So, you ask, how does one (who really cannot draw more than stick figures) create a great-looking sign that you can be proud of? Well, I have done quite a bit of research and have read many, many how-to tutorials. Most involved special transfer paper, graph paper, rulers and grids and painstaking copying. That didn’t appeal to me-I like quick, fast and easy (insert joke here). The more things I get done, the more things I get to keep doing! I needed a sign for next week’s booth, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try my own approach to chalking it up. Here we go:
Step 1: Go to the barn and get an antique cupboard door that’s been hanging around for generation or two-thanks, Coach!
If you are making your own chalkboard, like I did, I recommend Benjamin Moore Chalkboard paint.
I have tried many brands and this one is very smooth and creates a nice writing surface. You need two coats. Follow the directions on the can. It takes 3 days to cure. Follow the directions on the can. Make sure you “size” the board before you write on it with chalk. Then wipe it down. Follow the directions on the can.
Use your basic paint program or photoshop or whatever you use to create the words and graphics you would like to have on your sign. You can be as fancy or plain as you like. Size them to the exact specs of the board you are decorating. You will need to create the entire board, and you can do that in sections or all on one 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. Print them as you normally would on regular printer paper, do not flip them to the reverse. If you have printed a large design in sections, you need to tape the whole thing together before you tape it to the board. You can use the program from Blockposters to create a large mural-type board.
Step 3. Flip the paper over and then take some sharpened chalk and draw along the lines of the print. I will call this reverse chalking. Be neat, but you don’t have to be fanatical about it. That’s what wet wipes are for.
And yes, you can sharpen chalk with a regular pencil sharpener-who knew?! And it doesn’t make that squeaky “nails on the blackboard” noise either!
Step 4. Carefully place the paper, chalk side down on your prepared surface. Don’t move it around too much or it will leave smudgy stuff on your nice clean board. Tape it in place. Repeat, tape it in place.
Step 5. Take something smooth but pointy- like this cuticle thingy (lord knows, I don’t use it for my nails…) and rub all of the lines that you want to magically appear on the chalkboard.
Step 6. You can carefully lift the paper up just to make sure you have transferred all of the chalk lines you need as you go.
Step 7. When you are happy that the design has been transferred to your liking, you carefully remove the paper, and voila! Instant fancy printing! I added just a few corner embellishments, but this is where you can go crazy adding all kinds of cute graphics free hand!
You will most likely need to use your sharpened chalk to clean up the edges, deepen the color and thicken the lines. (I also read somewhere that you should wet the chalk or the board to make the lines darker and clearer. That didn’t work for me, but have at it if you don’t think your lines are dark enough.) If you make a mistake, just use a wet wipe and try again.
Step 9. Chalk it up to another great D.I.M. (Do It Myself) tip from Country Design Home! Susan