Wednesday, December 5, 2012

DIY Chalkboard and Chalkboard Paint

Looking for "a little something" to give someone in your life (neighbor, teacher, friend) but don't have lots of money to spend?  Look no further - I have an easy and inexpensive gift idea that you can make yourself!

DIY chalkboard

This Christmas chalkboard is just the thing, and will only cost you a few dollars and a short amount of your time. It all begins with a beautiful silver tray from ... Dollar Tree!

silver tray

Yep. This baby is $1. Hard to beat, isn't it? Next you will need to pick up some inexpensive acrylic craft paint at Walmart for $. 97 cents; my choice of color was primary red.  While at the 'Mart, pick up a spool of ribbon, too, if you don't already have some at home that will coordinate.

In order to make the paint into chalkboard paint, you will need some unsanded tile grout or Plaster of Paris to add to it, a jar to mix it in, and a sponge brush to paint it on the tray.
Plaster of Paris

To get started, drill two holes at the top two corners of the tray.  To keep your drill bit from sliding, put two pieces of painters tape on the corners first.

After your holes are drilled, pull that tape off. Put new tape around the perimeter of the tray to keep the "frame" silver.

One of the nice things about chalkboard paint is that you really don't have to prime before painting.  Because this tray is super shiny, though, it made me feel better to do it anyway.  It only took a quick minute to do it with my can of spray primer. It is up to you, however.

While that dries (about 10 minutes), use that time to mix your chalkboard paint.  The typical recipe for chalkboard paint is:

1 cup of latex or acrylic paint
2 Tbsp. unsanded grout or Plaster of Paris
1 tsp. water (approximately)

Note: Because I was not going to need that much, I made half that amount.

Dump it all the ingredients in your jar, put the top on tightly, and shake it for several minutes until all visible clumps are gone.  Now you are ready to paint.

diy red chalkboard paint

Paint at least 3 layers of the chalkboard paint on your tray, waiting for each to dry before painting on the next layer.  It does not take long to dry - about 10 or 15 minutes.  Once you feel you have a good coverage, let it dry for several hours.  Using 220 grit sandpaper, sand the surface lightly to smooth it.

It is always a good idea to get your chalkboard surface ready to be used by rubbing the side of a piece of chalk all over the board first.  This will keep any "ghost" marks from being on your board permanently.

Wipe it off with a slightly damp cloth, take the painter's tape off, and run the ribbon through the holes in the top of your board. Tie a bow or neat knot.

Cute, huh?  But you may want to fancy it up a bit more.  I added a vinyl sticker of a Christmas tree to the bottom corner.  A bonus to your Dollar Tree silver tray is that it is also magnetic!  You can make some magnets with whatever you have on hand. I made the ones on my board with decorative buttons I found at Target and stick-on magnets.

button magnets

Run a line of hot glue at the bottom to hold the chalk if you like.

In the end, it is a fun, decorative, functional Christmas gift for someone - or for you and your own family to enjoy!

Linking to:

DIY Show Off
Funky Junk's Saturday Nite SpecialThe Chicken Chick


Raising Imperfection
Serenity you


Pretty Handy Girl Blog

Home Stories A to Z


  1. I love this!! Thanks for sharing!

    Following now!


    1. Thanks, Iris. So glad you came over to visit and followed!

  2. Patty,
    I came over to visit and thank you and what did I see? My awesome Secret Santa gift! I wondered where you got those cute buttons! I really love it and I'm going to put it in my kitchen. I still need to decorate it for Christmas. Since I'm new to your blog, I'm going to look around to get to know you better. Thanks again for my wonderful gift!

    1. I hated to say it was a Secret Santa gift, as I wasn't sure if you were going to wait until December 21st to open it. I am so happy you like it! I am also glad you are visiting my site; I have enjoyed looking at yours!

  3. On that is so cute and I have a few of those trays in my craft stash!

    Thank you for linking up to Raising Imperfection!

  4. Super cute ~ Isn't it great what you can find at the Dollar Tree! Best place ever! :)

    Thank you for linking your post to Raising Imperfection.
    Please come back Friday to see if you were featured :)


  5. It is awesome! Great tutorial too! I'm visiting today from Raising Imperfection.

  6. That is adorable! And I never would have guessed it was originally a dollar store tray! Love it and the button magnets. Thanks for sharing and linking up!

  7. This is the most fantastic idea. Thanks so much, I'll definitely be making use of this.

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