Wednesday, March 07, 2007
I've been wanting to share this new project for a while. I created several small kitchen chalkboards, for myself and for birthday gifts. They were very easy and lots of fun to make. And if you make your own chalkboard paint they're also quite inexpensive.
To create them I took a 2'x4' sheet of hardboard and cut it into 5 1/2"x 7 1/2" pieces on a table saw (actually A Musing Dad cut them down. I mostly watched). Then A Musing Dad helped me round the corners using his router and I beveled the edges slightly using a sander. You don't have to do the rounded corners and if you don't have a saw I believe hardware stores offer a cutting service where you give them the measurement and they cut it for you (don't know if there is a fee involved). So fear not if you don't have big power tools. You can still do this project.
Next you'll need to mix up your paint. You can find formulas on the internet under chalkboard paint, but the basic idea is you mix up colored acrylic paint (not latex), with powdered tile grout and a glazing medium (used for creating faux finishes). I only worked on small areas so I didn't mix much at a time. It works well to mix it up in an old margarine container because then you can seal the container between coats. This way the paint lasts up to two days.
Now paint your surface. I only painted the front of the board with chalkboard paint because the surface of the back is just too rough. I found a painting sponge to work better than a brush. The brush leaves too many marks. Let it dry for at least a half hour. Then sand with a fine grit sand paper to remove any extra bits of grout and recoat. When you're finished, rub across the surface with a piece of chalk to "prime" it.
I bought small plate stands at a craft store to stand them on. As you can see from the photo you can also paint terracotta pots for labeling windowsill herbs (or just for using as a small container or pen holder).
For more ideas like these and other information on creating inexpensive gifts and decorations, check out the new book, Pampering Gifts: Crafting a Ministry of Treating People Well For Less.