From Salvaged Mirror To Chalkboard

By Kate Riley August 17, 2010

There’s this skinny little piece of wall in between my pantry and microwave that I thought was desperately in need of a memo board.  I’ve always wanted a little chalkboard right there so I could remind myself of what I needed to pick up at the grocery store that week. 

My problem was that I couldn’t find anything tall and skinny with character to fit that narrow patch of wall.   Also, there’s a meddlesome electrical panel inside the pantry, which restricts any decor in this space.  But then I spied an old wood framed mirror with chipped paint at the local salvage yard.  I decided to give it a makeover, and repurpose it as a little chalkboard in my kitchen!


chalkboard before and after  

Here’s my sweet little salvaged mirror turned memo board !

sweet chalkboard


The layers and layers of chipping paint were pretty awful, so I decided to get down to the bare wood by stripping it all off with some Citrustrip. 

before and after stripping 

You can read my previous detailed adventures in stripping paint with Citrustrip right here.  

Based on the grooves in its side, I determined this mirror was actually a double hung window converted to a mirror at some point.  I gave the window a quick coat of gray paint because I thought I wanted to do a distressed look with gray undertones, but then changed my mind halfway through and decided on a pure white paint finish. 

I wanted to cover the grooves on the sides of this old window, so I formed a frame by cutting some wood with my miter saw, attached it with finish nails, then filled in the seams with with wood filler from True Value.  I added some appliqués for decoration, then sanded around the edges of the appliqués with my Dremel.

Let’s pause. 

Can I get an ‘Amen’ from all of you out there who own a Dremel ?

LOVE this tool !  Santa gave me one last year. 

If you don’t have one, put it on your list, pronto!

dremel tool

They have Dremels at True Value

And chalkboard spray paint ! 


chalkboard spray paint hearts


Two layers right on top of the mirror, plus two coats of True Value’s ‘Calming Sensation’ for the frame left over from the boy’s dresser

My little pieces of chalk sit right on the window ledge.

chalk on ledge


I love how its sits so perfectly in my little happy corner of our kitchen. 

fits corner perfectly


And it’s just skinny enough to not obstruct the microwave door. 

Perfect perfect perfect for reminding myself of necessities. 


micro and chalkboard on wall 


Or writing sentimental notes.

heart family      

I was forced to hang it high because of the electrical panel inside the pantry wall.  I had planned on using this for just my own scribbles, but this little guy wanted a turn, even if he had to struggle on his tippy toes !

cant reach


My munchkins sure are smart. 

They always figure out ways to get their paws on new things. 

smart critter


Then I noticed what my first grade daughter had written just before my little guy had his turn.   

shared sentiment



Don’t you just love chalkboards?

chalkboard on wall

Me too.



“I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as my writing about my experience.  I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project.   However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.”


  swirl snip

Before I forget, the very sweet and oh-so-stylish Sarah of A Beach Cottage is featuring me today, so pop on over to learn something new you never knew. 

beach cottage header


  1. This is perfect timing, because I was thinking of putting a chalkboard up in our kitchen; darned if I can find anything cute. I had no idea that I could convert a mirror! Now you’ve got me thinking…

  2. It looks so perfect there. I absolutely love your kitchen. I can’t wait to paint my cabinets white and get new counters and flooring. Not until the stufent loan is down to $0. Sigh.

  3. Looks great! We found a Dremel for $3 at a yard sale this summer and have already used it several times, it’s a great tool.

  4. I think you should just pack up, come to Ohio for a little bit, and decorate my house. Thanks so much! lol

    Actually, I have a skinny little naked space like that I’ve been wanting to put a chalkboard something on it but haven’t gotten around to it. So now I have a little more motivation.. ha! :)

  5. How perfect! It’s like it was created just to grace that little spot on the wall. :) And I will agree with you on the dremel — is there anything that tool CAN’T do?!? Thanks for the advice on stripping the wood, too! Fantastic job, as always!!

  6. That is perfect! I have been looking for an old school slate for my reminders, then found one and reeled at the cost: back to the chalkboard…

    There must be something wrong with me, I just don’t get on with my Dremel, find it underpowered and fiddly~

  7. That turned out so cute! Fits the space perfectly. I didn’t realize they made spray paint chalkboard…. gonna have to get me some! :)

  8. It’s so perfect! I love it! I especially love the little embellishments, it JUST MAKES IT!

    And I have a dremel! ;o)

    God bless from Oregon wine country, and a former CA girl!

  9. Hey! I just found your blog, and I can tell I’m going to be a daily reader! Because I’m new, perhaps you have covered this…but can you share the paint color used in your kitchen in these pics? It is JUST what I’ve been looking for in ours. Thanks so much! Can’t wait to read more.

    — Anna

  10. Kate, I LOVE it and your son is just adorable. I have always wondered about using chalkboard paint right on top of glass but now what I know……. ;)
    Thanks again for sharing your wonderful ideas with us!

  11. Love it Kate! No wonder True Value wanted you :) Thanks for always breaking the whole process down….makes us all realize how easy little projects are. You are the bomb!

  12. Love the chalkboard but can you tell me what color your wall paint is? I looked on your website and it says your kitchen is a yellow color but it doesn’t look that way behind the chalkboard. Is the color on your website the correct color or can you tell what is the correct color?


  13. Oooo, I like the way it turned out. I’ve been eyeing this gold mirror for awhile, but it’s $60. So I’m hoping it will go on sale soon so I can turn it into a chalkboard. I wish I knew of salvage yards in my area. How would I even go about finding one?

    My boy is especially genius at figuring out how to reach things. I am always amazed.

  14. Hi Michele ~ gee that reminds me to update that ‘paint colors around my house’ post, since a lot has changed!

    The color is Benjamin Moore’s ‘Camouflage’


  15. Oh I love it! We have a spot in our kitchen that would be perfect for something like this and I have wanted to do the same thing—but I worry the right-hand door of the fridge (it’s a french door setup with pull-out freezer) might smack my cute chalkboard if someone didn’t watch what they were doing. And then if it hit the board then the chalk would fall off and possibly disappear down the vent directly below on the floor—annoying.

  16. Love it:) Isn’t it amazing what a little paint can do?! I noticed your pantry door. Is that a mirror on it or is it paned? Can I find out more about it? I’d love to do that with mine.


  17. Love that frame, and the chalkboard is awesome! I just used chalkboard spray paint for the first time over the weekend, creating a menu board and calendar. So fun!

  18. You have the best decorating ideas on your blog! I love chalkboards too, and I recently wrote a post about my chalkboard on my blog. If you have time, check it out someday! :)

  19. I just read parts of your post aloud and held up my laptop so my husband could see the before & after; now we both hate you. JUST KIDDING–you rock! :)

  20. Love it!! I have an old cupboard door I’m making into a chalkboard too and your post was perfectly timed since I went to Home Depot today looking for chalkboard SPRAY paint!! They don’t have it and neither does Lowes, so I’m extremely happy to see that True Value does!! :)

  21. Would you be so kind as to tell us the lovely shade of paint on the walls in your kitchen and from where it was purchased? I’ve been searching for a calm color high and low for my son’s room, and I think that might do the trick. It’s simply breathtaking. Please and thanks!

  22. Hi – absolutely love it! I didnt’t know you could chalkboard spray direct to mirror! Thanks for the tip. Jules x

  23. I’ve been working on a daybed for my daughter and was grumbling about sanding the mouldings just yesterday. Thank you a million times over for reminding me to break out the Dremel to make things easier.

    Lovin’ the chalkboard but especially the ♥ Family ♥

  24. Hi Kate. This is really great! By the way, where ever did you find those cool corner brackets I see? They scale on those is fabulous!

  25. I love that chalkboard! And your kids are adorable and funny… it’s truly amazing to watch kids grow and discover their own little personality. ;-)

  26. Love this ! My kitchen could use one of these !

    I had a question about a couple of your posts… I would LOVE to paint my son’s bedroom furniture (headboard, dresser w/mirror and chest of drawers) black. They’re currently a maple color (not real world…MDF I think). I’ve seen a couple posts…one shows using the primer on non sanded surface and then painting with oil based paint…the other (maybe kitchen?) shows sanding and then painting. What do you recommend on going from maple glossy to black glossy ?

  27. We have a (silver) whiteboard on our fridge, but it’s getting a bit out of sorts. This is such a great idea, and maybe just the replacement we need!

  28. And I just read that awesome interview. I loved her questions and your responses. I’m seriously impressed with the wine award and the priorities you’ve set in your life. I was recently a lawyer too and have decided to stay home with my baby. We’re having a blast, but it’s been an adjustment. I know you did the same thing- was the transition hard for you?

  29. I have a can of teal chalkboard paint that I have yet to use. But seeing so many different ways to use it, I’m sure I’ll come up with something;-)

  30. I loved the idea of painting directly on the glass, but had no luck. The chalkboard paint peeled off when I wrote on it with the chalk. Any tips? Did I need to prime or rough up the glass first?

  31. Looks great! I have a question…so you didn’t use any primer and you didn’t sand the mirror before painting, right? Just chalkboard paint right on the mirror? Did you use the spray paint?

  32. Did you use the spray paint because it is faster or because it is on a mirror? Can a normal can of chalkboard paint be brushed on? I live in an apartment so a little nervous about using spray paint. But I’m also not sure if brushing paint on a mirror will leave brush marks or have trouble sticking to the glass. Any advice? Thanks!

  33. Just what I needed! I’m going to paint an old piece of framed art and wanted to know if I could use the chalkboard paint directly on top of it. So there wasn’t a need for primer, right?!

  34. They make a magnetic spray paint you can put under the chalkboard paint to make it magnetic. You do need to use several coats to make is good and magnetic. Or if you make one from scratch you can used the chalkboard paint on galvanized metal also makes it magnetic. I just made an old window into a chalkboard and cork board out of wine corks. Love your site!!! I keeps my creative juices flowing just sitting at home with the kids. You give me the courage to try things! Thanks

  35. Hey everyone , i did this a few weeks ago on these beautiful french mirrors , it is best to sand and then primer the mirror glass… If you do not do so the paint is more likely to sit then spread and dry, i also sprayed a few coats of magnetic paint before i put chalkboard paint … I love it for a memo board for the kids schedule , they can stick magnets and use it for homework as well (tip, if you do spray magnetic paint spray at least 3 coats so its a strong enough magnet to actually hold on to things ) i prefer the spray paint rather than the brush paint , although it is messier , it apply’s easier and nicer… Thanks <3

  36. This looks great! Did you use primer on the window frame before painting and did you use latex or acrylic or spray paint on the frame? Where did you find your appliqués for the corners of the frame?

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