How to make a non chalky chalk board

You may remember my post on my kitchen office accessories, submitted for SYTYCD, HERE.

Something I promised to do was a tutorial on the Office sign. I’ve long admired painted signage so when I came across the opportunity to replace my old office sign, I fiddled around with a few ideas (and mistakes) until I ended up with this! A non chalky chalk board! 

Here’s how I did it. 

1. Picture frame, sand paper and acrylic craft paint.

I first started with an old picture frame. I further distressed it so the wood shone through, however not liking the lighter tone exposed, I mixed a few paint colours together to get a warm toned brown hue I felt would highlight the black nicely.

2. Boards inside frame, cut to fit.

Next up was cutting some leftover pine tongue and groove boards up to fit inside the frame. (this is why you should never throw out good scraps!) After they were cut to size, I simply took a small board and ran it across all three pine boards and screwed them together so the 3 pine boards would stay intact. (no pic)

Flipping over, this is what you’re left with. Pretty already! The boards were not a perfect fit, so I just fudged the spacing leaving small rustic gaps. Aged the sign even more so all is well. 🙂

3. Paint and blend.

The pine boards were painted with black acrylic craft paint, adding some of those warm hues I used for the framework. This picture is blotchy to show you how I added the colours, but I went ahead and blended them fairly well with the brush.

Faux Paint tip: use more than one colour 

The brown tone does a  nice job warming up the black so it doesn’t look so flat. We’re attempting to fool Mother Nature here and pretending the sunshine is hitting the board, even when indoors. So experiment with blending in 2 or 3 different colours and tones to a piece to achieve different effects!

Just be cautious with wet on wet, you can end up with a muddy mixture so just know when to stop.

4. Decal stencil

I’m blessed with owning a professional vinyl cutter for creating vehicle graphics, so I created a decal and removed the word rather than the background to achieve a painting mask, and stuck it to the painted board.

See the whitish hue all over the black? I had written OFFICE in chalk right before this but disliked the outcome and tried to wash the chalk off the paint. 🙂 BUT this mess up actually created another tip I’ll share in a moment.

5. Stencil the decal

I stippled on some white acrylic craft paint with a stencil brush. This paint dries so quickly! I’m in love with the stuff. And by stipple, what I mean is I didn’t paint the letters solid and evenly. They faded in and out in places which was the exact result I was after.

6. Remove the decal carefully.

Then it was time to remove the stencil. Nice crisp clean lines! Half the paint was still wet and part of it was dry, and the outcome was terrific either way.

7. Distress the text

Once the paint was dry, (I lied, I didn’t wait long enough and smudged it some) I lightly sanded the letters and star.

Tip: Chalk board look

Now all these mistakes led to a happy ending. The original chalk residue PLUS messing up the white lettering before it was fully cured had me thinking it sure looked like a chalkboard, so I simply sanded the entire face of the black paint, leaving a scratchy finish.

The end result had the sign looking EXACTLY like a chalky chalk board. Perfect. 🙂

My little faux chalkboard Office sign indeed resembles someone really knowing what they’re doing with a piece of chalk!

But isn’t it nice to know, I pulled it off with a little cheating? 🙂

This little sign has really started me on a roll with other similar projects! I’m dreaming up new ideas by the minute. That new Funky Etsy may open one day yet. 🙂

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24 thoughts on “How to make a non chalky chalk board

  1. What a great idea. That does open up the door to a lot of creative projects. When I saw the closup in progress, I thought ‘oh, you could stuff bird nest stuff in those cracks from the back’, then I thought “oh, you could stencil a bird’s nest on the wood and then tuck some statis in the cracks”, and then I thought, etc, etc. See, a whole slew of ideas. Think I’ll dig through my scrap wood tomorrow. (Can you believe I kept it when I moved!)

  2. Scrap wood. Vinyl cutter. You guys are killing me here. Do you “chop wood and carry water” too?

    The sign turned out so great. I thought it was a chalkboard!!

    Vinyl cutter?? Scrap wood??? Donna, you are the Creative Goddess, you know!!!

    I’m in love with the star on the sign!!!

    A few months back I began collecting old picture frames (for something? hmmm?). I’m not a collector. I throw everything out. My apologies to all you gals who may have just landed head first onto your keyboards.

    Thanks for the “tute”!

  3. Donna,
    Your sign is great!!
    Great techniques you have happened upon too, and so great that you passed them along. thanks! =)

    You know I have all those supplies, but right now short of time, so this project will have to go on the “want to do it, maybe later?” list. =)

    Hope you have a wonderful day!


    barbara jean

    PS Can you believe I do not even have a post up yest this morning? Better get on it.

  4. Love it! Everything about it, and you and I think exactly alike, I about had a coronary last week when my hubby threw some perfectly good scraps into his-GULP bon fire! 🙁 I was so sad! Boys!

  5. That is a really cool sign – thanks for showing us the step by step so we can be sure and DO your mistakes to come up with a piece of perfection! (Why is it no one ever wants to DO *my* mistakes?!?! haha) Love it!

  6. Thanks so much for posting your tutorials – so many great tips! I love your sign – I am not really into the messy-ness of chalk but you found a way around that with the same effect!

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