Barton Creek Greenbelt Project: Scrap Wood to Chalkboard


A couple of weeks ago, I went on a hike with some friends at the Greenbelt– a free, miles-long hiking trail along Barton Creek in Austin. It’s a beautiful spot, with limestone cliffs and rocks, an abundance of greenery, and beautiful blue water (when we’re not in a drought).


It was a great hike, but what made it even better was the discovery of an out-of-place piece of wood. Naturally, I took it home:


I had no idea what to do with it, honestly. I had just made a sign from my UT-Austin scrap wood, so I didn’t really want to do another sign. I had to do something with it, though, you know? So I took the the gram first to help decide on a color palette.

On the far left is an up-close photo of the barn red color of the wood. The next three images are color palettes I liked and decided to put the final decision up to a vote.

The winner…


Personally, this one was my favorite, so I was glad to see it come out on top! Now the work itself begins.

From trashed board to chalk board

After much deliberation, I decided to make this big piece of wood into a few smaller chalkboards. The chalkboards are easier to put up and are more useful than a sign or something that’s only decorative.

First, I cut the rotten parts off and then cut the main piece into three pieces (one small piece for me to practice on).

I sanded down the edges to make them smooth and then it was time to paint. I decided to blend paint streaks of light green, brighter blue, and brownish-gray (such professional artistic terms) and then sand it down to bring back more of the underlying barn red.

Pardon the filters… I was doing this at night with the overhead light on in my work area, so… the photography is not the best 🙂 But somewhere between these two filters is the final product!

After this came the chalkboard paint. I had never used this stuff before, but I have been itching to try it. I did four coats overall, crisscrossing the paint stroke direction each time.


Next I sanded down the edges of the chalkboard to blend the edge into the background; it’s why I didn’t bother taping off an area. If you’re going to do a not-so-rustic/shabby project, I suggest getting some painter’s tape and marking your area!

The final result is so damn cute:


I’m so happy with the color scheme and the functionality of it. And besides, whoever takes a chalkboard home will forever have a piece of Austin!