Here at Southern Living, we love a good DIY. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, the Craft Box Girls – led by craft guru and author Lynn Lilly – are creating fun, easy-to-make projects to spice up your entertaining, wedding planning, or holiday gifting. Check back every other Thursday for some DIY inspiration.

During the next few months, my husband and I will welcome old and new friends to our home for dinner parties and holiday festivities. I love giving guests a warm, welcoming experience, beginning the moment they step through the entryway. One of my favorite ways to welcome guests is with custom chalkboard signs. Rather than buying a standard chalkboard sign, make your own unique version by upcycling an old frame with a coat of chalk paint and a simple distressing technique. Happy crafting!

The Project: DIY Distressed Chalkboard Sign


  • Frame (including the glass)
  • Chalk Paint
  • Chalk Paint Wax
  • Paint Brushes
  • Chalkboard Spray Paint
  • Baby Wipes
  • Chalk / Chalk Marker


  1. Remove the glass from the frame. Clean the frame and the glass with all purpose cleaner to remove any dirt and dust. Let dry.
  2. On a covered surface, paint the frame with chalk paint.
  3. While the paint is still wet, add the distressed finish by rubbing a baby wipe over the frame's high points. Let the first coat dry for 15 minutes.
  1. Apply a second coat of chalk paint and repeat the baby wipe process. Let the frame dry for 2 hours.
  2. In a well-ventilated room (or outdoors), spray paint the glass with chalkboard spray paint. Let dry for 2 hours.
  3. Once the frame is dry, apply a thin layer of clear or white wax using a dry brush. Immediately remove excess wax with a clean, lint-free cloth. Let the wax cure for 24 hours, and then buff again with a clean, lint-free cloth.
  4. Once the glass is dry, you can write a welcome message. It's easier to write the message now, before assembling the frame.
  5. After the 24 hour curing period assemble the frame and display!

Trick to perfect chalk lettering:

  1. Design a message on your computer, and print on a standard paper.
  2. Rub a piece of chalk on the back side of the paper, covering the printed message's reverse area.
  3. Place the paper on the chalkboard with the printed side up, chalk side down.
  4. Trace the printed letters with a blunt pencil, pressing firmly.
  5. Remove the paper - you will have an outline of the letters.
  6. Trace the letters with a chalk marker for a bolder message. Once the chalk marker is dry, brush off the excess chalk dust.