With a large, open wall space between the kitchen and dining room, I had a vision of a large (2′ x 5′) blackboard on which to write notes, the week’s dinners, to-do lists, etc. But I also wanted it to be a magnetic board. I had my heart set on it. After fruitlessly looking online and in stores, I decided to make my own. I had a vague idea how others did it (paint sheet metal with chalkboard paint), but I wasn’t sure how to finish it with a frame. No matter! I started the project without a finalized plan when I found a pre-cut piece of galvanized sheet metal at our local hardware store. It wasn’t the exact size I wanted, but at 2′ x 4′ and no cutting involved, I was willing to adapt. There were a few options of sheet metal in the store, and since I hadn’t thought to bring a magnet, I wandered down to the kitchen aisle and grabbed magnets to make sure they stuck.
Since it was metal, I used Rustoleum clean metal primer to help the chalkboard paint stick, and used Rustoleum Blackboard paint (in the aerosol spray can). One coat of primer, two coats of chalkboard paint. Tip #1: find a way to keep dust and leaves from blowing into the wet paint when you’re doing this in the garage. (Ahem.)
In my fantasies about this magnetic blackboard, I had envisioned classic chalkboard lines, used in elementary schools (except our son’s, which uses much less interesting printing lines) at the bottom for the kids to practice their printing. Using blue painter’s tape, I taped out the lines and painted them with some white paint we had lying around the garage. Tip #2: For the love of all things holy, use spray paint for this task. I ended up redoing most of the lines because blue tape stinks and paint seeped under.
I drilled holes into the corners of the metal, and mounted it to the wall with drywall anchors and screws. And there it sat for a while. No pre-fab frame comes in 24″ x 48″ (and the frame shop wanted over $300 without glass!), so I purchased wall trim, a saw, and a miter corner box and made my own! I used wood fasteners at the corners, but then just nailed it directly to the wall (having made the frame with only 1/2 inch overlap on the metal).
The board is far from perfect, but I like it!