How to Make a DIY Wall-Size Chalkboard

DIY Wall-size chalkboard

One of my dreams since before I was even married was to one day have a huge chalkboard on the wall behind my dining room table. I envisioned my future home with a long farmhouse table with little curly-headed creative children filling every chair. I had been inside a few families’ homes where it was evident that the days spent there were full of creating and learning from the moment you stepped in the door. I imagined my future family life being similar. I pictured watercolors and living books spread out, every child giving me their full attention and hanging onto every word I said as I led our lesson time. I am an idealist by nature, clearly. 

Fast-forward ten years or so and much of my vision is coming true before my eyes. I’ve got my family and my farmhouse table and the seats are filling up with wide-eyed imaginative children. While I can’t say that our school times are as unrealistically magical as I imagined, they are so full and rich even on the most chaotic of days and I am so thankful.

All I have been needing is my big ol’ chalkboard! I had been holding out to create the “perfect” classroom space until we built our dream home, but when those plans got put on hold and we moved back into our previous house, I decided to just go for it. I was shocked to learn how inexpensive and simple it was to create. I had some of the supplies already, so I was able to make our board for under $25! We have now had it for about six months and we use it almost every day! 

DIY school chalkboard

Here is how you can make yours:

Supplies

  • A piece of smooth hardboard, cut to the desired size. My husband picked up a piece from Lowe’s that was already a great size for our wall. Our piece is about 4 feet by 8 feet and was $9! If you wanted it smaller, you could ask for them to cut it for you in the store. You can really turn any smooth surface into a chalkboard, but if you are looking for something large, inexpensive, and thin to hang, this is a great option.
  • Foam paint roller, tray, and handle. I used some I had lying around, but if you don’t have any of these, you could buy one here.  
  • Broomstick (optional). I unscrewed my broom head and screwed the roller on the end of it so I could lay the board flat and paint it from standing up. This is optional, but was easiest for me since I was pretty largely pregnant when I made it! 
  • Dry, lint-free rags. You will need a couple of clean dry rags to clean your board and for the curing process. Try to find one that won’t leave lint behind. I have and love these for my kitchen, so I used them for this as well.
  • Chalkboard paint. You want to get a can of paint, not the spray. I used Rust-Oleum and have been very pleased. I didn’t need the whole can for my large board. Here is the one I bought.  
  • A bunch of cheap white chalk. You are going to need this chalk to condition the board. You need something that creates dust! Don’t get the fancy wax-type chalk. Here’s the one I use for conditioning and also writing. 

How to create your chalkboard

Clean your hardboard.

Get a rag damp and wipe the board down. You want to make sure to get rid of all of the dust. Once the board is completely clean and dry from wiping, start painting! I laid my board on the ground and painted from a standing position, using a broomstick to extend my roller. I did 3 coats on my board and it was more than covered well. Let dry completely before each coat and before moving to the next step, following the drying time guidelines on the can.

Condition your board

To ensure ghosting doesn’t happen after you clean off what you have written, you need to create a chalk foundation on your board. Do not skip this step or you will regret it!

  1. Take a piece of white chalk and rub the entire surface vertically ensuring the board is covered. Use the side of the chalk rather than the tip.
  1. Once again, using the side of a piece of white chalk, rub the entire surface horizontally making sure the entire board is covered.
  1. Using a rag, work the chalk dust into all the nooks and crannies of the surface by wiping it in a circular motion all over the board. Once you have finished the entire board you can clean it with a wet rag and your board is all set to go!

Hang your chalkboard.

My husband used anchors and black screws and just screwed it around the edges right into the wall. Another option would be to frame it out and attach picture hangers to the back to hang it. 

DIY homeschool chalkboard

A few additional tips:

I don’t recommend using chalk markers or wax-like chalk on your board. I have had the best luck with the good ol’ inexpensive dusty chalk. I buy this one on Amazon.

If you use this tutorial to create your own chalkboard, please share it with me on Instagram. I would love to see how it looks in your home!

Preparing to Homeschool in an RV: Part One

Processed with VSCO with c3 presetI recently announced on Instagram that my husband and I purchased an acre and a half of gorgeous wooded property to build our dream home on. This has been a goal of ours for many years, and we couldn’t be more ecstatic that it is finally happening! When looking at our options for where to live while the build is being completed, we decided to purchase an RV! Before beginning our hunt, I had never even stepped foot inside of an RV. Now, only a week after making our decision, there is a 33-foot house on wheels sitting in our driveway, waiting for us to make it our home.

Naturally, one of the first questions rolling around in my head when making this decision was, “What am I going to do with all of my homeschool stuff?! Where am I going to store everything?” I quickly realized that I would have to be intentional everything I decided to bring with us in our interim home. The storage space in an RV is limited, so I only chose the materials that I absolutely LOVE and plan to use often. I know most of you won’t be homeschooling from an RV, but I wanted to share this list of minimalist homeschool supplies to show that you can educate well even if you live in a small home or lack a dedicated homeschool space.

Processed with VSCO with a2 presetBible

Leading Little Ones to God

We are working our way through this devotional and I really love the content and the language used to describe the bible stories and apply them to our lives. I also like that each entry gives discussion questions, a hymn or song, and scripture for us to look up separately.

Jesus Storybook Bible

This story bible is written so beautifully and every story points to Jesus. We have read it over and over and the kids just love it!

The Adventure Bible

This is the children’s Bible that we use to look up the passages shared in the devotional, as well as read as a family.

Attributes of God cards

We are loving these cards from Tiny Theologians. Each card has one attribute, a description, and a passage of scripture to read. We add one a day to our Morning Time, read the card and create a hand motion to match the attribute.

Processed with VSCO with a2 presetHandwriting

Small chalkboards, chalk, and small sponge squares

I use the small chalkboards to teach all of the uppercase letters and numbers, using the Wet-Dry-Try method from Learning Without Tears. I have found it to be a highly effective multi-sensory way to teach and practice proper letter formation. If you are unfamiliar, I found a video that shows the Wet-Dry-Try method here.

Large chalkboards

I use these large lined chalkboards to teach and practice lowercase letter formation and word writing. I also use the Wet-Dry-Try method with these boards.

Salt trays

Another sensory method to practice letter formation is using salt trays. Children practice by forming the letter with their finger in the salt. The trays I use are leftover from Melissa & Doug products that I previously bought. I find that they are the perfect size, depth, and shape.

Sandpaper cards

These tactile cards reinforce letter formation as well. We also sometimes use them as a moveable alphabet to spell words or match capitals with lowercase.

Handwriting Without Tears books

These are the handwriting books we use and love. I have one teacher’s manual and each of the kids have their own workbooks.

Learning Without Tears paper

For additional practice, I have two types of paper from Learning Without Tears. The Gray Block paper reinforces uppercase letter formations and the lined paper is the next level for practicing lowercase, as well as word and sentence writing.

Primary journals

These journals have lines on the bottom of each page and a blank space for drawing a picture on the top.

Processed with VSCO with a2 presetMath

The Good and The Beautiful Math K curriculum

This is the math curriculum we are using and we love the hands-on approach it offers. In order to continue with it, I need to bring the course manuals, a binder to keep my son’s completed worksheets, and the included manipulatives which I organized in this box.

Geoboards and rubberbands

The kids love to use these geoboards to practice making shapes and other designs. They’re also amazing for fine motor strengthening.

Games For Math book

I like to look through this book for inspiration for hands-on and movement games to reinforce something we are learning in math.

Kindergarten Toolkit Cards

This pack has numbers, shapes, and letters, but I use them mostly in addition to our math lessons.

Processed with VSCO with a2 presetPhonics

Explode the Code books

I LOVE these books for phonics practice. I have a few different levels, for each child and for when my son progresses to the next level.

Moveable alphabet

I made this moveable alphabet using wooden letters, a plastic organizer, and letter stickers. I found all of these materials at Michael’s. I also brought a little piece of felt for them to use it on.

Dash into Learning curriculum

This is a wonderful program for beginning readers. My four year old daughter loves the stories, games, and illustrations. I printed everything and organized it all in a 3-ring binder.

Processed with VSCO with a2 presetOther materials

Individual chalkboards and stand

I plan to use these in place of our large chalkboard for everything. My husband made me the little white stand to make them able to stand up on the table. I also use the stand to display artwork or an open book.

Clipboards

We will need these for taking lessons outside or sitting on the couch.

Small bowls and trays

I use little bowls and trays everyday to put little things that we need while we work. They’re perfect for manipulatives, chalk, and tiny craft items like cut up paper or sequins.

IMG_20190602_145648_260

All of these things fit in one box, ready to be brought into the camper! Stay tuned for Part Two of this series where I will share what we will be using for our main curriculums for the next school year, and everything I need to bring to use them. I also plan to show you how I store everything once I figure that out. I hope that was helpful to you! If you have any questions about any of the products or materials, leave a comment!

Introducing my Amazon Storefront

IMG_20190223_103750_762I have been working on something for you guys for a little while and am excited to share it with you today! One of my favorite things about following other homeschool accounts on Instagram and blogs is discovering the resources and products that other families use and love. I love seeing them in real life in their schooling and in their homes. Many of you ask me where I get certain things and what brands things are that you see in my Instagram posts. My hope is that I can share with you what we are using and love and that is helpful to you as you make choices on what to purchase for your own journey.

Recently Amazon introduced Amazon Storefronts, which is a place for small accounts like mine to post recommended resources all in one place with links for purchase through Amazon! I get a small kickback if you purchase an item from my storefront, which helps me buy more homeschool supplies. The products that I recommend are the exact things I have bought and are tried and true by my family. I plan to add to my Storefront over time, but for now I stocked it up pretty good with things I use and love if you want to take a browse.

Lesson Preparation

These are the products I use to print, laminate, and organize my curriculums and lessons. I especially love my printer and laminator! I use both every week and have had no problems with either one. The Amazon Basics laminator is an especially good price!

IMG_20190124_130536_133Sensory & Fine Motor Supplies

This category includes everything from the scissors we love to the net swing that we have hanging in our front yard for vestibular input. I have also included things you would find in a sensory bin like the water beads I buy and fine motor tools for scooping and grabbing!

Books

Here I have listed the must-have books for your home library. They are they ones we use for tea time poetry, reference for multiple lessons, or read-alouds that we read over and over. I have also included my top reads for the homeschool mama!

What Mama Loves

This was a fun one to put together as it is full of all the random things I personally love. Shoes, home decor, and my favorite coffee making gadgets. I am a fairly simple woman, but I have a few things that really bring a lot of joy to my life that I wanted to share.

Practical Life Skills

In this category I have included the things that we have that encourage my children to work alongside me in household chores and in the kitchen – things like child size aprons and a small handheld broom. My favorite in this section is definitely the hard nylon knives that they use daily in meal prep!

Art & Handcrafts

This may be my favorite section and my favorite part of home education! You will find the exact crayons,  watercolors, and clay we love and use on a regular basis. Everything in this section we have on hand for various projects. The yarn needles and the weaving loom are amazing tools for introducing handicrafts to littles.

IMG_20190218_103603_915Toys We Love

Here I have all of our favorite open-ended toys! These are basically all of the toys we own and encourage so much imaginative play. Currently my kids are mostly playing with Calico Critters and Magnatiles!

Phonics & Handwriting

I can’t say enough good things about the products I listed here. These are the books and resources we use everyday. I have also included the pencils and pencil grips we love!

Visit my storefront to see all of these items in detail. If you found this helpful, be sure to keep checking back as I will add items as I discover new things that we are using and love!