Tuesday, August 14, 2012

DIY: Chalkboard Window Frame

I'm really excited to share this project with you! Back around the time I went to Portland with my mom to get fabric for my wing back chair, we stopped by my Grandma and Grandpa's house and picked up a vintage dresser as well as this vintage window frame.

The picture is a lovely southwestern picture that was actually on a piece of wood nailed to the frame. My Grandma wanted the picture but said I could have the frame which I loved! My mom has one just like it in a different color and put a mirror behind the frame. My grandma had previously painted the frame with some crackle paint (remember that?) which I don't really like. For some reason though, with this frame I think it's not so bad paired with the black chalkboard. It's not overwhelmingly crackle-y, and it gives it some texture.

When I went to Centralia to do a little antiquing with my mom a while ago, I got the idea to put chalkboard in the frame to create a board for our kitchen/dining area for lists and notes and such. Since I had recently painted a little planter in chalkboard paint, I loved the idea of also creating my own customized chalkboard frame.

The first step was getting some thin plywood from Michael's that I could paint with my $8 bottle of chalkboard paint. I was glad I was putting that little bottle to good use since it was so expensive! I first measured the frame to see what size I would need. Since each square frame had a little indent to place the original glass, I decided to cut individual sized squares to fit in the frame perfectly rather than using one larger piece of plywood. Luckily, Michael's had thin plywood that came in 12" x 24" pieces. The size I needed for each of the six panes was 9 3/4 x 10 1/4 so I got three pieces of the 12x24 inch plywood (two panes per plywood).

For Christmas, my mom got me the Dremel multi-tool which has a sanding feature as well as a little saw. Since the plywood was thin enough, I used the Dremel to cut the plywood to size. It wasn't the easiest process since we don't have anywhere to really cut wood (we used the railing of the deck - ha!), but we got it done and luckily the pieces didn't have to be perfect on the edges since the frame would cover them.

After all the pieces were cut, I started painting. I think I did about three coats of the chalkboard paint to get a nice even surface. The chalkboard spray paint might have been an easier option, but the regular paint worked fine.

One thing I would have done differently is sand the boards first. I didn't sand at all before I started painting since the plywood seemed pretty smooth. It works just fine for the chalkboard, but could be smoother and sanding would have definitely helped.

When it came time to attach the chalkboard panes to the frame, I was having a little trouble. I was going back and forth on what I should use, but settled on glue since it seemed like the most sturdy option. I got some original Gorilla Glue from Lowe's and with the frame turned on its face, glued around the edge of each pane then laid the chalkboard panes face down on top.

Then came the hard part... waiting (I can be so impatient at times!). I piled on a ton of books to apply pressure to the panels and let it sit for a good hour (the gorilla glue claims it only takes a half hour to dry).

The bad part about the Gorilla Glue is that it kind of foams up and it's white. When I turned it over, all the panels were rock solid, but on the front you could see the glue around the edges. Not cool.

So out came the exact-o knife to scrape off all the excess, which took a while. It also left a little film on the chalkboard which I didn't like. I ended up doing one more coat of chalkboard paint to get nice even lines along the edges.

I attached some hardware for hanging and it was done!

I am so thrilled with how it turned out! It's a twist on the standard chalkboard frame and I love it!!! I also had fun creating this little vignette!

It also looked great with our new yellow clock on the wall!

I got the two other frames on the wall at Goodwill, as well as the little brass box (for about $5). The cookie jar I painted at The Dancing Brush pottery painting studio in Poulsbo a few years ago (unfortunately it is empty right now). I recently spray painted the yellow wooden box to give it a pop of color against the IKEA faux plants (same color as our wall clock). I added paint chips in my colors to the golden frame for a super quick way to add some color to the wall and tie everything together.

Here's the total cost breakdown:
Frame - Free!
Plywood - $12 ($4 each for three)
Paint - had on hand (but it was $8 for the bottle)
Chalk - had on hand (about $1)
Glue - $7 (but I can use it for other things too)
Total Cost - $15 (approximately)

I'd say that's pretty good for a custom chalkboard frame! Some of the regular chalkboard frames I saw at the antique and vintage stores in Centralia were selling for $35-40! I love mine and Zach even loves it too saying he is going to use it all the time (he's sometimes a little forgetful:).

Have you jumped on the chalkboard bandwagon too? I refrained for so long, but it's just so much fun!

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