February 26, 2011

Trash to Treasure -- Family Calendar Blackboard Tutorial

It's not a new concept -- take something old, add blackboard paint...instant blackboard!  But it's a concept that I adore.  With a variety of blackboard paints available on the market, you can transform virtually any surface into a place to organize, to doodle, or sketch a blueprint of the plans for your empire!

A while back, I found a beat-up old chalkboard that had reached the end of the road at our local salvage yard.  I was looking for a way to keep my whole family in-the-know about our day-to-day plans, and also had some blank wall space in our living room that called for something vintage, personal, and meaningful.  That old chalkboard and I were just destined to find each other, I think!  

I painted and antiqued the frame and gave the blackboard two fresh coats of blackboard paint.  I sketched out a calendar using a yardstick and pencil, then went over the entire design with a white paint pen. This way, I don't have to draw a new calendar each month.  I simply chalk-in the name of the new month, add the numbers, and insert all the activities and appointments.  In the open space I'm able to post upcoming events and let the kids doodle away.  Every time we get a note from school about upcoming events, a birthday party invitation, or make some new plans, I just jot it down on the board.  

These large school-room style chalkboards seem to still be plentiful in second-hand stores, and can usually be picked up for a song.  If you're looking for a practical, yet decorative way to display your family's monthly schedule, here's how it can be done...

Family Calendar Blackboard Tutorial

1 large chalkboard/blackboard
Krylon Blackboard Paint
Blue Painters Tape
DecoArt Americana Black Acrylic Paint
DecoArt Antique Green
Sanding Pad, small grit
Fine tipped awl
Dark Brown Briwax
Painters brand Opaque Paint Marker, White, Medium Tip

Step 1:  Because my plans for the frame involved an underlying basecoat of black paint, I didn't have to bother with masking-off the frame while I sprayed the chalkboard with the Krylon Blackboard Paint.  (If you are painting your frame a light color, I recommend doing some masking to prevent overspray.)  I gave the blackboard one coat of paint, allowed it to dry, then gave it another coat.

Step 2:   Next, I masked off the freshly painted blackboard with newspaper and blue painters tape.

Step 3:  I coated the entire wood frame of the blackboard with black acrylic paint.  Once this was dry I followed-up with a coat of antique green acrylic paint.

Step 4:  I lightly sanded the frame at various points to mimic the look of age and wear.  I also used a fine tipped awl to produce the look of wormholes.

Step 4:  To complete the antiquing, I rubbed on two coats of dark brown Briwax.

Step 5:  After removing the newspaper and tape, I sketched out a calendar frame on the blackboard using a yardstick and pencil.  Once I achieved the desired design, I went over my sketch with a white paint marker.

Now I have a reusable calendar that keeps my family up-to-date, compliments my vintage home, and even provides some space to hang some of our old family photos.  

It's a bit smudgy at the moment -- MY DOG ATE THE ERASER!
Well, it is an old schoolhouse blackboard after all.
I guess it needed a good "My dog ate it" story to go with it.

With your creativity, just imagine the possibilities...tailored to your needs and style!  Chore chart, exercise chart, monthly calendar, bucket list, etc...

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  1. I can't even tell you how much I LOVE this! It truly looks like an old schoolhouse chalkboard. The antiquing is wonderful. A great use for something someone else would just throw away! ♥

  2. Adorable! I would love one in my kitchen.

    I know how much you love chalk board paint, have you ever tried the magnetic paint? I painted a section of my son's room with it. I like it, but I should have put an extra coat or two on it so it would hold heavier magnets.

  3. Your family must love that! Chalkboard paint is so fun, sometimes I think I'd like to do half the surfaces in my house. Visiting from Tickled Pink!

  4. Love the blackboard! What a wonderful way to keep your family organized and make it look so beautiful!

  5. I had purchased a really old very thin slate blackboard and as I was getting ready to pack it up to bring to a shoot...my EX assistant sat on it! Broke it in two. That kid never payed attention....

    I do adore blackboard paint, one of my favorite things is to spray an old tin tray and hang it on the wall to use as a menu board. Hmmm... guess I'll pack that one for next weeks show!

    Great post, happy to have found your blog.

  6. I love this idea Jenn. I really, REALLY need some organization. I've always thought a big board like this would be perfect. I think I have a project for the upcoming weekend!

  7. I was just going through my old blog posts and found a hilarious comment by you in which you the words "menstruating elephant". Obviously I had to come say hi.

    And, I LOVE this! It is adorable and practical. Now tell me, do the kids mess with your calendar space and does it get too dusty? I love, love, love the vintage look of it.

  8. I have a large green chalkboard left over from home schooling (last two graduated this year) and am thrilled to find this post showing a new use! I would like to know how you attach it to the wall.
    I found you through:
    Thank you for your excellent blog!!


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