I’m always in full hunter gatherer mode, collecting bits that others have discarded as being useless. I’ve lost count of the number of broken mirrors with wood surrounds or old picture frames that have come my way.
They invariably end up being upcycled into chalk boards
If you’re a beginner looking to make a start, then I’d recommend that you start with making a chalk board.
If you’re using a broken mirror, start by carefully removing and disposing of any pieces of broken glass. Next separate the frame from the backing, being careful not to damage the backing board.
The backing usually has a rough and a smooth side. Paint the smooth side, using blackboard paint. My preference is to use Rustins blackboard paint. It’s slightly more expensive than other brands, but I’ve found that it gives a good quality finish. Three coats are usually sufficient to give good coverage.
Next I’ll sand and paint the wooden frame, using chalk paint. I appear to be going through something of a Gothic phase, so the majority of my recent pieces have been painted in Graphite. Finish the frame by waxing and distressing.
Use a fine grade steel wool to distress. It’s gentle and enables you to control the amount of distressing applied to the frame. Distressing removes the wax, so always apply another coat of wax after afterwards. Finish by polishing the frame with a clean cotton rag. It’s fine to use an old cotton towel.
Attach the backing onto the frame. The backing can be directly stapled onto the frame, if the frame is deep and robust enough. If not, then use panel pins to hold the backing board in-place. Finally, use framing tape on the reverse to hide the pins and make the finish neater.