stenciling with chalk.

After I finished the Eastlake dresser mirror frame turned chalkboard and hung it on my living room wall last month, I decided to treat the frame that I removed from that spot in the same way.

I’m sure you don’t remember it, so here’s a ‘before’ photo.


I removed this frame from a dresser eons ago.  I painted and sold the dresser, but hung onto this frame and used it as a guinea pig for milk paint.  I originally painted it in MMS Artissimo, then I painted it in MMS Kitchen Scale (shown above).  As much as I loved the Kitchen Scale, I didn’t think it would work well with a black or green chalkboard insert.  So after sending the frame over to Ken’s workshop to have a shelf added, I got out some Homestead House milk paint in Limestone and painted it again.


One thing I’ll note about the Limestone, it looks very creamy once mixed.  You will feel like you are getting a cream not a white.  Once painted and dried though, it is a gorgeous warmish white.  I once again chose not to use a topcoat.  This piece won’t get a lot of handling once it’s hung on the wall so I feel like it won’t need a lot of protection.  I think if I added wax it would bring out the creaminess of the color more.

I really love painting over pieces that are already painted in milk paint because I almost always get some awesome chipping this way.  This piece was no exception.  And the Kitchen Scale is a great color to have peeking through the Limestone.


Initially I was planning to paint the chalkboard inset in the same green I used before (you can see that here).  But then I was surfing pinterest and I saw an aqua chalkboard.  Eureka!  My favorite color as a chalkboard!  Why didn’t I think of that?

Since I’ve had such great luck using milk paint as a chalkboard finish, I just pulled out some Homestead House milk paint in Laurentien.  I used two coats, and sanded lightly with fine sandpaper in between each coat to keep the board fairly smooth.  Once dry, I seasoned my chalkboard by rubbing chalk all over it and then wiping it away.

The last step was to add a design of some kind to the board.  I use several different techniques for writing on a chalk board.  Sometimes I free-hand like I did on Debbie’s washboard chalkboard.  Sometimes I print a design on paper, rub the back with chalk and then trace around it to transfer the design onto the board (like I did on Ken’s thank you gift).  But this time I used a stencil.  I had a new one that I ordered from Etsy a while back but hadn’t had a chance to use yet, so I pulled that out.

Using a stencil can be a little tricky, after all they are not designed for use with chalk, so I thought I’d share a couple of tips.  For the fine lines of a stencil, you’ll need to use sharpened chalk, and lots of it.  You can only do a few lines before sharpening again … and again … and again.

I use an old lip pencil sharpener, and once the chalk gets short I can no longer sharpen it successfully.  So I end up with a pile of shorties.  As I said, you will go through a lot of chalk so lucky it’s cheap.

The next tip is essential.  Place your stencil over the chalkboard and use the sharp point of the chalk to fill in the stencil.  Don’t try to capture every detail at this point.  Just get the broad strokes.  Once you have them, remove the stencil and then go back in with more sharpened chalk and add the details free-hand.

In the photo above I have already done that with the upper part of the design, but the last line shows how it looked before I filled in free-hand.  If you have a sort of ‘outline’ of the design, it’s easy to go back in and connect the dots, so to speak.


The addition of the little shelf at the bottom of the frame makes this piece perfect for displaying a collection of ironstone pitchers or some other non-collectible.


I hung this chalkboard on the wall in my dining room, just to get some photos of it.  I think this next photo gives a little better indication of its size.


It is 39″ wide by 46″ tall, so it’s really quite large.  It’s not going to stay in this spot though, I have other plans for this wall.  This charming chalkboard is for sale.  Be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale’ tab if you are local and are interested.

But I’m curious, what do you think of the aqua chalkboard?  Too pale?  Or just right?

35 thoughts on “stenciling with chalk.

  1. As much as I am a huge fan of black and white, I am SO over the black/white chalkboard thing. I’d have been happy if you had painted it Orange, and that’s my least favorite color (flashbacks to time served with Bertha and the gals as evidenced by my prison tats). Aqua is perfect. So calming to someone like me who is easily startled after those memorable days.


    1. It’s a great trick if you don’t like to free-hand your chalkboard designs. I’m still working on improving my free-hand skills and usually am not as happy with the results I get that way.


  2. Absolutely LOVE the aqua chalkboard!! Perfect!! I would take that over a black chalkboard without question. It would go fabulously in my house!! You rock again. 👍


  3. Liking the aqua with the light frame, but partial to the “old school” green chalk boards.
    Get it? School chalk board…anyway….
    Wondering what you use on the back for a hanger especially with the addition of the shelf ?


  4. LOVE IT!!! I think I finally understand how you are getting these great looks with chalk!! I hate my handwritten chalk, so this is super helpful. I am dying to try out the method you use with rubbing the chalk on the back of the paper!!!👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻


    1. I’m not super fond of my own handwritten chalk either, although I’m practicing and it is getting better. But in the meantime there are lots of great ways to ‘fake it’!


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