DIY: Chalkboard/Magnetic Fireplace Cover

14 Jan

While in Richmond over the weekend, Lindsay had a fabulous idea for a DIY project.  They are not currently using their fireplace for it’s intended use as it needs some repair work.  As baby Rhys is looking like he’s going to start crawling soon, she wanted to find a good temporary solution to babyproof the opening.  Here is a before picture – check out the gorgeous mantle!

DIY fireplacebefore

Enter the idea to do a chalkboard fireplace cover. But she didn’t stop there, because she thought it would be fun for it to be magnetic as well! I brought up seeing some fun gold spray painted alphabet letters on Pinterest, and the project was a go!  Since I love DIY projects I happily went to Home Depot to get all of the supplies and help her with the project. We aren’t going to discuss how we had to go back to Home Depot since the first person cut the wood incorrectly. Here’s how we (and by we I mean about 90% Lindsay, and 10% me for moral support/babysitting while she painted) did this fun little project.

Supplies needed:

  • smooth plywood
  • sanding block
  • mini smooth paint roller (with several disposable heads)
  • paint key/stirrer
  • small paint tray
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Magnetic primer
  • chalk
  • alphabet magnets (optional)
  • gold spray paint (optional)

Before heading out to get the supplies, measure the inside area of your fireplace where the board would cover. Make sure you measure in multiple places as the flooring/wood may be slightly uneven. Head to Home Depot with your measurements and ask them to cut the smooth plywood (we used 1/4 inch thick) down to size. We recommend someone that works in lumber, and they are probably more legit if they are carrying thick carpenter pencils. Also, when you head to the paint section, ask them to give your two cans a good shake and snag a few paint stirrers there!

Bring the board home and double check that it fits nicely in the fireplace. Then take it and place on a flat surface. Since there’s a lot of painting, this is best done outside. Since it was a rainy day in Richmond, we did this in the basement with masks on, and made sure to get fresh air! Start by smoothing out the board of any bumps by sanding with a sanding block.

DIY sanding

Pour the magnetic paint into the tray and using the small roller, apply a light even coat. Make sure to cover the sides of the board as well with at least one coat. Allow the paint to dry for at least half hour between coats.  Lindsay did seven thin coats just to make sure the magnet paint was fairly strong, but test with magnets to your optimal level.

DIY magnetic

DIY paint

DIY board

If you want to make the gold alphabet letters, we Lindsay did this in between painting coats of magnetic paint.  Simply lay all letters flat on a piece of cardboard and spray lightly. Each time you do it, make sure you are getting close and come from a different angle so you cover all the little spaces in the letters. We found the letters and the cute little basket at Target, but the spray paint and all other materials were at Home Depot.

DIY letters

gold letters



After letting the paint on the board dry overnight, it was time to add the chalkboard paint.  Again, Lindsay used three light coats with about 45 minute dry time in between.

DIY chalkboardpinat

Allow the board to dry completely before bringing to the fireplace. Here, we added industrial strength velcro to the brick to hold the cover on, but also make it easily removable. Lindsay and her husband still wanted this to be temporary, but there are other solutions you can do if you are covering your fireplace a little more permanently. Just ask someone at Home Depot!


Simply add the other side of the velcro to the board and there you have it! A baby proofed fireplace! And when Rhys is a little older, he will have lots of fun with the classy gold alphabet letters. For now, there will be no soot babies, and I think this fireplace makeover looks AMAZING in her house!


chalboard fireplace

chalkboard and magnetic fireplace

I loved doing this fun DIY project, and teamwork is definitely the way to get it done! I think her husband is a little nervous about what may happen the next time I come for a visit.

-♥- Reneé

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23 Responses to “DIY: Chalkboard/Magnetic Fireplace Cover”

  1. Alec Singletary January 14, 2014 at 10:21 pm #

    Hey! I nominated you for an award on my blog!! Check it out at !! :)

  2. Auntie Drew January 14, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

    Oh! I love this! What a great idea,,, Thanks for sharing. :)

    • Renee' @ Sassy Wife, Classy Life January 14, 2014 at 11:56 pm #

      Thanks Aunt Drew, although in your area I’m sure most people would take all the fireplaces they can get! :)

      • Anu October 14, 2019 at 10:49 am #

        This is a great idea and ofcourse I started doing it. But I wish I had known about the magnetic primer prior to starting it. Folks, this magnetic primer is similar to the grade of a car paint which means that you need a mask when applying it. The first time when I applied the primer, the smell was so strong, i just couldnt breath normally. Added to that, the primer doesnt spread evenly. I applied multiple coats-actually used up the entire can and still magnets donot stick well. I also got uneven finish on my board due to multiple coats and I didnt want to sand it as this paint could contain lead and I didnt want to inhale lead dust. All in all, it’s a nice DIY, but it isnt cheap.

  3. Sam January 14, 2014 at 7:38 pm #

    This looks SO CUTE! What an awesome idea! If we didn’t use our fireplace, we would totally do this. I love the magnetic alphabet letters too. Awesome job!

  4. Khala @ The Birdie Bowl January 14, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

    This is fantasic! We have a very similar fireplace (that we can’t use). What a great idea, girl! I’m going to run this idea by Sieg! LOVE! xo

    • Renee' @ Sassy Wife, Classy Life January 14, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

      It’s pretty inexpensive too, I think with all of the materials it was around $100, not bad and totally cute for writing messages – I’ve seen some people draw chalk fires too. Totally cute.

  5. Jessie R January 14, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

    This is the best idea ever! I have had homes with fireplaces that I never used. This is amazing. You are so talented!!!!!!!!!

  6. Lindsay January 14, 2014 at 11:13 am #

    Yay! I’m definitely loving it… I think its still growing on Gareth :)

    • Renee' @ Sassy Wife, Classy Life January 14, 2014 at 11:15 am #

      I should have scared him more with my comments on painting the railing gold…then he would be more relieved that it’s just a pretty fireplace cover vs. gilded railings :) Let me know what project is next!


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