DIY: Footboard turned Message Center

By Kate Riley June 8, 2009

For me, 50% off day at the St. Vincent de Paul is the definition of excitement.  Not only do I love the treasure hunt, not only do I get giddy at the thought of a big discount, but I relish the opportunity to transform found objects in a way not contemplated by others. I found a little lost footboard, sitting in the dust, behind all of the other large furniture, scratched, neglected and alone. This poor little end of a bed had no mate.  From the cobwebs surrounding it, I could tell no one had glanced at it in awhile.  It was $25, but then 50% off, so I brought it home for $12.50 for a complete makeover.

Please say hello to the new and improved version of my footboard.  This little lady can multitask.  Not only is she able to sit outside and be charming as a chalkboard, she is also a unique home message board and organizer, complete with chalkboard center, and ceramic knobs for hanging sweaters, umbrellas, and hats.

Before and After, outdoor style:

Before and After, indoor style:


How to Transform a Footboard into a Message Center:



  1. Footboard
  2. Medium grade sandpaper
  3. Primer
  4. Paint color of choice
  5. Chalkboard paint
  6. Knobs of choice
  7. D Ring Hangers
  8. Screwdriver

Step One:  Sand your footboard to remove all traces of varnish.  Prime your piece with spray or brush on primer.  With these smaller projects, I prefer spray primer for faster application and drying time.  Apply two coats and allow to dry.

Step Two:  Cover your footboard with your paint color of choice, whether by brush or spray.  Again, I chose to cover with spray in a favorite color: Rustoleum’s Heirloom White.  Apply two coats and allow to dry.

One nice thing about this particular kind of spray paint: it is for outdoor use as well.  So when you paint with this product, you may use your transformed footboard outside !  (See photos below.)

Step Three:  When your paint is dry, tape it off so to allow for application of chalkboard paint.  There I go again with the spray version for faster application and drying time.  Apply two coats and allow to dry.

Tip:  This particular brand of chalkboard spray I chose was very sensitive to whether there was a good coat of primer underneath.  In one corner, it started to peel up since the primer there was too thinly applied. I had to go back in just that corner, sand it again, prime it again, then apply the chalkboard paint again.

You can use this project to add an interesting element to your outdoor decor.

I like how this particular footboard already had curved pencil trim that made the placement of chalkboard paint easy.  If you find a plain footboard, you can easily add your own trim with molding and a miter box. If your intention is to use your piece indoors as a place for hanging hats or handbags, then follow these additional steps.

Step Four:  Drill pilot holes with a drill bit.  Attach knobs to the bottom of your footboard.

I chose to use two kinds of cream colored ceramic knobs to complement the paint color:

Step Five:  Locate your wall studs, and line up your footboard with the studs.  Mark the location of the studs on your footboard.   Attach D ring hangers to the rear of your footboard, then hang on your wall.

This recycled footboard now hangs in the hallway as a place for handbags, umbrellas, sweaters and winter hats, for our family’s use and for guests as well.  I like that I chalkboard center allows me to change the wording depending on the occasion, or the season.


Here’s just another way to change up an ordinary piece of furniture, and revamp it in a unique way.




  1. This is great! By the way, I think I may be addicted to spraypainting! I sprayed the Craigslist table and…what a difference!! Thanks for the tip!

  2. Oh wow. You've certainly outdone yourself for turning something old into something completely different and new. Definitely fab! And as an added bonus, the artwork will surely only get better with time once Bella gets her hands on it. =)

  3. That was fabulous. Never in a million years would I have thought to use the foot board like that. Spray paint? Definitely, but with that great touch? Nope. :)

  4. TOO Cool!!!! :) That is one fabulous project. Very, very creative. Way to think outside the box! ;)

  5. I swear chalkboard paint is all the rage and I am way behind in getting on board with this product. I gotta chalk something just to keep up with you ladies! Great idea!!!!!!!!!

  6. I. MUST. HAVE! I will be on the lookout. Love your vision Kate!

  7. I really liked the make over of the footboard, but THEN you add the knobs to hang stuff on and then I just LOVED it! Wonderful makeover!!!

  8. Just beautiful – I wouldn't have even given it a second thought! And to trandform it into what you have done – fantastic!!! You really have inspired me – today I picked up a fabulous desk at Goodwill. It will be for the kids computer station in the studio. Now I am trying to figure out what color I will paint it – but I iwll be following your instructions! :)

  9. LOVE IT!!!!! I was just laughing thinking how your husband must come home from work and look around the house to see what you added that day! You are GREAT!

  10. Holy creativity! And here I was feeling all proud about arranging my books by color. Your work is very inspiring and the project is better than ANYthing I've seen on three seasons of Design Star.

  11. You are so creative, girlfriend!! I love it :) I especially like its size. You can leave a huge note to your husband, and he'll never be able to claim he didn't see it ;)

  12. Totally fabulous!!! I am completely impressed. One more thing to add to my list of items to look for when I go to yard sales, thrift stores, and goodwill.

  13. I love this and today is Goodwill day for us so I will look for some of this good stuff to turn into a chalkboard…hey, I wonder if I have a mirror…could I just spray the chalkboard paint over the top of it? Or does it have to be wood to use the chalkboard paint…you know?

  14. Love it! You've done it again! Now I have one more thing to be searching for. My son is getting married in Aug and we're hosting a BBQ rehearsal dinner at our home. Wouldn't this be so cute at the end of the driveway welcoming everyone?

  15. What!? This is great! My fave is the hanger rack. I love re-purposing things, but this is truly something I would never have thought of. Really fab idea!

  16. I would have walked by that footboard a thousand times and never thought of a way to use it! You have a great eye. Love it!

  17. You consistently AMAZE me with your creativity and resourcefulness!! Seriously…I have never seen someone with your talent, and I am glued to HGTV and every crafty type blog/magazine out there! You've got a gift, girl. Wanna design my gender-neutral nursery?? :)

  18. Holy crap! This is a great find and your transformation is fantastic. Props sister!

  19. I love that you rescued this sad, lonely piece and made it into something so fabulous! Lost footboards will rejoice!

  20. Oh. My. Goodness. I absolutely have to have a chalkboard footboard on my bed. First I have to find a footboard, but when I do I am SOOOO painting a chalkboard on it to write lovey messages to my husband. He'll be so impressed. (Probably not, but I'd do it anyway.) LOVE this idea.

  21. You are truly amazing! How do you come up with these things as well, how do you find the time to do all of this? Love this!

  22. I'm with Sarah M. Have thought that since the first day I found your blog.

  23. wow – now that is creative! I would never have come up with that idea.

  24. Very cool! Someone just read my post today and sent me your way. I just posted about an awesome twin headboard and footboard. I can't wait to finish mine, although it will not be a chalkboard. I would love to keep on finding these, as there as SO many uses for them around the house. Great job on the tutorial!


  25. AMAZING AND FANTABULOUS! You are sooo creative! Love it, and if I find a lonely footboard anytime soon, it is coming home to live with me!

  26. Is the house next door to you for sale? Because I'd like to be close by so we can go shopping together and you can help me find treasures like this :) I'm thinking it's time to start ditching hubby and the kids on Saturday mornings so I can treasure hunt…If I ever get my dream remodel (if all goes well in 2 years!) I will be making this project my own.

  27. Girl, you are good! Another great project, you just keep coming up with more. I need a bigger house if I'm gonna keep bringing stuff home. And I must be the only one without a chalkboard now. I love yours!

  28. Can you come to my house in TX, please?? LOL. Brilliant transformation, as usual! I love having you on my Blogs I Follow so I don't miss any of your posts!


  29. Love it,, just another something i'll HAVE to look for at yard sales..

  30. Love your blog! What great ideas that I am so gonna copy! Keep up the exceptional work!

  31. Kate~ I just love this and featured it on my blog today~hope it's okay. Have a great day!

  32. I saw your post the first time when the sign just said BBQ- LOVED it!! Now with the knobs I think it's fantastic! So i'm at the local thrift store the other day and what do I see??? One lonely headboard very similiar to yours!! Something I would have never looke twice at until your post! I snatched it up brought it home and plan on using it out by our pool. I to will put knobs but ours will be for wet towels and i'm thinking the sign will read something like… "No lifeguard on duty" or "Pool hours as follows" Thanks for the inspiration!!!!!

  33. Wow .. I love it!! What a creative mind you have.. I woulda never thought of using a headboard that way.
    Thanks for sharing.

  34. I am so glad to have found your blog from the Chalkboard party. This is an awesome creation!!! Thanks so much for sharing! I'm also in Northern CA and love visiting St. Vincent De Paul for items. I bought a $3 globe there the other day for the chalkboard party. :)

  35. This is great!! Now i know what to do with the footboard i was just going to make into ah self.

    blessings and thanks,
    Barbara jean

  36. This is a wonderful project! Thank you for the great tutorial!

  37. WOW! That's a great project! I'm sooo gonna be a "copy cat" and do this one, too!

  38. I was wowed in the beginning when it was just a painted footboard – then you turned it into an outdoor piece, then a piece that was for hanging stuff, then it was mounted on the wall – Goodness! It's fabulous!!

  39. That is an absolutely fabulous transformation! I love it! What a great idea AND a great tutorial, too! :)

  40. WOW, you did an amazing job with that transformation! It looks perfect. I've never tried to be that creative before but I am inspired! Thanks :)

  41. That is so amazing! You did a great job and your tutorial is very well written. Hope to see you soon over at my blog!

  42. You know, I was thisclose to buying a piece just like yours to be used for the same thing, at my favourite thrift shop. Except, I am so lazy I left it behind because I didn't feel like painting. Now you just know you have inspired me to go back for it! Sigh..I guess I know what I am doing tomorrow!

    You have so many beautiful ideas and your home is just a dream! Thanks for the steady stream of inspiration!


  43. that does it…I am now completely insane with jealousy over this piece! On the hunt for a footboard…my homeschool corner *totally* needs this ;)

  44. I enjoy reading your blog, especially the decorating ideas. I love the footboard chalkboard. I've also made a chalkboard out of an old antique sewing cabinet door. (See my blog)

  45. …OH MY GOODNESS!!!..thanks for sharing this !…I have two foot boards (took the two head boards to make a day bed!)…that are just waiting to be transformed!…you are a genius!…C

  46. I have my childhood headboard in my attic just waiting to be repurposed. What a great idea! I think I may use it in my new dining room over a buffet/dresser. Thanks for the great idea!

  47. Oh your blackboard is beautiful.. I have to go to the thrift store and see if I can find one. I would love one on the deck by our pool. you do amazing work and shoud be so proud of yourself. Debbie

  48. I just love this piece! I love all your pieces but this one especially. I love the chalkboard. I just repainted our living room and need a new coatrack. This gives me a new inspiration. Keep up the wonderful work. Love your site.

  49. Just came across this and love it. You are inspirational. That bar across the top would be a nice place for towels if it had been positioned upside down. Just a thought.

  50. My mouth dropped when I saw this, this is absolutely awesome, cool,& beautiful…I will be on the lookout for a footboard, I just wish I had a creative mind like you…you have a God given talent, God bless you!!

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