What to Do with an Old Chalkboard to Upcycle

Last Updated on February 20, 2023 by Ellen Christian

Wondering what to do with an old chalkboard? Here are a few ways you can upcycle or DIY an antique chalkboard to something new.

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Wondering what to do with an old chalkboard? Here are a few ways you can upcycle or DIY an antique chalkboard to something new.

What to Do with an Old Chalkboard

A year or so ago, I decided to put a chalkboard on the wall in the kitchen.  I was going to be super organized and make lists and leave messages for people.

It worked for about a week and now it just sits there empty as a permanent addition to the wall in my kitchen. I shared this craft a few years ago but wanted to update it and share it again for those that are interested in upcycling.

Each time I see it, I think that I really need to start using it again but it doesn’t happen. I’ve decided that it needs to have a new purpose so I started searching for ideas to figure out what do with an old chalkboard.

I came across lots of ideas that included painting, staining, and tiling. The final results were gorgeous but I worried that I would then have a decorated permanent addition to my kitchen that I would still never use.

a chalk board with a white frame hanging on a white wall

Painting over an old chalkboard

If you have an old chalkboard that you want to paint over, just follow these simple directions. You will need to fill in any cracks with filler

Allow it to dry completely and sand it with fine sandpaper.  Wipe off the sandpaper residue. You can then repaint it with chalkboard paint.

a chalkboard that has been painted with a floral design

Are chalkboards magnetic?

No. Your standard chalkboard is not magnetic.  Chalkboards or blackboards were originally made of large sheets of slate.

More recent blackboards or chalkboards are made of porcelain. However, you can purchase magnetic chalkboards if you want a chalkboard you can also use magnets on.

a pretty Christmas scene on the front of a white house

How do you fix an old chalkboard?

If you have an old chalkboard that needs to be repaired, you will want to take it apart carefully and salvage everything possible. You can repair the cracked surface by following the method above.

And, you can make a new border for it from wood scraps if you like.

an old chalkboard and a lightbulb on a white distressed table

Buy old chalkboards for sale

If you like the look of older chalkboards but don’t have one of your own, you can check tag sales, thrift stores, and salvage shops. Or, you can start with a distressed chalkboard instead.

What to do with an old chalkboard DIYs

an old chalkboard turned into a clock

I wanted to do something with the chalkboard to actually use the surface. I came across a cute craft in a book I was sent for review, InstaCraft by Alison Caporimo. 

InstaCraft has fun and simple projects for adorable gifts, decor, and more.  Best of all, these are crafts that can be done quickly and without a lot of expensive crafting supplies. The book contains 50 different projects.

a magnetic sheet of chalkboard paper with cookie cutters

The craft project I chose was making cookie-cutter frames.  You can use metal cookie cutters as frames for your family photos or you can use them as frames for magazine cuttings to create an inspirational board as I did.  

Because magazine clippings are lighter weight than photos, I backed each clipping with a piece of heavyweight scrapbook paper.  You could use cardboard or a cereal box if you’d rather.


  • Chalkboard
  • 3 metal cookie cutters (or more)
  • scrapbook paper or a cereal box as backing if needed
  • 3 photos or clippings from a magazine
  • glue stick (if using a backing on your clipping)
  • Sticky dots
  • Chalk or printable word bubbles

cookie cutters and cut outs


  • Trace the photos or clippings and scrapbook paper/cereal box to the size of the cookie cutter
  • Cut them out
  • Glue the clipping to the scrapbook paper/cereal box if using them
  • Insert carefully into the cookie-cutter frame and make it even with the back of the cookie cutter
  • Use a sticky dot on the back of the photo/clipping to adhere it to the chalkboard.
  • Write your vision words or cute sayings with chalk and then draw an arrow to the frame.

Finally, if you enjoy upcycling projects, you may want to learn more about how to make an upcycled t-shirt quilt or how to upcycle a candle holder. Or, check out these upcycled jar crafts for more ideas.

Wondering what to do with an old chalkboard? Here are a few ways you can upcycle or DIY an antique chalkboard to something new.

Do you have any other suggestions for those that are wondering what to do with an old chalkboard? You might want to make this Christmas chalkboard.

Love upcycling? Learn how to repurpose scarves.

Related Reading

So, here are a few more upcycling projects.

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