As soon as I bought some chalk board paint I was desperate to try and make my own vintage-y distressed chalk board. It has a been a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge learning curve, and I think I now know a little more about how the stuff works. My original vision for the chalk is completely different from what I ended up with but I’m ok with that.
Most of my projects have been off the cuff, requiring a lot of winging it. But this one, ironically, the one that was a pain in the bum, is the one I looked into. I read countless times that chalk board is so versatile it will paint onto anything. Call me a little naive but I took that at face value.
I wanted a really intricate frame, and when I find one I’ll make another chalk board, but all I had at the time was a reasonably plain picture frame.
The glass was actually stuck onto the wooden frame, which was an obstacle in itself. Had they been separable it would been a matter of painting and distressing the frame and chalk boarding up the glass. But it wasn’t like that so I had to work with it.
First up I concentrated on the frame and I grabbed my trustee friend:
and a couple sheets of old newspaper (next time I’m at B&Q I’ll be dumping the masking tape for a new best friend that goes by the name of Frogtape. It’s said to be the king of all tapes when painting anything. I covered up the glass and sanded the frame down a little. I did not prime the wood. That was me being too impatient because I wanted to do it that afternoon and because I wasn’t able to drive then, I couldn’t get out to buy some. Next time I paint anything I will definitely prime it. From what I’ve read I’m convinced it will improve the overall finish but I’ll let you know after I’ve tried it.
I wanted the frame to be a ‘distressed’ white so I used my enamel spray. I’m too lazy to get the brushes out and start using a tin of satin wood. I don’t know what the best medium should have been. This worked for me.
Easy peasy lemon squeazy. I sprayed a couple of coats, letting them dry properly in between, until it looked even.
This is the part I was looking forward to. And it didn’t disappoint. This chalkboard paint brushed on really nicely.
The story should have ended there my friends. Well, after sanding and battering the frame a little. But it kinda went down hill for a while. MY BIGGEST MISTAKE: Not painting over the glass fully, so when it dried you could still see through little parts of the glass. No biggie, I thought, I’ll just paint another layer on. It’s really tricky to explain – apart from to say it did NOT work for me! I should have taken a picture of the disaster that was my chalk board right then. The second layer of paint somehow unsettled the bottom layer that was adhering to the glass. the whole surface of the paint cracked into weird little ‘islands’ that ‘floated’ on top of the glass. It’s a shame because I had the white frame all nice and distressed
I don’t exactly know how I came about wiping the blackboard paint with a damp cloth, but for some reason I did and all the freaky little ‘islands’ wiped straight off. Hmmmmmm, I reckoned that maybe I could fix it afterall. I cleaned the whole thing, and although this wrecked messed up the frame, I was happy to start from scratch. Waste not, want not and all that. When the picture frame was cleaned up and dry again I tried again, but this time a different way.
I wanted something that would stick the blackboard paint to the glass so rather than cover it over, I left it exposed when I spray painted the frame I picked the can up and started spraying only to find that I’d picked up the wrong can of PINK rather than WHITE Within seconds though I considered the pink and continued with it. A happy little mistake in the end.
This could have been the end of this project though, had I not liked the pink on the frame the whole think would have been thrown straight into the bin! Morale of the story: ALWAYS CHECK THE CAN BEFORE YOU USE IT!!!
The spray created a light coat of paint on the glass that would hopefully be a more suitable surface for the chalkboard paint. I made a point of painting it on thick to cover all the glass fully, and when I was done I checked to see if I’d left any gaps. It dried fine and there was no need to put on a second coat and risk creating those freaky islands. Phew.
The chalk board was actually a chalk board now, so there were only a few final touches needed. I roughed up the frame a bit using sand paper and a chisel to make it look ‘distressed’ I read on a lady’s blog that she drags small pieces of furniture along her road from her car to ‘distress’ it. That made me laugh but I decided against it. I also wanted some string to hang from one side to the other as a mini ‘clothes line’ for receipts, notes etc. We (meaning The Husband) screwed in some tiny hooks to anchor down the string.