How To Make a Cork & Chalkboard

This holiday season was a very busy one for me. My parents came to visit and all in all we completed three projects and started two additional ones. The three projects we completed were mentioned in my blog post here. The first project that got started but didn’t get finished till this past weekend was a custom cork and chalk board. The second project is one third complete, it is a modular Lego table system. I will post a YouTube video showcasing the new production on my YouTube Channel here. If you haven’t already subscribed to my YouTube Channel, I post additional information about the projects I am working on.

How To Make a Custom Cork and Chalkboard Video

Here is a video that I put together showing you step-by-step on how to make the cork and chalkboard. If you have any questions please feel free to send me a message on YouTube or leave me a comment on this post.

Materials Needed To Make A Custom Cork and Chalkboard

The list of materials and tools to make a custom cork and chalkboard are rather simple. I have added the links to where you can purchase the materials and tools below. You can also find a list of my large shop tools used to make this cork and chalkboard here.

Instructions to make a cork and chalkboard

  • 2in x 3/4in Poplar wood – Lengths can be purchased at your local hardware store in 4, 6, 8 and 10 foot sections
  • 1/4in plywood – You want the quality of the plywood to be good enough to paint
  • Sawtooth Picture Hanger – You can purchase these at any local hardware store
  • Corkboard – You can purchase a corkboard at any local craft store or on Amazon
  • Chalk Paint – This can be purchased at any local hardware store
  • Wood glue – I use Titebond, it can be purchased on Amazon or your local hardware store
  • 30min glue – Dap makes a great product
  • Rust-Oleum Varathane – I used the spray for this project, you can purchase it on Amazon
  • Varathane Gel Stain – I love using gel stains and they come in all types of colors
  • Picture Frame Clamp – Powertech makes a great clamp, you can get it on Amazon

Step 1 – Making Your Custom Cork and Chalkboard

The first thing you need to do is decide what size you want your cork and chalkboard to be. My wife wanted to have two thirds of the area covered in cork and the other one third covered in chalk. Once you have decided how much cork and how much chalk you want you need to then decide on what size you want to make the entire board. We built ours to fit on a blank wall in our mudroom, it ended up being 44in x 29in.

Step 2 – Cut Your Backboard

Cutting the backboard is one of the most important steps. Make sure you account for any mounting edge you may need on your frame.

Step 3 – Cutting The Frame

This was my favorite step to the building process. I used my table saw to cut out a 1/4in deep notch and then inlaid the notch 3/4in into the back of the frame. Next I applied wood glue to the joint.

Step 4 – Prepping The Frame and Backboard

Next, I used my Powertech band clamp to secure the frame and I let the glue dry overnight. While I waited for the glue to dry I painted the backboard with chalkpaint – I chose a gray color. The next day I stained the frame with Varathane Gel Stain and once it was dry I used a spray on polyurethane. After a day I let everything dry and then I applied wood glue and used my nail gun to attach the backboard to the back of the frame. 

Step 5 – Finishing Touches

The last steps were my favorite. I applied 30min glue to attach the corkboard. It is important to note that no one makes 1/4in or 1/2in corkboards, all of them are particleboard with a thin 1/8 or less of cork. I purchased a rather large corkboard from Hobby Lobby and with my 40% off coupon, it ended up costing me $12. When you purchase a corkboard from a retailer you will have to carefully remove the frame, making sure not to damage the corkboard. Next I just cut a thin strip of wood to cover the seam and I then attached the sawtooth picture hanger.

Step 6 – Completed Custom Cork and Chalkboard

I am happy with how the final cork and chalkboard came out. I now can say my mudroom is complete.