Grace Bonney
DIY Design

>> Grace Bonney is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and the founder/ editor of Design*Sponge ( designspongeonline.com). She also runs a national series of Biz Lady Meetups, designed to connect women who run design-based businesses.

Functional Frames
Use chalkboard paint to create a utilitarian piece.

It’s amazing what just one coat of paint can do. Whether you’re refinishing a yard-sale chair or just brightening up the back of your bookshelf, a coat of paint is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to brighten up your home.

Though we’re all familiar with what a coat of white paint can do for a piece of furniture, think of the added benefits of magnetic or chalkboard paint. For the last few months, I’ve noticed DIYers applying these nontraditional types of paints to found objects in order to create functional, one-of-a-kind designs.

DIYers are applying

these nontraditional

paints to create func-

tional, one-of-a-kind

designs.

 

Magnetized paint contains microscopic particles with metallic properties that make the painted surface attractive to magnets. Chalkboard paint dries with a finish that’s comparable to a chalkboard for easy chalk writing.

Both may require touch-ups every now and then, but they’ll turn practically anything into a functional surface onto which you can write notes or attach pieces of paper. Rather than just making an aesthetic change, these paints bring a new level of functionality — great for those in small apartments where space is limited.

I’ve seen chalkboard and magnetized paint on
doors, refrigerators, office walls, kitchen cabinets
(great for describing their contents or for grocery
lists), and even on the tops of tables, where chalk

drawings can serve as place cards and placemats.

But my favorite application of these functional paints is creating chalk or magnet boards with vintage frames. I first saw one at Blue Bell Bazaar’s shop on Etsy ( bluebellbazaar.etsy.com). Gosia Korsakowski had fitted a chalkboard-painted board inside a beautiful vintage frame, and when I saw it, I instantly fell in love.

I shared the link with friends and readers, and was thrilled to hear back from people who had made something similar using chalkboard or magnetized paint. We agreed that using a lovely frame as a place to jot down notes gave the piece an added sense of importance, as if each note you leave is a piece of art worthy of being studied and admired.

Instead of having to settle for poorly made, mass-marketed objects, we can now use our own two hands and a bucket of paint to create something that serves our needs and fits our unique style.

MATERIALS

» VINTAGE OR NEW PICTURE FRAME I SUGGEST

FLEA MARKETS AND YARD SALES FOR THE

BEST DEALS.

» MAGNETIC PAINT OR CHALKBOARD PAINT

» PAINTBRUSHES

» SANDPAPER

» SMALL FINISHING NAILS OR BRADS » 1" PLYWOOD OR MEDIUM-DENSITY

FIBERBOARD (MDF) CUT TO SIZE

» PRIMER

» PAINT FOR FRAME (OPTIONAL)

References:

http://designspongeonline.com

http://bluebellbazaar.etsy.com

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