Learn how to make an outdoor chalkboard for kids with these simple step-by-step DIY tutorials.
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 simple methods with step-by-step instructions that make building a giant outdoor chalkboard for backyards and patios easy!
My husband and I ran a daycare in our home on a one-acre lot for several years when our daughter was a baby, toddler, and preschooler. So, we created a lot of DIY outdoor play areas for the children in our care so they could enjoy learning through play all-day, winter, spring, summer, and fall. And one of the many outdoor play spaces that we created was a large outdoor chalkboard for backyards and patios.
But a couple of years later, we had to make another DIY outdoor chalkboard for kids when we moved to a new house, and we had to come up with a new way to position our exterior chalkboard because we ran into a bit of a snafu. Please scroll down to read all about it, see pictures of both outside chalkboards, and the step-by-step directions you need to make one for your backyard or patio.
Over the years, my husband, mother, and I also made a bunch of other fun outdoor play spaces for kids; water walls, sand and water tables, a backyard sandbox, an outdoor art table, and a 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. 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!
First, paint the hollow wooden door with an exterior primer and chalkboard paint. Next, hang it up or position it on your patio or backyard. For the complete details, follow the 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 we used never peeled or delaminated because we put on a fresh coat every six months to a year. After five years, however, we decided it was time for a new outside chalkboard, so we made a new one just as quickly as the first!
Large Outdoor Chalkboard DIY Materials
Here’s a list of the supplies you need to make an outdoor chalkboard:
- A hollow interior wooden door without a doorknob hole cut into it. We found ours used at ReStore by Habitat for Humanity — not affiliated. New hollow wooden doors are available at most home improvement centers.
- 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, and it’s better to save the remaining chalkboard paint 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 experimented with two 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 a childcare business out of our home when our daughter was a baby and toddler. 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 starting this website, so I dug up all the old photos I could share with you. Later we moved and figured out a new way to put up our outdoor chalkboard. Please 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. And we didn’t even need anchors!
You can drill into all surfaces, including drywall and stucco, as long as you use the correct screws and anchors to hang your outdoor chalkboard. Ask your local hardware or home improvement store for help if needed. They should be able to help you choose the proper hardware and tools to hang your outdoor chalkboard anywhere you’d like it.
We took the photo below after hanging the two DIY chalkboards that we made for our home daycare. Over time it turned into a beautiful alleyway with chalk all over the chalkboards and the sidewalk below, where the kids in our care spent lots of time creating, playing, and learning.
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 on cinderblocks for over four years now, and it has never fallen or become a hazard. 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! Large outdoor chalkboards are a great space to get creative, help pass the time in the backyard, and are great for early literacy.
And making an outdoor chalkboard for kids is relatively easy, and you don’t even have to hang it to make it work. In our experience, propping an exterior chalkboard up on cinderblocks works excellent too! For even more outdoor fun, check out this incredible collection of outdoor activities for kids.
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!