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We celebrated a recent graduate with a backyard family party.  In keeping with the school theme I created a self standing schoolhouse chalkboard for the occasion.  It makes a great party backdrop to anchor the space and I’m sharing the free plans down below.

school photos banner on chalkboard

A DIY tutorial to build a schoolhouse chalkboard. Make a self standing schoolhouse style chalkboard using my free plans. Great for play and party decor.

I secretly always wanted a large chalkboard for playing school when I was little.  Now that I’m an adult it’s time to make those childhood dreams come true.  And what better reason than to celebrate my daughter’s graduation.

self standing chalkboard

I designed this self standing chalkboard using one full sheet (4′ x 8′) of 1/4″ plywood but you could easily modify the plans if you prefer a smaller scale.

diy framed chalkboard

What chalkboard would be complete without a chalk ledge?  It’s a simple addition that provides the perfect spot for chalk and adds additional cross support to the posts.

wood framed stand alone chalkboard

I love the classic shape and feel of an old style chalkboard.  It evokes those nostalgic feelings and makes a statement without being overwhelming.  You could also add wheels to the feet for mobility.  If you did add wheels I would consider making the feet longer (maybe 36″) to help with stability.

For my purposes I used the chalkboard as a party backdrop and added outdoor string lights.  Additionally I hung a string with my daughter’s school photos from every grade throughout the years.

chalkboard party backdrop

framed chalkboard with chalk ledge

Having the chalkboard behind the sofa helped anchor the outdoor furniture.   We moved the furniture off the patio into the side yard to make room for a party tent with tables and chairs.

schoolhouse style chalkboard

Below I am sharing the free plans to build this schoolhouse chalkboard.  Please read through the plans entirely before beginning and always follow all tool safety guidelines.

schoolhouse chalkboard dimensions

Click here for a free printable PDF versions of the plans.


  • 1 – ¼” plywood 4’x 8’ sheet
  • 2 – 2x3x8 studs
  • 1 – 2x2x8 boards
  • 6 – 1x2x8 boards
  • 16’ – ¼” x 1 1/8” flat moulding
  • 3” wood screws
  • 2” finish nails
  • 1 ¼” pocket hole screws
  • Wood glue
  • ¾” wood screws
  • ¾” finish nails

schoolhouse chalkboard step 4

In Step 4 attach the frame to the posts using wood glue and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws.

chalkboard step 4

Tip: paint your plywood with chalkboard paint BEFORE attaching to the frame.

I finished the frame using Minwax Early American stain.  Also note this is not meant to live outside permanently as I have shown it here.  If you want an outdoor chalkboard consider using exterior grade plywood and boards.

self standing chalkboard

Fingers crossed you have a great reason to build a schoolhouse chalkboard.  It makes the perfect addition to a playroom, basement, locker room space or simple as a party backdrop.  Be sure to share and follow me on social media for more project inspiration:

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banner on chalkboard


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free plans schoolhouse chalkboard

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