DIY Chalkboard Art Display Tutorial

We’re only a couple weeks into the school year, and Kendall’s pre-k artwork is already starting to pile up. So, today I made myself finish a project I’ve been envisioning for a long while.

It was silly easy to make, and I used some items we already had, like scrap wood leftover from our sub-floor install and a half-full can of chalkboard paint.

The full list of what you’ll need is:

Wood (Dimensions are up to you. Try to re-use or upcycle some!)
Chalkboard paint & painting supplies (cheap foam brush and an old sheet should work)
Binder clips (I got ours at Office Depot where they have quite a few bright, fun colors. Get enough to put one clip every 6 inches on the length of the board(s) you’re cutting.)
Gorilla Glue Fast Cure (Got ours at Lowes)
Black Sharpie 

1. Paint your piece of wood with the chalkboard paint. It will probably take 2 -3 thin coats, depending on if you primed or not.

2. Let the board dry, then lay out your supplies and grab a wet (but not soaking) rag. Per the Gorilla Glue instructions, you’ll have to use this to dampen the board and the back of the binder clip before applying the glue and adhering.

3. Using the yardstick as your guide, place your binder clips every 6 inches (meaning you line the left side of each clip up on the inch marker that is 6 inches from the left side of the last clip).

Note: I started 2 inches in and my last clip is 2 inches from the edge. The 6 inch distance between them allows you to hang one piece of paper vertically with just one or horizontally with 2. Play around and get them exactly how you want them.

4. Follow the directions on the Gorilla Glue to adhere the binder clips where you placed them. Keep using the yardstick as your guide so you can keep them all level.

5. You’ll see the directions of the Gorilla Glue tell you to clamp them down, but I couldn’t really figure out how to do this. Instead, I just took my time and held down each one for about 3-4 minutes before moving on to the next.

6. Be sure you don’t apply too much glue. It really only takes a little applied to the back (especially the raised surfaces) of the binder clip. The glue expands like a foam and dries white. If after it dries you find that the glue around the edges is noticeable, go back and color over it with a black Sharpie. Much easier and less messy than painting over it, and nobody’s going to be able to tell from a distance. I also used the Sharpie to color over the screw heads that we used to drill it into the wall.

7. Hang it up and then get creative with what you want to write on it. For now, both of these boards are for “Kendall’s Creations,” but as Leyna gets older and starts coloring, I’ll probably designate one board for each kid. The best part is all I have to do is wipe off the chalk and re-name it! I’m even thinking of changing it up and writing this quote on them:

Children will not remember you for the material things you provided, but for the feeling that you cherished them. – Richard L. Evans

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  1. Love this! I’m wanting to do an area in the Mouse’s room with the quote, ‘Every child is an artist.’ ~Pablo Picasso.

    This looks totally simple, like maybe I could do it without screwing it up, lol.

    • I think I’ve had the supplies for this for a year, at least. I painted this weekend, then put this tutorial on my blog calendar for today so I made myself finish it by lunch so I could blog it 🙂

  2. Another idea I read years ago, long before kids, was having a display of “Today’s Art” that would obviously get replaced daily or however often kid brings home new stuff. Then, if something is particularly good, it can be more permanently displayed.

    This accomplishes two things – your house does not get overrun with kid art and it actually fosters creativity in your kid. It’s important for an artist not to feel like every thing he does is a masterpiece, or needs to be a masterpiece. She needs to know some things will work better than others and that is just fine, just the way it is. It gives the artist more freedom to experiment and take chances, knowing that it’s fine if something doesn’t work out.

    It’s also common practice for an artist to do several studies of a subject – sketch after sketch after sketch of the same thing until he knows it well enough that he is ready to paint. And then sometimes she paints over that canvas and starts all over, anyway.

    Learning not everything is frame-worthy is one of the early steps to greater creativity.

    • I remember you telling me about that on Pinterest, and that was a motivating factor for me behind how this will work. Each time he comes home with art, we’ll see if any of those pieces can replace what’s already up there, and then the really great ones will come down eventually when they’re replaced by other really great ones and go in his memory boxes.

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  5. Aw, well, this is much better than what I did! I just took binder clips and attached them to the wall with thumbtacks. Yours looks much better than my randomness. I may have to go on a chalkboard paint and label spending spree…

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