Do you ever have a dream project that all the pieces seem to fall into place easily?. This is one of those! It all started when HIMself and I went to town the other day…St. John’s Towne Center in Jacksonville. As we head into the holiday season, I love to browse the shops for ideas to knock off, especially the home decor shops like West Elm, Ballard Designs and Pottery Barn. There is so much eye candy this year, I am filled with DIY creativity as we drive home. I was looking through the PB catalog when I spotted the $249 Laidley Wall-Mount Entryway Chalkboard from Pottery Barn…and I was smitten. I made my own version to spell out my Thanksgiving Blessings!my version inspiration chalk board
We also do some thrifting on the way home. I was hoping to find just the right pieces to recreate the chalk board sign. I need a large frame and some type of design element to create the trim pieces. It was my lucky day…I found this frame at Goodwill for $4. It will be just right for my Thanksgiving Blessings Chalkboard.
I, of course, will use one of my favorite craft supplies, Elmer’s Foam Board, as the surface for the chalkboard paint. It is so easy to work with and cuts like butter. With the inspiration image and shopping list in hand, we head to Walmart for foam board and some Elmer’s Single Painters #GluenGlitter to do some of the detail work with. Oh yes…this is going to be fun!!! Don’t you love Holiday and Thanksgiving Crafts?
Thanksgiving Blessings Chalkboard Tutorial
The original is 36″ x 55.5” and is made of mahogany with a distressed hand-painted finish with six chalkboard sections. Mine is dictated by the frame size – 24″ x 34” with the interior chalkboard area of 20″ x 30″. I decided that four panels would better suit my frame.
The Design Process
The first challenge was the beautiful, studded interior trim dividing the chalkboard sections. The trim looks Indonesian to me. I thought I would make my own from balsa wood. I was having a time finding the right wood in the right size to create the look and feel of the cross pieces. My imagination worked overtime to come up with a way to recreate this. Then I lucked upon some foam flower stickers on the clearance aisle at Walmart…SCORE! Do you get the feeling that this project was meant to be?
That gave me the idea to use some lightweight trim from the home improvement store. Now let me tell you there are a lot of options in trim. I finally decided to use the back side of some 1″ prefinished moulding made from polystyrene. Easy to cut, easy to paint. I think I have come up with an pretty creative way to make this faux trim. Let me show you how.
Frame – any size you like
1 piece of 1″ prefinished moulding made from polystyrene
1 package of foam flowers to fit your trim
Hammered copper spray paint
Elmer’s tri-fold foam board cut to fit frame
1 can Krylon Chalkboard paint
Acrylic craft paint – turquoise, white
Elmer’s Ultimate Glue
Elmer’s Painters Marker black
Day 1 – Painting
Since the paint needs to dry overnight, it is a two day process. One to paint everything and one to assemble. I attached the foam stickers to the back of the trim at 1-1/2″ intervals. I used a folded piece of waste paper to space them. I pressed them to the trim with my thumb to make sure they were staying stuck.
I sprayed the trim with hammered copper spray paint. DESIGNER’S TIP: Make sure you shake the can often and follow the directions on the can. It is better to do two thin coats than one thick coat…it prevents runs!!! Let dry 24 hours.
I used the picture I removed from the frame to cut the foam board to size. Then I sprayed several thin coats of the chalk board paint following the directions on the can. Again, it is best to do several thin coats to prevent runs. DESIGNER’S TIP: Do not rush this process. Chalkboard paint needs finesse. Make sure you hold the can 10-14″ from surface and start spraying off the surface side. Also do one vertical coat and one horizontal coat. Let dry 24 hours.
Next I tackled the frame. It was in pretty good shape except someone had tried to paint over the picture while it was in the frame. There were paint spatters all over the frame. I cleaned these off carefully. I did not want to mar the existing finish. To my glee, it came of easily using a sponge and hot water. It was acrylic paint.
The frame had been painted green and I wanted it to be more of a turquoise rustic lime washed feel. I shook the acrylic craft paints to make sure they were well mixed. I poured about a nickle size puddle on the back of the Elmer’s foam core insert. It makes a great palette. I love to use what I have. I dipped my 1″ brush in water, dabbed off excess on a paper towel and dipped the tips of my bristles in the turquoise paint. I dipped the end of the bristles back in the water and brushed back and forth on the palette to mix. I wanted a watery color, but not runny. I carefully drug the brush across the green areas with long strokes. If there was too much paint, I wiped it back with the paper towel. DESIGNER’S TIP: Go slowly here…it is not a race. If you don’t have a steady hand, protect other areas of trim with blue painter’s tape before painting. Allow to dry about 20 minutes.
Then I did a dry brush technique with the white paint over the turquoise to settle the color a wee bit. Dip your brush in water and dab excess on paper towel. Then dip tip of bristles into the white paint. Brush on the palette surface a few times. DESIGNER’S TIP: You do not want to go to the surface with a fully loaded brush. This is a dry brush technique and takes just a tiny bit of paint to achieve the effect of a lime washed surface. Your brush will feel dry to the touch when loaded properly. Gently brush just the tips of the brush over the turquoise paint in random areas. Reload and offload the brush as necessary. You can opt for more areas of white than I did. Be creative. Allow to dry overnight.
Day 2 – Assembly
Chalkboard Prep: When all pieces are dry, you can begin. Don’t try to rush this. Especially important to allow the chalkboard paint to dry 24 hours. You must season the chalkboard by rubbing chalk over the entire surface. Use the side of a piece of chalk for this. DESIGNER’S TIP: Rub the chalked surface with your fingers gently…this works the chalk into the paint. Then you can use a dry or damp cloth to remove the chalk and your chalkboard is ready to write and draw.
Measuring and Cutting Carefully cut trim pieces to fit inside of frame. There are three cross pieces the same length and six upright pieces on the original. I only had enough foam flowers to make a wide cross piece and two small vertical pieces. Since my frame was smaller, it looks just fine. Cut the pieces with a miter saw…that will make clean, straight cuts.
Assembly: Lay all your cut trim pieces on the chalkboard for a dry fit before you glue. DESIGNER’S TIP: I found it was easier to place the chalkboard in the frame before cutting and assembling the trim pieces. I actually glued the trim pieces to the foam chalk board with Elmer’s Ultimate Glue for a strong bond. That made them secure. You might need to touch up the cut ends with a little black or copper paint.
Ageing the Trim: I used my black Painters Marker to age the trim. I drew a line along the grooves in the trim. (see photo) Before it dried, I blended it to soften with a small stencil brush. This gave me great control over the placement of the black. I think this was the best thing I did to make this look like the original piece along with using the foam flowers. It really looks like aged, studded wood.
My 2012 Thanksgiving Blessings were then written on the sections of the chalk board. I love to do chalk lettering…it takes lots of practice and loads of erasures, but it is so much fun to create beautiful chalk boards. I reference fonts online to decide on the writing styles.
Thanksgiving Blessings Chalk Board in Place
The whole project cost me less than $25 to complete. That is a savings of $225!!! And it is the perfect was of Christening my new mantle piece!!! That is a thrift store magical story for a later post though. Meanwhile, enjoy the photos and try creating one of these beauties yourself!!!Thanksgiving Blessing Chalk Board in place
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