How to Make a Magnetic Chalkboard

Caroline, bless her, is a woman who lives by a plan. She likes to know our schedule for the day or weekend in advance and the same applies to her cooking. She’s been wanting a chalk-based surface to use for planning weekly meals, and as such I got to work on a chalkboard to fulfill her wishes. The final product, not only fits her needs, but also add some depth to the kitchen. The following are an outline of the steps I took, as well as some lessons I learned in the process.

The following is an outline for creating a magnetic chalkboard that you can hang for under $40.

My first attempt:

I would say it turned out ‘OK.’ Here are the issues I had to overcome for revision 2:

The corners of the frame didn’t perfectly mate. This was due to my inexperience on aligning the boards with my miter saw.

The trim pieces were not perfectly flat, so they slightly bowed, when the glue holding them to the bead-board dried

I used bead-board as my backing, being that it was sturdy, decently priced and had a nice smooth back. The problem was that the ridges (see image above) from the normal front side of the board show, even after 3 coats of paint. No good!

The finish on the chalkboard paint wasn’t very smooth. There were ridges (see above image) left from the paintbrush and I didn’t put enough time into sanding the board before painting and between coats.

I take pride in the work I do, so I was decided to make another chalkboard and not make the same mistakes again. Caroline and I made some changes in materials, design and the process. I even learned some improvements for anyone taking on this project.

Tools / Materials Needed:

  • Magnetic dry-erase board
  • 8′ of wooden trim (1 standard length piece from Lowe’s)
  • Chalkboard paint (I used a quart of black; there are also spray-paint versions)
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint roller
  • Stirring stick
  • Clamps (up to 8)
  • Miter saw, though any  saw could work
  • Wood glue
  • Electric sander (or sandpaper)


  1. Disassemble border from dry-erase board. Ours was from Target and had phillips screws holding the frame on.

    Dry-Erase board from store bought condition to ready-to-prime condition
  2. Lightly sand surface using a rough grit (150) and then use a finer grit (I used what I had; 300). Wipe clean.

    Sanding the surface provides for better adhering of the paint
  3. Stir paint.
  4. Paint surface. You’ll notice the streaks left behind by the paintbrush. I thought I would have learned by now! Learn from me and go straight for the paint roller. I waited 24 hours between coats.
    Paintbrush streaks. First layer of paint is also sanded.


    Use a roller to provide a more consistently smooth finish
  5. Sand surface between each coat. Here’s my second lesson learned: use an electric sander. It provided more a consistent finish and saved time over using elbow grease. I also had finer grits at my disposal, such as 600, which greatly helped with creating an even painting surface. Wipe surface clean. Repeat steps 4 – 5 two more times or until desired paint surface finish is achieved. 
  6. Cut trim pieces to length and then cut the 45 ° into the corners. I recommend marking the cuts and laying the pieces out over the board to ensure it is what you want.
  7. Align the trim on the board. Glue in place. Hold with clamps. Let set overnight. 

    Just remember: the more clamps, the better
  8. Lightly coat the trim with diluted paint. I used roughly 3:1 or a 4:1 ratio of paint to water. This gives the trim a slightly weathered texture.
  9. Attach hanging mechanism. I used some hanging wire and two miniature hooks, which were screwed into the back of the trim pieces.
  10. Optional, but recommended: add adhesive felt pads to the rear to prevent the unit from scratching your wall.
  11. Enjoy and write down  your weekly meal plan!
Final product:
New chalkboard = happy wife!


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