Make It: Mini Chalkboard

Handwriting was one of my LEAST favorite things to teach when I taught first grade! With all of the standards and benchmarks I was expected to cover, I had a really hard time finding the time to squeeze handwriting practice in. The kids didn’t seem to enjoy it either but irregardless…it is a necessary part of life.

My last year of teaching the district that I worked in adopted a new handwriting curriculum called Handwriting Without Tears. It was wonderful! It took a multi-sensory approach to the teaching of handwriting and made it interactive for the kids. One of the main manipulatives in the program was this slate chalkboard.

I had some chalkboard paint, so I decided I would try to make my own version. Big Brother is not anywhere close to being ready to start practicing handwriting of course, but I thought it would be fun to use for doodling as well (and to share with you).

Here’s what you’ll need:  foam board, can of chalkboard spray paint, a pre-made 5×7 picture frame mat (or you could make your own from cardstock–I was just being lazy), an Xacto knife (which I couldn’t find, so I attempted scissors…it didn’t work as well), hot glue gun, and ribbon.

1. Use the mat as a stencil on top of your foam board.

2. Cut it out, preferably with an Xacto knife. I used scissors and as you can see, the edges aren’t very smooth.

3. Follow the directions on your can of spray paint. You’ll want to put at least 2 coats on and wait 24 hours before the next step.

4. Cut your ribbon to make a loop on the top of your chalkboard.

5. Hot glue the ends of the ribbon onto the top of the board.

6. Put a bunch of hot glue on the backside of the mat and then carefully place it on top of the chalkboard.

7. I used a Sharpie to draw a star on the top left corner of the chalkboard. The proper way for children to write is from the top going down, so this little star will serve as a reminder for Big Brother in the way-off future!

*I also decided to make one of these while I was at it…isn’t it fun? I think this speech bubble will be great to use in lots of pictures. Head on over to Make and Takes for the tutorial.

Big Brother always wakes up grumpy from his naps and I attempted to take this picture immediately after waking up. He looks really enthused. I should have known better…


  1. What a great idea, I'm making a big one today or tomorrow for the playroom… I will post a pic on my blog later, thank you so much.

  2. The chalkboard spray paint doesn’t work as nicely as a real chalkboard. Mine was hard to erase to re-use again and again. Anyone else have problems? I’m wondering if I should just keep adding more coats of paint, and maybe two coats wasn’t enough.

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