Large picture frame to chalkboard – the reveal & tutorial

It has been a very busy and exciting week for my blog. I was so surprised to learn that my project, How-to-Guide for Transferring Photos to Canvas was chosen as the DIY project of the week at The Graphics Fairy and as the Feature of the Week over at Restore Interiors. As well, My little French Toile Milk Painted Bench was featured at both Home Stories from A to Z and at Embracing Change.

Thank you so much for featuring me ladies! It means a lot to me to know that you really enjoy my projects and tutorials.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out their amazing blogs, take a moment to pay them a visit by clicking on their names above. You won’t be disappointed!


Now for my newest project…



Recently, I had posted about this gold framed painting that I had picked up at an auction last year. As soon as I saw it, I knew that I would be making this frame into a chalkboard. You can read about it in my previous post here.

I decided to give this frame an old world finish in a french blue colour.



I am not sure if you have ever had a chance to turn a frame into a chalkboard before. If you haven’t it is super easy to do.

You can use any picture frame that you already have laying around the house. Frames with some detailing on them work best for this paint technique, but it is not necessary.

Below are the instructions for painting an old world finish on your frame and then assembling it into a chalkboard afterwards.These instructions can be easily modified for your particular situation.


Supplies You’ll Need

              • picture frame
              • 1/4″ hardboard cut to fit the inside of your frame
              • latex primer (I used Glidden’s Gripper Primer)
              • latex paints in the colours of your choice for the frame (I used Martha Stewart’s paints for this project along with craft paint)
              • acrylic Gesso (optional but gives a chalky finish and helps your paint to adhere better to the frame)
              • chalkboard paint for the hardboard (I used Martha Stewart’s brand)
              • antiquing medium (optional)
              • polyacrylic or finishing wax
              • pliers, hammer and finishing nails
              • paint roller, paint tray and paint brushes
              • paper towels and a damp rag
              • white chalkboard chalk (not the dustless variety)




To begin, carefully remove the picture or mirror from your frame using a screwdriver, pliers or a staple remover. Clean your frame well with a degreaser to remove any built-up grime that could interfere with your paint sticking. I just washed my frame with some slightly  soapy water and then I wiped it down well afterwards with a damp cloth and set it out to dry.




For the chalkboard, I used 1/4″ hardboard that I had purchased at Home Depot. I just had them cut it to size for me. This way I didn’t need to bring out my saw just for the one cut that I needed.

Prime your board with one coat of bonding primer. Then coat your board with 2 coats of chalkboard paint letting it dry in between coats. The photo I have included above is after 1 coat of primer and 1 coat of chalkboard paint. It looks blotchy after the first coat of paint but the second coat looks much better. You can also use a spray primer and chalkboard spray paint if you prefer.

A tip when painting is to line your paint trays with tin foil. That way you don’t have to worry about cleaning your paint trays and the foil can be removed and just thrown in the garbage when you are done. Another tip is to make sure that you cover your roller and paint tray with a plastic bag while it is not use. Chalk paint dries really quickly and you don’t want your roller to dry out between coats of paint.

After you are done painting your board, set it aside to dry. In the meantime, you can start to paint your frame.




For the turquoise layer above, I used Martha Stewart’s Araucana Teal paint that I had purchased from Home Depot a few days ago for only $1.00 for a tester sized container. I had mentioned in my Successful Shopping Trip post here that all of the MS testers are on clearance right now. What a great deal!

For this layer I mixed together 3 parts of Araucana Teal to 1 part gesso on a plastic plate. NOTE: You can use any colour that you would like for this layer. After your paint is mixed, dip your paintbrush into the paint and then dab off the excess on a paper towel. You want a fairly dry brush for this technique.

As you’re applying the paint to your frame, try to leave a little bit of the gold (or the undercoat) showing through in spots. You don’t need to try to cover every little bit of the original finish because the new layers of paint you will be applying will cover any flaws that are there. This finish is very forgiving.




I used Martha Stewart’s Sharkey Gray ( a light taupey gray) mixed with gesso for this layer using the same paint and gesso proportions as in Step 1. Cover the majority of your frame with your gray paint but still leave some of the turquoise and gold showing though.




For the third layer, I mixed a medium gray craft paint with a small amount of black craft paint and some antiquing medium to make a glaze. The darker glaze helps to bring out the details on the frame. If you don’t have antiquing medium you can also use paint mixed thinly with water.

Use your paintbrush to apply the dark paint into the crevices. Work on one small area at a time as you don’t want the glaze to dry before you have a chance to remove it. Then use a damp rag to wipe off the excess glaze from the raised areas of your frame, leaving some of it in the crevices.




If you are happy with the aging you have done so far, you are ready to lighten and highlight. Take some of your light gray paint from step 2 and working on one section of the frame at a time, lightly brush it over the entire frame. Pay particular attention to the raised areas of the frame. Then use a barely damp rag to lightly blend the paint in with the base colour as you go.




Once your frame is dry, you can then apply either a finishing wax or a Polyacrylic to protect the finish.

To attach the chalkboard to the back of the frame, use your hammer to pound small finishing nails into the inside edge of your frame to hold down your board. You want your board to be sturdy enough to write on. Make sure to lay your frame on a soft blanket while you are doing this to not ruin all of your hard work. Don’t ask me how I know!




 Well, there you have it. It’s that easy to make a chalkboard from an old frame. It only took me about 1.5 hours to paint and assemble this frame, not including the drying time.

This is a very easy and inexpensive project to do!




I almost forgot to mention this.

Before using your chalkboard for the first time you will want to “season” it otherwise your lettering will be burned into your board when you write on it.

To “season” your chalkboard just run a piece of regular chalk flat across the entire board. You can then remove the chalk dust with either a damp cloth or a chalkboard eraser and you are good to go.




I hope you like my new chalkboard and you decide to give my tutorial a try some time.

As for me, I still need to figure out where I am going to put this chalkboard!


Until next time…






Parties I’ve Linked Up To:

Restored Interiors – Restored It Wednesdays ~ Domestically Speaking – 117TH Power of Paint Party ~ A Bowl Full of Lemons – One Project at a Time ~ Savvy Southern Style – Wow Us Wednesdays ~ The Shady Porch – Rock N’ Share ~ The Thrifty Home ~ 129th Penny Pinching Party ~ The Trendy Treehouse – Create and Share ~ Hope Studios – Tutorial Tuesdays ~ Not Just a Housewife – Show Me Whatcha Got Tuesdays ~ Coastal Charm – Nifty Thrifty TuesdayEmbracing Change – Creative Inspirations Linky Party ~ The Brambleberry Cottage – Time Travel Thursday ~ Somewhat Simple – Strut Your Stuff Link PartyDIY Showoff – DIY Project Parade ~ Finding Fabulous – Frugalicious Friday ~ It’s a Hodgepodge Life – It’s a Hodgepodge Friday ~ Chic on a Shoestring Decorating – Flaunt if FridayMy Romantic Home – Show and Tell Friday ~ The Shabby Nest – Frugal FridayCreations Corner – Friday Link Party ~ French Country Cottage – Feathered Nest Friday ~ Craftionary – Friday Fun Party ~ Funky Junk Interiors – Sat Nite Special Link PartyCraft Envy – Saturday Spotlight ~ Tatertots and Jello – Weekend Wrap-up Party ~ Be Different Act Normal – Show and Tell Saturday ~





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  1. A Few Pennies

    Gorgeous transformation–loving the large size for a chalkboard.

    1. Carrie

      Thanks for your kind comments and thanks for stopping by.

  2. Cynthia

    Abosolutley love the frame!! Great idea.

    1. Carrie

      Thanks Cynthia! :)

  3. ann

    You did a great Job, The tutorial was very well done. Thank you for sharing. Happy to be a new follower.

  4. Carrie

    Ann, thanks for visiting my blog and for subscribing! I hope you get a chance to try out this paint technique some day. It was a lot of fun to do!

  5. Faith

    What a great tutorial! I had no idea about that tip about seasoning the chalkboard either. Awesome stuff. :)

    1. Carrie

      I am glad you liked my tutorial Faith. Thanks for paying my blog a visit.

  6. Angie

    Gorgeous frame and terrific tutorial! Thank you so much for sharing! I popped over from Feathered Nest Friday and am following you now! Hope you might return the visit!

    1. Carrie

      Thanks for the kind comments Angie. I will be sure to stop by for a visit.

  7. Stacey

    Love this one, too! I always love a nice chalkboard and this frame is fabulous! Nice job Carrie! And thanks for the kudos – I am happy you are a party of my party!
    Thanks for coming by to link up – please come back this Thursday as well!
    Stacey of Embracing Change

    1. Carrie

      Thanks so much Stacey! :)

  8. Hani

    how amazing.. I love the detailed on the frame.. Thanks for linking up at friday fun party..

    1. Carrie

      Thanks so much Hani!

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