May 4, 2011

The Making of a Chalkboard: Part 1

My kids LOVE sidewalk chalk, they love to draw, my youngest loves to eat crayons, but not chalk.  With all this in mind, I decided to make them a chalkboard for inside, from scratch.  I was also needing something to do with my laptop being out of commission for a few days.

I am going to walk you through how I did it.  It was actually quite easy, much easier than I thought.

I started with a piece of hardboard.  This is a thin piece of (fairly smooth) MDF.

Wipe it down, because you want your surface clean before you spray on the chalkboard paint.

Don't worry, not blood, just paint on my thumb.

You are going to need to apply several thin layers of the chalkboard paint.

I used a can gun...which makes using spray paint SO much easier, especially when you are doing a lot of spray painting.

With each application, spray in a different direction.  Rotate through horizontal, vertical and diagonal until covered with a nice even coat.

Let the paint dry for a full 24 hours before you do anything else with it.

The next step for me was to work on the trim.  We had some left in the garage from the previous owner.

I measured out my hardboard, 24x49 inches.  I needed to cut my trim to this size.  I got to bust out my new Bosch miter saw to cut my trim.

The new miter saw made this so easy to do with a long piece of trim.  It comes with an adjustable hold down.  Nice huh?

I then took the trim piece that was going to be on the bottom of my chalkboard and routed out a groove.  I wanted this so the chalk had a place to sit.  So I took my router loaded in the bit I wanted to use.

The routed edge came out PERFECT!  (I did use the scrap trim to get it right first)

After all my pieces were cut, I pulled out my corner clamps.  A MUST HAVE in any shop.  These make sure you have those perfect corners.

I did a dry set up of all my pieces first.  This way, I knew if I needed to do any sanding/cutting to get those corners to line up the way I wanted to.

I then glued up the corners with wood glue.

Tighten up the clamps.

Before I let the glue sit for the night, I took out my brad nailer and nailed the corners for reinforcement.

I placed nails in the edges at the target locations shown in the photo below.  Be sure to place them in the center or you can risk splitting the wood.

Click here for part II.

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