diy project: jen thompson’s screen door chalkboard

photographer jen thompson sent over these photos of her home and i was instantly smitten with the framed chalkboard in the back. i picked up a vintage frame chalkboard last month and have loved to see how people use them in their homes. but when i found out that jen’s was actually made from an old screen door i had to know how she did it. and luckily jen was willing to share her project instructions with us. so click here for the full project or just click “read more” below. [thanks, jen!]

Jen’s Screen Door Chalkboard

What You’ll Need:

1. Old screen door (try flea markets, thrift stores or yard sales)
2. Sheet of MDF
3. Sandpaper
4. Varnish (optional)
5. Primer
6. Chalkboard Paint


1. Remove the screen from the screen door (yard clippers are helpful for this if it won’t easily rip out)
2. Sand off any chipping paint (unless you want to leave it unfinished) on the door frame and seal it with a clear varnish if you’d like to keep the antique finish.

*note, if you’d like to paint the frame a different color, just sand, prime and paint with your choice of color. also, if you plan to leave the paint uncovered and in its original state, just make sure that the paint used on the door isn’t lead based. you definitely don’t want a chipped lead finish anywhere near you or your children.

2. Cut the piece of MDF to fit the entire screen area (you can pre-measure and have your local Home Depot do this).

3. Prime your MDF with standard paint primer.

4. Paint a layer of chalkboard paint, let dry. Repeat.

5. Attach the MDF to your door frame (using brackets or nails, whatever works best for your particular door).

6. Hang and enjoy your new chalkboard!

  1. annkent says:

    I love this! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Is the colored chalk used on the chalkboard special? Or just regular chalk?

    I picked up a two-paned window frame from the alley. I’m repainting the frame, and the chalkboard paint I picked up says it’ll work on glass, so I’m just going to cover the glass with it. Then, it’ll go in my kitchen so I can leave cute notes for my roommate. :)

  3. april says:

    Another GREAT example of using things not for what they are, but for what they could be! Flat surface = chalk board. Very cool.

  4. enhabiten says:

    awe-some project. can we see more pics of her home??

  5. Mary Kate says:

    Why is the one thing we are supposed to look at, out of focus?

  6. Lecia says:

    I LOVE this! We’ve already got a couple of chalkboards (I have two little boys) but one can really never have too many…

  7. lindsay says:

    I’m digging her hand drawn calender! And I love the rustic blue finish.

  8. Meghan says:

    I was wondering where I could find bright chalk, like what is used in the picture? I have tried all kinds and nothing seems to work. If anyone knows the brand or where to buy it I would appreciate it.

  9. I LOVE this idea! I collect old doors and windows, but never know what to do with them. Finally I can turn my growing fetish into something productive!

    I could easily live in Jen’s studio. The creativity seen in her photography (if you check out her website) is reflected in everything she touches. I kind of want to be her when I grow up.

  10. Jeanie says:

    It looks like she’s using chalk markers, not straight chalk. Like these:

  11. Barb McMahon says:

    Oooooh! I’ll be using this idea in my new kitchen!


  12. Erin says:

    I made a chalk board similar to this out of a junk window. It was up on apartment therapy a few months ago.

  13. Emily says:

    Very gorgeous. I also love the calendar.

  14. Kristan says:

    What a fun idea! I like the distress of the door, too, it matches the chalkboard theme.

  15. amanda says:

    In my office, I painted the inset portion of my closet door with the chalkboard paint. I’m thinking of painting a wall in my large pantry, someday, too.

  16. What a fantastic jumping-off point for a DIY project…I’m envisioning them big…small…chalkboards everywhere. My husband is going to have a fit :P

  17. Meg says:

    Absolutely brilliant! This would be a cool addition to our local diner. Or that shop I always wanted to open!

  18. Katy says:

    How creative! Thanks so much for sharing.

  19. Denise Olson says:

    Oh my gosh!! and I was going to yell at my husband to get rid of the one we had hiding behind the trash can!!!!!! Excellent idea!!!!

  20. SH123 says:

    This is adorable. love this idea!


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