Make a DIY outdoor chalkboard for kids with this simple step by step tutorial
Transform your backyard with a DIY Chalkboard! Backyard chalkboards are a great outdoor play area and educational space for children to learn and create. Below we share two super easy methods that make it easy to make a giant outdoor chalkboard for backyards and patios!
My husband and I used to run a daycare in our home on a one-acre lot. We created a lot of DIY outdoor play areas for the children in our care. One of the many play spaces that we created was a large outdoor chalkboard for backyards and patios.
A couple of years later, we made another DIY outdoor chalkboard for kids when we moved to a new house where we had to come up with a new way to position our exterior chalkboard. Below, you can find pictures of both outside chalkboards, and, step by step directions to how we made them.
My husband, mother, and I made a bunch of other fun outdoor play spaces for kids; water walls, sand and water tables, a backyard sandbox, and an outdoor art table and mud pie kitchen. Click on each of the links to learn how to make your own!
Related: Outdoor Activities for Kids
2 Easy Ways to Make a Large Outdoor Chalkboard
As mentioned above, we have made and used several outdoor chalkboards over the years. We love using a hollow wooden interior door, without a doorknob hole cut into it, to make an outside chalkboard because it’s an easy DIY backyard project.
A hollow wooden door provides a much smoother surface to make into an outdoor chalkboard than a sheet of plywood, or any other type of wood ever could. They are finished and ready to be painted!
All you need to do is paint the hollow wooden door with an exterior primer and chalkboard paint, then hang it up or position it on your patio or in your backyard. Follow the simple step by step directions below to make a DIY outdoor chalkboard!
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Update: The original outdoor chalkboard that we made lasted five years before we felt the need to replace it. It was exposed to the elements and was never covered, so the wood became slightly warped and delaminated over time.
The chalkboard paint that we used never peeled or delaminated because we put on a fresh coat every 6 months to a year. After 5 years, however, we decided it was time for a new outside chalkboard, so we made a new one just as easily as the first!
Large Outdoor Chalkboard DIY Materials
- A hollow interior wooden door without a doorknob hole cut into it. We found ours used at ReStore by Habitat for Humanity — not affiliated.
- Outdoor exterior primer
- Chalkboard Paint
- 6-Inch Foam Roller for Ultra-Smooth Surfaces
- Tarp, drop cloth, or an old sheet
- Screws & Anchors or cinderblocks
- Drill/Driver (optional)
Related: How to Make Mud Pies
How to Make an Outdoor Chalkboard Step by Step Tutorial
Follow the step by step directions written below to make a large exterior outdoor chalkboard for kids to put in your backyard, or, on your patio.
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Step 1 – Paint the Door with Outdoor Chalkboard Paint
- Find an area large enough to paint the hollow wooden door.
- Place a tarp or an old sheet underneath it to protect the area you will be working in to paint your DIY outdoor chalkboard for kids.
- Use a paint roller with a smooth finish to paint at least one coat of exterior primer.
- Allow the primer to dry before adding a coat of chalkboard paint.
- Add one or two layers of chalkboard paint. Use long, smooth strokes and work quickly – it gets tacky.
- Allow the chalkboard paint to dry.
We found the hollow wooden door that we used at ReStore by Habitat for Humanity (not affiliated). The previous owner had used it to paint a sign and then donated it when they no longer needed it. We thought it would make a beautiful exterior chalkboard for our new patio!
Since the wooden door that we found already had a few base coats of paint applied, we opted not to use a primer, and instead started with one coat of chalkboard paint. We have learned that starting with enough blackboard paint to cover the blackboard is fine. It’s better to save it and use it to put on a fresh coat every few months.
Step 2 – Hang or Position DIY Outdoor Chalkboard
Over the years we have discovered, and experimented, with 2 easy ways to put up an outdoor chalkboard.
My husband and I made our first set of outdoor chalkboards to hang in a corridor between our garage and our house when we ran home childcare when our daughter was just a baby. It was called chalkboard alley and filled with chalk drawings that all of the kids in our care made.
I wish I had taken more pictures of them, but we made them long before I started this website, so I dug up all the old photos I could share with you. Later we moved and had to figure out a new way to put up our outdoor chalkboard. Find out how we did it below!
How to Hang Outdoor Chalkboard:
We hung the first DIY chalkboard we made in a long corridor between our house and the garage. The walls were board and batten, so we drilled right into the wood to hang it. No anchors needed.
The photo below was taken after we hung the two DIY chalkboards that we made for our home daycare. Over time it turned into a wonderful alley with chalk all over the chalkboards and ground for the kids to enjoy.
How to Put up an Outdoor Chalkboard
Our current landlord would not allow us to drill into the wall to hang our DIY chalkboard. At first, I thought this meant that we could not have one, and then I came up with the idea of propping our outdoor chalkboard up on cinderblocks. It works great!
Update: We have had our DIY outdoor chalkboard propped up on cinderblocks for over four years now, and it has never fallen or become a hazard. With that said, our exterior chalkboard is exposed to the elements and has become a bit warped over time. We finally felt the need to replace it after five years of use and abuse.
DIY Outdoor Chalkboard for Kids
Transform your backyard or patio with a DIY Chalkboard! As you can see, it’s pretty easy to make an outdoor chalkboard for kids. You don’t even have to hang it to make it work. Propping your exterior chalkboard up on cinderblocks works excellent too.
For more outdoor fun, check out this awesome collection of outdoor activities for kids.
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!