Alphabet Chalkboard (Pinterest Challenge: Summer 2012)

Despite the chaos encompassing this home at the moment, I’m still determined to do things that inspire me and get my creative juices flowing. After all, what better way to relieve stress and make yourself happy, than accomplish something you’ve meant to do for a while. In this case, the Summer Pinterest Challenge (hosted by Young House Love, Bower Power and two guest bloggers, Centsational Girl and Ten June) got me ramped up to get off my butt and do something (which, of course, is the point!).

I’ve looked at chalkboard walls and collage/stencil alphabet art for the boys’ room, but had one major issue. We are in a rental now and I’m pretty sure the only color our landlords told us we couldn’t put on the walls is black… so… chalkboard wall is out. That is, until I saw these ideas and realized I could make a piece big enough to use as a ‘wall’ for O&E, but small enough to take with us when we move:

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What I wanted to do was create a giant chalkboard for the boys to draw on that also included the alphabet so they can (eventually) practice letters. I love the collage/stencil look, so worked that into my chalkboard:

I started with a plywood board from Home Depot (originally the base under one of their crib mattresses for our monitor sensor pad to sit on) and a spray can of chalkboard paint, as well as painters tape, white acrylic and spray paint, sandpaper and other bits and bobs such as a pencil, ModPodge, card stock and… chalk.

The supplies.

Yes, I really did hand draw the letters with a ruler and pencil. I forgot to buy letters, so wound up creating my own. Made me feel a little proud (and idiotic) when E came home and said, “Oh, I see you found my stencils.” Damn.

First, I sprayed the entire board with the chalkboard paint, following instructions on the can. Then I used the recent Crate & Barrel catalog for colorful pictures, and ModPodge-d them to the plywood.

I used craft glue to temporarily stick the letters down, since it is pliable for at least half an hour.

I did a coat of white acrylic with a sponge brush. Then I sprayed a few layers to get even coverage.

Pulled up the letters with an Exacto and voila – collage/stencil alphabet.

And here it is hanging out in the boys’ room:

I didn’t complete all I want to with this project, but they will happen eventually (didn’t have the supplies in the house and wasn’t about to haul the twins to Home Depot right then). I want to frame the entire board with molding to really finish it off, as well as add a ledge between the white and black (where I’ve sketched the pink chalk line) for chalk pieces to sit on.

Definitely learned a few things along the way. One, if I ever do this again, I’ll let the chalkboard paint cure longer before trying to work on top of it. And use a lot more ModPodge for the collage – I had issues with the paper coming loose later. Two, I wish I had taken the time to hunt for our can of primer before I just started spraying; the paint is a little thin, so we’ll see how it holds up to daily drawing and erasing. Three, I think for future chalkboard projects, I’ll pick up a pot of the chalkboard paint instead of a can (I think this too would help with the thin paint issue). Also, it would be so much faster and easier to just buy vinyl, stick-on letters from a hardware store and not draw and stick them on yourself. However, I do like that creating the letters myself lent a sweet, handmade quality you could never get otherwise. Hopefully the boys will love using it one day. For now, it’ll hang out on this otherwise bare wall and look pretty.

Well, folks, there you have it. This ends my summer Pinterest Challenge, although I certainly have a few more ideas in the works utilizing the stencil/paint genius-ness. Stick around and see how they turn out.

Penny for your thoughts?