We needed a chalkboard in the kitchen, one that wouldn’t look awful, but I’m cheap and didn’t want to pay $99-$149 for a chalkboard from Pottery Barn, so I made one.
We already had a picture frame we weren’t using, and I had some quarter-inch plywood and a can of chalkboard paint that I’d bought for other projects.
The only hardware I had to buy were 4 small mending plates for holding the chalkboard inside the frame ($3 for a pack of 4) and a French cleat for hanging it ($15).
I trimmed the quarter-inch plywood to fit inside the frame than painted it with the chalkboard paint. I gave it a couple coats. Once the paint had dried overnight, I used the mending plates to hold the chalkboard inside the frame.
I used small screws; too long, and they’ll poke through the front of the frame, and there’s no good way to fix it. Don’t screw the mending plate into the chalkboard. The chalkboard isn’t thick enough. Plus, you don’t need to. It isn’t going anywhere.
Finally, I mounted it with a French cleat. The frame had hooks, and I tried hanging it with picture wire, , but it wasn’t stable enough, so I unscrewed the hooks and installed the cleat.
It comes in 2 parts. One is screwed into the wall (use a level to keep it straight) while the other is screwed onto the back of the frame.
The only trick was making sure the screws weren’t long enough to poke through the front of the frame.
It took probably an hour to make. I’m guessing it would have cost about $50, if I hadn’t used materials I already had cluttering up the garage.
I think it turned out OK. It kind of goes with the rest of the kitchen, and it doesn’t wobble when you write on it, and that’s about the best you can hope for when you’re making up a project as you’re going along.