Do you have an old cabinet door hanging around, collecting dust? Or did you find one at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore or other salvage store for a price of next to nothing and didn’t know what to do with it (hypothetically)?
I’m going to show you how to turn a cabinet door into a memo board.
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Here’s what you’ll need:
- Cabinet door: preferably wood or painted wood. Laminate can work, but you’ll need to prime it before painting it.
- Sandpaper: 180- or 220-grit works best for this project.
- Painter’s tape: if you want to mark the area for painting.
- Chalkboard paint: Chalkboard paint comes in black, green, clear, or a tintable base finish. That means you can have any color chalkboard you want! I have said this before, and they don’t pay me to say this, but Rust-Oleum makes the best chalkboard paint. It covers better than any other.
- Stir stick (or ruler or chopsticks): to stir the paint well (duh).
- Paint brush: You can use a sponge brush here or a regular paint brush. You could use a roller if that would be easier; for this door, I used a brush because it wasn’t that big of a surface to cover.
- Damp rags: to clean up sandpaper dust and also to wipe up any drips of paint. You could also use a tack cloth for removing sanding dust, although a damp (not soaking wet) rag works fine.
- Chalk: you’ll need at least one piece of regular old chalk.
- D-rings: to hang it on the wall.
- Accessories: Hooks, containers for chalk, erasers, etc. for the new message center/memo board!
Let’s get started.
1. Remove hardware from cabinet door.
First, take the cabinet door and remove all the hardware.
Once the hardware is removed, clean the door with a mild soap and water solution, or a mild spray cleaner. Dry or let dry.
If you don’t want the hole from the knob left in the cabinet (i.e., you don’t want to use the knob as a hook or you aren’t going to cover it up with a hook or some other accessory), fill the hole with wood filler. Make sure to use a wood filler that’s paintable so that you can cover the hole like nothing happened.
2. Sand the cabinet door.
Next, decide what part of the cabinet door you want to paint. Sand down any part of the door you are painting (with chalkboard paint or latex paint; if using chalky finish paint, you don’t have to sand first) to remove the glossy finish. You want to create a surface to which the paint can adhere.
Use 180- or 220-grit sandpaper to remove the glossy finish. Don’t dig into the wood with the sandpaper; you just want to create a surface to which the paint will stick.
Once you’ve sanded down the door or the area you’re painting, wipe it down with a damp rag or tack cloth to remove the sanding dust. You want a nice, even, clean surface on which to paint.
3. Prime and paint the cabinet door.
If your cabinet door is bare wood or laminate, now is the time to apply a coat of primer.
If you are only painting part of the door with chalkboard paint, use the painter’s tape to mark off the area you’re painting. If you have a door with trim like mine, you can just use the trim as a frame for your chalkboard and you don’t need tape (or you can use tape to be super-neat about it).
If you are painting the rest of the door another color or with a different paint (latex or chalky finish), do that before you paint the chalkboard part.
To paint the chalkboard, start by stirring the chalkboard paint well. You want to make sure that the slate bits in the paint are worked back into the paint.
Paint the chalkboard paint on the door. If you can, paint in the direction of the grain of the wood.
Make sure you paint a light, even coat. You don’t want bubbles in or pooling of the paint. You’re going to have to do at least two coats, so don’t worry if the paint doesn’t cover the first time. This is what my first coat looked like:
See? No big whoop – the second coat will cover it!
The first coat will be dry to the touch in about 30 minutes, dry to handle in two hours, and can be recoated in four hours (follow the instructions on the can). I will admit that I don’t usually wait the four hours to recoat. Once it’s dry to the touch, I go ahead and recoat. So far, this hasn’t been a problem. Just don’t recoat when it’s wet or you’ll end up with smudgy patches. When in doubt, wait to recoat.
You’ll need at least two coats.
4. Cure and condition the chalkboard.
Once the paint dries, let it cure for two or three days before using it. Once it’s cured, then you want to condition it by rubbing a piece of chalk all over it and then erasing. That makes it an official chalkboard – or, well, at least easier to write on and erase. In fact, every time you clean it with water or cleaner (not just erase it), you’ll want to re-condition it by rubbing chalk on it.
5. Add hooks, knobs, or other accessories.
Add hooks or knobs to hang bags or a container for chalk. I added small hooks for keys and a larger hook (which covers up the former hole for the knob!) for a little bucket to put chalk in. The sky’s the limit here: you could screw a basket to the frame for keys or chalk, or add more hooks for backpacks and purses.
Hang it up with D-rings and you’ve got yourself a memo board!
Look at these awesome chalkboard memo board makers! I taught a workshop at the Atlanta Habitat for Humanity ReStore on Saturday and we made chalkboard memo boards out of cabinet doors. Check them out!
The ReStore has tons of cabinet doors for this project! Check out the ReStore in your area – here’s the link to find one near you: http://www.habitat.org/env/restores.aspx.
Here’s the link to the Atlanta ReStore: http://www.atlantahabitat.org/restore
We had a blast! If you’re interested in coming to a DIY workshop at the ReStore, subscribe to the ReStore email here to find out about the next one! You can find some of the projects I’ve done for previous Habitat for Humanity workshops here.
But, in the meantime, you should make a memo board from a cabinet door!