Create a Charming Rustic Chalkboard With This Easy-to-Make Tutorial

Create a pumpkin-shaped portable chalkboard with little more than a pre-cut wooden tree slice and chalkboard paint from the craft store. So many uses — hang and display it to add rustic fall appeal as decor in your home, fashion it into a functional calendar or use it as a traveling kids’ game board. It’s a simple project that also makes a fun gift idea for teachers and kids.

Things You’ll Need

  • Craft wood slice
  • Power drill
  • Drill bits, 1/8 inch, 7/32 inch
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Jute twine
  • Scissors
  • Twig or vine
  • Craft glue
  • Chalk
  • Paper towels

The base for this project is a large craft wood slice with a live wood edge. These wood slices can be found at most craft stores in the woodcrafting section and come in various sizes. Start by drilling holes for the hanging handle and a place to insert the pumpkin stem.

For the handles, use a 7/32-inch drill bit. Make two equidistant holes about 5 inches apart and 1/2 inch from the live edge of the wood slice; these holes will allow for threading with jute twine and hanging the finished piece.

For the stem, find a twig with some natural bends and curves; we used a portion of the dried grapevines we grow in our back patio space.

Tip: “Hunting” for the perfect-shaped twig is a fun role for little ones participating in this project.

Use the thickness of the twig to gauge what size drill bit you’ll need for drilling 1/2 inch into the top center of the live wood edge. You’ll want to shoot for a tight fit.

Wipe away any wood shavings from drilling. The beauty of pre-cut craft wood slices is how they come ready to work with straight from the store. They’re pre-sanded and smooth, with all the looks of a rustic tree slice straight from the forest! It’s a good idea to wipe away any wood shavings, dust and debris from the surface before painting, but sanding or scrubbing isn’t required.

Next, use a paintbrush to apply two even coats of chalkboard paint along the inner circle of the wood slice.Two even coats of chalkboard paint will provide a nice thick surface since chalkboard paint is typically a little heavier in general. That being said, building up the layers for an even stronger surface won’t hurt, so continue to paint layers until satisfied with the final look.

Tip: Chalkboard paint now comes in all sorts of different colors; change it up from classic black for a seasonal appeal, or pick your little one’s favorite hue.

After the paint has dried, thread jute twine through each of the holes, securing with knots to create a rustic handle to hang, display or carry the chalkboard.


Dip the end of the twig in a small amount of craft glue and insert it into the top hole to make the pumpkin’s stem.

Before drawing a design on the chalkboard, it will first need to be seasoned. Homemade chalkboards have very porous surfaces, and if written on before seasoning, the design will be virtually impossible to completely erase.

Fortunately, seasoning a chalkboard is simple and fast. Using the side of a piece of chalk, rub the entire chalkboard surface in one direction, and then rub again in the opposite direction.

Wipe down the entire surface with a soft cloth or paper towel, and the chalkboard is seasoned and ready to use.

Now it’s time to let your creativity shine by drawing a festive design or lettering a welcome message across the board.

Use the chalkboard as seasonal decor or a directional sign for a wedding or gathering. Put one to great use as a monthly calendar, as a menu board for your next dinner party, or our personal favorite, a kids’ portable Tic-Tac-Toe board!

Looking for more autumn ideas? Try making these shimmering glitter acorns or this beautiful autumn wreath using unexpected materials.

Cheers,
Mary & Tim

More from Tim and Mary

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Keep up with Mary and Tim’s adventures in DIY, home and gardening on their collaborative lifestyle blog, 17Apart. Find them on Instagram (@17Apart) and page through delicious recipes on Tim’s food blog, E.A.T.

Photo credits: Mary & Tim Vidra

About the Author

Mary and Tim Vidra, the creative couple behind the lifestyle blog 17Apart.com, live and work in Richmond, Virginia. Both do-it-yourselfers by nature, they are continually in search of simple solutions for living more sustainably — sharing their ideas, tips and tricks for DIY home decor, urban gardening and cooking.