Magnetic Chalkboard – How to make a beautiful magnetic chalkboard from old mirrors or pictures

How to turn an old picture or mirror into a magnetic chalkboard.

Magnetic Chalkboard

I just love finding new uses for old things, especially when those “new uses” add a bit of extra beauty to our home decor for very little cost! Recently my husband & I have been doing just that … taking found objects, or items that I have picked up VERY cheaply, and have turned them into our very own little works of art.

And I have to tell you, there is such a satisfaction that comes with seeing the possibility in something that others have discarded, then adding your own creative touches that seem to breath new life into it. Then… there is the added joy of actually using your new creation to feather your nest to add even more warmth and comfort to your home.

My husband & I have enjoyed watching several of our creative projects come to life in one of our home offices recently, and I know you will love today’s project as much as I do! After today, I promise that as you visit those yard sales, auctions, and thrift stores, you will never look at that old mirror or picture the same way again… I know I don’t 🙂

I’ve always had a love for beautiful picture frames, and I just seem drawn to them at every sale I go to. I’m not sure why, but perhaps it’s the fact that they have the ability to beautifully showcase any creative idea that your mind can dream up!

If you’re like me, you’ve looked at a picture in the thrift shop and said… I love the frame, but that picture doesn’t go with my style. Or maybe you’ve seen a nicely framed mirror, but the mirror had already outlived it’s original purpose, and you thought you had to pass on it.

From now on, I want you to try to look at things through a new perspective. Always remember, colors, textures, and contents within the frame can ALWAYS be changed into something that you love & that matches your home decor!

Here’s where our project began…

Magnetic Chalkboard Redo

This was a nice mirror for someone, but it didn’t quite fit into our space.
– The color didn’t match our room
– We really didn’t need another mirror in that space
– It felt more like “eastern world travel”, instead of the “french country” feel that I was looking for

Magnetic Chalkboard Before

I decided to transform this mirror into a magnetic chalkboard that I could both write on as well as hang things on.

#1. Remove The Mirror

To do this, we had to first remove the mirror so we could give the frame a new look & feel.

With the new paints that we have available today, you could simply just paint right over the mirror with chalkboard paint, but since I wanted a magnetic chalkboard, I decided to replace the mirror with a scrap of sheet metal instead.

#2. Change The Look

After we removed the mirror (we will use that for something else), it was time to give the frame a new look with some different painting techniques. And, to be very honest, I had to paint it twice to get the look I wanted.

* It’s ok to just take a step & try something. After all, what’s the worst thing that could happen? With me, I just had to paint it again – no big deal.

I started with a fresh coat of flat black paint. I used spray paint because it was easier & I already had some on hand.

Up close
Magnetic Chalkboard Redo

The whole frame painted black
Magnetic Chalkboard Redo

#3. Prepare & Paint Sheet Metal

While my frame was drying, we started painting the metal with chalkboard paint.

You want to be sure that your sheet metal is clean & free from any oils or dirt before you paint, so the paint will be sure to stick to the surface. One of the best ways to do that, is to simply clean it with some regular white vinegar & a soft cloth.

Paint the piece of sheet metal with your chalkboard paint according to the product instructions. We decided to use spray paint to help eliminate any streaks or drips, but you can use whatever type of paint you feel comfortable with. You will most likely need 2 coats, maybe more, depending on the type of surface that you are covering.

#4. Add Crackle Topcoat

Because I wanted a crackle finish, after the black paint dried, I added a layer of crackle medium. Once that dried, I painted on a layer of antique white in a satin finish (I don’t want the finished product to be to shiny).

After the paint was dry, I rubbed on a very thin layer of antiquing glaze to give it that “old world” feel.

#5. Preparing The Chalkboard

Most chalkboard paints recommend that you prepare your new surface by “chalking” the entire surface before using it on a regular basis. You do this by rubbing a piece of chalk lengthwise over the entire surface several times, then wiping it off. Now you’re ready to go!

*Chalkboard paint tends to scratch when a clay based chalk is used, so I purchased mine from the office store instead of using crayola chalk.

#6. Bringing It All Together

Insert your new metal chalkboard & add a sturdy backing (like stiff cardboard or chip board) if needed.

#7. Decorate!

I decided to add one of my favorite family pictures, as well as a favorite scripture that says “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord” in French 🙂

Magnetic Chalkboard Redo

You could use decorative magnets, a collection of pictures, lists, menus, or whatever you’d like to dress up your new magnetic chalkboard!

Magnetic Chalkboard Redo


Finding New Uses For Old Things

Using a vintage advertising box as a vase for flowers

vintage advertising and flowers

For those of you who might not know… I have had an online newsletter, and a home & garden website for several years now. Because of this, I tend to get lots of email from readers. I love to exchange creative ideas for our homes & families.

Feel free to respond in the comment section below. I’d also love to hear from you 😉

Letter from a reader:

Hello Pearl,

I hope that my frugal-living-goal may be helpful to you and your readers. Notice that I said “goal” as I’m still trying to achieve it. Here goes:

I live in an economically advantaged county, probably one that has a higher average family income level than other counties in the state. Whether it’s right or wrong, many households in this county have enough disposable income to want to update or upgrade their possessions. They feel free to either donate items to thrift stores or to throw the items away outright. I take advantage of this.

It is my personal goal to show that a person or a household can live in a comfortable and attractive way, with all possessions being second hand (with many items being free). I rescue items from the curb, I shop at thrift stores, flea markets, and yard sales. I take in many more items than I can use personally, so I fix things up and donate them to other families or to thrift stores.

Fortunately, I love the cottage and shabby look, and have small collections of pretty collectible items. I try to have all my possessions serve a double purpose, but some items are purely decorative.

I find that this is a very motivational goal – plus it’s FUN!

Hope you can use my idea – Best Wishes!

* Dear Reader,
I share your love of finding new uses for old things! Most of the time, items can be used in many more ways than one! If we would just look a the items that we come across with eyes of creativity, a whole new world of ideas would be opened up to us! Bravo for your efforts in helping bring new life to the old things you come across, and we WOULD LOVE to see some pictures of your creativity!

Here are a few ideas to get everyone started in thinking “outside of the box” – the garbage box that is 😉

Vintage Aprons to decorate a bedroom
Aprons on the wall

Vintage birdcage as an artful planter
Vintage Birdcage

Vintage slip becomes an evening dress
vintage slip

Vintage glass bottles become a fabulous chandelier
vintage glass

Scraps of vintage fabric come together as a wonderful apron!
Pretty Ditty Aprons

Licence Plates turned into charms!

Stained glass windows used as headboard
stained glass windows

Vintage salt shaker turned into a beautiful little doll/jewelry
vintage salt shaker

Old soda caps made into magnets
Soda Bottle Caps

Re-purposing – Vintage Sewing Machine Drawers

While visiting local yard sales, auctions, thrift shops, etc, look for items that catch your eye! You might think to yourself… I really like that piece, but I don’t really have a use for it. I want to encourage you to look through “creative eyes” when you are making a decision about a particular piece.

If you really put your mind to it, you could almost always come up with an idea about how to use a piece creatively.

As an example, here is an item that I picked up at an auction for just a few dollars. It’s original purpose was a set of drawers on a vintage sewing machine, but I have found many other uses for this piece!

I’ve used it as a place to store silverware, cloth napkins, napkin rings, letters, lace, and most recently it is standing in as my tea caddy 🙂 I love getting up in the mornings, opening a drawer & selecting whatever tea I happen to be in the mood for. There is lots of room for many different types of tea, as well as tea bag holders & a tea ball for the loose leaf varieties.

Here are the main questions I ask myself before purchasing an item.

1. Can I afford to spend the money on this piece?
2. Do I really love it?
3. Do I have room for it?
4. Then – what can I use this for?

I have found, that if I really love a piece, I usually find many different uses for it over the years.

Now… I think I’m off for a cup of tea 🙂