Friday, February 11, 2011

How I Made My Distressed Chalkboard Frame

Ages and ages ago (or you know, a few months ago -- ages in blog world) I promised to share my technique for achieving the cute finish on my kitchen chalkboard frame, seen here in all its closeup glory:

When my sister was visiting last weekend she decided she wanted her own chalkboard, so after a bit of fake grumbling I made one for her. I did it in one day, so it's a pretty basic little project.

First we went and got a large frame from a local thrift store for $2. (It was $5 but I talked 'em down on account of a loose miter joint that needed some love. Thrift stores are like garage sales, for sure)

I painted it with several coats of a color I stumbled across at Michael's a while ago, Krylon's Catalina Mist. Brilliant stumble, Anna.  

Here's a closeup of the painted frame on my fancy shmancy cereal box countertop protector:

Catalina Mist is a lovely aqua shade. I'm always happy when I find spray paint that comes in nice colors since the selection is so limited.

Next, I distressed the frame with a fine sanding block I keep around for just such an occasion. My distressing philosphies? Less is more and keep it random.  Now I'm no expert in distressing -- heck, I rarely use this technique. There are tons of great tutorials out there in blogland, so I'm just going to give you a brief rundown.

Like I said, I use a worn out sanding block with a very fine grit. Just sand the areas that would naturally receieve most of the wear. The frame's outside corners received the largest amount of attention, then I lightly rubbed the sanding block along the entire front of the frame to gently rough up the detailed design and make it look less "I-just-painted-this-with-a-can-of-Krylon".

When I distress I do it slowly and hop around the frame (or other piece), examining the overall project constantly, and doing my best to maintain a random and natural look. Start sanding too much or too symmetrically and you might as well stamp "Faux Distressing Done By Anna" right on the front of your frame (in my opinion).

After all that, you'd think I'd have a better picture.


(You can also get a look at my technique by scrolling to the top of this post and the photo of my turquoise chalkboard frame)

After distressing, I wipe on a glaze with a foam brush, making sure to get it in all the frame's details. I let it sit for a few minutes until it starts to dry, and then wipe it off with baby wipes. Letting it dry just a bit allows more of the glaze to stay in the details of your piece rather than just being wiped off.

Glaze is another subjective thing -- you want to be happy with the finished look, so leave as much or as little glaze on the piece as you choose. If you look at it and it makes you want to dance a jig, or eat a doughnut, or kiss your husband, then I'd say you're good.

My sister bought a small piece of 1/2" MDF from The Home Depot for around $5 and had it cut to fit the frame, then I painted it with chalkboard paint while she attempted to beat my awesome Unblock Me skills. She's a cheater, by the way.

Nope, no picture of the chalkboard paint either. This post is about the frame, after all.

Let it dry and stick the chalkboard into the frame... then hang and enjoy!

{This spot will eventually have a photo of the finished product when my sweet and lovely (cheater) sister remembers to get it to me. Hey Buff, I'm talkin' to you! XOXO}

UPDATE: Here's the finished product, complete with a snarky Unblock Me-related message from my sister:

My answer? I'm not telling. The game is on my husband's phone so I rarely get to play it, and somebody whose name rhymes with "shmy shmister" should get back to work! Cheater!

Here's another photo of the board complete with imaginative menu-related drawings:

Thanks to Craft Gossip for featuring this project!

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  1. I am NOT a cheater! I just took advantage of your down time to catch up.

    And yes, I did space it the photo out again, but I PROMISE I will do it this morning. Thank you, sweet sis o' mine for this lovely piece!!

  2. OoH! This is FANTASTIC! Thanks for sharing! I love Krylon's Ocean hue also -- this one might have to find it's way into my shopping cart soon!

    Don't be jealous of my stores... I have to drive 2.5 hours to get to them!!!! =) and staying overnight is not an option! hehe it's quite the road trip <3

    your weekend actually sounds lovely! I don't have little ones yet but i'm looking forward to movie marathons with my future rugrats for sure =)

    Have a fantabulous weekend Anna!

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  3. That is gorgeous! I wish I could be that creative...

  4. "shmy shmister"?

    Whatever, dorkus malorkus.

    Still, it's lovely, and I am excited to have a menu board that isn't a recycled piece of paper being held by a magnet on my fridge. Thank you!

    (I am da winner at Unblock Me! La la la!)

  5. great set of instructions. You're just too funny. I like the part about dancing a jig. I can relate. I also appreciate that you identified the specific kind of paint and color that you used. Helps with perspective when considering a lighter or darker shade. Excellent post - thanks so much for sharing :)

  6. This is GORGEOUS! So glad you came over to 4tunate today so I could find you. Love this space, and thankful for your encouragement today!

  7. Hi there! I just found you through Peas and Crayons and am your newest follower!!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE your frame! I'm all about that blue color. Bring on spring!

  8. REALLY pretty! I love fun spray paint colors too. I pretty much a chalk-board-a-holic at the moment so this post is right up my alley. Just popping in from the TT&J party :)

  9. I've put together a round up of wall art projects on Craft Gossip today and included your project. :) You can see it here

    If you would like to share the Craft Gossip love and show your visitors you've been featured, you can grab a button here!

  10. Thanks for the great tutorial! I just recently stumbled upon that same fabulous color at Hobby Lobby and am still congratulating myself! :) I have become quite addicted to spray painting any old decor that I have stashed in my basement and appreciate your tip on letting the glaze dry just a bit before wiping off! :)

  11. I love it, Anna! Both yours and the one you did for your sister. I'll have to look for that color ~ I love how it looks glazed.

  12. Beautifully done, looove the color! Thanks so much for sharing this with us! I use my chalkboard door all the time! Debbie @ Cottage Hann~Me~Downs

  13. I absolutely love this. I love the frame and the color. You did such a great job!

  14. The frame came out great, thanks for the great tutorial. However,I just wanted to say, I love the menu and the little pics that go with it. Since I am a single, empty nester, any nightly cooking impresses me and you have PICTURES too, you totally rock!

  15. Gorgeous frame - turned out wonderfully! So glad I found you today through The Lettered Cottage's linky party.

    Have a great week :O)

  16. Looks great! I just found an awesome frame in someone's trash and I'm going to do this! Do you just glue the MDF into the frame?

  17. Love this! What color/brand is the glaze you used? I just did a similar chalkboard, painting the glass from an outdated picture, and it broke as I was putting it back in the frame. Will use your idea to have a piece cut to fit. Problem solved!

  18. I also would like to know what "glaze" you use. I wasn't sure what I was looking for at Hobby Lobby today. I got the rest of the supplies!


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