chalkboard door: from builder grade to a+

Chalkboard Door DIY From Foam Core Board and Chalkboard Paint
I don’t know about you, but my home is littered with these cheap, hollow, faux wood manufactured doors – including the basement access door in our kitchen.
What I really coveted in the kitchen was this:
Country Living

These doors can range anywhere from $400 to upwards of a few thousand.  Way beyond my budget.  Not to mention the additional costs for hardware and installation (hanging a new door is not an easy DIY, especially when your home’s foundation was constructed in the late 19th century).
So I put on my thinking cap and came up with an idea to turn our builder grade door into something both beautiful and practical – for a mere $30.00.
I started by gathering my supplies:
I had most of these on-hand.  I only needed to purchase the chalkboard paint (from JoAnn’s for $5.00); the black foam core (from Office Depot for $10.00 for a two 30” x 40” boards); and the 1 3/8” x 3/8” trim (from the Home Depot for $.79/foot).  Total:  $30.00.
The foam core worked perfectly as the blackboard base because it’s substantial … yet lightweight … yet not too thick … that when framed out with trim would make the panels look recessed.
Step 1:  Use the X-Acto knife to cut your foam core to size.  I used a yardstick to keep the line straight.
Step 2:  Apply two coats of the chalkboard paint to the foam core panels.  (Unfortunately, since they’re porous, the foam core started to curve upwards at the edges. I needed a perfectly flat surface so I let the paint dry completely for a full day, turned over the panels and put a coat of chalkboard paint on the back side.  By the next day, the panels were perfectly flat).
Step 3:  Use the miter box to cut the trim pieces. I used simple joint corners:
Step 4:  Give the trim two coats of paint that matches your door. (I used Benjamin Moore white semi-gloss)
Step 5:  Apply the power grip to the back of the foam core chalkboards and attach to the door.  Use your level to make sure they are, well, level.  Hold in place for 3-to-5 minutes to make sure contact is made.  If you use painter’s tape to hold the foam core chalkboard in place it may damage your chalkboard like this:
Step 5:  Apply the Power Grip to your trim pieces and affix to the door.  Use painter’s tape to hold in place while it dries.  Just be sure not to attach the painters tape to the foam core board.
Step 6:  Caulk along the outside edge and corners and touch up with the semi-gloss
In the end you’ll turn a previously boring door into something both beautiful and functional.
I loved it so much that I re-created it on the powder room door.  
If you like my chalkboard door, I hope you’ll “like” it at the end of the post (the button is just after the LABELS).

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  1. says

    I bought a nice big frame from a thrift store and was wanting to put a chalkboard in it, but wasn’t sure what to use. I bet the foam core would work well!

  2. says

    Okay, I was thinking about this some more, how stable are the foam core pieces for the pressure of handwriting and drawings? Just wondering. I just love this project and wondering were I can put it in my home!!

    Thank you so much for linking up to Strictly Homemade Tuesday and please come back this week and link up your newest project, as well as enter my Shabby Apple Necklace Giveaway!

  3. says

    Maridith (and Pip) — You might want to consider Masonite. It’s sturdier and still light weight, but not so porous. My kids are older, so I wasn’t worried about too much abuse. In fact, I’m the one in charge of chalkboard door posts!

    Linda @ it all started with paint

    (And now I need to figure out how to change Blogger settings so that I can comment on your comments as a reply)

  4. says

    Thanks, Linda. I was originally thinking of canvas board, but I’ll go peruse the lumber store and see what they come up with!
    I found some foam core the other day and it seemed like it would be great if it has a solid backing (like a door) but not if it’s not quite against the wall (hanging in frame)

  5. says

    I’ve really enjoyed reading this post and appreciated all the photographs you gave us as well. Your chalkboard turned out great…I think it looks as good if not better than your inspiration. Thank you for sharing!

  6. says

    I think your doors are AMAZING! Off to pin them!)

    I have a blackboard project in the first stages of planning. Meaning, I’ve done pretty much nothing.

    I have a huge vintage oil painting that I want to make into a huge blackboard surrounded by its vintage frame.

    First, I was thinking of priming and panting on the canvas. I’m afraid that the original oil paint might flak off…

    Next, I thought I might have a piece of plywood cut at Home Depot. Then paint that…

    After reading your post, and finding out there was such a thing as BLACK foam core??, I’m thinking I might measure the frame and see if the foam core might work.

    Are you happy with how the foam core is holding up to the blackboard paint?
    ~ Dana

  7. says

    Just seeing this post for the first time now…really clever. My house is FILLED with those doors. You’ve got my brain going…not that I have time to do anything with those ideas right now. Still working on the dang front door. That thing will be the death of me! :-)

  8. Cindy says

    This is a wonderful idea! i can t wait to go get my supplies and get started on my chalkboard doors!!!! Thanks for the ideas :)


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