Thursday, July 31, 2014

DIY Super-sized Chalkboard

I have been going a million miles an hour lately trying to prepare for the baby, getting all of the major renovations ready before the baby shower, and making sure my daughter is happy and entertained while on summer vacation.  So, I decided to take some time out for some fun crafting that would allow my daughter to feel included in all of the hubbub going on, AND keep her entertained...yay for killing two birds with one stone! I decided to make her a super-sized chalkboard for her room. She already has a chalk table and art corner, but I wanted a larger space for her to just go crazy with.  This ended up being really easy, so I wanted to share with all of you how to do it, so you could put something neat and totally different in your little ones room!


1) Cricut with cartridge to choose your desired pattern. You can use anything, or freehand it, but I can't draw so my cricut is wonderful.

2) Chalkboard paint

3) Paint roller & Tray

4) Scrapbooking tape

5) Stencil

Step 1: Draw your stencil.
You can do this in a number of ways, if you are able to draw, then you can free hand your desired picture either directly on the wall in the size you want it, or on a smaller paper and have it enlarged.  I used my cricut to draw my stencil so I will show you how to do that. 

I used the Give a Hoot cartridge because my daughter's room is owl themed, and the shadow function gave me a nice silhouette picture. 

To draw the silhouette you need to take out the cutting blade from the machine and replace it with a marker. To do this you will unscrew the metal knob until the case opens and you can take the cutting blade out.

Once the blade is out you will put the marker into the carrier, put the screw back in place and tighten (basically the opposite of how you took the blade out.

You will have a nicely drawn picture at then end of this. It doesn't matter what color you choose, you just want to make the picture as big as you can with your machine.  This will make it easier for it to be blown up.

Step 2: Blow up your picture
Again, if you can draw freehand the size you want, go for it! But for us less gifted crafters I suggest going to FedEx office. They will blow up your stencil picture for very cheap. I did a simple black & white print out and had it blown up to 3 ft X 2ft and it was about $6!

Step 3: Cut out the stencil.
Now that you have your HUGE stencil printed out, you need to cut it out to actually make a stencil. make sure you cut at the very left of the stencil line. You don't want to cut it to far out because that may make your stencil too big.

Step 4: Tape up the stencil.
Now that your actual stencil is cut out, you need to tape it up on the wall where you want it to be.  You NEED to make sure the stencil is completely taped down. I spent a good 10-15 minutes making sure that every possible opening is taped down. If you don't tape it down you will get massive bleeding under your stencil, and then you will not achieve the desired shape. And you'll have to do a lot more painting to correct the bleeds.

Someone wanted to be Vanna White!

Step 5: Begin painting
Place a small amount of the chalkboard paint into the tray and place a small layer of paint onto your roller and begin painting. You want to put a light layer of paint on the wall, making sure to leave about a 1/2 inch to 1 inch space before you reach the stencil. Once you paint the inside of the stencil with the roller, take a smaller paintbrush and paint the 1 inch space remaining.  You can paint directly onto the edge of the stencil with the brush.  I found this helped to keep the paper down and prevent bleeding on the next coat and I had more control with the amount of paint that was on the brush rather than the roller. By using the brush I felt I was better able to control the bleeding under the stencil.

This is an AMAZING chalkboard paint! The best I've used, I only used maybe a quarter of the can for this project. I purchased it at for on $20!
Make sure to leave about an inch of space before you reach the end of the stencil.

Use the small brush to fill in the space and go slightly onto the stencil to help hold it down.

You want to do AT LEAST two coats of the paint before moving to the next step. You need to wait about FOUR HOURS in between coats.  Even if the paint feels like it's dry, it needs to dry all the way through before you paint another coat.  I had the fan on, both windows open, and it was about 100 degrees outside and I still waited four hours. Once you've done the second layer you need to let the paint dry and set for FOUR DAYS. Do not write on the board during this time!

This is what it will look like after two coats. The paint should be DARK.

Step 6: Add Scrapbooking tape
This step is optional, but I think it gives the chalkboard a finished look. I purchased a roll of three scrapbook tape from Michael's for about $4. I then edged the entire chalkboard in the tape.  This allowed me to easily cover any small bleeds that occurred, and gave the chalkboard a nice boarder. Be aware that one roll of tape is not enough to cover the entire board, so either plan to use multiple patterns or by multiple rolls of the same tape. My daughter wanted to use multiple patterns so that's what we did.
As you can see, we make the "face" of the owl a different pattern, that's what my daughter wanted, and I figured it's her room so why not!

Step 7: Set your board.
This is VERY important. You need to set your board to make sure it holds the chalk effectively. Basically what you are going to do is take a piece of chalk and cover the entire board with it, every inch. Then you will erase it. You can do this once or a couple times.  When you first put the chalk on you will see a lot of chalk dust falling off, the more you set the chalkboard and the longer you use it, the less dust you will see falling off. This is because as the board  sets it's able to hold more of the chalk on it.
My daughter helped me, as you can see, but this is basically what setting the board looks like. Cover the board in a thick layer of chalk making sure to cover every inch of it. You can do this before you put the border on if you prefer.

The next step of setting the board is to completely erase the chalk. You want to do this soon after you cover the board because the powder that remains will help hold more chalk onto the board.

Here is what the board looks like completed. Note the amount of dust on the carpet under the chalkboard, this has decreased a lot the more my daughter uses it. Hence the importance of setting the board.

I hope you all found this helpful. It's a really fun project that the kids can even help with. And the thing I like about it the most is that it's completely customizable to your kid's room. All you have to do is find a shape that fits with your child's theme! Happy crafting!!!

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