Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chalkboard Signs

Since I have a few projects in the works, but no results to show yet, and I’m just itching to post about something crafty.  I thought I would tell you about one of my new latest craft/décor obsessions.  Chalkboard paint!  This stuff is AMAZING!  There is nothing you can’t do with it, it turns boring fixtures into amazing pieces of retro art.  And is a great way to label things in an unexpected way. 
My first endeavor with this was for my wedding, we had a big crowd and the ceremony and reception was taking place at this big beautiful old building that had two floors that we rented with all the usual weddingy hot spots spread throughout the building.  So in order to keep my guest happy and the staff of helpers sane I wanted to clearly, but cutely mark all the areas to keep everyone in the know.  Solution: the chalkboard sign!  These are huge right now, especially at weddings.  And with all their great uses for the day of and after, why wouldn’t they be? 

It’s pretty easy to create these handy little guys, and with all the wedding crafts I had on my plate, this was one of my favorites because they were so easy!

My supplies for this project:
1 quart of chalkboard paint (a little goes a long way, I still have at least half left even after this project and several others)
Thin board cut to size

Sponge Roller and paint tray
Hand sander (You sand it the old fashion way, but try to get your hands on a sander to safe you time and energy)
Medium to fine grit sanding sheets for sander (depending on how textured your board is)

Measure your frame and cut your board to size (carefully measure the inside of the frame and make sure it has a little wiggle room, as it is much harder to make a solid piece of wood fit in a snug frame than it is to fit a picture).

Sand your board till it’s nice and smooth, if you can feel any grooves keep sanding. 

After you have a smooth surface to work with, dust off all remaining dust or grit with a slightly damp cloth or paper towel.

Time to paint!  Make sure your can is well mixed and pour it in the tray, again a little goes a long way so unless your project is huge, refrain from dumping the whole can in!

Apply the paint with a clean sponge roller.  For the first time I did this I used a regular roller and it turned out ok, but you will have much better results with the sponge roller. 
Give it one even coat rolling in one direction, and at least a second in the opposite direction.  You will probably need to apply a third, but let each coat dry completely before charging into the next coat.

Once you have a few coats on and dry, give it a spin and draw or write with some chalk!  If you notice a lot of friction when applying the chalk and you can’t get the chalk to make a fairly smooth line, your probably going to have to sand that bad boy down a bit more.  Don’t beat yourself up, I did this the first time too, I get a little to excited sometimes and skip out of the beginning steps, you can just sand right over the paint (dry paint), switch to a finer grit of sand paper if need be, and try again.

Now, try your chalk again.  Is that better?  Good, don’t try to make whatever it is your writing/drawing perfect for your final project perfect, cuz your just going to wipe it all off anyway.  Don’t argue with me, it say so on the can, and if you argue with a can you’re going to look pretty silly.  This gives it that nice old classroom chalkboard look.

After you’ve done that, you can pop it in the frame.  You can do this before the last step, but you will not get that blended in classroom look as well up to where the frame meets the board, and you might get your frame dirty.  But this is your project and you can do with it as you will, which is usually what I do, and then go back and try it the other way later.

Now write something inspirational, lead your people with your magnificent direction sign, label with reckless abandon.  It’s up to you!  You are now the proud owner of a chalkboard sign!

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