November 17, 2017

Make Your Own Huge Chalkboard Sign for under $10 (+ video)


There’s nothing I love more than displaying words of encouragement and truth around our home. Learning how to make your own chalkboard sign for just a few dollars is a fantastic way of bringing character to your home without breaking the bank.

Gorgeous glamourous Chalkboard - french country cottage
If you’ve ever looked at purchasing the most beautiful chalkboards, you know that they come with a corresponding price tag as well. That’s why I am thrilled to share one of my favorite DIY hacks ever.

While I adored the DIY wood pallet signs that are so popular now and my tutorial  shows just how easy they are to make, that project is for something more permanent. Chalkboard signs are so versatile because you can change them up seasonally and do all sorts of creative things with them.

For years, the above picture from my blog friend, Courtney, has served as an inspiration piece for everything I love in a dining room. How she mixed the casual look of a chalkboard with a glam, yet cozy, dining room is perfection.

I’ve wanted to find a similar chalkboard, but I knew it would take some time to find one second hand. Well, guess what, my patience and perseverance paid off for only $7. 

Use old picture frame to make chalkboard

Isn’t she a beauty?

Ok, ok. I know you are completely confused now because that doesn’t look anything like the above chalkboard, but that’s where you have to dream a little bit.

While everyone else at Goodwill saw a poor picture that’s had a rough life, I saw all her dressed up potential and knew that it could be like Miss Congeniality all over again.

Remember the movie, Miss Congeniality, where Sandra Bullock played the tom boy FBI agent turned beautiful Miss American contestant? I loved that movie.

That’s how I feel about my picture.  So much potential.

Second hand thrift store shopping for frames

I bought her for the ornate frame, of course, and will be painting over the picture with some black chalk board paint to create the perfect surface.

I haven’t decided if I should leave the frame gold or not, but when I gaze at the picture below, I’d be silly to change it.Make your own ornate framed chalkboard

My friend, Miriam, who spoke a few years ago at my Becoming Conference, shared with HGTV how she made this ornate gold chalkboard sign.

Isn’t it gorgeous?

Dining room chalkboard ideas and inspiration

What a beautiful job she did here. And I loved that she used an existing framed mirror.

Make this huge chalkboard for $7 -love this

 And here is the large chalk board sign that I made a few years ago. She has such a different feel from the glamour ones above, but isn’t she so fun?

I’ve taken her everywhere and this year she greeted everyone at our Becoming Conference (thanks to Maghan from All She Wrote Notes’ beautiful handwriting.

(I looked and looked for the “in process” shots, but I am sure I will find them a week after I finish this post. Basically, just envision the ugliest picture ever painted with a very old, dirty brown frame.)

Again, I found this at our local thrift store for around $7. All you need to do is keep on the look out for large pictures or specific frames that you’d like.

The process of making your own large chalkboard is incredibly easy.

  • Find old picture.
  • Clean surface incredibly well.
  • Paint over the picture with chalkboard paint and let dry completely.
  • Apply an additional coat if needed and let dry.
  • To prevent shadowing or ghosting of the letters (when you try and erase something and the outline of the word is left), it’s very important that you season  or cure the board first.

How to cure a new diy chalkboard

Use your chalk flat on it’s side and just rub it across the entire board. You want to make sure you do this thoroughly so that every nook and cranny has been covered.

Then use a damp cloth and wipe all the chalk off. Dry and then repeat. It’s so easy and will help solve 95% of the ghosting problems that occur.

DIY chalkboard from old picture

Use large homemade chalkboard on front porch

She’s been greeting all of my guests this month and we’ve had a bunch. It just makes me happy, but I know I need to swap out the message for something fall and festive, although we are hosting groups two weekends in October, so maybe she’s good a bit longer. 🙂

Chalkboards add so much character

Don’t you just love how chalkboard are so versatile? I bet you didn’t think that. You can use them in a more glamorous atmosphere or in a fun and quirky way like the Nester did at her barn? I always love visiting her because she always changes things for our visits. If you are worried about perfect hand lettering, just use painter’s tape like she did.


build your own chalkboard

If you don’t want to hunt for an old picture and frame like I did, Dear Lillie shows you how to make your own rustic wood frame with only a screwdriver. Frequently she shares some beautiful printables too, so check here out. 

Make Your own Large Chalkboard to Hang.

And finally, I love how this chalkboard has been used for the holidays to host their family’s Paper Bag Advent Calendar. It’s so creative and you know the kids could barely contain themselves waiting each day to open the bag.
Make a large chalkboard and add a paper bag advent for the holidays

Phew – that’s a lot of inspiration and my desire is that I got your creative juices flowing. I hope you will fall in love with this fabulously frugal home decor idea as much as I have.

Making your own chalkboard sign is a wonderful way to bring character to a room without spending a fortune.

I did a Periscope (live video) on how to make your own chalkboard sign and we chatted all things chalk board paint, so come watch the replay. (Again, it’s a little different then if you watched it live since the comments are not scrolling at the appropriate times, but you’ll get the idea.) If watching via email, you need to click over to blog to view.

One of the questions asked on the periscope below was “What paint do I recommend?” There are many great brands and I’ve used many. I always love Rust-Oleum Chalkboard paint (which comes in brush on or spray) and
Decor Art Chalk board paint is also a brand I use regularly for all kinds of crafting. Personally, I haven’t used the spray chalkboard paint, but some of the commenters on my periscope shown below says they love it and for a huge surface, it would probably be much easier. I already had purchased some, so I used what I had because a little goes a long way.



  1. I saw a fun pillow at Kirklands that said “Happy Fall Y’all!”. I think that saying would be cute on your porch chalkboard 🙂


    Jen Reply:

    OH Gretchen – that would be PERFECT!! Now, to practice my hand writing! Thanks for the idea. I was thinking of what to write, but I kept coming back to the Gratitude thanksgiving theme. I can do this until then. 🙂


  2. I think you should Periscope your talk with your son 🙂


    Jen Reply:

    hee hee!! Oh, it was a good one. 😉 he still thinks it was the funniest thing ever and now wants to do that more often. I’m jumping on in a few minutes to do another one and am giving him a big warning.


  3. Heather Anne says:

    Very cute Jen! I’m on the hunt for a huge old picture with a fun frame for just this purpose! Our Goodwill has marked pictures waaaaaaaaaay up though – like $40 up! Whew! I have the perfect wall for a giant chalkboard … I guess I just have to be patient like you were! Like some of you viewers I LOVE the spray chalkboard paint – it is wonderful! So easy to use. I wonder if you could use the canned chalkboard paint in a sprayer?


    Jen Reply:

    Yes, those big ones can be SO pricey. Do you have any other thrift stores you can search? Ours very in their prices so much OR you ay want to check out he tutorial I linked to for the lady who ended up making her own frame and just painted a board for the chalkboard. 🙂


  4. You found the perfect frame to match your inspiration pictures. I think I need to do this too. 🙂


    Jen Reply:

    Yes, give it a try. You’ll love it. 🙂


  5. Can you please post your finished chalkboard with the gold frame you got at Goodwill? Thank you!


  6. Is there a similar kind of paint that I can use to create a whiteboard instead of chalkboard? I would really prefer the feel of a whiteboard instead of a chalkboard and the colored dry erase ink. It’s like going from black to white! 🙂


    Jen Reply:

    The colored dry erase ink wouldn’t work on a chalkboard with chalkboard paint because it would stain, but you can get different chalkboard paints at stores. They will mix varying colors, so while i don’t remember white, you could possibly find a lighter color and then use colored chalk.


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