10 April 2013

Chalk it up to [Awesome]

I have a phobia of bare walls and empty shelves.  That being said – I hate clutter.  Most decorations in my house are what I like to call “functional” pieces.  They serve to do more than just look pretty.  At the moment I love that chalkboards are becoming more readily accepted as prized décor pieces (I had chalkboards before chalkboards were cool – country song, maybe?).  If you get tired of the saying or whatever that you have on the board, refresh it.  With some of those snazzy wall stickers, you can’t do that.

If you’re into character pieces (like I am) then these chalkboards can get a little pricey.  I wanted one for my wedding, and after perusing Etsy I was determined to not spend $150+ on a chalkboard.  That was not in my budget (if you need budget help on your wedding, click here!).  What’s a girl to do?!  Bring out your inner girl scout and make your own!

How to make your own {awesome} chalkboard:

I blame technology on having a lack of “before” pictures – always remember to back up your phone if you track project progress on it, oops.

Step 1: Find an inspiration piece.  Something that speaks to you – it might be the details, the shape or the color that you like.

Step 2: Get familiar with the thrift stores, consignment shops and stores like HomeGoods, TJMaxx, Garden Ridge and Marshalls in your area.  These are typically good locations to find base pieces that don’t cost a fortune – and with a little tweaking, you can achieve a spectacular end result.

Step 3: Pick a mirror or picture frame (that still has the glass) that best fits your mental picture of what you want.  By purchasing a piece that already has the glass still intact, you are making your life a lot easier.

Step 4: Purchase chalkboard paint from your local hardware store.  I used Valspar Chalkboard Paint.  It is available in a spray as well (I haven’t used that one before).  If you are going with the paint on version, make sure to also pick up foam brushes – regular brushes, in my experience, tend to leave more pronounced brush marks.  To jazz up the frame, pick out a fancy paint color that you love – go for finishes in the satin or semi-gloss family.

Step 5: Prep your mirror/picture frame.  Fix any spots on the frame that might need a little love.  Separate the frame and the glass – clean the glass thoroughly and make sure it is dry before you get busy.

Step 6: Paint, paint, paint!  Chalkboard paint is a little thicker than your average paint – make sure you coat the surface evenly.  A lumpy chalkboard won’t look so pretty.  It will take several coats to get the coverage that you will want.  Don’t be disappointed if you still see some brush marks.  To minimize this as much as possible I've found that it is best to paint in a different direction with each subsequent coat.  While you’re waiting for the chalkboard paint to dry, paint the frame!

Step 7: Most boring step ever – let it dry. Since it’s nice outside, go tan!

Step 8: Re-assemble everything [and admire how your handiness paid off].

DIY Chalkboard

The large chalkboard was a mirror found at a local thrift store for $30 – it was an interesting shade of gold before…the color it’s now dressed in is Relaxed Khaki.

small chalkboards

The two smaller chalkboards were picture frames on clearance at Marshalls – hello $5/each!  They were black before and are now the same color as the large chalkboard!

As always, if you have any questions, please let us know! We'd be more than happy to help!

Xoxo, Kate

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