This month’s project is perfect for a family area, kid’s bedroom or filling any empty space on a wall OR floor! I helped teenager Madeleine make a magnet board to hang some family photos, magazine clippings, etc and a leaning chalkboard to doodle and keep reminders for herself. (I probably need a reminder keeper, too, come to think of it!)
Materials needed for magnet board:
- sheet metal (comes in 3ft x 2ft panels)
- decorative trim, about 12 feet
- thick gloves
- tape measure
- 2 ft level
- construction adhesive, or multi-surface glue
- painter’s tape
- putty knife
- 2 inch finish nails
- dish detergent and rag
- painter’s putty
- roller and tray
- latex paint
Materials, in addition to some above, needed for leaning chalkboard:
- smaller decorative trim
- MDF cut to size at home center
- chalkboard paint
We first started with the magnet board. Since we already had the sheet metal size determined by what’s available at the store, we measured where we were going to hang it so it’d be centered. It turned out to be the perfect size for the space in Madeleine’s room. We used the tape measure, pencil, and level to mark where the metal would go, drawing a complete box.
Then we applied our construction adhesive (or glue rated for metal) to the back of the sheet metal, put on our gloves and set it inside the box we just drew on the wall. We held the metal in place while Stephanie applied some painter’s tape on the 4 corners to keep it intact while the adhesive dried.
Once the tape was in place, we rubbed/patted/smoothed the metal to make sure the glue was making good contact. While the glue was drying, we cut some simple baseboard to size, with 45 degree angles on each end of each piece to create the frame.
With the adhesive dry, we were safe to remove the painter’s tape and clean the metal. *This step is important for proper paint adhesion!* Since it comes from the store with an oil glaze on it, you’ll want to remove it before painting using a mild dish detergent or anything with degreasing properties. You could say, clean metal is happy metal. Ha!
Now we’re ready to paint! Of course, we have to prime it first. We used a water-based primer since it makes cleanup much easier! And luckily, primer doesn’t take too long to dry. So soon we were ready for some color!
Maddy wanted to go with 4 squares in 2 different turquoise colors, so we first applied the lighter of the 2 shades on the entire metal surface. A little bit more drying time, and then it was time to figure out the squares!
We marked the center of the horizontal and vertical sides. Then we applied a piece of painter’s tape the entire length on one side of the center line, both horizontally and vertically. Next remove the tape on the horizontal line that overlaps the square you’re going to paint. In this case, it was the lower right quadrant. Do the same for the half of the vertical line (this was the upper left corner for us). Also watch the video for a good visual aid!
Once you have the tape where you like it, “burnish” it by rubbing a putty knife down and across to make sure no paint seeps under it and ruins your lines!
After “burnishing down the tape”, as I like to say, you’re ready to paint your second color. While the second color was drying, we cut some simple baseboard to size, with 45 degree angles on each end of each piece to create the frame. We nailed it along the edge of the sheet metal to really finish it up! Use the nails to get your nail heads below the surface of the trim and fill the holes with painter’s putty. Sand any lumps in the putty down before painting the trim to match your room’s crown molding, baseboard, doors, etc.
OK, if all you want to make is a magnetic board, then you’re done!
If you want to make a leaning chalkboard…read on…
I love the look of an oversized chalkboard leaning against the wall. Since Maddy had a cubby organizer against the wall already, we decided to set the chalkboard on top of it and then lean it against the wall. The dimensions of the one we made are 4 feet by 2 feet. If it was going straight on the floor, I’d want it to be 5 feet tall instead.
They sell MDF in precut 4ft x 2ft sheets at the home center. If you’re going with something larger, you’ll need to buy a 4ft x 8ft sheet and have them cut it size before you leave the store. For most stores, 2 cuts are free!
Once you have your MDF at home, prime the “front”. We used the same water-based primer as the magnet board, but if you’re buying primer just for this project, you may want to get a gray primer. It’ll make it easier for the black chalkboard paint to cover than the white primer.
After letting the primer dry, paint the first coat of chalkboard paint. This paint is available in black or can be tinted to 12 or so different colors. Check the label of the can before you leave the store to make sure you have the one you want! They look very similar.
Following the directions on the can, we waited a few hours before applying a second coat. Then we cut our smaller cap molding trim to size with 45 degree angles on the ends of each of the 4 pieces just like the “frame” for the magnet board. Instead of nailing it to the wall, though, we nailed it from the side of the trim into the side of the MDF.
The worst part of the whole process is waiting 3 DAYS (!) for the paint to cure before you can use the bad boy! After the wait is over, season the board by rubbing chalk over the entire surface before wiping away and drawing until your heart’s content.
If you draw on it sooner, the chalk won’t be able to be wiped away as easily and will leave more permanent doodles than you probably intend.
And there you have it! Two easy projects to give you a space for a creative outlet! I can see a magnet board turned sideways on the back of a pantry door to keep clips of recipes, grocery lists, etc.! Where would you put a magnet or chalkboard in your house? They’re for more than just classrooms nowadays! Have a great February!
Thanks for Checking In! ~Chelsea