When you make this chalkboard out of 8 inch squares, you have all the versatility you want to make the chalkboard large or keep it small!
With all of us having such busy schedules; it is a must to have a “command center” where notes and messages can be kept so that everyone can see. This expandable chalk board is perfect for that, it is large enough to keep all your family reminders and notes handing and once filled with kid’s sketches and notes, it becomes its on work of art. Follow these simple instructions below and you and your kids or grandkids can knock one out in an afternoon.
- ¾ inch plywood, paint grade for backer board
- ½ inch birch plywood, for front squares
- Circular Saw and clamps
- Table saw
- 220 grit sand paper
- Chalk Board Paint
- Roller tray and 3 inch roller cover
- Construction adhesive and caulk gun
- Brick mold trim (32 inches)
- Picture hangers (2)
1. Using ¾ inch plywood (this will be a strong backing material and will not bend or warp once the front blocks are installed) cut the plywood back board to size using a circular saw. The backboard measures 32 inches by 48 ½ inches.
I always use a guide to make the cut; this gives you a nice straight cut. Clamp the guide to the board using quick release clamps.
I use a 1 x 2 inch board for my guide. Remember to cut the good side of the plywood facing down.
2. Using ½” birch plywood cut the front squares to size using the table saw set so the squares are 8 x 8 inches. It will take 24 squares to fill in the back board, 4 across and 6 down.
If you don’t have a table saw you can use a circular saw, just make sure to use a guide to make the cuts, all the edges need to be as straight as possible so that front board will butt together once placed on the back board.
3. Sand all the edges smooth using 220 grit sand paper and remove all the dust using a tack cloth or a damp towel.
4. Paint the front squares using chalkboard paint (comes in several colors and some brands can be tinted to your color choice). Using a small roller and paint tray makes this job a snap, you will need to apply several coats. Allow paint to dry between coats.
5. Using construction adhesive or project adhesive (Liquid Nails) apply a bead of glue to the back of each front square and starting at the edge of the back board, attach each square into position working across (4 across) and then down (6 down) until you fill in the entire back board.
Gently move the square back and forth working the glue into the back board to set the front piece into position. When gluing stay away from the edge so that glue doesn’t ooze onto the front face of the board, this could ruin the chalk board paint, and the glue is very difficult to remove.
6. To add a tray at the bottom, use a piece of brick mold and cut a rabbit along the back edge using a router. Cut the brick mold to 32 inches to run along the bottom of the chalkboard. Attach from behind using 2 ½ inch screws. Drill pilot holes from the back and attach. I did run a bead of glue along the tray before securing with the screws to ensure the tray was attached nice and strong.
7. Use 2 heavy duty picture hanging hooks on the back of the front panel to hang the piece.
This is a perfect project to get the kids involved. Teach them tool safety and how to work in the shop. They can watch you do all the cutting (with safety glasses and ear protection) and then they can help paint and glue up the squares.
Have fun with this great family project.