DIY Vintage Window Frame Chalkboards


The couple of months before Christmas I wrack my brain trying to think of something really great to create for the family.  A few years back we decided to make giving a homemade gift the tradition.  At some point in the brainstorming, a light bulb goes on and I know just what I want to do.

This year:  Vintage Window Frame Chalkboards – fun, useful, practical, and just plain VINTAGE COOL.  Here is how I made them:

I went to a salvage yard and picked out the frames.  I learned a few things that may help you.  1. First, pick frames that don’t have 7 layers of lead paint on them (hmmmm…why didn’t I think of this??).  Pick ones that have just a little bit of paint, or are unfinished.  They will be much easier to sand and prep.

2. Realize that the smaller the window frame panels, the harder it will be to sand and paint.

3. Pick a time of year where paint removal will work outside.  I finally figured out the stripper wasn’t working on the paint because it was too darn cold after I had spent HOURS freezing my buns off trying to get it to work!  The whole operation got moved to the bonus room, which was interesting.  Footballs were whizzing past my head as I scraped and sanded.


I used a paint stripper to start loosening the old paint on the frame.  I scraped what I could off, then sanded the rest.  An electric sander is the best way to go.  It took a few times, but like I said, you will be smarter than me and not get frames that had been painted 10 times!

Using a walnut colored gel stain, I brushed it on with the foam brush, then wiped it with a rag.

I taped the sides of the frame with painter’s tape, then began painting the window panes with chalkboard paint.  HINT:  USE A PRIMER BEFORE YOU BEGIN USING THE CHALKBOARD PAINT.  The paint had a tough time sticking to the glass.  If I would have used a primer, it would have been a piece of cake, and it would have taken less coats.

These projects are family affairs.  This part my kids could do a lot of the work, as long as they stayed within the tape lines.

Here is the work area.  We ended up painting 4 coats, so we would paint and let dry overnight before repeating.

My sister excitedly called me in January and told me that she had just flipped through a Pottery Barn catalog, and they were selling a window frame chalkboard that looked just like the one we had given her — only for a $250 price tag!  Gotta love that……




8 comments… add one
  • Selina@CreativeJuicesDecor January 14, 2013, 3:17 pm

    I LOVE that you removed the paint and stained it… just looks so warm. I’ll give that a try next time I find a window. I found your blog from Teresa M (our daughters are friends) and I know your sweet sis….

    Anyway, lovely blog. I’ll be back 🙂

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