I have had a ton of questions about how to make the easy DIY Marquee Chalkboard sign that i added to my DIH (do it herself) beverage station (you can see how make your own beverage station HERE). Well, y’all…today is the day!
First, you need to decide on the size of the marquee chalkboard sign you want to make. Mine is 16″ wide by 30″ tall, but you can make one any size you want!
Once you’ve decided on your measurements, you need to cut a piece of sanded plywood or mdf or any other flat surface material you have lying around to fit the size you want it to be. (The thinner this board is, the easier it will be to drill your holes for your lights later). Think Thin! Your measurements will be the final size of your chalkboard sign, including the frame, which i’ll explain below with pictures to show you!
After you’ve cut, sanded (to smooth), and wiped down your piece of wood, its time to paint it using Chalkboard Paint. (This is not Chalk paint…it is literally CHALKBOARD paint). I used Rustoleum’s Chalkboard paint. You can either paint it on out of the can, or you can use the spray paint option. In this project, i used the spray paint…but i have used both and they work equally well.
i sprayed one coat of the chalkboard paint, and waited for it to dry. Then i used a fine grit sanding block (used for smoothing) and went over it to keep my surface smooth. I sprayed the board three coats, and did the sanding block in between each coat. Once you have your final coat, do not sand it. Make sense?!
Next, i used pieces of poplar to make my frame. (Anyone at a home improvement store can show you where this is). You can use any kind of wood you want for your frame, but i had these on hand, so that’s what i used. I stained each piece of poplar, and waited for it to dry. (If you want more of a weathered wood finish (like mine) on your frame, you can dry brush the frame pieces after the stain has dried, with a little bit of gray paint, moving in the direction of the wood grain).
Once the chalkboard paint is dry, and your stain is dry, you are going to measure how long to cut your frame pieces to fit on your chalkboard. The easiest way to do this is to measure the top and bottom pieces of your chalkboard and cut your pieces to fit those measurements. So, for me, those pieces were 16′ long. Your final project size is going to be the same size as your chalkboard piece.
Then, place those cut pieces on top of your chalkboard and line them up with the edge. We are creating a “Frame” but what we are really doing is attaching the Frame pieces right on top of the chalkboard so that you don’t have to route any edges to place the chalkboard piece in (as you would with glass in a traditional frame).
After you have lined up your top and bottom frame pieces (on top of your chalkboard), simply secure them to the chalkboard with a brad nailer.
Next, measure the space left in between the top and bottom frame pieces, and that is your measurement for your side pieces. My poplar pieces were 1.5″ wide, so measuring in between my top and bottom secured frame pieces, i was left with a measurement of 27″ for my side frame pieces. Once you have cut your side pieces, place them on top of your chalkboard, lining up with the edge of your chalkboard, and secure with a brad nailer. (you don’t need a ton of brad nails in each piece, 2 or 3 should do the trick.) You chalkboard sign should now look like this:
Now, its time to make your holes for your marquee lights. You can use any lights you want, but the small round christmas lights or smaller round outdoor light strings work best. There are two things you need to determine before drilling your holes in the frame: 1) Where you want your lights to be, and 2)How large the hole needs to be to fit the electrical box (the thing that holds the light to the string) once the light is removed. (when you put your lights in the frame, you will take off the bulb, slide the electrical box through the hole from the back, and screw back on the bulb so that the bulb is the only thing showing on the front of the frame).
After you have determined even spacing for your holes and marked them, its time to drill them. Here you can see my holes drilled in the marquee chalkboard sign before placing the lights in.
Now you just need to prepare you chalkboard surface so that you can use it. This is super simple. Just take a piece of chalk on its side and rub it all over the chalkboard:
Now you just need to wipe the excess chalk off, and add your lights …
Write whatever message you want on it with chalk or a removable chalk marker…and you have your very own Easy DIY Marquee Chalkboard sign!
See, Easy Peasy! Are you gonna try your own?! I’d love to see your versions!