DIY Menu Chalkboard

If I see picture frames at a good price, I buy them with no real plan for how to use them. One of those “I’m sure I can find something to do with it” items. Anyway, today I want to show you a DIY Menu Chalkboard using one of those collected frames.

I bought these two pictures at a thrift store, intending to use the frames for um, something. See above comment.


Thrift store frames for diy menu chalkboard |


I removed the glass and prints and washed the disgusting goo off the frames. Sometimes it’s better not to know….

Richard cut pieces of 1/8” plywood to fit the frames. I brushed a light coat of sanding sealer onto the plywood, then painted with homemade chalkboard paint.


DIY Menu Chalkboard Supplies- paint and non-sanded grout |


To Make Homemade Chalkboard Paint:


Add 1 tablespoon non-sanded grout to 1/2 cup water-based paint. I used Apple Barrel black craft paint.

Stir it really well to get the lumps out. I had to sand off large lumps the first time because I didn’t get it mixed well enough. Second time around, I added a tiny bit of water to help get the grout mixed in. 1/2 cup of  chalk board paint will do one coat on several boards. I did the boards for these two frames, plus 2 much larger frames.

Do two coats, sanding after each coat. After the paint has dried completely, season the chalkboard by going over it with a piece of chalk laid on its side, then lightly wipe it off with a damp cloth. I waited a couple of days before seasoning my chalk boards.


DIY Menu Chalkboard with homemade chalk board paint |


I painted the frames using Rustoleum Universal spray paint & primer in one, then glazed with my usual brown glaze. I probably won’t buy this spray paint again- the trigger sprayer was really hard to use- maybe I just got a bad can?

I added a Menu header to this chalkboard using a graphic from The Graphics Fairy. (I haven’t decided yet whether to add a graphic to the other one.) I traced it onto the board using white graphite paper, then painted it with a white paint pen. The paint pens are frustrating to work with- I couldn’t get the paint to flow smoothly and had to keep going over globby areas. I’ll probably just use paint and a brush next time.


DIY Menu Chalkboard with graphic header |


A few tips to remember for your DIY Menu Chalkboard:

  • Only mix enough paint and grout for one coat because it hardens after sitting awhile. Mix the paint for the second coat when you’re ready to apply it.
  • Use a sponge roller to apply the paint and roll over it several times to get it as smooth as possible.
  • Don’t wash extra chalkboard paint down the drain. Remember, it hardens. I wiped out my mixing cup and roller tray with paper towels before washing. I also squeezed out the roller cover with paper towels as much as possible before washing it. It would probably be better to just throw away the roller cover.


DIY Menu Chalkboard with homemade chalkboard paint |


And that’s my first attempt at a diy menu chalkboard. Have you ever made your own chalkboard paint? Have any tips for painting with paint pens?




French Country Cottage, One Artsy Mama


  1. I love these! So smart to just buy frames when you see a great deal. It turned out so cute!

    PS – I had fun hunting with you on Friday!

  2. plumdoodles…you rock! Just saw your Bathroom Vanity update over at Sawdust and Paperscraps!! Love what you did. I will def. check out your site:)

  3. Cute idea!

  4. I love this idea! You’re so clever and so practical at the same time, which I really appreciate. I was sad to hear the paint pens are awful, because I’m trying to come up with a good way to paint Scripture on my walls… It’s a lot of words to do with a brush!

  5. I love it, Sheila! I’ve saved that Menu graphic, too, just haven’t found anything to use it on yet. I like to look through the frames at Goodwill, too. Sometimes I find something with really pretty detail tucked behind something bigger.

  6. I love your frames! I know all about the disgusting goo on thrift store items! Yuck! These are fabulous! I love your graphic! I had no idea you could make chalkboard paint and that I shouldn’t wash it down the drain! Oops! There’s a tip of Tuesday! I love these! Great job!

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