How To Turn Thrift Store Framed Art Into Chalkboards

Do you walk right by the framed artwork leaning against the wall at your local thrift store? The art may be ugly but those thrift store picture frames can be repurposed into chalkboards. They are so easy to make and I'm going to show you how.

Who couldn't use a chalkboard, right? They make great family message boards, home office note boards, fun chalkboards in children's rooms. Hang one in your kitchen to write your weekly grocery list and snap a photo with your phone before heading to the grocery store.

Picture frame repurposed into menu chalkboard

How To Turn Thrift Store Framed Art Into Chalkboards


Picture frame repurposed into chalkboard shopping list

This is where I normally insert a before picture and I remember taking them but for the life of me cannot find the photos on any of my devices.  Picture a couple of dark brown and gold frames and you'll get the picture.

Painting the frames

Using a 150-grit sanding block I roughed up the surface of the frames for the paint to have some bite. Next, I painted them with one coat of black chalk paint followed by a dry brushed coat of simplicity white chalk paint.

Normally I do a solid white over the black and distress the raised parts and edges with sandpaper but I was liking how it looked with the white dry brushing effect, so I went with it.

Picture frame chalk painted black and white

Picture frame chalk painted black and white

Cut the backing

I use hardboard panels for the chalkboard and cut it with a straight edge and Exacto knife. Easy peasy and I can get a lot of chalkboards from one sheet!

Hardboard backs for picture frame chalkboards

Making the chalkboard

Roll black Rust-oleum Chalkboard Paint with a foam roller onto the precut hardboard.  Normally it takes approximately three coats for full coverage.

Chalkboard painted hardboard for picture frame chalkboards

My creative blogging friends to the south have shared that they purchase Readymade Chalkboard Sheets at their home improvement stores.  I have looked everywhere here in Canada and have yet to find such a beast.

Season The Chalkboard First

You must season the chalkboard before using it. All you do is rub the side of a stick of chalk all over the board both vertically and horizontally and wipe it off with a paper towel or clean cloth. That's it!

Picture Frame Chalkboard with burlap chalk storage

I wanted to include a couple of sticks of chalk with my boards and had some mini burlap sacks that I purchased from Michaels in my stash. Using a black fine point marker, I freehanded the word Chalk onto the fronts and attached them to the frame by wrapping a strand of twine around each frame.

I have to thank my friend Christy from Confessions of a Serial Do-It-Yourselfer for this awesome idea!

Picture Frame Chalkboard with burlap chalk storage

Because I'll be selling mine at an outdoor market in May, I dressed up the backs with paper that I had on hand and paint.

Painted and papered backs of Picture Frame Chalkboards

If you enjoyed my Thrift Store Picture Frame Chalkboards please share them with a friend and/or save it on Pinterest.

Picture frames repurposed into chalkboards

How have you repurposed old picture frames? I'm always looking for new ideas and would love to hear them.


You'll find this project linked at these inspiring link parties.

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