How To Refinish An Old Picture Frame And Turn It Into A Fun Chalkboard

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I never appreciated it before, but I’m now finding that my parents’ garage, a hoarder’s dream that’s filled with so much stuff that there’s no room left for the car. While I’m not so into collecting so much, I have to admit it’s a treasure trove. Not only did I find the ugly picture frame, but buried deep within the hoard was a fabulously detailed carved salvaged door. I never thought my mouth would water by the sight of a door. It is so beautifully carved and has a small glass viewing window covered with a little metal cage frame that has a perfectly aged finish. The wood is covered in a beautifully weathered crackled finish. Unfortunately, half of that naturally worn finish has been sanded off. I think it would have make the perfect eclectic interior door just the way it was. Now I have no choice but to finish sanding and refinishing it. I’m thinking some kind of faux antique finish. Exactly what I’ll do is still TBD, but feel free to give suggestions! Anyway, my point of all this rambling is that I got a free picture frame. :-) Also, I had most of the other supplies on hand.

My materials:
1. Really ugly picture frame from mom’s garage (Free!)
2. Rust-Oleum 206540 Chalkboard Brush-On, Black, 30-Ounce
3. Foam brush
4. Small art paint brush
5. 2 oz Folkart craft paints in Aqua, Patina, and Metallic Gold ($1.77 each at Walmart)
6. Petroleum Jelly
7. 220-Grit Sandpaper
8. Paper towels




On my shabby chic furniture makeover project I used a spray chalkboard paint. This time I wanted to see the difference between using the spray and using the brush-on paint, so I purchased the brush-on kind and I used the glass that came with the frame for the board. Here’s what it looked like before starting….

Chalkboard Before

Not pretty, eh? But that was about to change. Here’s how I made the transformation…

Step 1: Remove the glass from the frame and clean off any debris from each.


Step 2: I used the foam brush to apply the chalkboard paint to the glass–four coats. That’s right I painted right on the glass! No need to cut anything down to size. It’s all right there for you. Just use the glass the frame comes with. It works perfect.

My foam brush did leave some brush marks so I sanded lightly in between coats (don’t sand final coat) and that fixed it.


Step 3: I used an art brush to apply two coats of the gold paint. The little brush worked well to get the paint into all the little crevices. This paint went on really smooth, like spreading warm butter. Pretty nice. I let the paint dry about two hours between coats.


I was pretty impressed with how the gold paint turned out that I was tempted to keep it this way. But at the same time I wanted to see how the blue shades would look so I figured if I didn’t like the blue then I could always repaint gold. That’s the beauty of these kind of projects. If you don’t like the result, you can always re-do it.

Step 4: Use your finger to wipe on the petroleum jelly on the areas where you’d like to see the gold come through the final coat.

Step 5: Paint final coat. I wanted a teal color for the final finish, but couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for so I mixed the Patina and Aqua colors at a 2:1 ratio, respectively, and used the art brush to apply a single coat. Then I applied random brush strokes of the Patina color to give the finish some depth.


Step 6: Once dry, use a paper towel to rub off the areas where the petroleum jelly was applied. The beauty here is that it comes right off leaving a lovely aged look.


Here’s a close-up. You can see the lighter Patina color brush strokes.


Step 7: Mount the chalkboard back onto the frame and there you have it!



When making a chalkboard, you’re supposed to “prime” the newly painted surface before writing on it. This is because chalk board paint is porous and if you write on an unprimed surface, the chalk dusts get trapped in the pours and you’ll end up with “ghosts” of your writing even after you’ve erased. To avoid this, simply run the side of a piece of chalk over the entire chalk board. This will fill the porous holes. Then you can erase and start using your brand new DIY chalk board.

Once again, the before and after pics…

Chalkboard Before


Easy! Now get some chalk and start writing.


~ Jenise

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23 Comments on How To Refinish An Old Picture Frame And Turn It Into A Fun Chalkboard

  1. Trish
    April 28, 2014 at 12:12 am (6 years ago)

    This is super cute.

    • Jenise
      April 28, 2014 at 12:52 am (6 years ago)

      Thank you much Trish!

  2. Julie
    May 1, 2014 at 3:41 am (6 years ago)

    What a beautiful effect and total transformation. I love the chalk board inside too. Lovely idea.

    • Jenise
      May 1, 2014 at 10:42 am (6 years ago)

      Thank you so much Julie! It was a fun project to make.

  3. [email protected] Interior Frugalista
    May 1, 2014 at 12:45 pm (6 years ago)

    Hi Jenise (love your name by the way), I’m visiting from the Project Pin It Party. Your framed chalkboard is great – love the colors. I’ve made a few of these but never thought to paint the chalkboard paint on the glass! I’ve always removed the glass and replaced it with a piece of thin press board. I must try this sometime because it would safe loads of time!

    • Jenise
      May 1, 2014 at 12:58 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks so much Marie! I’m glad you like it. Yeah, I thought I’d give the glass a try. Wasn’t sure if it would be too fragile. I figured if it was then I’d try something different, but it ended up working out great.

  4. Ginnie
    May 1, 2014 at 1:26 pm (6 years ago)

    This turned out so great! I love the spots of gold – gorgeous!

    • Jenise
      May 1, 2014 at 10:10 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you, Ginnie! I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. :-)

  5. AnnMarie
    May 1, 2014 at 8:10 pm (6 years ago)

    Love your color on the frame! I just did this for my kitchen. I used two different sage green glazes and just brushed and wiped till I got the effect I wanted. Love yours!!

    • Jenise
      May 1, 2014 at 10:27 pm (6 years ago)

      Hi AnnMarie, Thank you! I’m pretty happy with the color. I was torn on whether or not to antique the finish with a dark glaze, so I held back because I haven’t used glazes yet so I’m a little nervous that I might not like it. But still might do it (I go back & forth). I’d love to see how yours turned out! Feel free to send a pic anytime ([email protected]).

  6. Jennifer
    May 2, 2014 at 7:37 pm (6 years ago)

    So cute! I can’ t wait to try this.

    • Jenise
      May 2, 2014 at 10:09 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you, Jennifer!

  7. Jodee Weiland
    May 2, 2014 at 9:35 pm (6 years ago)

    This is such a great idea and so useful with busy families always on the go! Thanks for sharing!

    • Jenise
      May 2, 2014 at 10:09 pm (6 years ago)

      You are welcome Jodee. I’m glad you like it!!

  8. Carmody
    May 5, 2014 at 9:59 am (6 years ago)

    This frame turned out so lovely!

    • Jenise
      May 5, 2014 at 12:40 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you Carmody! I’m pretty happy with it. :-)

  9. Cindy @MomMaven
    May 6, 2014 at 9:31 am (6 years ago)

    I wanted to make chalkboards from picture frames for my son’s wedding. i don’t want the distressed look, but thanks for the tutorial.

    • Jenise
      May 6, 2014 at 11:01 am (6 years ago)

      You’re welcome Cindy. :-)

  10. Jann Olson
    May 6, 2014 at 9:24 pm (6 years ago)

    My friend did this and it really is a cute idea, Love the color you chose! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

    • Jenise
      May 6, 2014 at 11:49 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you Jann. And thank you for hosting!

    • Jenise
      May 10, 2014 at 11:23 pm (6 years ago)

      Thanks so much Kelly. It turned out fantastic! Just shared in on my Facebook page. Thanks so much for sharing with me! ~Jenise

  11. [email protected] in Pyjamas
    May 13, 2014 at 4:51 am (6 years ago)

    That’s a great idea and I great way to note things down that need to be done. Thanks for linking up to Sweet and Savoury Sunday, stop by and link up again. Have a great day!!


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