In this post I am sharing how to make your own magnetic chalkboard.
When I started designing our daughter’s playroom I came across an image of these large house-shaped chalkboards. We had the perfect spot for one and it was a great way to fill the empty space with a decorative and practical wall decor piece.
Our girl already loved playing with the magnets on our fridge so I knew it would be a hit. The only thing was they were so expensive and I knew this was something we could take on ourselves. In this post, I am sharing a detailed step-by-step on how we created our own DIY magnetic chalkboard house and how you can too.
Related: Neutral Minimalist Playroom
DIY Magnetic Chalkboard House
Our DIY magnetic chalkboard house’s overall dimensions are 60” x 36”. I have created a detailed drawing with all our dimensions. You can download the drawings HERE by signing up for my newsletter.
4’x 8’ Plywood Sheet (Qty: 1)
1 x 2 x 8 Furring Strip Board (Qty: 3)
Chalkboard Paint (Qty: 1)
Rust-Oleum Flat White Paint Primer (Qty: 1)
Hanging Hooks Kit (Qty:1)
To make your Chalkboard Magnetic:
36″ x 48″ Sheet Metal Stock (Qty: 1)
Construction Adhesive (Qty: 1)
Step One: Cutting the House Shaped Board
Once you have all your materials the first step is to create the house-shaped plywood board.
For the size chalkboard that we did, the plywood board was larger than we needed. We had our local home depot cut it for us leaving a couple of extra inches on all sides, then our final size.
Most local hardware stores offer this service. This makes it easier to manage taking it home and to make the final cuts. The reason I recommend leaving extra inches is that they oftentimes don’t give you a perfectly straight cut. You will want to do the final cuts at home with a circular saw. Don’t forget to take your scrap pieces home with you, for future projects.
When you have the plywood at home, measure the board to your desired house dimensions and mark where you are going to make the cuts.
Our chalkboard’s overall dimensions are 60” x 36”. I have created a detail drawing that shows the exact, measurements of our house including the angles. You can download the drawings HERE.
Using your circular saw, cut the board into a house shape.
Now that you have your house-shaped board take your hand sander and sand the entire piece of wood with 80-150 grit sandpaper. Be sure to sand down any sharp edges as well.
Step Two: How to Make Plywood Magnetic
* follow this step if you are making your chalkboard magnetic. Which I highly recommend 🙂 If not you can skip to step three.
In order to make your chalkboard magnetic, you can use sheet metal. They do sell magnetic paint, but after reading through a ton of reviews it sounds like it doesn’t work well. So we went with a 36-inch by 48-inch piece of sheet metal.
The first step is to measure your cuts for your sheet metal. We decided to do a very oversized chalkboard. Because of this, we were unable to find an affordable piece of sheet metal to cover the entire house shape. We were however able to cover the rectangular portion of the house. Making the majority of the chalkboard magnetic. It stops right at the roofline and creates a clean almost non-visible line in the most practical location.
To cut our sheet metal we used a pair of tin snips. I would suggest wearing leather gloves or work gloves for this part of the project. Metal like this easily turns into a razor edge and you can easily get cut.
When the metal is cut to size, file all sharp edges or burrs smooth using the hand file. You will also want to lightly sand the back of the sheet metal with 80 grit sandpaper and the front of the sheet metal with 220 grit sandpaper. This step also requires caution to avoid getting cut.
Then we placed our sheet metal in place. We used clamps and weight to keep the metal in contact with the wood while it dried. Anything heavy will do, bricks, flower pots, Dutch ovens. After about 24 hours, the adhesive should be cured. Check for any spots of the sheet metal that is not in contact with the wood after drying. Re-glue any stubborn edges as needed.
Step Three: How to Apply Chalkboard Paint
Now that you have your plywood board cut and the sheet metal applied it is time to paint.
From here you will prime the board with Rust-oleum Painters Touch 2x Flat White Primer spray paint. This step is critical as this type of paint requires primer if you are applying it onto a wooden surface.
After your primer has dried you can begin painting using the Rust-Oleum Chalkboard paint. We used 3-4 layers of chalkboard paint. Be sure to sand in between each layer. By layering the paint and sanding in between you are creating a solid and durable chalkboard surface.
Step Four: Create a Frame Around House
To finish off our chalkboard house we created a frame using 1 x 2 Pine Furring Strips. You do this by cutting the strips to the size of the outside of your chalkboard. We made the cuts using a miter saw.
Be sure to measure the angles of your actual board to match the border pieces (see Joint Detail picture below). Your miter saw can be adjusted to match these angles. Sand all strips using 80, then 150, then 220 grit sandpaper. This will ensure a smooth wood surface.
We chose to leave the frame natural but you could also paint them if you would like.
Once all your pieces are cut to size use your nail gun or hammer and finish nails to attach the border strips to the chalkboard. Be sure not to nail through the top surface of the chalkboard when attaching the border.
Step Five: How to Hang/Install Chalkboard
Once your DIY magnetic chalkboard house is finished it is time to hang it on the wall.
We started by finding the studs in our wall, I highly recommend attaching the chalkboard to your studs as it is a heavier piece.
Using a stud finder, measure the distance between studs in your wall (normally 16-24” on center ). Using this distance, attach your hook hanging kit to the back of your chalkboard. Now that you have screws anchored into the studs, you can safely hang your chalkboard on the wall.
Since we have a curious toddler we also used command hanging strips to keep her from lifting it off the wall.