then applied the Minwax Natural Wood Stain using a disposable brush.  I allowed the stain to sit and then wiped away any excess. 

Finishing Touches

With the chalkboard completed, I knew I wanted to add some kind of storage for chalk, magnets, and erasers.  It took some trial and error but I settled on these colorful sand buckets and hung them onto small hooks. They are the perfect size, and have this small tab with a hole in it that was perfect for hanging them on the hooks.  The buckets added just the right pop of color to the space.  

magnetic chalkboard

Links

lumber
Home Depot: 1 in. x 2 in. x 8 ft. Premium Kiln-Dried Square Edge Whitewood Common Board
Home Depot: Master Flow 1/2 in. x 36 in. x 48 in. Galvanized-Steel Flat Sheet - 30 Gauge Duct
magnetic chalkboard

DIY Magnetic Chalkboard

Prep Time 15 mins
Build Time 4 hrs
Dry Time 4 hrs

Equipment

  • Miter Saw
  • Nail Gun
  • Paint Brush
  • Mini Foam Roller
  • Painter's Tape
  • Sanding Block

materials
  

  • 36" x48" Sheet Metal
  • Chalkboard Paint
  • 14 feet of 1"x 2"s
  • Stainable Wood Filler
  • Wood Stain

Instructions
 

  • Paint the Sheet Metal
  • Cut the Frame Boards
  • Hang the Chalkboard
  • Fill the Nail Holes
  • Sand & Clean the Frame
  • Apply Finish to Frame
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