I Made This: Outdoor Chalkboard

So. I am not an in-the-house chalkboard kind of person.  One, because I hate chalk dust, and two because we had no place to put a chalkboard.  But my kids LOVE to draw and color and do all that stuff and I thought an outside chalkboard seemed like a  really fun addition to Driveway Kid Zone, especially in some kind of giant scale.  Sometimes when things are GIANT they are more fun, no?

Anyway.  I finally this summer sort of figured out that my husband can handle these projects I conceptualize if I lay them on him one at a time, in a very calm and organized fashion. One per weekend. He really can’t deal with “we’re going to go to Home Depot for little pieces of 8 different things I have going on” but he responds well to “We are going to make an outdoor chalkboard. I need you to go get the wood and a can of black paint. Here is what I want it to look like and here is a list.”

So.  This is one piece of plywood which was $45 at Home Depot.  We brought it home on the roof of our car, it would not have fit in the trunk.  The standard size of large plywood fits perfectly on one section of fence, so we did not cut or saw anything.

Erik screwed the unpainted piece of plywood into the vertical supports of the fence using some kind of bolt.  I originally had all these fancy plans for making it removable for the winter, but I think what we’ll do is just unscrew it before the first time it’s supposed to rain this fall and store it in the garage.

After the plywood was screwed to the wall, I rolled on two coats of plain black exterior latex paint in a flat finish.  It’s not chalkboard paint because 1. chalkboard paint is not rated for outdoor use 2. chalkboard paint is really expensive and 3. I’ve always found that plain black paint works perfectly well in lieu of chalkboard paint.

And it does! Writing on it you would never know it’s not chalkboard paint. I will say that a regular chalkboard eraser does not erase the chalk off of it very well, but a dishcloth dipped in a little water works perfectly well.

Once our children get over their terrible cases of being 5 and 2, I envision some killer games of drinking pictionary during Friday night Happy Hour.


8 Responses

  1. that is a fabulous idea! It also keeps all the chalk dust outside! I hate chalk dust and thus my children never get to do anything involving chalk unless it is outdoors. Hmm, how can I do this on a brick wall that I am not allowed to screw anything to?

  2. fyi, I meant to comment on the umbrella stand, also a fabulous idea.

  3. This is a comment to prove I read your blog today.

  4. So cute. This is exactly the sort of thing I wish we could do, but I know if I did we’d never use it because nobody wants to go outside in the summer to get in the car, much less PLAY. Stupid hot Texas.

  5. It’s great! I also appreciate the discussion of how to approach your husband with a project. I plan to try that.

  6. What a great idea not only for the kids but for an adult party. Love.

  7. Wow, I had no idea you could use regular black paint instead of chalkboard paint.

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