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How to make a simple cable reel blackboard

How to make a simple cable reel blackboard

A few weeks ago I shared a recent upcycle of a wooden cable reel. We turned it into a fairy house for the children to play with. We actually picked up two cable reels so today I’m going to show you what we did with the other.

Cable reels are great and there are so many ways to upcycle them. My children love to use chalk to draw on the patio and walls so I made them a cable reel blackboard – perfect for mark making outside.

We used:
Rustoleum Chalkboard Paint (Old School Green)
Wooden cable reel
Smooth pebbles
Chalkola Pens

How to make a simple cable reel blackboard

The┬áRustoleum Chalkboard Paint was really easy to use. I simply sprayed it over the top of the cable reel until it was completely covered, then left it to dry. I used the Old School Green with matt finish – totally reminiscent of my school days! It’s a brilliant way to create a chalkboard on any surface. It works with conventional chalks and liquid chalk markers.

How to make a simple cable reel blackboard

I bought a new pack of chalk for my children to use on the blackboard but also thought it would be fun to make them some painted stone animals so they could play noughts and crosses.

I used Chalkola Pens to make 5 ladybirds and 5 bees on some smooth pebbles. These were quick and easy to make but meant the children had something extra to play with if they got bored of writing or drawing pictures.

After school I set up an invitation to play with the cable reel chalkboard and stone animals.

painted stone ladybirds and bees

They marked out boards to play noughts and crosses and it kept them occupied. It didn’t stop them then chalking all over the patio and walls but at least it gave them a new surface to write on.


  • Reply
    Ashleigh Dougherty
    June 28, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    What an amazing idea for some creative doodles outside.

  • Reply
    Rhian Westbury
    June 28, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    I love the blackboard paint, it’s so good that you can make something like this out of something you’d otherwise throw away x

  • Reply
    Rachel George, Ordinary Hopes
    June 28, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    I had seen chalkboard paint before but hadn’t come across anyone who had tried it. Always good to see the photos, especially when in use!

  • Reply
    Charlotte Greene
    June 28, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    This is such an interesting way to repurpose something! I’ve always wanted to have a chalk paint wall in my house somewhere, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to take the leap. Maybe doing something small like this would be a good stepping stone for me! PS Love the little rock-ladybugs <3

  • Reply
    Sarah Bailey
    June 28, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    What an awesome idea for a DIY, I love that it is so simple to do and pretty cheap as well – great make for the summer holiday.

  • Reply
    Andrea @ The Petite Cook
    June 28, 2017 at 11:42 pm

    What a great idea, I’m sure as a kid I would have loved something like this ­čÖé

  • Reply
    June 30, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    What a lovely idea! I love the look of cable reels!

  • Reply
    Summer painted bee and ladybird rocks -
    May 14, 2020 at 12:17 pm

    […] played with our painted bee and ladybird rocks in the garden. We made enough that they could play noughts and crosses with them but they are also for decorating our fairy […]

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