Saturday, April 6, 2013

DIY Chalkboard Project

Last month, I attempted to take a break from thrift store shopping for a month.  I can't remember what motivated me to try, and I don't recall whether the point was to stop going altogether, or just to stop buying stuff.  Failure ensued on both counts in any case.  A new thrift store opened up in walking distance from my house a couple of weeks ago, so can you really blame me?   I'm getting better at passing up good deals that I don't really need, but sometimes I feel like Ariel in her treasure trove:

I've got gadgets and gizmos aplenty, I've got whozits and whatzits galore.
You want thingamabobs, I got twenty.  But who cares, no big deal, I want more
picture credit

   Realistically, who can resist at least perusing such an interesting assortment of items?

A Winston Churchill bust, anyone?
Status: not purchased by me

This would add some flair to your living room wall.
Status: not purchased by me

Priceless (well, actually, it was $5.99)
Status: not purchased by me

I actually bought this book.  I had a strawberry shortcake recipe book as a kid that I absolutely loved, 
so I thought my kids might like a recipe book too.  And the title is just too awesome to ignore.  Yes, I am that immature, but you just laughed a little too, didn't you.

I also brought home this gem of a globe.  It has a nine inch diameter instead of the standard twelve, which makes it a perfect size for my built-in wall unit.  I had major childhood flashbacks when I saw the original price tag from Woolco on the bottom.  Remember that place before Wal-Mart came and took over (the world)?

As for the real pièce de résistance, I found this amazing wood picture frame for $9.99.  I actually had to stop a couple of people from buying it out from under me when I had put it under reserve at the front counter while I finished shopping.

It's over four feet long and two feet wide!  It didn't have a backing or glass, but that was fine for the plans that I had for it: a framed chalkboard.

I waffled between leaving the original paint job and painting it white, and decided to give it a whitewash in the end.  Since spraypainting indoors is kind of a deathtrap, and I don't have a big enough yard to do it outdoors, I decided to paint it by hand with a good old-fashioned brush job.  I think I actually preferred this to spray paint in the end because it was so much easier to remedy any drips that formed.  It took one coat of primer and two or three coats of paint to transform it into this:

I bought a piece of high density fibreboard at the hardware store and had it cut to size to fit into the frame where the glass must have originally sat.  I originally wanted to use regular wood as a backing, but it would have made the picture much too heavy, and it was also pretty pricey.  

Chalkboard paint is also not cheap.  I am; therein lay the problem.  I didn't want to buy a full gallon of chalkboard paint that I would probably only use a smidgen of.  I discovered that some people have had success creating their own chalkboard paint by mixing unsanded tile grout with regular latex paint.  My parents happened to have some sitting in their shed, and I have plenty of leftover paint in the garage.  However, my sister apprised me of the health hazards of breathing in any particles of tile grout, and I decided to keep searching for another option.  Americana has a clear coating to transform any paint into chalkboard paint, but I couldn't find it, so I settled on Martha Stewart chalkboard acrylic paint.  It's available in a smaller bottle than a gallon at the paint store, comes in a few different colours (I chose the gray), and the trusty Michael's 40% off coupon makes it quite affordable at $4 to $5 a bottle.  I only used about half of the bottle for this project.  I gave the HDF a coat of primer, and then two coats of chalkboard paint, glued it to the frame with the help of some gorilla wood glue and heavy books to weigh it down overnight.

Aside from some glue streaks on the paint where I tried to wipe off the excess, it was a success.  

This is a picture of the board after "seasoning" it by rubbing chalk all over.  And, voilà, here is the finished product!  

My O. loves learning his Bible memory verses on the board.  Here they are during a rare play-dough play session.  I am one of those parents who practically keeps play-dough under lock and key because it is such a darn mess to clean up afterwards.  I justify it by the fact that the rarity of the play-dough times makes them extra fun and lengthy when they do get to play!

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