A simple gift tutorial: magnetic chalkboard

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I love giving handmade gifts for Christmas.  They are unique, customizable, and affordable – what’s not to love?  A sweet magnetic chalkboard can make a great gift for anyone from a child to a busy mom to a young couple.

Last week I shared a great magnetic chalkboard I made from an old silvery tray, but not everyone has the perfect metal tray sitting around waiting to be made into a chalkboard.  This version can be made with materials anyone can find at their local home improvement store.

  • Sheet metal – This can be found at Lowes or Home Depot.  It is generally in the plumbing section.  At my local Lowes, a 2 ft x 3 ft sheet is around $10.  One sheet can make one giant chalkboard or two medium sized ones.
  • Frame – you can use a new frame or easily find one at a thrift store and refresh it with some paint
  • Chalkboard spray paint
  • Spray primer
  • Tin snips – also available at home improvement stores for $4 or $5
  • Marker
  • You may also need a hammer and some small nails
Using a marker, trace the glass or cardboard from the frame onto the sheet metal.  (If your frame does not have glass or cardboard, you can trace the opening of the frame.  Just make sure when you cut it, to cut it slightly larger than your traced shape so that the metal will fit into the lip of the back of the frame.  If it is exactly the same size as the frame opening, it will fall right through the front of the frame when you try to attach it.)
Use tin snips to cut out the shape you traced.  These are fairly easy to use though it does take a bit more effort than cutting paper.
Warning – Be smarter than me and wear gloves while cutting sheet metal!  The cut side can be very sharp. I have cut myself more than once this way – please be smart and just wear gloves.
I like to spray the metal with primer first to help the chalkboard paint adhere to the metal better.
After the primer dries, paint your metal with chalkboard paint using very thin coats.  The above picture was taken after the first coat of paint.  I usually use four very light coats of paint.
Follow the directions on your chalkboard paint – typically you have to wait twenty-four hours and then prepare the chalkboard paint for writing by rubbing chalk all over the surface and then wiping it off.
Attach the metal to the back of your frame.  I usually just use a hammer and some small tack nails to attach the metal to the frame.  Two or three nails in each side is plenty.
And you are left with a great gift – a magnetic chalkboard.  Both cute and practical. Give it to someone on your Christmas list or keep it for yourself.
Ok, this was my first real project tutorial so I have to wonder… how did I do?  Did everything make sense?  Was it mind-numbingly boring?  Too detailed or not detailed enough? And did I commit a huge faux pas by showing blood on my blog?  (I hope no one passed out or anything).
Over the next few weeks, I am planning to share more simple gift ideas and some great Christmas decor.  I will also be hosting my very first giveaway in celebration of my birthday next week so be sure to stop back by.
I am sharing this project at Get Your DIY On.
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    • Carrie says

      Thanks Charlene – I think it makes a great gift too! (And I can’t believe I am starting to think about Christmas already!)

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