How to upcycle an old window into a chalkboar​d sign

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A step-by-step tutorial on how to upcycle an old window into a chalkboard sign, a great way to repurpose an old wooden window frame into artwork.

We have all heard the saying that someone trash, is someone’s treasure. Well, today I am sharing how to reuse someones trash into your own treasure. And that trash is an old wooden window that needs to be replaced because it’s not energy efficient. But that does not mean it cannot be used as something else, like upcycle an old window into a chalkboard sign.

chalkboard sign from an old window

I LOVE the look an old window can bring to a space, and this is not our first time upcycling an old wooden window. Here’s a list of just a few projects using old windows.


Also, welcome to this month’s At Home DIY challenge! Every month for the whole year, I am participating in a different challenge, and this month it’s “Upcycle Thrift Store Challenge”. After sharing my tutorial there is a linkup to 35+ other DIY home bloggers projects, so be sure to check those out!

Now back to how to upcycle an old window into a chalkboard sign.

old wooden windows

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience, click here to read my full disclosure policy


The cost of this project depends on the cost of the old window but I can give you an estimate of the other materials.

The cost of the additional materials will be about $20 plus the window. This cost could be less if you have some of the materials on hand.

AS A SIDE NOTE: My old window cost $15.




  • razor blade
  • orbital sander
  • grip sprayer tool
  • painter, tape, & scissors
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • jig saw

Find the list of tools we use.

SIDE NOTE: The window does not need glass!

Also to help you see the process, I have created a how-to video on how to make a chalkboard sign from an old window.


The old window needs to be transformed because it will probably have chipped paint and maybe broken glass. The first thing that needs to happen is removing the glass from the frame.

SIDE NOTE: I was hoping to reuse the glass in my window but sadly I broke it. So be careful if you want to reuse the glass!

remove glass from window frame

After the glass is removed its time to clean up the frame. Mine had some chipping paint, so I used a painters tool to scrape that off.

Next I used #60 grit sandpaper to sand the frame. I wanted to remove a lot of the old paint but not all of it.

upcycle old window frame

TIP: #60 grit sandpaper is coarse, meaning it removes the surface quicker.

After removing some of the old paint, I then took that #220 grit sandpaper and sanded the window frame to make it smooth. Then used a cloth to remove any dust. To help protect the frame, I did spray paint a clear coat over the frame. This is not needed but I do recommend it.


Now that the window frame is looking new, you need to cut the 1/4″ MDF to fit inside the frame. You will be placing this piece where the glass once sat.

I used a square as my ruler to find the size I needed for the 1/4″ MDF. Then I marked the 1/4″ MDF and cut it with a Jig Saw.

create chalkboard sign from mdd

After I sanded the MDF with a #220 grit sandpaper to give it a smooth finish.

Then I wipped the board with a cloth and place it onto an old sheet (this is my painting drop cloth), following the directions on the chalkboard spray paint, I painted the board.

chalkboard spray paint

TIP: A spray grip tool helps to not get paint on your fingers.

Once the first coat dried, I applied a second coat and let that coat dry before starting the next step.


At this point, I hope you know where you want your chalkboard sign. Meaning you know what you want it to say!

I decided to have mine be in the laundry room, and yes it’s still a work in progress and not even close to being finished. But I wanted this sign in there so I made it now.

Once I had the saying I wanted, I typed it into my computer and printed the letters. Mine was larger than one sheet of paper so I did have to tape it together.

laundry room chalkboard sign

Next I cut out each section of the sign. Centered the text onto the chalkboard and taped in place.

Now I have never done any chalkboard lettering so I wanted to know the easiest, cheapest, and best way to trace lettters onto a chalkboard without a stencil. Because I do not have a fancy machine to do this.

After some research, I decided to try four different techniques on chalkboard lettering to find the most effective way to trace letters onto chalkboard.

Because the post is about creating a chalkboard sign from an old window, I created a whole post about DIY chalkboard lettering. So go there to see how to trace letters onto a chalkboard, plus there’s a video too!

But I will give you my tips here:

  • My favorite way to transfer the letters was by scribbling on the back of the paper with a pencil. Then tracing on the front with a pencil.
  • I recommend using a chalk marker instead of real chalk, it doesn’t wipe away as easily.
  • If you are right-handed, work left to right (opposite if left handed) and top to bottom.
use chalk marker to trace letters

Once your letters are on the chalkboard, you are ready to place it into the window frame.

TIP: If you don’t plan on writing anything new on the sign, lightly spray a clear coat of spray paint onto the sign to protect the writing. I did this with my sign!


Place the window frame on a flat surface with the front side down. Then place the chalkboard inside the frame with the lettering facing down.

TIP: If you have a top of the window frame, make sure to place the top of the chalkboard in the same direction.

Then place a bead of sealant (caulk) were the chalkboard meets the window frame. I like to wet my finger with a wipe then smooth out the bead to make sure it’s sealing the seam.

attach back to old window

Let the sign dry in this location until the sealant is dry, the instructions on the tube will tell you how long that is.

And your chalkboard sign is ready to be hung. I hope this DIY tutorial will help give you an idea on how to upcycle an old window into a chalkboard sign for your home.

Now be sure to look through the other projects from 30 other DIY bloggers as part of this month’s challenge, there could be the perfect tutorial there for your next transformation.

See more Upcycled Thrift Store Projects

upcycle old window frame
chalkboard sign from an old window


Yield: one sign
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $20

Upcycle an old window into a sign by using the old frame of the window as the frame for the sign.



  • razor blade
  • orbital sander
  • grip sprayer tool
  • painter, tape, & scissors
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • jig saw


  1. Transforming the old window frame by sanding.
  2. Create the chalkboard sign with spray paint to insert into the window.
  3. Trace letters onto the chalkboard with a chalk marker.
  4. Install the chalkboard into the window frame and hang in place.
upcycle old window into a chalkboard sign
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  1. Oh!! That’s such a great upcycle!! I’d totally hang that sign in my laundry room!! Looks wonderful!

    1. Thanks, Christine!!

  2. I need to make one of these for my new laundry closet! Thanks for sharing such a good idea.

    1. Thanks, Meegan!

  3. I love it! Chalkboard signs are timeless

  4. This looks amazing! Old windows are one of my favorite things to collect and I love this update. Definitely want to make one for my laundry room!

  5. Oh! you made that old window look gorgeous! I am sure you will got lots of use out of that chalk board. Pinned

  6. What a great way to repurpose as Window. It looks Amazing!

    1. Thank you, Anam!

  7. Very cute! I need a self service sign for sure ;) Mama is tired of doing the laundry.

    1. I completely agree with you, I am tired of doing the laundry too!

  8. Great job, love the new look!

    1. Thanks, Cindy!

  9. WOW – this looks amazing!! I absolutely love it! Send me one please ;)

    1. Thanks, Eileen! I am pretty sure you could make one yourself, I have seen all your amazing DIY projects!!

  10. This is so cute!! did you use a stencil for the words or free hand them?

    1. Thank you, Christine!!!

  11. I love this, Megan! That old window provides the perfect frame for a chalkboard. Fantastic job!

    1. Thanks, Amy!!

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