DIY Outdoor Chalkboard Tutorial

Late last summer, my youngest son broke his crib.  I’ll spare you the details.

Let it suffice that he lives up to costume.

From his wild antics sprung a few DIY projects.  Being the green mama I am, I had to find other uses for the aftermath of the crib .

You would never guess that this chalkboard was once a crib support, right?  This was the particle board beneath the crib.  Yes, dear readers, despite the concern that the particle board wouldn’t hold up, we are on summer #3 with this chalkboard now.

Not bad for a free project, right?

materials circle button-002

-upcycled old crib particle board {the base the holds the mattress up}
-random leftover non-VOC paint in black {one cup}
-2 Tbs of unsanded grout
-four screws to bolt that sucker into the fence*
*Yes, we are aware our fence is the wrong way.  The neighbors put it up when we were out of town, and oops, put the pretty side toward them.


1.) Hang board to fence with grumpy husband’s assistance.
2.) Mix grout with non-voc paint.
2.5) Paint with roughly three coats.
3.)  Cure the board by rubbing chalk all over it before first use.
4.) Play with the chalkboard more than your kids do.
outdoor chalkboard paint recipe

Stay tuned for more,


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  1. I love what you did, I think my kids would adore an outdoor chalkboard (and so would I!)

  2. Actually, Your fence is going in the correct direction. Pretty side out. (Digging back into the deep park recesses of my litigation paralegal brain…a real estate atty in school told us that (where property lines were not in dispute), fence ownership could be determined by which way the fence was facing. The rough side was the person who put it up. Your mileage may vary. I’m not a lawyer. Blah, blah, disclaimer.

    LOVE the chalkboard.
    Really? Only a little un-sanded grout makes chalkboard paint.
    That is seriously cool.
    I’ve seen it on Pinterest, but didn’t really believe it..
    ~ Dana

  3. This is such a great idea!! May have to try this, we have the board that fell off of the drawer under the crib. Currently just hanging out under the crib on the floor…. ;)

  4. I love the “hang board to fence with grumpy husband’s assistance.” step! Cracked me up because I have totally been there!

  5. That is such a good idea … and your backyard screams Chicago!



  6. Dia Dean says:

    Love it.

  7. Andrea says:

    This is a fantastic tip. I found it on pinterest and am so happy to be your newest follower. If you are looking for easy delish recipes your kids will love check me out on Quest for Delish

  8. Tamsyn says:

    I love this so much. I’m definitely making one for my backyard. Thank you for the inspiration!

  9. Amy says:

    Wow, that looks SOOOO fun! I’ll have to see if I can find a big board…Little Crafter would love it. Would you consider sharing here?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Doesnt’ particle board warp/swell with moisture? I’m not sure it will hold up in the rain. Awesome idea though.

  11. Helen says:

    How long did you let the paint dry before you used chalk on it? Did you “season” the chalkboard?
    I just got finished painting our board and am wondering how long to let it sit. I used backer-board – the stuff used behind tile in the bathroom – because it’s lightweight and waterproof. Worried that it might be too rough of a surface but maybe it will be OK. I put two coats of paint on it.

  12. Suzanne says:

    Yes, I’m sure getting “grumpy husband’s assistance” will be part of my project. LOL

  13. I LoVe this!!! My dd and her bff’s will love it too, (and they are 16/17 years old). Yep, this mom will use it all the time too. *wink* I found you at the Summer Fun Party!

  14. I featured you today on Blissful and Domestic. Stop by and check it out!

  15. Sandy says:

    Love your recycled crib! Most of all, I love the creative storytelling!

    • Nicolette says:

      Why thank you! I also used the old rails from the crib to act as a drying rack…guess I should blog about that as well…lol…

      From tragedy often springs greatness,

  16. Jamy says:

    I have some chalkboard paint. Will that work for it being outdoors?

    • Nicolette says:

      Jamy- I made my own, and I think the store-bought stuff will hold up. Worst case scenario-you will merely have to throw a coat on after a couple of years. We are on summer number 3- no warping, fading, and it still works like it did the day I painted it. :) Go for it.

  17. Shelee says:

    This is fantastic!!!!

    Can you share the name brand of the non-VOC black paint that you used?

  18. Shelee says:

    I found this product online, but I’m concerned that it’s designed for interior work, instead of exterior for your terrific blackboard idea.
    What do you think? Am I worrying too much?

    Thanks again.

    • Nicolette says:

      Mythic is an awesome brand, but it’s pricey. I used the Olympic NON-VOC in Black Magic. It’s help up for 3 years. It’s indoor paint, but I believe that the addition of the tile grout makes it more durable, and we have some nasty winters/rainy season in Chicago. Still looks great! Send me a photo when you finish! I’d love to see your final product.

      I also use the same mixture indoors. I have a chalkboard wall in the kitchen and the boys’ room. Chalkboardholics Anonymous?

  19. What a great idea! I’ve done chalkboard paint projects, but never thought of an outdoor chalkboard. Genius :) Thanks for sharing!

  20. Crystal says:

    GREAT IDEA!! I am trying to get a grumpy husband on board as well. Do you mind me asking what state you live in? We are in Florida and have rain filled summers, wondering if the particle board will be ok. xo

  21. Rebecca Hanson says:

    We have neighbors that complain of chalk on the sidewalk (in front of our own house by the way) so this would be awesome in the back yard. Going to try this. We are in Central Florida so hope the humidity is not an issue for us.

  22. Tiffany says:

    I really wanted to make one for my 2yr old ruff and tumble son and a taller one for his artist 7th grader sis. NOW with your hysterical wit and know-how I’m doing this tomorrow!…Just in time for family Easter! Thanks and love to see more of your creative ideas. I am a handy woman and love tools so, bring it on Sista!

  23. Nicolette says:

    Ha! Bring it on! You will love it. I have a wasp nest growing behind mine now, so we need to make it over again. Boo. It lasted a few years…email me a pic! I love the idea of two different heights!


  24. Nicolette says:

    LOL! Even teachers make mistakes. Oops.


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