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Quick & Easy DIY mini Chalkboards

Thanksgiving has come and gone in Canada but I am reminded of it daily during the morning disagreement between my jeans and my thighs.

If I was so inclined I could shut my jeans up by taking up some form of organized exercise activity where someone yells at you for an hour and you end up sweating, crying and complaining about the taste of blood in your throat afterwards.

But I can’t be bothered.  I figure a few more weeks of vigorous fighting to get my skinny jeans on and off and those few pounds will melt away. Who knew your heels could get fat.

That’s the problem with being the one to host a big dinner like Thanksgiving or Christmas.  Leftovers.  Lots and lots of leftovers.  Mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, whipped cream, gravy, stuffing, gravy, polish sausage, cheese, crackers, gravy.

I host Thanksgiving every year but this is the first year the leftovers decided to make a permanent home of my ass.  Which is a spot I normally reserve for the coming shortbread cookies.

Although this wasn’t the first year I hosted Thanksgiving dinner for my family it *is* the first year we needed a “kids table”.  With 20 people and a dining room built for 15 at BEST I had to think of where to put the kids who are 10, 6, 4 and 2.   That’s their ages, not their height in centimetres.

I decided on putting them in the front hall because there’s a table there already and if someone stretched their heads a bit we could actually see that they were behaving and not picking their noses or flashing gang signs at each other.

The biggest challenge I had was figuring out a way to KEEP them at their designated kids table.  With a complete disinterest in actually eating dinner and the rest of the party in the room next door it wasn’t going to be easy.

I ended up making each of them a small chalkboard and setting it at their assigned seats along with a piece of chalk.
Kids Table
Much to my surprise they not only stayed at their table, they actually played with the chalkboard.  If you didn’t know, kids are famous for not playing with things they’re supposed to and TOTALLY playing with things they aren’t.  Like knives and extremely well hidden personal hygiene products.

The chalkboards took about 10 minutes to make and cost a total of $2.50 each.

Materials

Cheap 5″ x 7″ picture frame

Small, cheap, chalkboard (got mine at Dollar Store)

or

Can of Chalkboard Paint  and foam brush (had some in the basement)

Scissors or Box Cutter

 

DIY- Mini Chalkboard

 

1.  Remove the back and glass from the frame. Reserve the glass for later use.

 

DIY- Mini Chalkboard 2

 

2.  If your chalkboard has framing or anything around it, remove that so you’re left with plain chalkboard.  I  mention you need cheap chalkboard.  The reason for that is it’s easier to cut to size.  The cheap stuff is just painted masonite which you can cut with scissors or a box cutter.
DIY- Mini Chalkboard 3

 

Note: When you’re buying your frame if you notice the back has a stand AND hooks,

it’s possible that the hooks are attached with rivets that will go all the way through to the other side.

These types of back aren’t appropriate for painting with chalkboard paint

because your chalkboard will have little holes in the front of it.  They’re fine to use if you plan on cutting and inserting your own chalkboard.

  

 

DIY- Mini Chalkboard 4

 

Frames like this, with no hooks or rivets that go all the way through to the front

are fine for painting, but they may have a couple of bumps at the front.  Don’t worry about them.

DIY- Mini Chalkboard 5

 

3.  Paint the stands that came with your frames with 1 coat of chalkboard paint.  When painting with chalkboard paint give it one coat and then leave it alone.  Don’t try to constantly try to even out or brush over areas you’ve already painting.  Chalkboard paint doesn’t like it.

 

DIY- Mini Chalkboard 6

 

4.  If you’re using premade chalkboard take your frame back and trace the shape onto your chalkboard, then cut it out with scissors or a Box Cutter.  Don’t try to score and snap the chalkboard.  You’ll end up ripping the top layer and ruining your chalkboard.  Make sure you cut right through it.  Be very careful when using a Box Cutter and never cut so you’re pulling the blade towards yourself or your fingers.
DIY- Mini Chalkboard 7
5.  Place your chalkboard back in the frame then “season” your chalkboard by rubbing the side of a piece of chalk all over it.  Coat the board really well and then brush the chalk off.  This gets chalk into the small pores of the surface and conditions it.  If you *don’t* do this, when you write on the chalkboard it won’t erase completely and you’ll be left with a ghost like image of whatever you drew on it.  A lot of people think their chalkboards are cheap or defective when really they just haven’t been seasoned properly.

 

DIY- Mini Chalkboard 8

 

And you’re done.  If at the end of Thanksgiving, Christmas or whatever occasion you give these to the kids they’ve drawn something brilliant, you can take the glass you set aside, put it back in the frame, and the drawing will be protected and ready to display forever and ever.

 

Kids Table 2

 

Now if you’ll excuse me I have a pair of jeans that need a good talking to and a pair of thighs that need the same.


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28 Comments | Filed Under: Design, Gifts, Holiday Stuff, Workshop | Tags: , ,

28 Responses to Quick & Easy DIY mini Chalkboards

  1. Kristina says:

    Nice post. LOL I have a huge aversion to all things chalk. I thought I noticed you posting an hour earlier. Only took me a week to figure out….ummm daylight savings time here. Had to fall back. I really would like to see that custom gone! : )

    • Buvezdevin says:

      Great idea (as per usual)! For those you want a custom color chalkboard paint, or have some leftover latex paint – you can make chalkboard paint by adding unsanded grout. About 6 parts paint to 1 part grout, more or less grout depending on consistency of paint, and exact measurements not needed.

  2. Natika33 says:

    Finally someone explains WHY you’re supposed to condition the chalkboard first! Thank you!

    • Lisa says:

      light bulb!!

      I hate that ghost writing, and I’ve been spraying it with windex to clean it off. Which only makes the problem worse, I see.

  3. Carey says:

    Could you please give my jeans and thighs a good talking to while you’re at it? It’s not even Thanksgiving yet here in the states and they’re misbehaving terribly. Oh, and you’re chalkboards are brilliant!

  4. Sam says:

    hmmm… I think i’ll bang out Christmas countdown one with the kids tomorrow. We just rubbed the skulls and monsters off our chalkboard wall this morning… And now it’s winter-tastic. Lol. I’m loving the custom tint stuff–almost, i still screwed with the teal tone when i got it home (wanted old-lady-teal-slate pool table colour, but they didn’t have a swatch for that?!). What the hell!

    Oh, and I know a new beachbody coach who can hook ya up with the whole skinny jean thaang! ‘Cause Canadian girls can do pullups too :). But i think i’m preachin’ to the choir! Lol.

  5. mimiindublin says:

    You’re so funny, morning disagreement between jeans and thighs! Have you tried the “lying on the bed and using a shoelace to pull up the zipper” trick?
    Anyway, i totally agree with you re boot camp, I would hate to pay someone to shout at me!
    Got to go and do more of my Christmas pledge now!

  6. Susan says:

    I hate daylight saving time!i agree Kristina! If Karen can change the shape of her thighs by talking to them we should get her to start a campaign against the stupid practice of playing with the sun! Chalkboards on the other hand are fun and what a great idea! Thanks Karen!

  7. “Picking their noses or flashing gang signs”….I seriously just choked on my coffee! What a hoot! Your kid’s table is amazing, and I would seriously want to sit there. Well played!

  8. LOVE LOVE LOVE it. Can I come to your house for dinner? I promise to only play with the chalkboards. :)

  9. Chris says:

    I wanted to make a larger version for my home office so I can get dual uses. I wanted to use it for chalk and magnets. Have you got any advice on how I can do this?

    • Buvezdevin says:

      There is a magnetic paint made by Rustoleum (maybe others as well) which you could apply, then put chalkboard paint over it for a magnetic chalkboard. The magnetic particles in that type paint build up with each coat, so you would want at least tow coats, maybe more, then test with magnets before covering with chalkboard paint.

  10. Barbie says:

    Great idea for my kids table….even if part of my kids table is grown ups! They will STILL love it! I have lots of artist types in my fam!!!

    • Karen says:

      Yay! – k!

    • Pilar says:

      @Barbie: I’m sure it works also for adults! Actually we are all children, but taller. Have you ever seen what happens when you leave a balloon fly over the heads of adults? No one stays quiet and ignore it, like an adult is suposed to do.

  11. Jan says:

    I love the chalkboard idea!! Did you know you can buy dustless chalk? While not quite dustless it is definitely an improvement. A big one.

  12. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Well done Karen..If you find a way of getting those thighs to listen to you..you could become a very rich woman..I can see the infomercial now..Now You to Can Own The Secret Of “Karen’s Thigh Therapy”..just two easy payments of $19.95..CALL NOW!!

  13. Jasmine says:

    Let’s not talk about thighs, or asses – ok? Not a friendly topic in my closet at all.
    But less importantly, where did you get that awesome chalk holder? I have a chalkboard in my kitchen and a broken piece of chalk because the full one always rolls off and breaks. This would be a full-metal-jacket for my badass chalk.

  14. Annie Kip says:

    Great idea!!! Love your white/burlap/cabbage/antique silver decor too! My thighs might be in cahoots with yours. They have been staging a rebellion, and slow but surely winning.

  15. Pilar says:

    Fantastic idea Karen! I’m sure the kids had a great time in your house!

  16. Kris says:

    Very timely post, I’ve been thinking of making a chalkboard but want to make a larger one. What should I use for the backing if I buy a really big frame? And I too would love to know where you got the chalkholder. Great post, despite the thigh bashing.

    • Karen says:

      Kris – If you’re using chalkboard paint you can use pretty much anything as your backing. Mirror, masonite … you name it. ~ karen!

  17. Patty says:

    I love this idea Karen. I am so glad the kids behaved for you – it’s because you put so much thought into keeping them entertained – good for you! Have you worked with chalk board spray paint? I have a can and am dying to make something. Was thinking of spraying wine bottles – have seen where people write on them too.

    • Karen says:

      Patty – I’ve never used the spray but I’m sure it works just fine. I’ve seen the wine bottles too, the only problem is chalk is messy and it erases EASILY so unless you seal it forever and ever, then the label will get smeary and messy the second someone touches it. ~ karen

  18. julie says:

    This just occurred to me yesterday [Thanksgiving]. I am SO moving to Canada, where having Thanksgiving weeks ago means……MORE TIME FOR CHRISTMAS. Duh, why didn’t I ever think of this before????? I”m so jealous. At any rate, I’m very proud of myself, having put up outside lights & garland this week! [when it was 60º, unlike this morning when it's 30º]. At least this year in the USA Tday was early….we still have one more week of November!
    xoxoxo

  19. Crystal says:

    You have some amazing projects and you’re f’n funny and entertaining to boot,bonus. I actually have some of those old globe lights (that i knew I’d find a use for) and i can’t wait to try the bird feeder and glow orbs. Thanks again

    • Karen says:

      You’re welcome Crystal! One day I’ll run out of things to do with globe lights but … I’m not there yet. ~ karen!

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