Wednesday, July 17, 2013

DIY Chalkboard Artwork

I have been wanting some large artwork to put on top of our  TV cabinet. It's in a corner so I couldn't really hang something on the wall behind it. I love my kids' artwork so I decided to make a freestanding chalkboard. I also think it will be a fun place to write messages like "Happy Birthday!" or "Welcome Home!"

If you're interested in the vase of "flowers" in the photo, I posted about them here: Vintage Faucet Handle Flowers

So, the chalkboard is a sheet of 1/4" MDF cut to 24 x 36". We've made a chalkboard before with store bought chalkboard paint, but this time I decided to try a homemade chalkboard paint recipe. 

I used the chalkboard paint recipe from Martha Stewart but mixed the unsanded grout with a little bit of water in a paper cup before adding it to the paint to make sure the clumps were completely removed. So here's the recipe:

DIY Chalkboard Paint

1 cup latex paint (I used satin, not flat, and it worked great)
2 tablespoons unsanded grout

Add the unsanded grout to a paper cup and drizzle in enough water while stirring with a plastic spoon to make a smooth consistency (like a thick soup). Add the grout mixture to 1 cup of latex paint and mix again until smooth.

Use a low pile roller brush (mine was very smooth foam with no nap) so it won't leave a texture. I did 3 coats, letting it dry in between and sanding very lightly between coats with 150 grit sandpaper (I also did a very light sand on the MDF before I put on the first coat).

After it's dry, rub the whole thing with the side of a piece of chalk, as it instructs in the Martha article and then erase it. This prepares the surface and makes it easier to write on.

The base for the chalkboard was cut from a pallet that my husband got from work. We know where it is from and that there are no hazardous chemicals on it, but you do have to be careful with pallets. I used the chop saw to cut it to length. Then my husband cut a dado in the top of it, just slightly wider than the MDF and deep enough that the chalkboard would stand in it. I only did a light sand on the base because I wanted to leave the texture, and then did a coat of clear spray lacquer to seal it.

It was a little tippy/top heavy and our little ones are monkeys so we attached it directly to the cabinet with screws (they go through the inside top of the cabinet into the bottom of the base).

When the kids want to draw on it, I just take it down and prop it up next to the sofa or put it on the coffee table. I store a little box of chalk behind it.

In the first photo above, you'll notice that C (2) drew over the guy's head on the right and so M (4) had to get  a wet paper towel and fix it.

Those long legged guys make me smile. :)

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