Kids love drawing with chalk. Adults do, too! When our kids were younger, we wanted a chalkboard in our basement, which we had recently renovated and turned into a play area. The problem we faced was that we had very few smooth walls to choose from. We did not finish (frame and drywall) the exterior walls, we simply patched the foundation and painted everything white.
(Full disclosure: after framing the walls, hanging drywall, taping, spackling, and sanding, painting the new walls with chalkboard paint was simply out of the question.)
On a trip to The ReBuilding Center, I found a 12-foot long chalkboard. Total cost for this chalkboard? $1.50. This was the chalkboard for us. It was so long, I was afraid if a gust of wind came along, we’d take flight!
Materials needed for DIY Project: Chalkboard
- Newel posts or fancy trim for side pieces
- Chair molding to attach to bottom of chalkboard, to hold chalk pieces (this was actually 2 pieces of molding, one with groves for chalk and one underneath to support it and look good.
- Hanging materials
- Circular saw, hammer, and nails
The wood trim on sides is from a building supply store that was having a close-out on returned and rejected items, since they were moving locations. Honestly, I had no business buying newel posts that were cut in half, but they were really neat and I convinced my husband that I’d use them for something! Thankfully, I did.
The chalkboard had to be cut down in size quite a bit and I used a circular saw to cut and shorten one end. It was a rough cut (meaning not smooth and pretty) but knowing it was getting covered up with trim, it was fine.
The bottom piece of wood is fancy chair molding trim that has grooves and looks like it was made to hold pieces of chalk. The piece below that is another type of molding. I tried several different combinations before finding one that worked and looked good together. Stores will sometimes let you take home scraps to test. Ask a sales clerk.
Make sure you paint the trim first. I painted every piece for this project before I made any cuts. When everything was attached, I simply touched up the paint as needed. Because this was going to be in a playroom, in the basement, I skipped filling in nail holes with wood putty and sanding.
Anchoring the chalkboard to the wall was challenging. I used heavy-duty wire, screw eyes, and wire clamps to attach the chalkboard to the ceiling beams. Then I added blocks of wood (you can’t see them, they’re on the back side, facing the wall and simply provide stability) to rest between the chalkboard and the wall. It’s been hanging there for 10 years now so I’m sure it’s staying put.
Classrooms have generally all moved to more high-tech methods of “writing on the board” these days. No one is being assigned to go clap-out the erasers and open a new box of chalk. There are lots of used chalkboard around. You should really get one.