DIY Home + Garden

Published on February 27th, 2011 | by Julie Finn


How to Upcycle an Old Globe into a Chalkboard Globe

chalkboard globeIt all started when I spied a dry-erase write-on globe in one of those fancy-pants homeschool supplies catalogue. Seriously, how cool would a write-on globe be? The kids can draw the countries and continents right on it, you can illustrate migration routes, you can draw in the red states and the blue ones on election day, and you could even write the grocery list on it, or a happy birthday message, or whatever you want–it’s a write-on globe!

Then I saw the price of the dry-erase write-on globe, and I realized that I would not be purchasing it after all, on account of I prefer to be able to buy groceries and pay the mortgage.

And still the thought of that write-on globe has been ticking around in my head for many months, until last weekend, when I stopped by an out-of-season yard sale and spied a beat-up old globe. It still had the USSR proudly marked on it, bless its heart, and therefore certainly had no place in my little geographically accurate homeschool.


Check out how I turned that sad old globe into the write-on globe of my dreams, and grab some chalkboard paint of your own, because you can totally do this, too:

peel the paper off of the globeIf your globe is gorgeous and smooth and pristine you may not need to do this first step, but my globe? It was crazy beat-up, with parts actually peeling away or torn off, and so I peeled the entire top layer of paper off of my globe.

The benefit to doing this is that I took the globe down to a perfectly smooth layer of plain cardboard, ready to be primed, but it was a lot of fussy work and it took an entire episode of Grey’s Anatomy to complete, so if your globe is clean and smooth and your primer will work over that smooth, sealed top paper layer, then breeze on through to the next step.

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About the Author

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now. Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

5 Responses to How to Upcycle an Old Globe into a Chalkboard Globe

  1. Jaime Mckee says:

    I just said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ WAY out loud! This is the coolest thing ever. I’m totes going to draw in Middle Earth…

  2. Julie Finn says:

    Middle Earth, hell yeah!

  3. Kltaylor says:

    This is a very cool project! I actually just wrote a blog last week about upcycling. There is no need to throw away that old globe- we can make it something new!

  4. cake says:

    you could also probably use a little sand paper to smooth out some rough spots, as long as you finished with a fine grit, like 220. i once used chalkboard paint on a less than smooth surface, and it just doesn’t work so well for writing or drawing.

    I love your globe, and will be looking for one once garage sale season gets into full swing.

    • Pumpkinbear says:

      Next time I will use a finer grit sandpaper–I’m happy with the texture of my globe, although it’s a smidge on the rough side, but I did find it harder to sand with a rougher grit sandpaper without completely shredding the cardboard.

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