I’ve wanted a magnetic chalkboard to help keep up with my kids school activities, but didn’t want to go the route of magnetic paint under chalkboard paint. After lots of reading before starting some earlier projects I discovered that others had quite a bit of difficulty getting good magnetic results with the paint, especially if it was layered under the chalkboard paint. So I wanted to get my hands on some sheet metal and just paint the chalkboard paint on top of that. Sounds easy, right? Well, I had zero luck locating any flat sheet metal in my area. Everything was stamped or ridged in some way. Going directly to sheet metal shop was an option, but the goal was to keep the project fairly inexpensive. And, then while wandering my local HD I came across some rolled sheet metal used for duct work. It’s inexpensive and came in small enough sizes to work with my project. So I picked up a sheet and went to work.
My first step was to flatten my sheet metal and that took quite a bit of weight to really smooth it out. My biggest mistake was not doing a great job of sweeping the garage floor before I weighed it down and ended up with a few small indentations in the metal. Bummer. I did let it sit for a few days, rotating the piece to work out the roll. After it was flattened, I used the cardboard from the back of my frame to mark the size for my metal sheet. A sharpie worked great for this job.
Next, came the tin snips and gloves. Be sure to use gloves when working with metal. It will cut you in a heart beat. Carefully cut out the shape you marked.
Now I taped off all the edges of the metal to avoid any further damage to my hands. I used a good thick duct tape to make sure the metal wouldn’t find a way to slice through it. Only a thin edge was lapped on the front side of the sheet, so that it wouldn’t show below the picture frame.
Then I sanded the entire front side of the sheet metal so the chalkboard paint would have something to adhere to. I didn’t do a lot of sanding, just enough to rough up the slickness of the metal a little.
After cleaning all the dust off the sheet, I painted my first layer of chalkboard paint. The directions say to let it dry 24 hours before recoat, so this was a several day project while I added several more layers. My concern was that the paint would chip more easily on the metal then on wood, so the multiple layers help avoid that. I hope. If you look closely you can see a few of the small indentations from the flattening process.
When I was finally happy with the many layers of chalkboard paint, it was time to pop sheet metal into the frame. I actually adhered the sheet metal to the cardboard backer with some spray adhesive before inserting into the frame. The picture below isn’t the greatest, but I’ll be sure to post a better pic when I write up the frame painting details.