How to Make a Giant Outdoor Chalkboard

This outdoor chalkboard is a hit! Our little lady loves to draw and now that spring has sprung and we will be spending much more time outside we thought that an outdoor chalkboard would be a perfect 3rd birthday gift. Not to mention her little brother will be crawling sometime this summer and I can just see him covered in sidewalk chalk if it is all over the patio.  Here is what we came up with and some snags we remedied along the way!  I love the way it looks and it is a great use of space along our side yard!

How to make a giant outdoor chalkboard for your yard. This is such a perfect outdoor activity for the kids and it has held up for over 2 years!
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How to Build an Outdoor Chalkboard

UPDATE: I wrote about how our outdoor chalkboard is holding up after 3 years in this post!

Supplies:

Tip: We got our supplies at The Home Depot and discovered that you can actually buy online, they gather it all up for you and you pick it up! Hooray for never walking around that giant store lost again!
I even linked directly to the supplies we used here.

Steps:

Our fence measures 8 feet from one post to the next which is why we are making an 8 foot chalkboard.  If you have more or less space between your posts you may want to make your chalkboard longer or shorter accordingly.

chalkboard tutorial

Step 1: Measure and mark 12 inches from the 3 foot edge of each piece of backer board.  (You will be cutting 1 foot off of each piece of 5×3 backer boards to make 4×3 pieces if you are making an 8 foot chalkboard.)

Step 2: Draw a straight line 12 inches in from the short edge using the marks you just made.

Step 3: Score many times along the line with a utility knife until you get a pretty deep grove.

Step 4: Place a piece of the frame board under the board with the edge along the line you just scored and apply pressure until the board breaks along the line.  If it is not breaking you will need to score the board some more to make the grove deeper.

Step 5: Voilà!  The board comes apart and now you have a 3×4 piece of backer board.  Now do the same thing to the other piece.

chalkboard-tutorial-2

Step 6: With the short sides of the 2 pieces of backer board together, place two of the 8 foot long frame boards down the long edges and trim if necessary.

Step 7: Cut 4 30 3/4 inch piecs of the frame board.  You will use 2 now and 2 for the front frame in step 16.chalkboard tutorial 3

Step 8: Set the backer board to the side and recreate the frame on the ground.

Step 9: Put a bead of liquid nails on the frame board using a caulk gun.

Step 10: Now, with the help of a buddy, lift each piece of backer board onto the frame (with the side that you will use as the chalkboard facing up.) Apply pressure.how to make an outdoor chalkboard

Step 11: Reinforce the back frame that you just built with screws about every 18 inches using a power drill.

Step 12: Cut 2 or 3 small pieces of frame board from a scrap piece and drill along the seam where the 2 pieces of backer board come together  (One of the problems we ran into was that the seam where backer boards came together was not smooth.  There was a little bit of a step, which would be annoying when drawing.  This was our remedy.)

Step 13: Flip the entire project over and get ready for the fun part…Painting!

(Optional) Caulk the seam with exterior or waterproof caulk and let dry before painting.

Step 14: Apply 2 generous coats of chalkboard paint with a roller allowing it to dry between coats.

Step 15: Dry fit the frame boards in the same way you did for the back frame with the 8 foot pieces along the long sides and 2 shorter pieces (that you cut in step 7) along the short sides.

how to make an outdoor chalkboard

Step 16: Paint the frame pieces in the color of your choice with outdoor paint. Allow everything to dry.

Step 17: Place the frame on the blackboard and reinforce with screws.  (You can putty and paint these if you want to when it is installed on the fence.)

Step 18: Lean the chalkboard against the fence where you want to install it.  (This is important so that you can find where you will need to predrill holes in your fence posts and the frame.)  Note:  Keep in mind the height of the kiddos that will be using it.  We hung ours 14 inches off of the ground so that our 3 year old could reach to the top, and our littlest one will be able to use the bottom portion from a sitting position so he can join in before he can even walk!)

Step 19: Predrill holes in the frame of the chalkboard.

Step 20: Secure the chalkboard to the fence posts using the lag bolts.Step by step tutorial to make this weatherproof outdoor chalkboard

Step 21: Decide where you want the hooks to hold the buckets of chalk and install them. (ours are 11 inches from the bottom of the frame.)

Step 22: Hang the chalk buckets and let the kiddos go wild!

How to make a giant outdoor chalkboard for your yard. This is such a perfect outdoor activity for the kids and it has held up for over 2 years!Now we are ready for hours of fun outside.  You can find me watching my little lady draw from my newly spruced up plastic outdoor chairs.
How to make a giant outdoor chalkboard for your yard. This is such a perfect outdoor activity for the kids and it has held up for over 2 years!

How to make a giant outdoor chalkboard for your yard. This is such a perfect outdoor activity for the kids and it has held up for over 2 years!

Want to know how our outdoor chalkboard has held up? Click here.

Related:

OUTDOOR LIVING ROOM REVEAL

FUN SIDEWALK CHALK TODDLER GAME: SHAPES AND COLORS

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About Corey

Corey is the creative behind Hey There, Home where she shares easy-to-follow and beautiful home decor and entertaining ideas. Her mission? To make home decor accessible to everyone, even if you don't consider yourself crafty, and to empower people to decorate their homes in a way that they can actually be lived in, not just looked at.

75 thoughts on “How to Make a Giant Outdoor Chalkboard

  1. Love this idea of outdoor chalkboard

  2. Cindy Davis says:

    Is there a frame on the front and back? If so, did you paint the one on the back?

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Hi Cindy, thanks for asking. There is a frame on both front and back. We put the back one on first (Steps 6-11) but we didn’t paint it since it doesn’t show once mounted on the fence. Hope this helps!

  3. What a fun way to give the kids a great activity in your outdoor space. When they get too old you can use it for announcements or for fun at your next gathering.

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Love those ideas, David! Thanks for being part of the Hey There Home family!

  4. raq says:

    any suggestions on how i would hang this if I have a brick wall??

    1. Dayna says:

      They make hangers for brick. Check out brickclip.com and Amazon. I have heard they work great, but I have not used them myself.

    2. Corey Willis says:

      Thanks for the great tip Dayna!

  5. Chrystal says:

    Hi, this is such a great idea thank you for posting, do you mind letting us know the average cost for all this?

    1. Hey Chrystal. I think it was about 100 bucks.

  6. Nikki says:

    is that just a strip of artificial grass they are standing on? I’m looking to do that to our whole kid corner outside. Wondering what you used…?

  7. Kim says:

    Hey, this looks awesome! However, I wanted to see your comments on how it held up before I made this for our school. The link is not working. Can you provide a brief update on how it functions over time? Thanks!

    1. Hey Kim. Thanks for letting me know. I fixed the link. It has held up great! You can check out the update post right here.

  8. Elyse Greenhouse says:

    I did this project and I am thrilled with how it turned out! Thank you ,Corey!
    -Elyse

  9. Thanks for the post. We’re about to go buy the stuff for this!

    Your link for “HOW OUR OUTDOOR CHALKBOARD IS HOLDING UP AFTER 3 YEARS IN THIS POST!” is broken. It takes me to http://_wp_link_placeholder/ on Chrome.

    Thanks

  10. Carolyn Garrett says:

    I am concerned over how long the regular chalkboard paint will hold up outside. I want to do this for my home daycare. Several instructions I have read say to use exterior chalkboard paint. I have only found exterior chalkboard paint from one source and it was over $50.00 for one quart which is a bit pricey for me. How long has your regular chalkboard paint held up outside? Thank you!

    1. Hi Carolyn. I used regular chalkboard paint (rust oleum) and it has held up just fine. I haven’t had to retouch it at all. I don’t live where there is snow but it is humid here a good chunk of the year. Hope that helps!

  11. Brianne says:

    Love this project! In the process of doing it. We are stuck at what to do about the seam in the front? How did you attach the tiny scrap pieces you showed in your photo along the back of the middle seam?

    1. We just used screws. Just be sure that they aren’t too long cause you don’t want them to go all the way through the backerboard.

  12. Romaida says:

    Is there a frame on both sides of the backer board?

    1. Hello. No, just on the front side.

  13. Meagan Gildow says:

    What kind of chalkboard paint will last so long outside?

    1. Hi Megan. I just used regular chalkboard paint.

  14. Cathy says:

    About how much does the entire project weigh when it is done? I want to mount it to the back of an outdoor shed instead of a fence.

    1. It is heavy so you will need your fence to be sturdy. We did not attach ours to the actual fence, but the fence posts.

  15. Bryan says:

    Was there a particular reason why you used two pieces of Hardi Backer board, rather than just one? One sheet is 4′ x 8′, and you can just cut off 1′ from the long side to make it 3′ x 8′.
    This way you don’t have a seam down the middle.
    Just wondering…
    Great project!

  16. What a great idea! Good to know it has held up so well after three years. We’ll have to try this in our yard. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Jones says:

    If I am screwing the hardi backer board directly to the fence will I need the framing for the back or the three pieces of wood you used for the spacing of the two boards? My fence is flat.

  18. Sarah says:

    The boards u refer to as base what would that be in uk??? Plaster board? Xx

  19. Alice says:

    Regarding your chalk board I have a old school chalk board and want to also put outside but worried about it holding up in the rain ant suggestion?

    1. It is probably made from particle board so it won’t hold up in the weather. Mine is made from cement board, which is why it’s lasted so long.

  20. jamie calkins says:

    How much did this cost you?

    1. Hi Jamie. I think it was about $100 or so for everything we needed and has held up perfectly for 3 years now.

  21. Suzie says:

    Hello I was just wondering if u don’t mind about how much all in total was this project which is very brilliant for your little one’s

    1. Hi Suzie. I think it was about a 100 dollar project and has held up for 3 years. It’s been a lot of fun.

  22. Abby says:

    hi there! with two board, how big is the final product?

    1. Hi Abby. It’s about 8 feet long and about 3 feet tall.

  23. Lyuba says:

    Hi Corey, love you board. I am just wondering how it handled the rain so far?
    Thanks

    1. The outdoor chalkboard has lasted over 3 years and is still in great shape. My kids still write on it all the time and it has required no maintenance.

  24. Marta Dulude says:

    How did you weatherize the chalkboard? I have only been able to find indoor chalkboard paint?

    1. Hi Marta. I used regular chalkboard paint but painted directly on the hardybacker board which is weather proof. It has been up now in our back yard for almost 3 years and still looks and works great!

  25. I cannot tell when the post was published, but we are about to take on this project and would like to know how the chalkboard has held up? Do you cover it in the rainy season?

    1. Hello. The chalkboard has held up really well! I live in Southern California so it doesn’t rain here a ton, but it does rain and gets really humid and it still looks almost like it did almost 3 years ago! Good luck and I’d love to see photos when you are all done!

  26. Kelli Meyer says:

    Howdy Corey!

    I’m Kelli and i’m looking at either purchasing or making a new chalkboard for my Sunday School classroom. I’ve seen this post numerous times and I was wondering how the chalkboard has weathered the time it’s been up? The board we are installing will be inside only and may make a difference. We just wanted your opinion!

    Thank you!!

  27. […] Day Projects Bold & Bright Living Room Before and After  ||  DIY Outdoor Chalkboard  ||  DIY Washi Tape Gift Tassle Bathroom Renovation Progress The Inspiration […]

  28. Zijn als je mijn gedachten lezen! U lijken te weten veel over dit, zoals u het boek schreef in het of iets. Ik denk dat je zou kunnen kan doen met een paar foto’s om de boodschap een beetje rijden, maar anders dan dat, is dit prachtig blog. Een uitstekend lezen. ik zal zeker terug.

  29. Madison Miles says:

    Hi! First – thank you for this. Although my purpose is to create a community board…you’ve answered a ton of my questions! One thing – as I’m using sign posts rather than attaching to fence do you believe that it will need additional support on the back? I want the size to be 4 x 6.

    Thank you again!!

    1. Hi! I don’t think you will need additional support. The cement board is pretty strong. It is also heavy, so keep that in mind.

  30. Crystal says:

    We are curious how your kids clean it off to use it again? My hubby is worried the backer board will be too rough for a chalk board eraser?!
    TIA-
    Crystal

  31. I want to make this for my girls BD. Are your kids able to use a chalk board eraser on it or how do you wipe it clean to use again? My hubby thinks the backer boards will be too rough to use an eraser! TIA!!
    Crystal

  32. Love it, Corey!! The hook holding the little bucket of chalk is also a great idea that I probably never would have thought of!

    And who needs to wear pants when you’re outside, right?!?

  33. i was wondering what type of backer board did you use? Cement? Or for ceramic tile? Is it still holding up for u?

    1. Hi Jessica. Hardibacker is a cement backer board. It is what is typically used in shower surrounds. The link to exactly what I used is in the post. Hope that helps!

  34. […] Chalkboard Backboard is multipurpose. Kevin and his Dad took on this DIY project from the blog tiny SIDEKICK for Iyla’s Christmas, and it will eventually be hung on our fence outside in the summer. […]

  35. Jason says:

    I did a modified version of this using one piece of 1/4″ x 4′ x 8′ Hardiebacker cement board. That way I didn’t have to cut a foot off each side of the cement board, and there’s no seam in the middle… Plus it’s 4 x 8 now instead of 3 x 8.

    The 4 x 8 cement board isn’t available at all Home Depots, so you have to check first to see if they carry it. One thing though, it’s heavy. 65 pounds for the cement board alone. I used 6 lag bolts instead of 4 to attach to the fence, just in case.

    Also, I splurged and bought a quart of Sandy Harbour outdoor chalkboard paint… And I made sure to buy an exterior primer/sealer for the frame, and for the surface of the cement board.

    Everything turned out well. I followed the rest of your directions except for my changes.

    1. Jones says:

      How did you know how to apply the lag bolts and what size to use

  36. What a fun project and I love that it is outside too. I need to make one of these. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Vanessa! It is a really fun thing to have outside. My kids love it! Thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend!

  37. Anna says:

    My 87 yr. old dad made a outside table and bench for our grandkids and I want to use outdoor chalk paint so they can use there artistic abilities on it. My question is do I need to primer first and how long does it take to dry before they can have fun and is there a certain brand I need to use?
    Anna

    1. How fun! I would let it dry for at least a day and be sure to season it before you begin. (rub chalk all over it and wipe it off) I didn’t primer, but I painted it on hardy backer board. I did use 2 coats though of just regular chalkboard paint from Home Depot.

  38. Susan says:

    I was planning on making a chalkboard sign-board for a business’s hours of operations. Is there a special chalkboard paint and/or chalk the Home Depot also carries so the chalk doesn’t wash away every times it rains? Mostly the hours of operations would be the the same , but we may have special holiday hours that will need to be added and removed.

    Thanks

    1. Hi there! I used regular chalkboard paint, but I don’t know of a chalk that won’t wash away in the rain. There are chalk pens, but they are permanent so you would only want to write with them if what you are writing isn’t going to change. You can find them at the craft store or even Walmart. Hope that helps!

  39. Hey Corey! This is awesome!!! My hubby and I want to make one for our daughter and we were just wondering what the total cost was to make it?

    Thanks so much

    1. If I remember correctly the total came to right around $100 but it has held up perfectly for over a year and a half now and gets used all the time! I’d love to see pics if you make one!

  40. Jennifer says:

    We are looking at this idea for our preschool. Our concern is that we are in the mountains of nc , we do get harsh winters and it is very wet. How is your board holding up still outside?

    1. Hi there! Our outdoor chalkboard has held up great. It has been up for a year and a half with no problems however I live in Southern California, so it is not exposed to snow at all, just rain. I do think though that using the hardy backer board it should be fine for at least a few years, even in harsher conditions. Thanks so much for stopping by TinySidekick!

  41. […] son’s, Bryce, second birthday.  Bryce is creative and loves to draw. I was inspired by the Outdoor Chalkboard that Tiny Sidekick created a few months back. Bryce has been using chalk to make his mark (on […]

  42. […] for awhile while it dried.  Yes that is my lil’ lady wearing a helmet while drawing on the outdoor chalkboard…safety […]

  43. chris says:

    Hi, I love your project and it looks so great!! I can’t wait to build one!I was wondering if you did anything to protect the side edges of the backerboard and the entire back side? If I’m picturing the side view it is backer board sandwiched between two trim pieces of wood? Just wondering if water is a problem on the sides? Also, do you think using the wood pieces on the back would be necessary if i used just one 3×5 backer board piece? Thanks for sharing thi. Is such a fun idea!

    Chris

    1. We didn’t do anything to protect the sides or back of the backer board. If I remember correctly the back was the same as the front anyway. I also don’t think using wood on the back is necessary. The backer board makes it pretty heavy so you don’t want to make it any heavier. Good luck! Let me know if you have any other questions. I’d love to see your end result. You can email me, tag me on instagram, or post on my facebook page!

  44. vicki says:

    Just wondering how this is holding up outside after almost a year. Did you use just regular chalkboard paint?

    1. Hi there! To answer your question about the outdoor chalkboard that we put up last March, it is holding up really well! We did use regular chalkboard paint and my daughter uses it all of the time. I would add though that we live in Southern California and so we don’t get a lot of rain or really harsh weather. We also put it on part of the fence that the sprinklers don’t hit. Let me know if you have any more questions!

  45. What an awesome idea. We have made an indoor chalkboard. This project will be great for using up the paint leftovers. Just shared your project on Pinterest.

  46. What a wonderful project for your kids! I made one out of an old frame for our grandsons, it will go to their house, probably in the play area indoors. I’ll bet she has so much fun drawing on it!
    Saw you sharing at Give Me The Goods.
    Debbie 🙂

  47. What a brilliant idea! My daughter plays with the neighbors all the time and they would love this! Thanks for sharing this at my Pin Me Party!

    1. Thanks for hosting!

  48. Love the chalkboard idea. Love the paint color. Love you and your fam!

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