I'm a bit in a frantic mode right now as about ten things on our to-do list are dangling in front of my eyes right now. Our poor little house looks like a wedding threw up all over it.
Anyhoo, I wanted to share with you a project that I just finished up this morning - DIY chalkboards. These are SO MUCH FUN to make, and the ways you could use them are really unlimited. We decided that we wanted them for table numbers and other signage around our wedding, only black and green chalkboards really didn't go with our color scheme. I recently discovered, however, that chalkboard paint now comes in a dyable solution! You can pick from a ton of different colors to make chalkboards that match your decor!
Here's how they turned out...
And here's how it all went down...
See that pine board below that was trying to blend in with the other discarded lumber? Not so fast, pine board. I've got plans for you...but first! First, before anything else is done, we must pull the backings off of all the frames. I found my frames at various garage sales and thrift shops. As I pulled each backing off, I labeled the backings and the frames with letters. The backings will become the stencils for us here in a bit...
With my frames fully stripped, I needed a place to lay them out, so I set up a little painting station in our well ventilated garage because I knew I was going to use an ocean load of spray paint.
Next I used a good quality acrylic primer to cover everything. This is probably the most important step. Do not try to be cheap and forgo the primer. Your paint will NOT stick as well even if your wood is totally bare and untreated. For goodness sakes, spend the extra $5 and get the primer. And I don't have one single explanation as to why the picture of the paint is on it's side. I have been trying to fix it and alas, it won't budge. Just lean your head a bit to the right, and you should be fine. :) After priming all sides, you'll paint the color of your choice onto the frames. I went with a flat finish white paint, and I sprayed the hell out of these frames. All sides received at least two coats of paint, and some three. Don't skimp on the paint...
Now back to that pine board... Using the backings from all the frames, I laid out the backings in an arrangement so that I minimized wasted space on the pine board. I ended up using two pine boards for the amount of frames that I had. Then I once again called upon my soon-to-be-handy-dandy-in-laws to cut out the pieces for me since power tools frighten me. Like magic, when I came home from work that day, the pine board was gone, and all the soon-to-be-chalkboards had arrived. See how the letters come in handy when you're trying to reunit the frame to the proper board?
Now it's time to prime and paint the chalkboards. I used Rustoleum's tintable chalkboard paint which was found at Menards but could probably be found just about anywhere. Check out all the color choices you have! For my color, I went with "Banner Blue". When in doubt, ask the paint people before stabbing in the dark for what you think you need. I couldn't figure out what type of primer I'd need for chalkboard paint, having never used it, so I asked and was directed to the primer on the right which actually doesn't say the word "primer" at all. It's just called "Rustoleum Aqua Water Based Paint"...and it's white...so...hmm.... Sure enough, though, the "primer" worked like a charm! DO IT.
I painted my first coat when it was dark out and thought that one coat was good enough. In the keen light of day, I could see that I would need more than one coat. I ended up doing three coats, and I could have probably done a fourth. The one can of chalkboard paint was plenty enough to give all of my boards three coats. I didn't take a picture of the roller that I used, but it was a 150 "grit" foam roller that you can find at any hardware store. I went through two rollers because I had a two pack, but I did find myself wishing I had a third for the third coat. Instead, I wrapped my second coat roller tightly in a grocery bag after using it, and it was fine to use the next morning. And check them out as they are reuninted with their frames! So hot! The paint is supposed to "cure" for four days before any chalk is applied.
I had to pull a lot of the old nails out of the backs of the frames as they just became annoying after a while. I just used a pair of nippers (is that what they are called? That is what I like to call them...) to pull anything extra out of the backs. To make sure the chalkboards stayed snugly in place, I went through about an entire package of glue sticks in my glue gun. With the very last few frames, I ended up stealing some of my fiance's painter's caulk from his stash because I ran out, so get plenty of glue sticks if you ever try to do as many frames as this...
And last but not least, I used brown kraft paper to seal the backs of the frames so that they looked finished and so that people couldn't see what happens when an overly-zealous adult gets crazy with a glue gun and nippers.
Here's the price breakdown:
28 Vintage Frames - $50
Pine boards - 2 @ $5 each
Primer - 2 cans acrylic, one can latex - $15
Flat white spray paint - $3
Tinted chalkboard paint $12
Rollers - $3
Glue sticks - $3
Kraft paper - $6
Double sided tape - $4
Other things that I already had on hand: Drop cloth, sharpie, roller frame, "nippers", glue gun, chalk, and a handy man to cut the wood.
Here's the time breakdown:
Shopping for stuff - probably a total of 3 hours, but this was broken up throughout the summer.
Researching how to do this - 1 hour.
Painting - 2 hours (with lots of breaks inbetween for drying times)
Preparing the pine - 2 hours
Attaching the painted pieces - 2 hours
MY GRAND TOTAL: $106 and 10 hours of labor
VERDICT: Here at the end, I am thrilled with my results, and I can't wait to see these on our tables at the wedding!!! While labor intensive with multiple trips to the store, I think these are really fun and totally worth it!