Raising a family isn’t always rainbows and ice-cream sundaes. At least it’s not in this house. While our home is often full of laughter and fun, the reality is it is also full of discipline, chores, obligations, responsibilities and at times a lot of chaos. Even though I regularly hug them and say the words I love you, I still catch myself saying in my head, “I hope they know they are loved”. I hope they know that if nothing else goes right today, I deeply love you. That thought inspired me to make this bold chalkboard sign that my boys & husband would see before they left the house each day. I enjoyed making it so much that I thought I would share the process.
HOW TO MAKE A MAGNETIC CHALKBOARD
Here is the breakdown of what you need
- Sheet metal
- Thin plywood (to back your chalkboard in the frame)
- Tin snips (a type of heavy scissors for cutting tin)
- Chalkboard paint
- Your design
- White graphite paper
- Liquid chalk markers
The first step was to create a chalkboard… I measured the frame I was going to use to use to hold my chalkboard and then headed to the hardware store for some sheet metal. I am using sheet metal because I want my chalkboard to be magnetic. You can find sheet metal easily at a Home Depo or Lowes store. While you are at the store, you may want to pick up some tin snips, chalkboard paint and thin plywood. The Plywood will go behind the sheet metal in your frame. Also, keep in mind that if you don’t have a saw at home you can have them cut the plywood right there in the store. I already had the scrap plywood and a saw in my basement. I borrowed the tin snips from Dad so I didn’t need to buy those either. Once I was home, I took my sheet metal and marked off with my ruler the size I wanted my chalkboard so it would fit in my frame. I then cut my sheet metal to the correct size using the tin snips. I also cut my plywood to that size.
Next, I simply painted my sheet metal with the chalkboard paint. You can either roll it on from a can or spray it with chalkboard spray paint. Once that is dry you basically have your chalkboard done.
Now I moved on the creating my design. I used Photoshop but you can do the same thing in many other programs since it is basically just laying out type. I start by making my page size the same as my chalkboard. I pick my font and typed my message. I fussed with it on the screen a little till I got it just the way I wanted it. Now I need to print. This project is 39.5 inches by 9.5. My home printer is set up to print on paper that is 8.5 by 11. Obviously my large sized design is not 8.5 by 11 so my solution is to print my design in sections. I now have 6 printed pages. I lay out the pages out and start to line up the design. To help with this I use the sun coming through my sliding glass window which makes for a fabulous natural light box. I tape my pages together and have one big page.
Now I need to transfer my design. There are many techniques to do this. I find for sign making this, I like using graphite paper to trace and transfer. You can find it in the fine art section of the craft store and it comes in black or white. White is perfect for chalkboards. You could freehand your design but why spend an hour trying to get the spacing just right when you can spend 5 minutes just transferring your pattern. So place your graphite paper under your design and trace. You are going to want to double check that you didn’t miss any spots before you pull the paper away. I’m a bit of a knucklehead and somehow I always manage to miss spots. On this project, I traced the whole thing and when I pulled back the paper my chalkboard was still blank. I realized I had the graphite paper upside down. Doh! Back to tracing. Once it was traced and I actually did correctly this time, I simply used a liquid chalk marker and filled in my design. Pretty easy huh? You could use chalk but chalk is messy and not as vibrant. I like the chalk markers. They don’t smudge and wipe away with water. They are great for temporary designs. The downside is it is hard to layer the color. I would much rather use paint and paintbrushes but then it wouldn’t be temporary. So chalk marker it had to be. I will admit when I needed to do the small letters I cheated and I dipped a paintbrush into the marker and painted on the liquid chalk with the brush for the fine parts. I don’t think it was cheating but my husband said it was.
Lastly, I put my finished chalk sign in my frame and added the plywood behind it to give it a sturdy backing. And I was done. I was happy with how it turned out and my sweetheart liked it too. That made it even better. I hope this helps someone. Good luck with your own sign making!
Come back tomorrow and I will show you the before and after of that red chest that is holding my chalkboard sign. (here)