Our giant outdoor chalkboard had made out backyard so much for fun for everyone! The kids like it, and I LOVE it! I can doodle out there for an hour while they play with cars and trikes. Inevitably, one or both end up doodling with me or asking me to draw things like monsters or scooters. The chalkboard has even proved to be a great learning tool. Max and I often draw letters and numbers.
If you follow along on instagram you already know that we’ve had a big outdoor chalkboard since Maxwell was tiny. We made it in the spring of 2015, right after we made the DIY tire sandbox. I never wrote a proper blog post about it, and often get questions about it, so I teamed up with Wonderful Halos to share how to make a chalkboard.
The giant outdoor chalkboard is also proving to be the perfect spot to eat a healthy afternoon snack of Wonderful Halo mandarins. I love that the mandarins are seedless and that Maxwell can peel them himself. He insists on peeling them for all of us, and then we each get a mandarin (or 3!).
Everyone loves indulging in a sweet treat, but it’s often difficult to find snacks that are sweet and healthy. Wonderful Halos are the good choice solution for all ages so you can indulge without guilt. I also love that mandarins are super portable. Just toss a few in your bag and you’ve got snacks on the go!
How to make a chalkboard
Our outdoor chalkboard actually started its life as a giant word search back drop at an event for SXSW in 2015. After the event, the company did not want to ship my creation back to their headquarters so we took it home. It sat in our garage for months. After staring at it daily, I declared it needed to live on the fence. I ripped all of the vinyl letters off, and Andy drilled the sheet of ply wood directly to the fence. The end. The outdoor chalkboard was that easy. Let me back up and share a little backyard history via pictures. If you just want the chalkboard how to, keep scrolling!
Here is what the back patio looked like when we moved in. It was bushy!
Andy ripped out the row of bushes that surrounded the cement patio. Then, we painted the patio furniture that we inherited with the house.
Next, Andy ripped out the second row of bushes along the fence.
We made the vertical planter project and added rocks to the dirt plot! I get asked about the rocks often. Things like: Do you like the rocks in your backyard or how do the kids do with the rocks? The answer is we love them! It’s also fair to note that my kids learned to walk in this backyard so they have been walking on the rocks since they knew how. We also like that we can blow leaves off of the rocks without picking up rocks and the kids use the rocks to play with diggers.
Vertical planter complete, rocks almost complete!
We added the tire sand box and the 8 foot long chalkboard fence because of this project I did for SXSW.
Fast forward 2 and half years, the vertical planter was falling apart since we did not use treated lumber. Not to mention, there wasn’t much left in the way of greenery in the planter. On a Saturday afternoon whim, I ripped the planter down all by myself! Peace out, planter.
I grabbed 2 random pieces of ply wood out of the garage painted them with chalkboard paint. Then, removed the old chalkboard from the fence. I drilled all 3 pieces of ply wood to the middle of the fence. The chalkboard is now 19 feet long! I moved the white benches to the rocks so the kids can utilize every inch of that cement slab. I centered the kid’s picnic table between the benches for outdoor snacking on Wonderful Halo mandarins.
To recap, here is how to make a chalkboard
The making of our 19 foot long chalkboard is long, but it’s actually really easy to do!
Step 1- What size do you want the chalkboard?
Decide what size you want your chalkboard. Keep in mind that a sheet of ply wood typically is 8×4.
Step 2- Cut the plywood
Cut the ply wood down to size with a saw.
Step 3- Paint the plywood
Paint the ply wood with chalkboard paint. (I always use this.) You will need at least 3 coats. It’s also fair to note, that I typically re-paint my chalkboard once a year.
Step 4- Attach chalkboard to the fence
Once the chalkboard is dry, drill the chalkboard to your fence in all 4 corners using 3 inch screws.
Step 5- Add a chalk holder
We lived with our chalkboard just like that for 2 and a half years! We recently added the routed out 4×4 cedar post as a chalk holder. Andy used a 1/2 inch router and routed a channel out of the edge of the post. We attached the post to the bottom of the chalkboard from the neighbor’s side of the fence. The outdoor chalkboard is seriously that easy to make!
I promise the giant outdoor chalkboard is really that easy to make! I know it looks like a beast, but once you buy the supplies and paint the plywood, you can have the chalkboard up and running before the kids get done with their Wonderful Halo mandarins!
Comments & Reviews
Stealing this idea! What a lovely outdoor space you’ve made for the entire family. Love the blackboard canvas size too, perfect for sharing.
Do you also mind sharing where you found the table for your children?
this is great ,i had done one in my basement for the kids ,never thought to do outside this is great…
Hi, What size rocks did you use? Thanks
Kieron Russell says
What about out in the rain and the damage from the weather?
Jamie Dorobek says
We’ve had ours outside and uncovered for 4 years, it’s still doing great! It’s not perfect, but we use it all the time!
How much paint did you use in total for the three coats? Thank you!