18 November 2015

DIY: winter chalkboard art

For all the décor trends I’ve embraced, there are some I’ve outright rejected. There’s no chevron in my home, for instance. No industrial furniture or geometric prints. And up until recently: NO CHALKBOARDS.

I mean, it seems like everyone has a chalkboard wall these days, most likely acquired several years ago when everyone was all about chalkboards. But I held off for a few reasons, mostly that I was sure mine would never be cute and the chalkboard would instead just be a big, dirty, dusty indicator of my dearth of creativity.

But. That doesn’t mean I don’t think chalkboards can be cute. And I was actually rather taken with this chalkboard printable sign that I thought would be cute for a wintry party:

Because OH YES I am first-birthday-party sourcing and planning during the busiest time of the year. Gotta get a head start!

So I liked the print, especially because it was a print – no chalkboard needed. The problem was, I wanted a big print, but lacked the time (or initiative) to find a way to print it cheaply. If I wanted a nice big 16x20 print? That could run $20! And I have so many better things to spend my money on than a single faux chalkboard print.

I was thisclose to just printing out an 8x10 on my home printer when, in the office supply aisle at Target, I spied... this.

A magnetic chalkboard. For eleven bucks. Chalk included! I took a deep breath, thought about all the fun Baby P would eventually have with letter magnets and chalk drawings, and put it in my cart.

But here’s the deal. I am still convinced is no way I am creative enough to come up with an adorable chalkboard sign. But I can copy. And that is exactly what I did – studied the design above, and tried to recreate it myself.

I started by “priming” the new chalkboard with chalk, by gently rubbing the side of the chalk all over and then erasing it. I dunno, I guess I’ve read one too many chalkboard wall posts to know this is a thing to do.

It does give the whole board a nice, used, hazy feeling – and, importantly won’t show the mistakes you erase as easily.

Speaking of mistakes: I made a lot. But you know what? Chalk is surprisingly forgiving. It took a few false starts for centering and getting a feel for the chalk, but when I would just go for it, I realized it didn’t look half bad.

Some of the writing style on the source image wasn’t something that looked good when I tried it myself (inexperience, I’m sure). But guess what? When I tried to smudge it a bit with my fingers to fix it, it suddenly looked intentional.

You guys! I am starting to suspect that everyone is just faking their way to fun chalkboard art.

The last cheater’s trick I learned was to just fill all the space possible. Sure, it’s busy, but the more stuff you have in the design, the less likely people are to notice the half-erased false starts and shaky lettering.

Random lines? Snowflakes everywhere? Sure, fill it all in!

So how did I do? I admit, I was totally surprised how reasonably okay it looked.

Mr. P pointed out that my icicles looked like cursive lowercase m’s, so I fixed those after I took this photo, but at least he knew they were supposed to be icicles.

I’m still surprised at myself for getting a chalkboard after all these years, but now at least I know a cute chalkboard isn’t as hard as it seems. You just have to find a good design to mimic! And the advantage to getting to this trend four years late? There are so many good ideas to get started. Sorry, Baby P... I might have more fun with this chalkboard than you.


Janice said...

Next up... .COLORED CHALK! Oh the possibilities are limitless. Your project turned out super cute. Don't stop now, you're on a roll.

Tina said...

We still have one of your decorated discards - your dry erase board with your wedding plans to-do list. I cannot bare to erase it. It's gotten hit some small erasures due to being moved around, but on the whole, it's still just as cute and joyous looking as when you first made it. I always thought, also, your college-years dry erase calendars were so happy-looking - even in those full-on crunch times when every day was squashed full of things to get done, a happy spirit showed through. So I'm not all that surprised
you can copy chalk art... Would love to have your flair - you are welcome to practice your new found talent on my chalkboard anytime!!! :-)