How to Prevent Your Outdoor Chalkboard from Rotting

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Four years ago I painted a scrap piece of plywood with chalkboard paint, framed it with some 1×2 scrap boards and screwed it to our fence with deck screws. I didn’t know how long it would last, since chalkboard paint is not meant for exterior conditions.

The first two summers it held up great. But last summer I started to notice some water damage.

Well it didn’t survive this winter.

If your kids are at the age where you only need one for a year or two than you don’t have to worry about doing too much weather proofing. But if you want it to last a few more years, here is what I would do differently next time.



How to prevent your outdoor chalkboard from rotting.As far as I know there is no exterior chalkboard paint products out there. Please tell me if I’m wrong.

So instead of using chalkboard paint like I did I would make my own using exterior paint and tile grout. You can find the recipe from Martha Stewart herself right here. It’s simply 1 cup exterior paint mixed with 2 tablespoons tile grout.

This should ensure that the front of the board stays weather proofed.

Now don’t forget the back of the board. I think that was my biggest mistake. Be sure to cover the back and sides of the board with exterior paint. When I removed my chalkboard the back of it completely fell a part.

I would still add the wood frame to the chalkboard. I think this held the rotting wood together a bit longer. It also prevents the plywood from bending and bowing.

how-to-prevent-outdoor-chalkboard-from-rottingI highly recommend adding an outdoor chalkboard to your garden this summer. It’s a simple project that can mostly be done for free from items that you or your friendly neighbours have lying around your/their garage.

Outdoor Chalkboard Inspiration…

outdoor-chalkboard-exampleSource: The Creative Crate

outdoor-chalkboardSource: Apartment Therapy

outdoor-chalkboardSource: Accessorize & Organize

outdoor-chalkboard-in-playgroundSource: My House and Home

red-outdoor-chalkboardSource: Bringing Home Ezra

So what are you waiting for. Go dig up an old piece of plywood in your garage and start painting.

22 thoughts on “How to Prevent Your Outdoor Chalkboard from Rotting

  1. I live in the dry and dusty desert where it rarely rains, and was going to paint the shed door with chalkboard paint. I see there’s no affordable exterior chalkboard paint so I was wondering how long “regular” chalkboard paint would hold up out here?

  2. I already have a huge chalkboard that my son used in his room. I cant part from it for my uncle who passed gave it to me as a gift. He took it out of an old school just before it was torn down. Do you know can I cut it down to a different size? if so what do I use to cut it with a dry saw or wet saw? Also how do you get stickers off of real chalkboards?


  3. For Backyard and Outdoor chalk boards – Try the 4 x 4 foot quarter sheets of exterior plywood. You could also us e a tile backer board, make sure it is a smooth one. Cutting backer boards down is best done with gloves, masks and goggles to protect yourself – also a concrete saw is best, with that use ear protection. Have a helper either way when using power tools.
    Have fun! That’s the point!!

  4. This might be a stupid question but every chalkboard I’ve seen is black! Well it work using Yellow exterior paint with the grout in it ? Or do I have to buy black? .

    • Yes I’ve heard that that will work too! I haven’t done it myself but would love to try exterior paint and grout.

  5. Use tile backer board instead of plywood. It won’t rot or allow water/moisture under the paint. Then simply screw a painted wood frame to it or use cedar 1×2 as a frame as it also won’t rot.

  6. I live in Michigan were sometimes winters are terrible. Currently my fence has about three feet of snow up against it. Would you recommend leaving this out all year round or taking it down each year?

    • I would take it down in the winter. I’m from Canada and know exactly how terrible those winters can be. I hear this one is a bad one!

  7. There is an exterior chalkboard paint. One company called sydney harbour makes it and it runs about $120 a gallon – I would stick with your idea :)

  8. I would love to make an outdoor chalkboard…wonder if I could make a moveable one, since we rent in a house. Thanks for all the tips babe.

    • I’ve seen some on Pinterest where people have just used a large sheet of plywood and just have it leaning against their fence or house. I imagine that would work just as well (you would just have to make sure the kids don’t pull it down on themselves).

  9. Such a cute idea! I have never thought about doing that… love it! Thanks for the tips so I will know what to do to make it last… especially with the amount of rain we get here in BC. Thanks for sharing!

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