How to Turn Glass in a Frame into a Chalkboard

How to Make Chalkboards- DIY- Paint


Who doesn’t love a chalkboard just waiting to be adorned with special words or a fun drawing? These days, chalkboard decor is everywhere, and I couldn’t resist jumping on the bandwagon and I have come up with an easy shortcut in creating beautiful chalkboards simply by painting the existing glass in frames with chalkboard paint:



Chalkboard- DIY- How to Make a Chalkboard



I have been painting glass for years for various projects and it hit me the other day (as I was having trouble finding chalkboards to fit my various size frames), why not paint the existing glass in my frames with chalkboard paint? Well, it worked perfectly and is so easy and I now know what everybody is getting for Christmas!

Let’s just jump right into the instructions:



1) Take your existing frame and glass and remove the glass. Please be careful, the sides of frame glass is unfinished and are very sharp:



2) With an oven mitt on your hand to protect from being cut, clean your glass with glass cleaner or alcohol.

3) Lay your glass flat outside on a flat surface that you can paint on without having to lift up the glass to paint and spray with any kind of spray primer that says it will work on glass:



4) The primer must completely dry otherwise the chalkboard paint will not work. I always allow at least two hours.

5) I used Valspar’s Chalkboard Paint and stirred up the paint really good and applied my first coat of chalkboard paint using a wide foam brush. Chalkboard paint goes on really uneven and you may even think something is wrong. No worries, the trick is to try and just get a thin coat of paint on the glass going in one direction:


6) You will need to let your first coat of paint dry completely at least an hour or more. Then you can apply your second coat in the opposite direction of your first brush stroke. Again, the chalkboard paint does not go on very evenly but believe me, it will smooth out and dry evenly as you can see in my picture below taken right after my second coat:


After your second coat of paint dries, you will be amazed at how it magically evens out and transforms into a smooth chalkboard:



7) When the paint is completely dry, just insert the glass and cardboard piece behind the glass back into your frame and you are in business:



DIY, How to Make a Chalkboard




I painted all kinds of frame glass for this project. I painted small frames that rest on the counter (use for quotes, lists or messages) and I also painted larger wall frame glass to add a whimsical touch to my walls (draw pictures, monograms or quotes). For one particular old wall frame sitting in my junk box, I painted not only the glass but I painted the frame too:




I loved how it turned out and I put it low on my entry way wall for a certain little munchkin that runs around my home to draw on when she wants:



If you would like to see me explain this tutorial on video, you can click on the picture below to see the DIY segment for this easy chalkboard project that I did for Fox 26 Houston Weekend Morning News:

video DIY- How to Turn Glass in Frames into Chalkboards- Cyndy from The Creativity Exchange


This project would make a great gift! Think about making one of these in a small counter frame with a quote or “Happy Birthday” written on the board and wrap it in cellophane with a pretty bow and give it to a girlfriend or sister with two sticks of chalk. For Christmas, I’m going to make several larger frames and write “Joy” or “Noel” in red chalk and wrap in cellophane and give as gifts. There are a lot of endless possibilities here!

Well that’s it for now. I have been working on revamping my entry way and hope to have it all finished by next week and will be posting the project. I also have several other fun projects almost ready for you, so check back soon.

As always, thank you, thank you for your sweet comments, emails and notes! You all just warm my heart and I can’t thank you enough for your kind encouragement and feedback. I laughed so hard reading all of your hysterical comments about being “Cricut-less” on the the vinyl letters and monogram post last week.

Have a wonderful weekend friends!


This entry was posted in Crafts, DIY, Do It Yourself Projects, Tutorials and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to How to Turn Glass in a Frame into a Chalkboard

  1. Can I do this with a mirror too? Hope so! Thanks for the idea!

  2. Shannon says:

    Fantastic! Do you think it would work with the spray can chalk board paint? I have some on hand.

    Plus, I'm lazy like that 😉

  3. The Exchange says:

    Yes, it should work with a mirror, same technique. Shannon, I would think it would work with spray chalkboard paint and I even thought about that myself but had a can already. It may even be better with spray chalk paint. I would LOVE to know! Please let me know if you do it.
    Thanks ladies!!

  4. Love this!!!! Definitely going to do it – so easy!! Thanks for sharing the steps and ideas.

  5. Jodie says:

    Wow! You are a genius! I love this! Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. Jacqueline says:

    They looks great….I was wondering how chalkboard paint holds up on glass, when I used it on my glass kitchen canisters I used etching creme.

  7. So easy and cute! Thanks for the inspiration. I'll definitely be using this for our new office/homework room redo.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Love this! What kind of primer did you use?


  9. Anonymous says:

    Have you discovered Chalkboard Vinyl yet? It's basically just like contact paper (sticky on the back) with chalkboard finish on the front! I cut a piece of it in the size of frame I was using and removed the glass. Same concept, no paint!


  10. The Exchange says:

    Liz, I always use Rustoleum Professional. It's a little more expensive but it has an extremely smooth finish (unlike most spray primers), I do not have to use as much and it works for everything! Thanks ladies!

  11. The Exchange says:

    Yes, I have discovered chalkboard vinyl and that is a great suggestion if you want to avoid painting. Thanks for sharing Angela!

  12. Iuliana says:

    I just got a big frame with glass from a garage sale, and really wanted to make a chalk board. Literally 5 minutes ago I was wondering if I need to buy some kind of thin wood to place in the frame and was getting discouraged at the prospect, hoping though that there's an easier way.

    Then I sat down to link one of my projects to Tatertots and Jello Weekend Wrap-up party and was looking through the list of projects and found YOURS. Soooo excited. Definitely doing that tomorrow! Thank you for sharing the tutorial. Cute blog. Now following you!

  13. LOVE this idea … now I know what my next craft will be:)

  14. WhyCuzICan says:

    Thanks for the tip of done one direction then the other. I would have never thought of that by looking at it, but you explained it very clearly. Thanks for sharing 😀

    Visiting from Funky Junk Interiors Linky Party today,
    ~Suzanne in NW Illinois

  15. Robin says:

    I'm sharing this link with a friend who wanted to paint some glass plates with chalkboard paint. Thanks for the tip.

  16. What a creative shortcut! Thanks for the tip!

    I would be delighted if you would link up to Potpourri Friday (in progress) plus a giveaway!

  17. Liberty says:

    I found one of your projects on Pinterest and I'm so glad I came to your blog to check it out!! I can't wait to execute this project!! What a fabulous idea. 🙂


  18. Thanks for linking to Take-A-Look Tuesday – you were featured today!!
    – Mandy,

  19. That's a pretty neat creation! It beats the dry erase board in appeal for sure!

  20. WobiSobi says:

    I am so doing this.. this is such a creative and brilliant idea..

  21. Mom2ian says:

    This is perfect for those of us with design ADD. I can go from quotes to simple art in a flash. My husband will love it. I'm giving the feather design a try today. Will likely put it in my foyer.

  22. Becky says:

    I love this idea! Its a perfect gift idea for my 12-year old niece … teenagers (or almost teenagers, I should say) are always so hard to shop for. She will LOVE this!

  23. Verano711 says:

    I love this idea and want to do it for gifts! Is the glass sturdy enough to survive being written on? I'm afraid the glass might break.

  24. Chrissy says:

    Pinned. Thanks (:

  25. kris says:

    Does anyone have any cute ideas on how to wrap these? I just made up a bunch of these this weekend for Christmas gifts and I’m at a loss on cute ideas!

    • Cyndy says:

      I was thinking that I was going to simply wrap them with clear cellophane and a fun bow. I was going to attach a mini chalkboard eraser and two pieces of chalk to the bow. Hope that helps! So glad that you made them, they are so fun to make!

  26. kris says:

    Thanks so much Cyndy- great ideas!

  27. Sarah says:

    This is so great! I was trying to find a creative and inexpensive DIY Xmas project and did thanks to you!

    I do have a question…I was thinking about magnetized photo frames so they can be put on fridges, in lockers, etc., but most of those use plastic frames instead of glass. Will the primer and chalkboard paint still work on plastic?

    • Cyndy says:

      I love the idea of making them to put on fridges with the magnetized frames. I am not sure if it would work. I would try it but try lightly roughing up the plastic with a very, very fine grade of sand paper before you prime first. If you get an emamel primer that says it works on plastic (I think Rustoleum makes one), that might do the trick! Let me know if you try it! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  28. Carey says:

    AMAZING idea!!! I am making for Christmas Gifts!! Thanks so much!!!

    Has anyone got a good idea on how to incorporate in the chalk and mini eraser, so it will be handy on the board? If used as msg board, I want the chalk to be attached somehow…any ideas?

    • Cyndy says:

      I haven’t thought of a way to incorporate chalk and mini eraser but I was thinking something on the back of course. You could attach one of those command hooks and put the chalk and mini eraser in an inexpensive mini mesh jewelry bag and hook? Let me know if you all think of anything else!

  29. Leslie Parker says:

    I love this idea….I believe someone will be getting some of these for Christmas gifts as well. Now on the hunt for some unusual looking frames. Thanks!

  30. Ana Meiers says:

    HI! I just LOVE this tut! I will definitely making some of these for gifts!!! I did see a tutorial for a reg. chalkboard with a much larger frame, but this person cleverly attached an antique cup handle pull for a cabinet onto the chalkboard and made that her holding area for her chalk! I can’t remember where I saw that done, but it was so CUTE and CLEVER! Thanks for all your inspiration! “)

  31. Cindy says:

    You could use those little Scrabble tile holders to glue to the board to hold the chalk and a slim eraser. It would look cute; now to find some Goodwill Scrabble games for the holders!

  32. kari says:

    I was wondering if chalk spray paint would work or if it is not as nice as the paint?

  33. John says:

    You know, I was just looking for good instructions on how to get a smooth surface with chalkboard paint. I am SO glad I clicked on the link to this site! My wife and our two children are out of town and was planning to surprise the kids with a chalkboard on the kitchen island. Now I can also surprise my wife with some chalkboard frames. Great site and great project – thank you!!!

  34. Leslie says:

    I did mine today!! Can’t wait to write on it tomorrow! This was a wonderful idea!

  35. Leslie says:

    I made this today and I can’t wait to write on it tomorrow!! This was a great idea, thanks so much for sharing!!!

  36. Michelle says:

    I just love this! Thank you for sharing an obvious talent and gift with the rest of us!

  37. Jamie says:

    Love this idea! I am using this for my wedding for the menu, table seating, etc.
    What is a great chalk to use? I don’t want it to be too dusty, but still erasable if I mess up…does liquid chalk work? Artist pastels? chalk marker? Suggestions would be much appreciated! Cheers!

  38. carly says:

    wow. you just saved me some serious time and energy. i just purchased and painted several very large, old frames and planned to custom cut backs for chalkboards… instead, i’ll just start priming that glass tomorrow! glad the post was still here to find! thanks!

  39. abby says:

    Is it really necessary to apply the primer before the paint? Or can it work with just the chalkboard paint?

  40. April says:

    I did this last night after finding this on Pinterest, I was so excited not to have to find some sort of board to fit in the frame. I used primer, then used spray chalkboard paint after a couple of hours. I checked on the glass this morning, it looked fantastic! So smooth and clean looking! I’m sooo excited to put it back in the frame and use it. I want to make another but I don’t really have use for another, maybe a gift for someone. Thanks for the great idea!

  41. Tavia says:

    I’ve always wanted to make one of these & decided to follow your instructions. However, i think i’ve made a mistake by buying the Valspar Chalk Board spray paint instead of the container. I don’t think it will turn out nicely at all, it looks uneven now. Can i just buy the container & paint it over the already painted one or do i have to start all over? Thanks.

    • Cyndy says:

      Chalk board paint (both spray and container) go on real uneven but dry smooth. Let it dry overnight and then try a second coat. I think you should be ok. If not, lightly sand whatever you have and switch to the container. I would love for you to come back and tell me how it worked for future reference! Thanks Tavia!

      • Tavia says:

        Oh this one is already dry & it still has large patches of the look of sand paper (just a rubber feel when you touch it). It’s just bad. I already got the can instead, i don’t have any sand paper at the moment (new to the diy home improvements) but will give it a try anyway & will let you know.

      • Tavia says:

        Turns out i had to start all over on the opposite surface & painted 4 layers of chalkboard, but i had success!

  42. Pretty nice post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and
    wished to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your weblog posts.
    In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I’m hoping you write again soon!

  43. mags says:

    i was going to use a spray chalkboard paint from rustoleum and on their site notice that they do a magnetic chalkboard pain, think this will kill two birds with one stone. brilliant suggestions here

  44. Susan says:

    Have you ever painted on larger surfaces? I have a 32x24in glass that I am painting. Just wondering if you have any tips for creating an even coat…

  45. Pingback: 13 DIY Christmas Gifts People Will Actually Thank You For

  46. Christi says:

    After you are finished with the project, is it necessary to prime the chalkboard by rubbing chalk (lengthwise) on the board and erasing it before writing on it? I had read to do this on a chalkboard that you buy and it will make future erasures easier and keep the first thing you write from showing permanently on your board. I wasn’t sure if this step applied to chalkboard paint as well?

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