DIY Chalkboard Easel

Good morning!  I had a nice, slow, easy weekend with not much to post about, so I skipped it. :)  I had lunch with a friend (Happy Birthday, Sarah!) and dinner with family in town, and a super-fun sleepover with Wheat’s little cousin, MC.  We watched Sam & Cat, we made MC some earrings, and we made biscuits.  Good times!  And then yesterday, I went to cash in my free coffee from Grassroots, and low and behold, the Due South issue of The Thomasville Townie was out… complete with an interview featuring yours truly!  It was a good Monday, despite the crazy storms.  Today, I’m finally going to elaborate on the DIY chalkboard easel Wheat and I made for The Refinery.  The pictures aren’t pretty, but the finished product is.  Let me know if you attempt making one, too!

As you may well remember, a couple weekends ago I did some candle peddlin’ at River Town Days for The Refinery.  We sold quite a few candles, and it was a great event, but one thing was really bothering me.  Our chalkboard sign was actually some tire traction thingamajig we were repurposing.

Old Refinery Chalkboard | Oysters & Pearls

Decent in a pinch, but obviously not ideal.  So that Sunday, it was raining (ahem, POURING), and I recruited Wheat into helping me make The Refinery a new DIY chalkboard easel.  One that looked legit.

Extremely Rainy Sunday in Bainbridge | Oysters & Pearls

Wet Ratoodle | Oysters & Pearls

Harold was not a fan of hanging out in the shed and rain all day.

I began by obsessively searching Pinterest for an appropriate DIY chalkboard easel tutorial.  I found this one from Shanty 2 Chic, which I liked, but it was single-sided and didn’t look like it would be very stable.  However, it was easily adaptable, so we followed it to an extent, and then blazed our own trail.

Here’s what you’ll need:

– two 96″ 2 x 3 boards
– one 2×4′ chalkboard panel
– two small hinges
– two feet of chain
– four eye hooks
– finishing nails
– wood screws
– wood stain in desired color

To begin, we went shopping at Home Depot.  I didn’t have any scrap wood laying around to repurpose, so we followed instructions and purchased 2×3 white pine boards.  If you’re following along, to make one double-sided chalkboard, you’ll need two of these 96″ boards.

Price of a 2x3 Stud at Home Depot | Oysters & Pearls

We also saved some time and headache by following instructions to purchase MDF chalkboard. You won’t use the entire thing, but it’s cheap and very light and sturdy.  I was skeptical at first, but thoroughly pleased with it afterwards.

Price of MDF Chalkboard Sheet at Home Depot | Oysters & Pearls

In case you’re counting, we’re up to $14 now.

At this point, you can ask Home Depot to cut the lumber for you, or you can take it home and have your Hubs do it.  I opted for the latter.

We got home, and he cut the boards into the following dimensions:

– four 30-inch pieces
– four 14-inch pieces

and cut the Chalkboard into three pieces of 16″x24″ dimensions.

Now you’ll put them together!  Or your husband will.  Whichever.

Retail Chalkboard DIY | Oysters & Pearls

Place two 30″ boards parallel to each other, then place one of the 14″ boards between them, three inches from the bottom, as pictured above.  Using wood screws and a power drill, drill a hole, then the screws at an angle from the 14″ inch board through into the 30″ board.  (Did that make sense?)

Sinking Screws in DIY Chalkboard | Oysters & Pearls

The other 14″ board you will line up with the very ends of the 30″ boards, as shown below.

Sunk Screws in DIY Chalkboard for The Refinery | Oysters & Pearls

Not the prettiest joints in the world, but they’ll be concealed on the inside of the easel, so no worries!  This works best as a team, because while Wheat put together the second frame, I began sanding and distressing and staining the first one he finished putting together.

1) Sand the frames down using a medium grit sandpaper.

2) Distress the boards, if desired, by hitting them with a chain, laying a chain across the boards and hitting the chain with a hammer, straight up hammering the boards, laying a nail sideways on the boards and hammering that in, etc. etc. etc.  You get the idea.  Just wail on those things with whatever you’ve got handy.  Here’s what I used:

Tools for Distressing Wood | Oysters & Pearls

3) Stain.

Staining Distressed White Pine Boards for DIY Chalkboard Sign | Oysters & Pearls

Staining DIY Chalkboard Frames | Oysters & Pearls

The stain will go on MUCH darker than your end product will be.  You’ll paint it on (or wipe it on with a cloth) and let it sit for at least 15 minutes, then wipe it off with a clean cloth.  A clean cloth that you don’t mind ruining, that is.  Anyway, the stain you choose will have specific instructions.  I chose Jacobean stain by MinWax, and I love how it turned out.

Jacobean Wood Finish Stain | Oysters & Pearls

Once you’ve let the stain settle in, wipe the boards down, flip them, and repeat.  Once you’re satisfied with the color, wipe them down really well and let them stand vertically to dry.

DIY Chalkboard Frames | Oysters & Pearls

Once dry, use finishing nails to nail the Chalkboard to the back of the frame (aka the side your screws are showing on).  We tried using both of my staple guns, but the MDF was just too strong for them.

Using Finishing Nails to Attach MDF Chalkboard to Back of DIY Frame | Oysters & Pearls

Repeat on the other frame.  Next, you’ll attach the frames to each other at the top with the two hinges like so:

Attach Hinges to Inside of Chalkboard Stand | Oysters & Pearls

I wanted the hinges on the inside so that they wouldn’t show so much, but if you’d rather them  on the outside, go for it.  It will close a little further, but since this one was going to have chain and eye hooks and wouldn’t close completely anyway, I wasn’t worried about it.  This looked cleaner to me.

Hinges on DIY Chalkboard | Oysters & Pearls

Finally, about 5 inches up from the bottom on each leg, drill a hole and screw in your eye hooks – one on each leg.  This is where the chain will attach.

Insert Eye Hooks for Chain 5 Inches from the Bottom | Oysters & Pearls

And finally, attach the chain to each eye hook using brute strength and pliers.  You’re all set!

DIY Standing Chalkboard for The Refinery or Retail | Oysters & Pearls

Finished DIY Chalkboard for The Refinery | Oysters & Pearls

And here it is in a more realistic setting. :)

Finished DIY Chalkboard Easel | Oysters & Pearls

Wheat and I were both pretty thrilled with how this improvised Pinterest project turned out!  Dare I say that it turned out better than the one we copied??
I can’t wait to see it all dolled up at The Refinery‘s booth at Due South on the 26th! Until then, check out The Refinery’s new website!

Until Next Time

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3 thoughts on “DIY Chalkboard Easel

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  3. Chuck

    Hi There!

    I needed a new chalkboard for our business and came across your blog. This worked out perfect! I made mine a little larger (42″ x 24″), but your plans still worked great. Not only that, but I built it today with 20 mile an hour winds and it didn’t budge one bit.




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