Friday, September 21, 2012

Shades of Grey ~ French Farmhouse Chalkboard Tutorial

Don'tcha just love chalkboards? There's something so vintage and nostalgic about them. Chalkboards have lovely shades of grey that fit the rustic elegant farmhouse style popping up in so many magazines and catalogs. You can reinvent your chalkboard design daily, so no worries getting tired of the look. And with the new chalkboard paints on the market, they're an inexpensive way to decorate just about any wall. . So if you have wall space that you'd like to give that vintage feel for cheap, listen up, cuz I've got the project for you!

This chalkboard is made from a slab hollow closet door bought at the Home Depot for $28.  I had a large wall to fill so I bought the largest closet door available. It measures 80" x 36". Like I said--BIG.
Since I used a slab door, there were no pre-drilled holes to worry about, so this door was purchased prepped and ready to paint! Yay! Here are the paints I used:

The paints cost $10 each. I used three coats of magnetic paint and then two coats of chalkboard paint.
I found the magnetic paint difficult to work with, and honestly, I wouldn't bother with it again. The chalkboard paint, however, went on like a dream!

Working in my art studio, aka the garage, I elevated the closet door on a couple of drink coolers (yes folks, it's pretty high tech around here). I used a foam roller to paint and I followed the directions on the cans for drying times between coats.

Once the paint had dried I brought my new chalkboard into the entry hall. It had to cure for a couple of days (per directions on the paint can) then I needed to rub the entire chalkboard surface with white chalk . Now my chalkboard was ready to rock!

Using a stud finder I screwed two large wood screws (about 3" long)
into studs on either side of the wall. Then I mounted D-rings on the back of the chalkboard, using plastic anchors, since the door is hollow and I didn't want the little screws pulling through from the weight.
Finally, I hung the D-rings on the back of the chalkboard on the screw heads mounted into the studs.

The chalkboard looked nice just like this but I couldn't resist a little more flair.

I added two antique reproduction cast iron Fleur De Lis soap dishes found on etsy by Alacartcreations. Aren't they the cutest chalk holders you've ever seen! Since my chalkboard is made of wood, I just screwed them right into the board. Grin.

Better, but it still needed more pizazz.
I thought about topping the chalkboard with some type of molding, sort of like a crown, and came across the perfect wall plaque at Ballard Designs.

The Pruvost Plaque was exactly the shape I had in mind and it even came in an 80" width! But at $269 plus shipping, the price was a little more than I wanted to spend, so I did the only thing a girl could do--I searched the net for knock-off blog tutorials to make my own plaque.

Here is the best tutorial I found:
Ballard Wall Plaque Knock Off Tutorial

Then I drew a pattern on brown craft paper. Once I had the design I wanted, and my instructions in hand, I knew it was time to solicit my retired father for help. Grin.

I printed up the knock-off tutorial above and shipped Dad my pattern. Next, I explained to my Dad that I wanted the wood to have a weathered grey look, so he stole a few of my mom's boards from the horse pasture fence, tee-hee (sorry Mom).
*Weathered boards from old wood pallets would also work well to achieve this look, or you could just stain some new boards. Wink.

When I got my wall plaque back from Dad, I was almost speechless (almost). It turned out even more fabulous than I could have imagined and added the perfect finishing touch to my new chalkboard.

I am in LOVE with my chalkboard wall!

I find myself doodling new pictures and messages all the time.

The best part is you can re-create this chalkboard and decorate a LARGE wall on a budget!
Slab closet door: $28
Chalk board paint: $10
Mounting hardware: $6
Cast iron soap dish: $21 each

Wood plaque: Cost of materials (which was free for me since we used boards from an old fence).

Hope this post inspires you to give a chalkboard project a try.

~The Lemonista

Linked to Feathered Nest Friday
Linked to At The Picket Fence
Linked to Show of Saturday
Linked to Project Queen


  1. I love this idea. It's gorgeous.

  2. I love it, Erin! This looks great! I especially love the architectural piece that your Dad did for you for the top. Perfect!

  3. Looks fabulous. The Ballard knockoff above really makes it look quite special. Great job!

  4. LOVE this!!! I wish I had a big wall to decorate :) maybe once y basement is refinished :) Great job Erin!!!

  5. Fabulous chalkboard!!! Thanks so much for sharing it at Project Queen. I'll be featuring it tomorrow night (monday) at the Highlight Party.

  6. That is INCREDIBLE!! I just love this project and we are so thrilled that you shared it with us at Inspiration Friday last weekend! :-)

  7. Your chalkboard is AMAZING!!!! I am pinning it!

  8. Great look! I have just the wall for this on slightly smaller scale. I love Americana/folk art looks.

  9. Love how this turned out! Glad White Lace Cottage Pinned it.

  10. I love how that turned out! Your dad is a genius... that topper is perfect! Hmmmm where could I add something like that??? You've inspired me!

  11. I'm a sucker for anything chalkboard and this is fantastic!
    Lovin everything about this space!
    great job...and very creative to use a hollow door!

  12. This is just so much fun!!! Saw this on Pinterest!! Thanks for the great tutorial!!

  13. Love it...and so love the wooden cutout!
    leelee @

  14. This is one of the best projects Ive ever seen! Thank you so much for sharing it! I will be attempting it!

  15. I have to say I have never written a comment on anyone's project but I have to say this is totally fabulous and am seriously considering this for a project. You are so clever and the wood boards to finish the top really over the top nicely done.

  16. Hi there! I hope you can help me! I LOVE this French Chalkboard project and want to try and duplicate it, but I'm not good at spatial things... If MY wall is 7 feet wide, should I make my chalkboard 5 ft. x 30" (narrower than yours)? How high would you make the plaque on top then? Anyone? My e-mail is: I appreciate the advice---Thanks!

  17. Is there a place that you have a downloadable pattern that you drew up that I can download?
    If, not is there anyway you could send me a pattern? I am a HORRIBLE drawer