From Dumpster to Home Office: DIY Chalkboard Easel

21 Aug

My son and I found this weathered and worn easel on the curb of a neighbor’s house. They had put it out for the trash pick-up. My sweet little guy has compassion for discarded furniture (wonder where he gets that from), and asked if we could rescue the piece. He envisioned transforming it into a chalkboard to practice writing his letters.

As you can see in the before pics, the easel had been sitting outside for a long, long time. The wood had mildew in some places and the whole thing was d-i-r-t-y.

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I used Windex to clean it, filled in some of the cracks with caulk, and sanded away. My l’il guy helped every step of the way.

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Windex works great on removing dirt and grime from wood, and the drying time is super short.

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I then taped off the whiteboard surface. I knew I’d be transforming it into a chalkboard, and wanted to keep it free from any primer grit.

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I typically use small, square bricks wrapped in wax paper as furniture risers. They’re sturdy, re-usable, and paint doesn’t stick to the wax paper.

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Next step: primer! I used a stain-blocking formula to seal the wood well, as it had been subject to so much outdoor abuse.

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I chose Dover White by Krylon in a Satin Finish for the paint color. Soooo pretty and buttery smooth.

Chalkboard Easel

I followed it up with some furniture wax to seal the paint and protect the easel from dings and scratches. The SC Johnson wax is easy to use, creates a beautiful, satiny sheen, and is super cheap. It’s available at most home improvement stores.

A word of caution: the fumes are strong, so it’s best to apply the wax outside or in a well-ventilated area.

SC Johnson Wax

I taped off the whiteboard with FrogTape (my favorite), and used chalkboard paint to transform the surface. Chalkboard paint goes a long way, and is easy to work with. I’ve been using the same small bottle of it for more than a year, and have transformed lots of pieces into chalkboard surfaces. I always follow the instructions exactly, and it turns out perfectly every time.

For a full tutorial on creating chalkboard surfaces, click here.

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The finished product is clean and smooth.

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For the back of the board, I selected a remnant piece of fabric from my stash, cut it to retain a small amount of overlap, and attached it to the back of the chalkboard with some spray adhesive.

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Lastly, I used a razor edge to trim the excess fabric for clean, smooth lines. Unfortunately, my razor was a little dull, so the fabric snagged and pulled in one corner. It doesn’t bug me enough to do anything about it.

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We’re both happy with how it turned out, and since I already had all of the supplies, and the easel was free, there was no cost for materials. It was a fun little project for my son and I to complete together.

He enjoyed taking part in the transformation, and loves practicing his letters on his very own DIY chalkboard!

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4 Responses to “From Dumpster to Home Office: DIY Chalkboard Easel”

  1. Gram August 22, 2015 at 10:51 am #

    It looks brand spanking new. Good job by you and your son.

    • mbolke August 22, 2015 at 10:52 am #

      Thank you so much!

  2. Scurry August 23, 2015 at 6:41 pm #

    You simply amaze me on your patience, talent, and attention to detail!!! So cool!!!

    • mbolke August 23, 2015 at 7:52 pm #

      Such a lovely comment! Thank you!

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