How to Stencil a DIY Antique Farmhouse Chalkboard Sign
In this DIY how to stencil tutorial, we will show you how to stencil a chalkboard sign. In addition to basic stenciling techniques, we will show you how to make chalkboard (or blackboard) with chalkboard paint, and how to stencil with chalk. Chalkboard stenciling is an easy, budget-friendly DIY home décor project and is perfect to learn how to stencil if this is your first time stenciling.
Scroll down to watch our how to stencil a chalkboard sign video tutorial.
Supplies to Stencil a Chalkboard Sign
- A Sign Stencil Template or a Porch Sign Stencil Template (we also make custom stencil templates)
- Repositionable Spray Adhesive
- A Stencil Brush
- Frog Painter's Tape*
- Chalkboard Paint
- A dish of water
- Chalk Paint (we recommend Annie Sloan Chalk Paint)
- A tarp, old newspaper or cardboard
- A Paint Brush
How to Make a Chalkboard Sign
You can stencil a sign onto wood, glass, mirrors, plastic, canvas, burlap and more. For this DIY stencil project, we used a chalkboard sign, but if you want to stencil a sign onto another type of surface feel free to skip this step.
If you don't have a chalkboard, you can easily make one with chalkboard paint. Chalkboard paint is unique in that it sticks quite well to most surfaces like glass, metal, wood, and plastic. For this tutorial we used Rust-Oleum's Chalkboard Aerosol Paint to turn an old mirror into a chalkboard, but you could do the same thing on wood, glass, metal or plastic.
First, you will need to cover everything you don't want to become chalkboard. Use cardboard and painter's tape to mask the frame of the mirror (and any other areas you don't want sprayed). Now you can spray the chalkboard.
From about 8-12 inches away spray on the Chalkboard Paint in overlapping lines to completely cover the mirror. You will need about 3 coats of Chalkboard Paint, allowing a couple minutes to elapse before spraying the next coat. Make sure that you use this aerosol chalkboard paint in a well ventilated area or outdoors. If you do paint outside, make sure that leaves or bugs don't get into your wet paint. Once you have full coverage, remove the cardboard mask and let the chalkboard cure for about 24 hours.
How to Paint a Wooden Frame
When your new chalkboard has cured, you can move on to stenciling. For this project we decided to paint the wooden frame of our chalkboard. You don't have to paint your chalkboard frame, and can just move on to the next step if you prefer. If you are planning to put the sign outside, you might consider painting a wooden frame or at least adding a clear sealant to protect the wood.
We painted our frame with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and a regular paint brush. Before painting, we covered the chalkboard with a piece of paper, to protect it from accidental paint smudges. If you are fond of a weathered paint on wood look, after the paint has dried, you can distress the paint with some light sandpaper to create a rustic effect.
How to Position a Stencil Template on a Sign
First, spray the back of the stencil template with Repositionable Spray Adhesive. Do this away from the chalkboard you will stencil, you don't want anything but the stencil to be sticky. (We kept the paper over the chalkboard while we sprayed the stencil).
Hold the spray adhesive 8 to 10 inches away from the stencil template as you spray, and keep your mouth closed while spraying. Wait 30-60 seconds before placing the stencil template onto the chalkboard. This is important, if you position the stencil immediately on the chalkboard you might have trouble removing it later. Once the stencil is in place, tape around the outside of the edges with Frog Painter's Tape.
How to Stencil with Chalk
A quick note: Stenciling is not the same as painting and a key difference is how much paint you use to stencil. However, in this stenciling project, we stenciled with chalk and water instead of paint, so you won't to stencil with a "Dry Brush". If you are not stenciling with chalk on a chalkboard, please scroll to the bottom for information on how to stencil with paint.
So now that the stencil is in place it is time to get to stenciling your new chalkboard!
To stencil on chalkboard, you need a piece of chalk, a dish of water, and a flat tipped stencil brush that is the right size for your project. For this larger 12 inch by 18 inch stencil we are using a 1/2 inch stencil brush.
To stencil with chalk, begin by dipping your stencil brush in clean water, flick the drips off the bristles, then swirl your damp brush into the chalk. When the tips of the stencil brush look slightly white (or colored with whatever color of chalk you are using) start stenciling by swirling the stencil brush into the stencil template cutouts. Be sure to swirl onto the edges of the stencil template design, so you have crisp outlines when you remove the stencil template.
(Because we are stenciling with chalk and not paint, you can easily clean off any mistakes or blurring that happens while you stencil).
At first, you may not see the chalk where you are stenciling, but rather a wet spot where you swirled your stencil brush into the stencil template This is normal. As the chalk dries the color will begin to appear. If you need to touch up any of the objects in the design we recommend swirling your brush over the entire section. You will need to continue dipping your brush into the water and swirling it into the piece of chalk so that the stenciled design comes out clearly.
When you have finished stenciling, and the chalk has dried, gently peel the tape and stencil template off the chalkboard. You have stenciled a chalkboard sign!
How to Decorate a Farmhouse Sign
You can decorate your new chalkboard décor sign any way you like. We hot glued a classic gingham ribbon to the top of our sign frame for a stylish farmhouse touch. Feel free to embellish your new sign with ribbons, or other decorations.
How to Clean a Stencil Template
At Oak Lane Studio, our stencil templates are washable and re-usable! Clean all the chalk off your stencil template with a damp cloth and store it away for future DIY stenciling projects.
For more information on how to clean stencil templates, please see our FAQ page.
Thank you for checking out this tutorial!
Watch our How to Stencil a Chalkboard Sign Video Tutorial:
This is a great tutorial for upcycling old mirrors, glass or wood and transforming them into fun and stylish décor signs.
*A note on our stencil supplies:
We recommend using Frog Painter's Tape because it is more effective than other painter's tapes, does not leave a residue and is less likely to remove paint when you peel it off.
How to Stencil without Paint Bleed
Stenciling is most often done with a "dry brush or roller" (and yes, we really do mean a dry brush or roller). If you stencil with too much paint, paint will seep underneath the stencil template and blur the stenciled design, this is called "Paint Bleed".
Learn more about how to stencil your home and create beautiful home décor in whatever style you like. Visit our Stenciling Blog, or Video Gallery for how to stencil tutorials and projects tips. Peruse our home décor stenciling projects Photo Gallery for ideas and inspiration on how to use stencil templates to decorate your home.