How to make a chalkboard from an old thrift store print (easy gift idea!)


How to make a chalkboard from an old framed print turquoise after

I’m going to show you how to make a chalkboard from an old framed print. I recently painted this turquoise chalkboard as giveaway for a friend for the Missouri Foster Care and Adoption Association.  Most of you know my hubby and I tried for 4 years to adopt from foster care so I was HONORED to make a chalkboard for them to auction off!

Chalkboards like this one are quick, easy and a GREAT gift idea (think birthday, Christmas, going to college, etc). It’s very inexpensive to repurpose and make a chalkboard from an unwanted framed artwork.

This post does contain an affiliate link and I may receive a small commission if you order any of these products.  It will not cost you, the customer, anything extra! =)


How to make a chalkboard from an old framed print before

First, start with a picture that is GLASS-LESS and ugly but one that has a kick butt frame.  Kick-butt frames are VITAL.  I literally scoop them up whenever I see them at thrift stores, garage sales, etc.  I usually have 3-8 ugly prints/cool frames in my studio at any given time because you just don’t know when you need one to make a chalkboard

But, funny story. After I posted this before picture on my Magic Brush Facebook page, one of my faithful followers (Donna Cooper?) commented it was worth something on Ebay.  OH NO!!!  I was literally minutes away from being a millionaire, but we had painted over it already.  Lol.

So after you find the print, it’s time to paint. Now, everyone asks me….  “which should you paint first….  the print or the frame??”  Really you could do either.   I prefer to do the print, but you can do it either way when you make a chalkboard.

So sand the print. It may not be smooth depending on what it was painted with and that’s fine!!!!!

Then prime it (I used Kilz). I use a primer tinted GRAY so that the black chalkboard paint covers easier on the next coat.

Then roll it with Black Bean chalk-type paint from Heirloom Traditions. (I prefer that over the spray chalkboard paint and it’s thicker than other chalkboard paints).  

Let it dry at least a day to cure.


How to make a chalkboard from an old framed print repurpose

After it dries, I tape off the inside with a low tack paint.

How to make a chalkboard from an old framed print krylong sea glass

Then I put cardboard over the print and tape it down.  It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just needs to cover the black so the spray paint doesn’t get on it!

How to make a chalkboard from an old framed print spray painting

I love to SPRAY PAINT the frames because it is done in like 54.8 seconds.  High fives all around for FAST DIY projects!


How to make a chalkboard from an old framed print distressing

Do several thin coats of spray paint.  Thick layers will give you yucky runs! I used Kyrlon Sea Glass.

Then use a sanding block to sand off the edges which, on this frame, revealed the gorgeous gold frame underneath.  ***love***


How to make a chalkboard embellishments

I have a bowl of goodies in my studio….. I dug thru that to find a fun embellishment for the chalk holder.

I put the clothes pin IN a Styrofoam bowl to spray paint it.  Did you know that spray paint MELTS Styrofoam?  Well I didn’t, but I do now.  Look at the holes in the bowl.  Ha! #hotmess

I have a little video about spray painting the clothespins and choosing embellishments below or click HERE:

I want you to NOTICE MY SELF CONTROL at NOT screaming at the little person knocking on my door during this video.  God bless it.


How to make a chalkboard chalk holder

And look at how fun the chalk holder is! I love the little gold cherub that I hot glued to it!

How to make a chalkboard from an old framed print

Here is the obligatory before and after.  Before, old frame print worth millions (not really).  After, total repurposed cuteness.  And for a great cause! It’s so easy to make a chalkboard from old artwork!

PS. Don’t forget to “season” your chalkboard. That means before you ever write on the board…. lay the chalk on the side and cover it in white chalk.  Then clean it off.  This will help the chalkboard not to “ghost” which means you will always see the very first thing you write on it.  I have a video showing how to season a board HERE.

As always, this project will be posted on my PINTEREST ACCOUNT.  Feel free to pin from the post’s pictures and I’d love it if you shared with your friends!

If you want to paint more chalkboards, check out this HUGE wall chalkboard I painted and framed out in our hallway. It’s a fun place for the kids to draw, or for me to make a menu or command center. I also have some cute Christmas chalkboards I painted as gifts. And then one of my favorite chalk painted projects is this cute heart-shaped chalkboard box for a couple’s gender-reveal party. It’s a fun idea and I’m sure you can come up with clever ways to paint with chalkboard paint!

Much love,


For more chalk-painting ideas – check out my chalkboard paint home decor slide show! 

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  1. Lisa
    August 19, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    I am so glad I read this because I have one of the “ugly” art prints in a stunning frame just begging to become a chalkboard. I didn’t realize I could just sand the print. Boom, thank you!



  2. Amy
    August 23, 2015 at 12:32 am

    So, I painted a gold, gaudy, plastic picture frame with red chalk paint. When sanding it, I realized it’s starting to take off the gold layer underneath it and is now showing white. Is there any way I can still give it that look without taking it off, by brushing a gold onto it, or maybe a glaze to correct spots that now have no color? Any recommendations?

  3. Barbara
    August 23, 2015 at 5:22 am

    Amy you can get that look by repainting the white areas then distress with the gold by lightly dry brushing gold paint or gold leaf over the raised areas. using your fingertips or qtip

  4. Barbara
    August 23, 2015 at 5:39 am

    Amy you can get that look by repainting the white areas then distress with the gold by lightly dry brushing gold paint or gold leaf over the raised areas. with a thin dry brush. Dip ends in paint and brush most of it off onto as paper towel, or use your fingertips or a qtip to apply it to raised areas of frame.

  5. Lory Day
    Lory Day
    September 21, 2015 at 12:25 am

    Try using gold leaf. I am sure it will look awesome!!

  6. Teresa
    March 18, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    I have been planning to do a chalkboard, so your post was encouraging and informative! Thank you for sharing it with us!

  7. 7 Ridiculously Awesome Recycled Art Projects
    April 1, 2016 at 8:14 am

    […] Check out local yard sales or thrift stores for a piece of second hand art with an ornate frame and you’ll be one step closer to revamping it into a cool chalkboard complete with a little built-in chalk holder. This crafter paints directly over the canvas art with black chalk paint and then, after curing, protects the interior in order to paint the perimeter. She used spray paint, but you can spend a few more minutes hand-painting the frame with a non-toxic version instead. Check out her full tutorial here. […]

  8. KerriD
    June 2, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    Rub and buff would work good on that, too. 🙂

  9. Alex
    June 27, 2016 at 7:08 am

    So my grandmother had this picture on her dining room wall when I was a little girl, and although I do agree it’s not my cup of tea, it was someone’s cup of tea, so I wouldn’t call it ugly… (Or maybe this is my sad moment bc my grandmother was my best friend ) 🙁
    Anyway, the picture is worth $13,766.

  10. Susan
    August 25, 2016 at 1:11 am

    Love it Jennifer. I make chalkboards all the time and I love your chalk holder idea 🙂

  11. Delane Duncan
    Delane Duncan
    August 25, 2016 at 2:29 am

    I have a frame I would like to turn into a chalkboard but it has no print….is there something I can use for the chalkboard or is that just too much trouble….cause it would have to probably be cut then also attached. ?

  12. DIY Teacher Gift that ensures a passing grade
    November 1, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    […] you liked this post, you will love to learn how to repurpose an art frame into a chalkboard – it makes a great gift! I also have more of my teacher gift paint pails […]

  13. Christmas Joy Chalkboard Sign | The Magic Brush
    November 4, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    […] always try to do something fun with my chalkholders. You can see some other examples on this post.  For this project I bought these Christmas clothespins at Hobby Lobby. They make great chalk […]

  14. Sarena
    February 18, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    Do the picture frames always have to be glass for the chalk oars part? Or will painted canvas work too?

  15. Rana
    May 31, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Hi… I’m curious to find out what this picture is called? Any ideas?

  16. Su
    January 18, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    That’s a strange and odd number for painting value. But your post does point out that one should perhaps check potential value of old painting before trashing it with chalk paint.

  17. Holly Williams
    Holly Williams
    July 23, 2019 at 9:54 am

    Am I looking for canvas to paint chalk board paint on or just a print. Thanks!

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