How to Make a Chalkboard Photo Backdrop & Gold Flatware

How to Make a Chalkboard Photo Backdrop and Gold Flatware

When I first started blogging, it was at the beginning of the summer. June 26, 2013 to be exact. 

Every time Lu and I were deciding what to do on the weekends, I’d always say, “Let’s go to Brooklyn Flea and look for chalkboards!” For some reason, I had it in my head that I wanted all of my food photos to have a chalkboard in the background that had the name of the dish scribbled on it. 

I could never find the perfect chalkboard (perfect= one for less than $25), so I decided to make my own and of course, enlist Lu to help like last time.

The premise is easy: coat a surface with the “chalkboard” spray paint, let dry, coat again, and then let dry for 24 hours. Then, you spread chalk all over the “chalkboard,” wipe it down and voila – you should have a fully usable chalkboard.

Well, take my advice: DON’T use a foam board as your surface. Use wood – or even a cement wall. Just not foam board. 

If you use foam board, the chalk won’t “stick” to the surface. I was really bummed out when I wiped down my layer of chalk and then tried to write my first word. It didn’t work.

However, the silver lining here is that, in the process, I created an awesome backdrop for my photos, which, if you haven’t noticed, I’ve been using a lot lately. I love how the black surface and black backdrop looks in photos.

Like this one:

Cajun Broccoli Potato Noodle Pizza


Or this one:

Lime-Jalapeno Tilapia with Cilantro-Manchego-Pepita Pesto Zucchini Pasta

 To use the board, just place it down on a table (I use our living room coffee table) and place your dish on top – it makes an edgy surface for your photos.

Or, you can use it as a backdrop – just lean it up and shoot with it in the background. 

It definitely sets an interesting mood for your photos, don’t you think?

Now, how did I do it? Ehem – how did we do it?

How to Build a Chalkboard Photo Backdrop

First step: go to a Michaels store and buy the following items:

Thick form board (20″ x 30″): you want to make sure it’s large enough to be able to shoot your photography on.
One can of chalkboard spray paint
Box of chalk
Chalk eraser

You’ll also need:

– Newspaper or a tarp to lay down underneath the foam board

Step 1: Lay down your newspapers over whatever surface you’ll be using to spray paint the foam board.

How to Make a Chalkboard Photo Backdrop

Step 2: Shake your can of spray paint and spray, in lines, over the entire foam board until it is entirely covered in spray paint.

How to Make a Chalkboard Photo Backdrop

How to Make a Chalkboard Photo Backdrop


How to Make a Chalkboard Photo Backdrop

Step 3: Let dry for 15-20 minutes or until completely dry.

Step 4: Repeat a coat.

Step 5: Rub chalk all over the “chalkboard” and then erase with the chalk eraser.

Step 6: It’s ready to use! 

How to Make Gold Flatware

We also spent that day making gold flatware. 

Like you see in this picture:

Make Gold Flatware

 Lu’s a lucky guy, right? Spending his days at Michael’s and spray painting things for me. I know, I know. I spoil him.

First, you need to go to Michael’s and buy:

– Gold Spray Paint (this exact one is what I used – you only need this little bottle)

You’ll also need:

– Newspapers to lay down underneath the flatware to protect your surface.
– Whatever flatware you’d like to make gold.

Got everything? Great.

Step 1: Lay down the newspapers on whatever surface you’re using to spray paint.

Step 2: Lay down your flatware down in the middle of the newspapers.

How to Make Gold Flatware

Step 3: Spray paint over the flatware, coating completely.

How to Make Gold Flatware

How to Make Gold Flatware

Step 4: Let dry for at least 1 hour. Then, lightly rinse under running water and blot.

Step 5: If anything looks imperfect, feel free to do another coat.

How to Make Gold Flatware

Step 6: Use in your photography!

Were these tutorials helpful?

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emilyhein727 says:
That looks so cool! Your photos are gorgeous. I've been wanting to improve my photography for my blog, right now I'm using my phone camera and no backdrops or props. But you've given me a couple good ideas for how to spruce up my pictures! I'm going to have to go to Hobby Lobby and pick up a few things!
Thanks Emily! I'm glad you found the tutorial helpful!
Lisa says:
Thanks a lot for posting this! I've been looking for ways to improve the backdrop of my photos.
Ali Joseph says:
I was thinking "how does she keep up with new recipe every day" when I saw the email! But when I opened it I was pleasantly surprised you shared this! I love it. Thank you SO much. I tell EVERYONE about your site -- I'm hooked and I love it. You're kicking butt :)
Joanne says:
I obviously need to use the.boy more for projects like these!!
Rachel says:
I just bought all the things to make the chalkboard backdrop today. Very excited! Thanks for the great tutorial.
Oh, great! You'll have to let me know how that turns out! Good luck :)

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