The whole project only took a couple of hours, and that includes drying time. It's super easy to make, and it's looks much nicer hanging in my living room than a paper sticker chart. So, let's get started!
- Wooden chalkboard frame
- Chalk or Acrylic Paint
- Wooden Letters ($.98 from Walmart)
- Staple Gun
- Scrap Fabric
- Hot Glue Gun
- Wood Stain
- Chalk Markers
- Assorted paint brushes
Step One: Painting
You can do this project with a picture frame and chalkboard paint if you happen to already have one you're not using. I didn't, and with a 50% coupon, I scored this chalkboard frame from the craft store for $6. If you're using a frame you already have, you're going to need to paint the backing in chalkboard paint. Make sure you do a few coats so it's nice and dark. If you're using a store bought chalkboard, then you only need to worry about painting the frame. I used Martha Stewart Chalk Paint because I had some on hand, but you could just as easily use plain old acrylic. Make sure you use painters tape to cover up the edges of the chalkboard. I didn't, and ended up having to go back and repaint my chalkboard. It took two coats for a nice, even coverage. While you've got the paint out, go ahead and paint the letters for the top. For this part, I used dark blue acrylic, because that's what I had on hand.
Step Two: Chalk Pocket
Remember my post about me versus my sewing machine? Yea, that should tell you how bad my sewing skills are. But I wanted a little pocket to hold the chalk for marking completed chores. So while the paint is drying, you can whip up a chalk pocket.
This pocket is as basic as it gets. I used my chalk and got a rough estimate of the size I needed, and then cut two rectangles about that size. With the right sides facing together, I sewed around 3 sides and then flipped it right side out. I folded the raw side down and did just a quick hem to keep it clean looking, and then ironed it flat. I'm sure there are sewing gurus out there who can figure out a better way to do this. But this way is super simple and does the job.
Step Three: Sanding and Dry Staining
This is my favorite part of any project. This is the part where the project really comes to life. After your paint is dry, grab your sandpaper and start working on removing some of the paint. Focus on the corners, outside edges, and inside edges. In some places I sand heavier and some lighter. If you're not sure where to sand, try to think about how the frame would age. Things like the corners are more likely to take a beating over time, so I sand especially heavy there. But the beauty here is that there is really no way to screw it up. Sand as much or as little as you want, and anywhere you want. Once you're done sanding, give it a wipe down with an old towel to get the dust off.
For dry staining the frame, you want to use a dry, clean, bristle brush. You want just a tiny amount of stain on it, and then you'll quickly brush it over the frame. I like to just tap the brush on the lid, and find that dipping it in the can just puts too much on the brush. I also keep a rag handy, to wipe down places where I get too much stain. The idea is a streaky, distressed feel. I go over the corners a few times to make it darker. You'll find that the stain will sink in darker in the places you've sanded, and you can go over the spots a few times with the brush to darken them.
Step Four: Assembly
Once the stain is dry, it's time to put the whole thing together. I used my trusty hot glue gun to glue the letters at the top and to attach the chalk pocket. I didn't measure anything, just eyeballed it. For hanging it, I braided three pieces of twine together for more thickness. If you're using rope, ribbon, or thicker twine, you can use just one. I then flipped it over and staple gunned it to the back of the frame.
Step Five: Seasoning
To season the chalkboard, just use the long side of a piece of chalk and rub a thick layer over the whole chalkboard, and then wipe it off. I get the best results if I do this step a couple of time. Whatever you do, DON'T skip the seasoning. If you skip it, then you'll see the shadows of the first thing you write on your chalkboard forever.
Step Six: Drawing The Chart
For the lines and days of the week, use the chalk marker. Chalk markers only come off with water, so they won't wipe away when you reset the chart each week. I used a ruler and measured out 1" vertical and horizontal lines. You'll notice my chart only has Monday through Saturday, because in our house, Sunday is a freebie day. I refuse to do chores on Sunday, so I don't make my kiddos do it either. Once your lines are done, just fill in the chores and hang it up. And then get those kiddos cleaning!