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How to Build a Tin-Tile Chalkboard

For a centrally located message center, create this Art Deco-style chalkboard

a tin-tile chalkboard
Photo by Tina Rupp

Any family can benefit from a centrally located message center, but those ubiquitous dry-erase boards often sorely lack style. For something with a little more charm, coat a tin ceiling tile with chalkboard paint.


Steps // How to Build a Tin-Tile Chalkboard
1 ×

Overview for Building a Tin-Tile Chalkboard

 
Step One // How to Build a Tin-Tile Chalkboard

Overview for Building a Tin-Tile Chalkboard

materials for building a tin-tile chalkboard

The application is easy: Choose a tile with a large, unadorned center area, such as the 24-inch Art Deco design here, then rough up the metal with fine-grit sandpaper, prime it, and brush on the paint. To finish the board, hot-glue the tile onto a piece of plywood, then frame it. We used ¼-by-2-inch hardwood strips around the sides and top, and a piece of backband molding at the bottom for holding chalk, and painted them black.

 
2 ×

Mask Off the Chalkboard Area

 
Step Two // How to Build a Tin-Tile Chalkboard

Mask Off the Chalkboard Area

spraying primer on the chalkboard area

Using painter's tape (and paper towels, if necessary), mask off the edges surrounding the space you're going to coat with chalkboard paint. Rough up the metal slightly with very-fine-grit sandpaper, then prime with a red-oxide metal primer. Let dry completely.

 
3 ×

Apply the Chalkboard Paint

 
Step Three // How to Build a Tin-Tile Chalkboard

Apply the Chalkboard Paint

brushing on the chalkboard paint

Brush on a thick coat of chalkboard paint. Reapply if necessary, letting the paint dry completely between coats.

 
4 ×

Mark Off the Chalkboard Frame Area

 
Step Four // How to Build a Tin-Tile Chalkboard

Mark Off the Chalkboard Frame Area

marking off the area where the trim is applied with a combination square

Using a ruler or combination square, mark lines 1¼ inches from the top and one side edge of a half sheet of plywood; this will show you where to place your trim. Lay the tile within the two lines, and trace the remaining side and bottom. Then draw another line 1¼ inches from the tin's side edge and a line ½ inch beyond the bottom edge of the tin; this is where you'll mount the backband molding as a chalk holder.

 
5 ×

Cut the Plywood Frame

 
Step Five // How to Build a Tin-Tile Chalkboard

Cut the Plywood Frame

cutting the plywood chalkboard frame with a jigsaw

Using a jigsaw, cut along the last two lines you made. You should now have a piece of plywood that measures 26½ inches wide and 25¾ inches tall.

 
6 ×

Hot-Glue the Tile to the Frame

 
Step Six // How to Build a Tin-Tile Chalkboard

Hot-Glue the Tile to the Frame

applying the tin-tile to the plywood frame with hot-glue

Apply hot glue to the corners and center of the tile, and quickly adhere it to the plywood within the pencil lines you drew.

 
7 ×

Cut the Trim for the Chalkboard Frame

 
Step Seven // How to Build a Tin-Tile Chalkboard

Cut the Trim for the Chalkboard Frame

cutting hardwood strips with a miter saw

Using a miter saw, cut the hardwood strips to the same length as the piece of plywood. The top trim piece should cap the tops of the side trim. Cut the backband molding, which will run along the bottom of the tile, to fit between the side trim.

 
8 ×

Sand the Trim and Backband Molding

 
Step Eight // How to Build a Tin-Tile Chalkboard

Sand the Trim and Backband Molding

sanding the trim

Go over the trim and backband molding with fine-grit sandpaper, and coat with primer and latex paint in a color of your choice.

 
9 ×

Glue the Trim and Backband Molding to the Frame

 
Step Nine // How to Build a Tin-Tile Chalkboard

Glue the Trim and Backband Molding to the Frame

attaching the trim to the plywood chalkboard frame

Adhere the trim pieces and backband molding to the plywood with wood glue, making sure they lie tight against the edges of the tin. If desired, apply a few small dabs of hot glue to quickly hold the pieces in place until the wood glue dries.

 
 
 

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