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DIY Outdoor Chalkboard

diy outdoor chalkboard

DIY Outdoor Chalkboard

by: Amy

Hi guys!  I’ve been spending a little time reworking my front porch this summer.  It’s one of those areas of our fixer-upper home that has needed a little TLC.  It’s still a work in progress, but I wanted to share one of the biggest improvements we have made so far.  Our front door has a long, narrow side light window that I have always hated.  When my kids were little, the neighbor kids used to peek in to see if we were home so the kids could play {and our dog would go berserk}.  I tried covering the window with curtains — one on the inside and one on the outside — which helped with the privacy issue, but it still let a lot of heat in during the summer.  Plus, I needed the wall space on the inside for hooks so the kids could hang up their back packs.  The window simply had to go!

The problem was that the stucco-clad exterior wall had been built out around the door and window, so that if we removed the window we had two choices:  1. pay a whole lot of money to completely reconfigure the door area, or 2. find a way to make it make sense as-is.  Obviously, we chose option #2.  I decided to build a DIY outdoor chalkboard that we could mount onto the side of the house where the window used to be.  It’s the perfect solution for us because it adds a fun decorative element to the entryway that I love!  {You’ll see in the pictures that I got the chalkboard all built on my own, but I’m waiting on my husband to help me hang it.  That’s a two-person job!  Rest assured, it will not be propped up on that bucket permanently.}

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This DIY Outdoor Chalkboard is a fairly easy project that comes together quickly.  If you plan it out and have all your measurements ready, you can have them cut the lumber at the home improvement store for you which makes it even easier.  Basically, all it is is two frames constructed from 1×3′s with a piece of cement board sandwiched in between:

framed chalkboard

I’ll be sharing my measurements to make a long, narrow chalkboard that is 76″ x 18″.  You can adjust the measurements to make whatever size will work for you.

Supplies you will need:

4 pcs. of 1 x 3 x 8 pressure treated pine, cut to the following lengths:

  •      For front frame:  2 pc. 76 inches long, 2 pc. 13 inches long
  •      For back frame:  2 pc. 71 inches long, 2 pc. 18 inches long

1 pc. 3′x5′ Hardiebacker wet area cement board

2 pc. ¾” flat moulding

12-20 1″ exterior flathead screws

12-20 1½” exterior flathead screws

indoor/outdoor paintable caulk

 

How to Make Outdoor Chalkboard Tutorial

Step 1:  Cut Hardibacker board to size.

Using a utility knife and a straight edge {I used one of my pieces of wood!}, score the board down the middle lengthwise and snap in half.  You will be left with 2 pieces that are 18 inches wide by 5 feet long.  Since this chalkboard is so long, we will have to piece it together a little bit.  Leave one piece 18″ x 5′ and score and snap the other piece so that it is 18″ wide by 16″ long.

Step 2:  Mount the Hardiebacker to the front frame.

diy framed chalkboard

Lay the front frame pieces out on a flat area as shown in the photo above {or in #1 of the diagram}.  Lay the bigger piece of hardiebacker board on top of the frame, making sure the edges and ends of the frame are flush with the edges of the cement board:

DIY outdoor chalkboard

Using the 1″ screws, screw through the backer board into the wood frame.  Working from the back side like this will give you a nice, clean frame from the front with no visible hardware.  If you have a power screwdriver or a screwdriver attachment for your drill, your hands will thank you!  Place a screw every 8-12 inches all the way around the edge of the backer board.

front porch chalkboard

When you get to the end of your big piece of backer board, just butt the smaller piece up against it as closely as possible and attach it in the same manner:

diy chalkboard

Step 3:  Mount the back frame to the chalkboard.

how to make a framed chalkboard

Lay the frame pieces for the back frame out on top of the backer board as shown in #3 of the diagram above.  Make sure the edges and ends of the frame pieces are flush with the edges of the backer board, just like in step 2.  Use the 1½” screws to screw through the back frame and into the backer board.

Place a screw every 8-12 inches around the perimeter of the frame, being careful to avoid where you have already placed screws in step 2.  Now your chalkboard construction is basically finished!

Step 4:  Cover up the rough edges with flat, narrow moulding.

I didn’t love how the rough edges of the backer board showed around the edges between the two frames so I used ¾” flat moulding to cover it up.  Use a miter saw {or a hand saw and miter box} to cut the moulding to size and attach it to the edges with a construction adhesive like Elmer’s Pro Bond:

diy chalkboard

A little bit of masking tape will hold the moulding pieces in place while the glue sets up.  While the glue is drying, use a little bit of paintable caulk to fill the tiny gap between the two pieces of backer board:

make a framed chalkboard for your porch

Step 5:  Sand and paint the chalkboard.

Once all the glue is dry, remove the tape and sand any rough edges you may have on your frame to prepare it for painting.  Give the entire chalkboard a coat of primer, then paint the frame with good quality exterior latex paint in your desired color.  When the frame is dry, carefully paint the chalkboard surface with flat exterior latex paint in your desired color.  Since most chalkboard paint is not made for outdoor use, a good flat paint works as a chalkboard surface:

diy framed chalkboard tutorial

Prime the chalkboard surface by rubbing a piece of chalk all over it and then erasing it.

framed chalkboard tutorial

Mount it to your exterior wall using the appropriate hardware for your surface.  We will be using masonry screws and anchors to mount the chalkboard to our exterior stucco wall.  The employees at the home improvement store can help you find the hardware that will work for your application.  Like I mentioned before, I’m just waiting for my hubby to help me.  He just started a new job and has been super busy.  Hopefully we’ll get it all finished up this weekend because that overturned bucket just isn’t gonna’ cut it!  I’m super excited to change out the message with the seasons and have one more fun decorative item to make our porch a little more inviting.

diy chalkboard tutorialMore Chalkboard Crafts:

chalkboard bookshelf

Bookshelf turned Chalkboard Art Center.

DIY Chalkboard Project Board 

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Comments

  1. 1
    Menekse says:

    Ahh this is such a cool tutorial! I may attempt one for in my kitchen – our front door doesn’t have anywhere I could put it. I am so jealous of all you Americans with porches!

  2. 2

    Love this! I need something to add pizzazz to my front porch. So cute!