DIY Magnetic Chalkboard for Kids Room, Barnwood Finish

DIY Magnetic Chalkboard


*Maxley Designs is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with the products mentioned below, Hobby Lobby, Home Depot, Amazon, or any of their subsidiaries or affiliates.  Just a girl who knows what she likes!*


Keeping kids entertained inside your house is a full-time job!  Bad weather, sickness, feisty-ness - all the things that keep those tornadoes inside - can make a mama crazypants.  I know because it has happened to me with my 2- and 4-year-olds. 

We got record amounts of snow here in Central Oregon, and ironically, it was our first winter after we moved from Colorado.  Questioning life decisions?!  Yes.  BUT I knew there *must* be a way to avoid more Blippi and Dora (no offense to either).  So I enlisted the hubs to craft a wood frame, and I DIY'd myself a kid-entertaining miracle!

Behold... the Magnetic Chalkboard!  *Cue applause and cheers of joy*

If you're in a how-to-entertain-toddlers-and-preschoolers phase of your life, read on, mama!  This simple DIY is right up your alley.


What You'll Need

I started by going to Hobby Lobby (just about the most miraculous place on Earth), and I got me a 4 oz bottle of chalkboard paint

Chalkboard Paint, front and back

Rule #1: *Read the directions!*  For this particular kind of paint from DecoArt, it advises you to first paint using horizontal strokes, allow to dry, then paint with vertical strokes.  (Who knew!)

I found a 2' x 4' piece of sheet metal from Home Depot for $28. 

**Pro tip: bring a magnet with you when you go so you can make sure the sheet you find is magnetic!**

I cleaned the sheet with some ordinary surface cleaner and a paper towel and used a 2" CraftSmart brush that I've had (probably from Hobby Lobby).

Wipe sheet clean, use brush


Getting Started


I squirted a generous amount of the paint directly onto the metal sheet in horizontal squiggly lines and brushed them from right to left, per said instructions!

The brush would leave small patches unpainted, but this didn't end up making any difference in the end.


I'm 5'3" so my arms didn't quite reach the full length of the 4' sheet.  I did half and half.  Here's what it looked like after drying for about 2 hours.

You can still see tiny unpainted patches, so for the vertical strokes, I decided to use a foam brush.  As you can see, the foam brush was probably too stiff to use for this project because it started to take up the previously dry layer!  (*GAH*)

Foam brushed, cracked paint

I went a little gentler on the second side.

Final coat

I let the whole thing dry overnight. 



I cut out the kids' names in vinyl (my "smoke" color that I use on my photo mats) along with a vertical divider line.  Moms just know how their kids are going to be, don't we?!  I could already see the fighting and pushing over chalkboard space, so I thought I'd nip *that* in the bud!

Cutting names and divider line


Displaying the Board

The next day, I helped the hubs screw the whole thing to the wall.  There were bulging parts that weren't flush with the wall (maybe the metal sheet was rolled up during distribution..?)  Anyway, it didn't matter because the frame fixed that right up!

Screw sheet to wall


Priming the Board

After the metal sheet was up, I used masking tape to cover the edges because we weren't going to have the frame up before the kids got home from grandma's!  (The blue thing is my son's memory box I made with his going home outfit, first pair of shoes, and ultrasounds)

You're supposed to "prime" the paint with the long end of a piece of chalk before you use the board, so that it doesn't leave what they call "ghost" streaks (or something like that). 

**This step was crucial!!**

I highly recommend using an exorbitant amount of chalk here because we can still see some "ghost" streaks every now and then (the kids don't care, but I do!)

Masking tape

When you're done priming, wipe it clean with a DRY cloth.  (Can you tell I used a light green chalk to prime?)  You can repeat priming and wiping a few times for good measure.

Wipe with dry cloth


Making & Staining the Frame

The hubs cut and sanded some wood we had lying around our property (did I mention we're on 5 acres in Central Oregon, which means TONS of reclaimed wood?!  The previous owner was a landscaper and also left loads of old pallets- WIN!).  These were about 3 inches wide for a nice chunky frame.

If you don't have access to wood, a home improvement store like Home Depot can get you the pieces you need!

2 inch frames

Then I stained each piece using my signature "barnwood finish" blend of 3 different oil based stains.  (This blend is a Maxley Designs customer favorite for my picture frames!)  You can watch me use this blend on an 8x10 frame here!

Barnwood Finish Stain


Attaching the Frame

After the stain had dried overnight, the hubs attached the 4 pieces together in the shop, then screwed it on the wall, much the same way as the chalkboard was placed on the wall.

Framed Chalkboard


Adding Accessories

You can see the screw holes where the hubs attached the frame to the wall, and we just left those!  I think they gives the frame some more rustic character :)

I looked EVERYWHERE for tiny buckets like these to hang the chalk pieces in and finally found them in the wedding section of Hobby Lobby.  Who.  Knew.  They also had the eraser there.  The hooks are just standard coat hooks from Home Depot.

We found magnetic letters on Amazon, but BEWARE and read the reviews!  I read some that said the set didn't contain all the letters (*insert "WHAT?!" face here*)  Just do your research and you'll find some you love!

Chalkboard Buckets


Well, that's it, friends!  If you're loving my barnwood finish stain, check out my picture frames!  I use the same blend on LOTS of my frames (it's too gorgeous not too, right?!)

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Until next time!



Melissa P


Melissa P


Melissa P


Melissa P


Melissa P


Melissa P


Melissa P


Melissa P


Melissa P


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