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Classroom DIY: New Use for Your Old Chalkboard

By Alycia Zimmerman on August 28, 2013
  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

This time of year, my back-to-school to-do list is pages long, so I'm not looking for additional classroom projects. If I'm going to tackle a project, it really needs to be worth it! This year I decided I needed an alternative to the ugly and impractical chalkboard at the front of my classroom. I wanted a solution that will definitely last. Previous attempts to cover the chalkboard never made it past the first semester!

With about $35 of office store supplies, I've finally solved my chalkboard problems! All you need is some ½-inch foamboard, permanent double-stick tape, and a razor blade, and you'll be ready to transform your old chalkboard into a fully functional bulletin board. Check out my video to see how to do it! Mobile users, please go to: http://bcove.me/21fg9vhi

D.I.Y. Word Wall Printables

These Word Wall labels are formatted to print on 2½-inch Avery Print-to-the-Edge labels. You can also print them onto plain card stock or rectangular labels and cut out the circles. 


Download these circular Word Wall labels: Labels A-I, Labels J-R, and Labels S-Z.

Download the "Wondrous Words" Word Wall Title

If you give this a try in your classroom, I'd love to hear how it works out! Feel free to comment below with your own classroom D.I.Y. ideas, too!

For more classroom ideas and notifications about future blog posts and printables, follow me on Facebook or Twitter!

Comments (18)

What size is your foam board and where did you buy it? I haven't been able to find any that large. Thanks!

The best thing about old chalkboards is that they are chalkboards! Just paint with chalkboard paint. Condition them by rubbing chalk all over them and erasing. Your students would love to help with that! I find that in this age of slick dry erase boards and smartboards, students are missing out on the important kinesthetic of the feeling on the board as they practice spelling words and math skills.

I am about to begin working in a city school in St. Louis and my boards look exactly like yours -- covered in tape marks, not magnetic, etc. I would LOVE to do this, but it's too permanent. Anyone have a suggestion to make it more temporary?

A year after you posted this, and I just covered my chalckboard. Love the results. I could only find 20x30 boards at a reasonable price. More cutting, but it worked out beautifully. Going back today to cover it with paper. Wish I could post a picture of the results. Thanks for the tutorial!

Thank you so much for posting! What a great idea! I'm definitely using this idea in my room!

Hi! I LOVE this video and am planning on trying this next week. What size 1/2 in foam board did you buy?

Love this idea! Do you think it will hold up a few years with staples or push pins?

Hi Alycia,
I love your solution to the chalkboard dilemma. I too had that problem. I taught Kindergarten in a small room and did not have a place for a calendar math wall. My sister and I covered the chalkboard with cardboard to make it so it would be a bulletin board. It couldn't be a permanent board because we are not assigned rooms for long. I was in that room two years then moved the next year and then moved again the next year. I am now in a room for two straight tears. I'll have to see what happens next year?

I spray-painted mine and use them with magnets. One is sky blue and the other is chrome.

Deb, WOW, what a great suggestion! I'd love to see your sky blue and chrome former-chalkboards. I'm sure it looks amazing! Can you believe that my chalkboards are not magnetic?! That really made an alternative solution important for me, but your idea sounds perfect. Thank you for sharing! ~Alycia

I tried to convert my old chalkboard into a functioning bulletin board many times. I tried to just tape paper to it, but it took too long and I wanted to be able to use staples on it. This is a great alternative! Where do you find 1/2 foam board?

Awesome idea!!! I teach in Philadelphia, and I too have old chalk boards that could be better utilized using this idea. Thanks for sharing.

Hi Cynthia - thanks for commenting! I'm glad my first foray into classroom DIY is helpful. (Trust me, if it's not an easy project, I'm not going to be able to pull it off.) Good luck with your chalkboards! ~Alycia

Great video. I have an old chalkboard too. I've used it as a bulletin board many times. I just cover it with paper and stick the things I want on it with tape. It works well and I've decided to use it as a chalk board again for a learning center. So, I have the ability to change it up if need be.

Thanks for the comment! I covered the bulletin board with paper and just used tape to attach things too, but I found the tape would rip the paper and it would look like a mess in just a couple of months. That's why I finally decided to attempt a more permanent solution. A chalkboard learning center sounds great, though! Kids love chalk, and it definitely has a "retro" appeal at this point. All the best - Alycia


What a great idea! You make me wish I had an old chalkboard to try this with. Looking forward to another year of your brilliant posts! ~G

Genia, coming from you, that means a ton! Thanks for watching my attempt at DIY - this level of craftiness doesn't come easy for me.

Just watched this video-what a great way to repurpose a blackboard! And your labels for the word wall are terrific. Thanks for the terrific idea and the video to show how it all came together!

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