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
In fact, at the end of each chapter in my new book, Just Open the Door: How Invitation Can Change a Generation, I have an “Elevate the Ordinary” section with simple (and frugal) ideas to elevate your everyday moments. This was highlighted in the very first chapter. 🙂

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. She’s teaching our chalk and hand lettering class at Becoming this year and I’d love to have you join us.)

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.