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Do it yourself, McMurray

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DIY-MM By Maggie Farrington

Do-It Yourself McMurray! Decorating inspiration can strike at any time. Perhaps you are inspired leafing through a magazine, or watching a sunset. The idea for my latest DIY project came while eating fro-yo at Menchies in Timberlea. Seriously. So trust me, design brainwaves can hit at anywhere, and when they do, it’s time to Do It Yourself, McMurray!

I was enjoying my delicious frozen yogurt creation when I looked up and saw this oversized round community chalkboard where anyone could write anything. I thought it was a brilliant idea, and I needed it to hang on the large empty wall in my yoga room {Did I mention I now have a yoga room? That’s another article for another day, but it is quite fabulous!}. I like the idea of a mounted custom chalkboard on the wall instead of painting chalkboard paint on the wall. The shape of the chalkboard, as well as the addition of the border – with a ledge for chalk storage {GENIUS!} – added the perfect interest and detail needed to enhance the space.

My handyman husband and I went to work to figure out how to recreate this awesome gigantic chalkboard for our space. We decided that MDF was the ideal material for this DIY creation, so we purchased a sheet of 3/8” MDF and had them cut it in half. The next task was to make this square sheet of MDF into the perfect circle. To create the circle, first find the centre of square with 2 lines crossed from the corners then used a screw in the centre and pencil on string to make a 2 ft radius circle. The next task involves a power tool! Get excited! We used a jigsaw to cut out the circle from the MDF sheet. Be sure to wear goggles while using power tools – safety first, folks!

Our next task was to create the rim border (with the chalk ledge) that surrounds the circle, and choosing the right materials is key here. You must use “bending plywood”, not regular plywood because regular plywood doesn’t bend (get it?) – and that doesn’t work for making a circle! We cut two 2 ½” strips for the ledge on the bottom and enough 1 ½” strips across the width of 1/4” bending plywood (it’s important to get this right as it doesn’t bend well along the length) to wrap around the circle twice (to make the rim thicker and to hide the rough edge of the plywood). We used the other half of the MDF as a work table. Glue the first row of strips around the edge of the circle with wood glue, taking care to keep the smooth side in, then clamp them in place with a ratchet strap to pull them tight. Leave in place until the glue is well set. Add a second set of strips with the smooth side out. Glue and clamp again.

To smooth out the gaps, use wood filler or a light spackle, then sand everything smooth. You’ll probably need paintable caulking to fill in any gaps between the circle and the rim.

Now it’s painting time! We chose to use a chalkboard paint and a magnetic paint on the large circle, and to make the border and ledge pop, we used a bright white paint. Be sure to prime before you get painting! To ensure the chalkboard paint sets properly, allow it to cure a full 3 days prior to use.

To hang our DIY masterpiece, we bought a frame hanging kit from Canadian Tire to save drilling holes in the circle, it might challenge your geometry skills to get the rail level with the ledge (hint: find the midpoint between the two edges of the ledge, draw a line from that point through the centre you used to draw the circle, then use a square to line up the rail). Once it’s hung, use a piece of chalk on the long edge and rub it over the entire circle, then brush it off. And that’s it! All done!

This was a fun and funky DIY project that makes a big impact in a room. It’s perfectly kid-friendly too – the kids love to draw on it. I enjoy using it to draw out my yoga practice, but the options are truly endless. The chalkboard is easy to clean with either a brush or a damp cloth. And to think, this whole project was inspired over frozen yogurt!

Have you had any wild strokes of decorating imagination? Tweet me @mummymaggie and show me what you got! Also, be sure to check out my blog: for more DIY, decorating, crafting, and ideas for living well. Happy DIY-ing!

Have you been making over your own furniture? Show me what you got! I’m here to help with any of DIY related questions – tweet me @mummymaggie, follow me on Pinterest @mummymaggie or check out my blog at for more ideas on how you can Do It Yourself, McMurray!


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