Last month we took down our old barn. I had decided, coincidentally during the tear down, I wanted to make a chalk menu board for our wedding. While Andy took the barn down piece by piece I noticed an old double pane window, which was drafty and broken. It had a natural rustic look to it so I decided give it a new life.
Here is the simple “how to” turn an old window into a chalkboard. Even though this will eventually hang in my office, I’ve decided to cover the back with fabric. As it is actually for our wedding, and it will be propped outside., I wanted to make sure the back looked nice.
- Chalkboard paint
- Sandpaper (100 grit or so)
- Any cleaner that won’t leave a residue (alcohol, paint thinner, acetone, etc – BE CAREFUL HANDLING THIS STUFF)
- Gloves to protect your hands against glass removal and any cleaners
- Something to prop the frame off the ground, I used an old crate
- Window frame & glass/plexi or plywood that fits in the window
Reclaimed Chalkboard Window
- Put your gloves on
- Put your gloves on. Seriously.
- If possible and easy, start by taking the glass out of the window. Set the glass aside.
- Prop the glass up on your crate or other item. This will make it a lot easier to paint. I used a piece of original glass from the window, and a piece of Plexiglas from another window. If you cannot take the window out, make sure to tape around the frame so you don’t paint on it!
- With the 100 grit sandpaper, light buff the window pane to scour both sides. This will help the paint hold. If you don’t do this, the chalk paint will peel off of the glass – I figured this out first hand.
- Wipe down the window pane with your cleaner, to get the dust particles off and let dry.
- Put down your first thin layer of chalk paint, let it completely dry and lightly scour the top with sand paper again. Make sure to wipe off the dust from sanding between layers. Keep adding layers until you can no longer see through the glass and it’s smooth. I did 3-4 coats.
- Paint one coat, unless you want it dual use, on the back (if you want both sides chalk ready, then layer each side the same) This will help keep plexi or wood from warping. I only did one coat since I was covering the back with fabric.
- Insert the panes back into the wood frame when dry and attach as necessary for your window.
Fabric Backing : optional
- Cut piece of material to fit behind the window pane.
- Fold down edges and staple to frame. Every window is different, so you’re going to have to play around with what works best. It’s easy to pull the staples out and retry. I did 2 other styles before I came up with how I really liked it. Thankfully my frame is rustic looking anyway so I wasn’t concerned with staple holes. If you have a nicely painted frame you’re doing this with, lay it out ahead of time so you can make sure you get it to fit your window the first time. Remember – you can touch up your paint if you have to, no biggie.
Update: Want to see how the frame turned out for the wedding? Check it out here!
Happy Reclaimed Lovin,