Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Chalkboard DIY

    I ♥ chalkboards!  I have liked them for as long as I can remember! In Grade 1, Mrs. Kay had a big room-dividing chalkboard on wheels in our classroom. All the students who finished their work early were allowed to spend their time quietly doodling on that big chalkboard and I wanted to do that more than anything else but I was never done my work in time. So I hatched a plan!  I stuffed my unfinished work back into my desk, thinking the teacher would never know, I got up quietly from my desk, picked up one beautiful piece of chalk and was just about to draw when Mrs. Kay called me over and asked me to show her my completed work - Eek!!  My plan was foiled - caught chalk-handed!!

     I still remember the first time my Grade 5 French teacher picked up chalk and began to write on the chalkboard - it made no sound!  There was no dull scratchy sound of chalk grating against the board - it was a smooth as a marker on a white board - without the squeaks! From that day on I wanted nothing more than to be called up to the board to write something - anything! - just so I could try out that beautiful, and impressive chalkboard! I did one day get my opportunity and it was delightful! Ahhh, those were the days!
    I certainly haven't changed much since then because I was in our local school just two days ago and even though they have switched out almost every chalkboard for whiteboards - I still couldn't resist!  I was in the Grade 3 classroom and grabbed up a marker and drew a l'il person on the board and to give it purpose I wrote "Welcome!" above it... while I was drawing, one of the students saw me and ran to the teacher and tattled, "Hey, she's drawing on the board!!"  The teacher, who has known me for years now, simply replied to the student that it was okay, she's allowed to draw on our boards. Phew!  

    All that to say - I finally have my very own chalkboard - one I designed, built, and installed myself!  I don't know why I hadn't thought to do it before but now I have a lovely, long chalkboard in my kitchen to put grocery lists on and also doodle on!  : )

    I don't have a lot of pictures but I did remember to take some through the process so I'll give you a bit of a step by step... 

Homemade Chalkboard
For Under $20!!  

    I did some searching online on the Home Depot site to find sizes of trim, so I could do all my calculations at home before going to the store, I determined that a 15" x 45.5" writing surface would be a nice size to fill the wall area I had.  I found the trim I wanted (Colonial white wood trim, 3/8" thick, 1-1/4" wide), I ensured the local store had it in stock and then figured out my final board dimensions: 17.5" x 48".
    Home Depot carries 24" x 48" sheets of 1/4" Hard Board (Masonite) for only $2.95 CDN!! So one quick, in-store cut later I had the dimensions I needed for my chalkboard - and a perfect left-over piece of hard board I can use to make a cute sign or something!

    I gathered the trim - it came in 6ft. lengths, so I got two - only $4.95 each (!) and headed home!

    Our youngest was very excited to help me when she got home from school so she helped me measure, mark, and mitre the trim pieces and then set to work painting them.

A mitre box is a beautiful thing!!

       The trim paint colour does not show well in this photo but it is a lovely neutral green!
Sherwin-Williams "Softened Green" (SW6177)

    After we finished with all the trim work we set to work on the chalkboard surface.  I bought two bottles of CraftSmart brand Chalkboard paint (in Black, it is also available in Green) from Michaels.  Each bottle was only $1.69 CDN!!  Woo-hoo!!

    We applied, per paint instructions, one coat vertically and a second coat horizontally, allowing an hour drying time between coats.  

   We used glue to adhere the trim pieces to the hardboard - a squiggle of regular glue and a couple dots of hot glue along each piece.  The hot glue will hold immediately while the regular glue sets up to hold permanently.

    Now, for the 'hanging it up' part.  If you don't know me and I've not happened to mention it before - I'm a "Fru-Gal" - the term my brother gave me because I tend look for ways to NOT spend money and I'm a firm believer in "Necessity is the mother of invention!"  I didn't have any picture hangers and I really didn't want to have to go out again to buy some so I found a couple 3/8"  wood screws and attached a couple of pop can tabs to the back of the chalkboard!  They seem meant for such applications - they're aluminum, they have two holes - one for a screw, one for a wall nail - voila!!

    Now, I'm just waiting out the 24 hour curing time on the paint so I can start using this chalkboard!  And rest assured, I did learn my lesson way back in Grade 1 - I'm getting all my work done now so I can draw on the chalkboard with a clear conscience a little later!!  : )

    ♥ Cath-

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