DIY Chalkboard Frames

I’ve mentioned before that I am mildly obsessed with Pinterest. The main purpose for me other than to waste time is to actually make stuff I pin on my DIY board.

Enter these cute little frames I made a few weekends ago for my Dad’s surprise birthday party. We love surprise parties in my family, apparently.

Since we’re hating Dave Ramsey right now being wiser stewards of our resources, I had a $20 limit. In other words, time to hit up Goodwill. After getting some inspiration, I headed to Goodwill for the frames. I actually wasn’t sure what I would find (our local store is let’s just say, special) in the way of frames but I got lucky.

Like a complete and total non-DIYer, I also forgot to take the ‘before’ pictures but just imagine that these frames were horrible. Not even kidding. As in one of the frames had this poem about Grandmother blessings. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but it definitely wasn’t what I needed. But! It had a DIY afterlife! Potential!

Below is a rough explanation of what I did via bullet points/numbered list because that’s how I stay on track. Don’t expect crazy awesome detailed pictures with step-by-step technical instructions from me (YHL, anyone?) because I would be lying if I told you I’m a DIY queen.


  • 1 high density foam roller {2 pack for $2.48}
  • Paint stirrer stick thing {free}
  • Newspapers {free}
  • Frog tape {free}
  • Chalkboard paint {30 oz. for $9.98}
  • Frames {thrifted five 4×6 frames at $1/each, total $5.35}
  • Total spent: $17.81


#1:  Remove backing and glass from frames. Tape numbers on the corresponding frames/glass so you don’t have a mini meltdown forget later which glass goes inside which frame. Sorry, I only have an ‘after’ picture of the tape on the glass part.

#2:  Apply chalkboard paint according to manufacturer instructions. I used Rustoleum Chalkboard Paint in Black which we bought found at Home Depot as well as the foam rollers. Make sure you use high-density foam because that’s what will work best – it gives you the smoothest finish. And you want a smooth finish for chalkboard because, well…you’ll be writing on it.

#3:  Let each thin layer of paint dry throughly (about 15 minutes in Florida) before applying the next layer. I applied 5 layers because I’m Queen of Perfection very detail oriented and wanted to make sure I didn’t have any glass peeking through the paint.  

#4:  After applying the final layer of paint, let cure for at least 4 hours. I actually made the mistake of going for a run and leaving the painted glass on the newspapers, in the same spots. When I got back half hour later, some paint had seeped underneath and made the glass stick to the newspaper, as you can see in the bottom left corner of the picture below. 

If you like a cleaner finish, I would make sure your layers are very thin and don’t let any paint seep underneath the newspaper. You may even want to move the glass (carefully!) to a new spot for drying even using a non-stick surface like aluminum foil.

#5:  Pop the glass back into its’ matching frame. See why labeling everything with numbers was important? Make sure you read the instructions on the paint can on how to actually use your chalkboard. I waited a full 7 days before curing and then writing on them. Enjoy!

9 thoughts on “DIY Chalkboard Frames

  1. Tobias @ T and Tea Cake says:

    This is not only a brilliant idea but they're are also looking beautiful! I bought myself a few fake wooden frames from a dollar store than I plan to hand on my wall asymmetrically. Adding a little chalkboard to the postcards and photos looks quite well in my head, now. Thanks for the inspiration!


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