diy: framed chalkboard calendar

Last week I was determined to start my Pinterest to do list. I'd been pinning and pinning and hadn't made anything yet, so it was definitely time. I decided to kill two birds with one stone by creating a menu/weekly calendar and trying my hand at making my own custom color chalkboard paint. Fortunately for me this project only cost $1.43 (for unsanded tile grout) because I had all of the other necessaries laying around the garage. Scraps (by which I mean free projects) are one of the best perks of building things yourself.

Here are my inspiration photos foudn via pinterest:

First, I started with a large piece of 1/4" plywood. I was using left over from building our full-sized headboard a while back, but a full sheet (4ft by 8ft) only costs about $10 to $15, and it will make at least four chalkboards, so get some friends together and throw a party.

I sanded my plywood with 100, 150, and 220 grit sandpaper to get a super smooth finish and filled any holes with regular old joint compound (the stuff you use to fill nail holes in walls). When I went to paint my first coat though, I realized that the plywood was full of litle grooves made by the grain of the wood (this was probably an issue caused by using a scrap that had been living outside in all kinds of weather/temperatures for almost a year, I don't think you'll have this issue with new plywood). So I thinned out some joint compound and spread it over the entire surface of the plywood then scraped it smooth with a putty knife. Once it was dry, I sanded with 220 again and then moved forward with the painting.

Chalkboard paint is SUPER easy to make yourself. I always check the "oops" paint cart/shelf whenever I'm at Lowe's or Home Depot and grab it if I like the color (even if I don't have a use for it right then, you never know). That's how I ended up with getting a sample size (8oz) of the perfect chalkboard gray. Paint samples are perfect for this project because you don't have to measure the paint since it already comes in an 8oz size. Just mix 2 tbs of unsanded tile grout right into the sample container and go to town. I tried sifting my tile grout into the paint hoping that it would help me avoid clumps, but it didn't seem to make much of a difference...still a little clumpy.

I taped off my weekly squares and used a 2" high density foam roller to paint on a couple of coats of chalkboard paint. When I finished, this is what I had.

I painted the lines the same gray as my wall color and used some old chair rail trim that we had removed from the dining room as a frame. Frames are very straight forward to build...if you have a nail gun. I ended up using wood glue and clamping it to a square while it dried. Seems to be holding up just fine.

Now all I need is one of those cool chalk ink pens and a nice little basket I can mount on the wall underneath the chalkboard to catch all of the miscellany (chalk, recipes, bills, etc). Can't wait to start using it!

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