Simple DIY Chalkboards

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At my daughter's wedding reception, we will be having four different food stations scattered around the room.  I knew some type of signage would be necessary for our guests to know what each station is serving.  Chalkboards were the way to go.  (And don't you just love that one of the food stations is the bride and groom's favorite junk foods!)
I made each sign for around $11 a piece using some cabinet doors from my local Habitat for Humanity Re-sell store and some chalkboard paint.
These doors were unfinished so all I did to prep them was wipe them down well with a damp rag.  If yours has a finish on them or some paint, be sure you lightly sand them before wiping them down so the chalkboard paint will dry.  

I used three coats of the chalkboard paint and allowed it to dry for three full days before using chalk on them for the first time.  The paint needs this time to cure completely.
The next step is to "season" your board by rubbing it down all over with the side of a piece of chalk.  I know this sounds odd, but it helps the surface to erase cleanly when you are finished or if you make a mistake.  Anytime you clean your board with water, be sure you repeat this seasoning step!
After rubbing it with the chalk, use a clean, dry towel to wipe off the chalk and it will leave behind a very fine layer of white dust.
Now the fun begins!  Don't be scared because this is so simple because I cheat!  Since I stink at anything artistic if I have to do it freehanded, I printed my words from my computer out on some paper first.  I used three different fonts because I prefer that look.

To transfer the outline of your words, coat the back of your paper with chalk, place it on your board chalk side down and use a pen or pencil to trace along the outside of the letters on the paper.  When you move your paper away, a faint outline will be left behind from the chalk your rubbed on the back.  (Can you see the "OUR" outline above?)
Above is a bit of a better picture of the outline of "favorite".  Now you just take your chalk and draw along your traced lines.  Don't worry about being perfect.  You can make your lines thicker to cover any mistakes, or it simply wipes away if you are unhappy!
I decided to fill in some of the words and leave others blank, again, just for a bit of variation in the fonts.  You could certainly use colored chalk as well!
Once I finished my words, there was just too many open spots left so I got brave and used a bit of freehanded drawing to make some simple accents.  Again, if you hate them after you try something, just erase it and try something new!  I tried four different versions of the swirly heart at the top before I was happy :)

If you need your design to last a long time, a simple application of aerosol hairspray will do the trick. Be sure you apply it from a distance so it goes on thin and evenly.  Do a few thin coats of hairspray instead of one thick one.

1 comment:

Minnesota Prairie Roots said...

I wish I'd had this info when I was asking friends and family for chalkboards for my daughter's wedding. I would not even have thought of painting cabinet doors.

And the lettering is beautiful. My daughter and I free-handed hers. But I truly like what you've done.

The junk food table is such a personalized detail, too. Can't wait to see how all of these ideas posted here come together for the wedding.