How to Make a Giant Outdoor Chalkboard

Inside: Step-by-step instructions with photos for how to make an outdoor chalkboard. The kids are going to love playing outside with this!

Having fun things for the kiddos to do outside is a must and this outdoor chalkboard that we made for our lil’ lady’s birthday is a total hit! It gives her a place to be creative and draw without all the chalk on the ground, which ends up on our feet, which ends up all over our dark floors in the house –not cool.

This outdoor chalkboard wasn’t difficult to make and it was definitely worth the effort! —It’s been some time since we put this chalkboard up and it’s still going strong! You can read about how it’s held up here.

We’ll walk you through all the steps to make an outdoor chalkboard and how to avoid 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 Build an Outdoor Chalkboard

Outdoor kid activity DIY outdoor chalkboard

 This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure.


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 link directly to the supplies we used here:


Our fence measures 8 feet from one post to the next which is why we’re 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.

How to make a giant outdoor chalkboard for your yard

Step 1: Measure and mark 12 inches from the 3 foot edge of each piece of backer board.  (You’ll be cutting 1 foot off of each piece of 5×3 backer boards to make 4×3 pieces if you’re 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 groove.

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’ll need to score the board some more to make the groove 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.

How to make a giant outdoor chalkboard for your yard

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 pieces of the frame board. You’ll use 2 now and 2 for the front frame in step 15.How to make a giant outdoor chalkboard for your yard

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 a giant outdoor chalkboard for your yard

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 the 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 a giant outdoor chalkboard for your yard

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 who’ll be using it.

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

Step 20: Secure the chalkboard to the fence posts using the lag bolts.How to make a giant outdoor chalkboard for your yard

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. Now, between our outdoor living room where the adults can hang and this fun spot for the kids to play, I think we’re ready for hours of fun outside!

Large outdoor chalkboard tutorial step by step

Want to know how our outdoor chalkboard has held up?

Click here.

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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.

110 thoughts on “How to Make a Giant Outdoor Chalkboard

  1. Jennifer says:

    When you drilled the pieces up the seam did you do it on the back of the board. My husband did it on the front and unfortunately we now have 6/7 screws up the middle as well as the seam. I’m not sure what to do.

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Yes. It’s on the back of the board. You could try sinking them further and filling them, sanding smooth before painting or touch up. Best wishes, Jennifer

  2. DeMing Carpenter says:

    Planning to make this for my daughter. Any suggestions on how to adhere it to a concrete block wall?

    1. Corey Willis says:

      You’ll want to look up a different tutorial on this, DeMing, and make sure you use bolts made for concrete. I’ve never done this, so I can’t give good advice in this area but I know it’s out there. Lots of people put heavy trellis type things up and attach them to concrete so that might be a good thing to search for.

  3. Denise says:

    What is the purpose of the frame on the back? Is it necessary?

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Great question, Denise. It adds stability. You could try it without it, I guess, but for us it helped hold the 2 pieces together and also holds it a little bit away from the fence so it dries better and doesn’t affect the fence.

  4. Catherine says:

    I’m thinking of using a flat galvanized sheet, attach it to exterior grade plywood, painting the metal with chalkboard paint. It would then be magnetic and might be smoother than the backer board. Thoughts?

    1. Corey Willis says:

      I think that could work Catherine. The only thing is that paint doesn’t always stick nicely to metal and gets scratched easily. I’d test it first and be sure to use a good primer made for metal.

  5. Yen Quach says:

    Hello! We made this for our yard and love it! We seasoned the board as instructed but it still is hard to erase between uses. Can you suggest a good way to erase it that doesn’t require so much work? I feel like we are putting so much energy and time into erasing the board between uses. Maybe a suggestion for an eraser? Thanks!

    1. Corey Willis says:

      You need to season the chalkboard Yen.

      That means you’ll take a piece of chalk on its side and rub it all over the chalkboard surface in a circular pattern. Then take a dry old rag and rub it in in the same circular pattern. Shake it out as needed and keep rubbing until it’s pretty much erased.

  6. Sara says:

    I have followed the steps but when my children draw on it the chalk is not coming off. I used the Rustoleum chalk board paint. Didn’t know if anyone else had this problem.

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Hi Sara! You need to season the chalkboard.

      That means you’ll take a piece of chalk on its side and rub it all over the chalkboard surface in a circular pattern. Then take a dry old rag and rub it in in the same circular pattern. Shake it out as needed and keep rubbing until it’s pretty much erased.

  7. Chad says:

    Would it be okay to get a 8ft backer board opposed to using two 5ft and adjusting?

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Great question, Chad. We had to adjust based on how wide our fence posts were apart, plus we wanted the chalkboard to be only 3 feet tall. The 8 foot wide piece is also 4 feet tall which was too large for our needs. If you’re fine with that height and your fence posts are at least 8 feet apart, go for it!

  8. Caroline says:

    Hi there. I’m so excited to make our chalkboard this weekend. I was thinking about using slightly cheaper 1x3s and I was wondering if you used pine for a reason.

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Hey Caroline! Pine holds up fine in my dry region of California if it’s painted. If you live in an area where weather is a factor, I suggest cedar or pressured treated wood for more weatherproofing. I’d love to see your finished chalkboard, Caroline. Please email it to [email protected] 🙂 🙂

  9. Sydney says:

    My husband and I just bought all the materials to make this (yay!) but I was wondering if it matters what side of the board you paint with the chalkboard paint? They seem similar, but I wanted to be sure before starting, thanks!

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Hey Sydney, soooo sorry for late reply; I was off on spring break spending time with my kiddos. It doesn’t matter which side. They’re the same. I’d love to see a photo when you’re done!!! Please send to [email protected]

  10. Kevin says:

    I have made a couple of chalkboards on walls in my house. Usually, I apply three or four coats of paint, and sand between coats to get a smoother surface. Has anyone sanded the surface of the backer board between coats of paint? Did the surface smooth out?

    My wife just asked me to make this for our preschool as a parting gift. Looking forward to using your plans.


  11. Jeff McClure says:

    Thanks for the post, helped me get the basics for ones I did for my wife’s school.

    1. Corey Willis says:

      That’s great Jeff! Thanks for letting me know!


      Hello, I was wondering if the sanding between coats worked out with these products? Were you able to acheive a smoother surface? We have lots of rain up in Portland, OR…will the chalkboard be safe for my children to use if it is pressure treated? Also, the 1x3x8 boards are unavailable. I found pressure treated, if it is safe for the kids, that is 1x4x4. Would 12 of these work?

    3. Corey Willis says:

      I can’t give advice about what’s safe for your kids, Jennifer, but you can find out what it’s treated with and do some research. As for the sanding, yes it helped give it a smooth finish and really any type of wood to create a frame will work. There have been people who didn’t do a frame at all. You could even just paint a border in a color right on top of the chalkboard paint and skip that step all together.

  12. Stephanie says:

    I just finished this project about two weeks ago- followed the directions and it looks great, but the chalk doesn’t really wipe off. I can’t even get it clean with water. I used two coats of chalkboard paint and let it try between and waited 4 days before using. Any thoughts?

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Hi Stephanie! You need to season the chalkboard.

      That means you’ll take a piece of chalk on its side and rub it all over the chalkboard surface in a circular pattern. Then take a dry old rag and rub it in in the same circular pattern. Shake it out as needed and keep rubbing until it’s pretty much erased.

  13. Jamie G says:

    Love this!!! Just an FYI tip – score the Hardie Backer 2-3 times and snap up, not down (opposite of drywall). It will break much easier and cleaner.

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Thanks for a great tip Jamie!

    2. Catherine says:

      Great tip! Don’t use a saw to cut without a high grade mask — the concrete fibers get in your lungs and it is not good.

  14. Corey Willis says:

    Hey Michael! Thanks for letting me know that this link was wrong!!! I’ve fixed it and would also love to see how your outdoor chalkboard turned out!

    1. Rashell says:

      How should I hang this if I have metal post?

    2. Corey Willis says:

      You’ll want to use a drill and bolts made for metal, Rashell. I don’t have instructions for that but a simple Google search should get you to the right info. Best wishes!

  15. Louis says:

    Love this idea of outdoor chalkboard

  16. 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!

    2. steve says:

      What thickness is the board you used?

    3. Corey Willis says:

      Great question, Steve. The HardieBacker board (which is linked to Home Depot in the supplies list) is 0.42 inches thick.

  17. David Walters says:

    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!

  18. 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 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!

  19. 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.

  20. 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…?

  21. 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.

  22. Elyse Greenhouse says:

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

  23. Scott Keck-warren says:

    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.


  24. 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!

  25. 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.

  26. Romaida says:

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

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

  27. Meagan Gildow says:

    What kind of chalkboard paint will last so long outside?

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

  28. 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.

  29. 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!

  30. kenda says:

    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!

  31. 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.

  32. Sarah says:

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

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.


      Did you have any supplies. Left over? I am hoping to do another one in my home, possibly with plywood due to it being lighter. What backboard would you recommend for indoors? Do you think you had enough paint to do a second board? The board in my home I really want to be magnetic so I can make a vision board that I can write and put pictures on. Can I add something to the paint to make it magnetic? Thanls!

    3. Corey Willis says:

      Great question, Jennifer! I didn’t have supplies left over but you could if you make it smaller. A smooth wood that’s lighter for indoors would work great. To make it magnetic you’d start with a magnetic paint primer before your chalkboard paint. I’ve never used it but have friends that have and you need to do multiple coats of the primer to make it really magnetic.

  36. 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.

  37. Lyuba says:

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

    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.

    2. Lisa says:

      Hi! I live in south Florida so weather is definitely a consideration for me. What do you recommend for the frame? Also, I have one of those white plastic fences so I would want to hang it over the top (kind of like how you would hang a wreath on your front door). Do you think that would work? Any suggestions? I would only be doing one board, so 3’ x 5’. Thank you!

    3. Corey Willis says:

      Hey Lisa! You could do a weather proof wood for the frame or just use an outdoor paint to seal the frame. I think hanging it over the fence would work if you are making it less heavy by using one board. Can’t wait to see how it turns out! If you’d like, please email a pic when you’re done to [email protected] 🙂

  38. 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!

  39. Chi Chi says:

    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!

  40. 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.

  41. 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?!

  42. 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!!

  43. 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!

  44. 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

  45. Vanessa says:

    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!

  46. 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?

    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.

  47. 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.


    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!

  48. Calea Souter says:

    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!

  49. 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!

  50. Mark says:

    Woohooo, thanks for the instructions. I finished ours in under 48 hours! Awesome!

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

  52. 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!


    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!

  53. 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!

  54. 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.

  55. Debbie Borthwick says:

    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 🙂

  56. Diana - FreeStyleMama says:

    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!

  57. sandinmyvan says:

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

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