TPiB: DIY Chalkboard Fun
We’ve all seen pictures of some of the amazing chalkboard signs outside of book stores with their witty saying about reading. I give everyone bonus points if they make a Tardis reference because I’m a huge Doctor Who fan. Plus, the Tardis is just cool.
Workman Publishing has a great book that will help us all learn the fine art of creative chalkboards called The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering: Create and Develop Your Own Style (by Valerie McKeehan). They sent me a copy in the mail and it will come as no surprise to you to hear that The Teen immediately grabbed this one and started playing with it. And since we were in full locker craft mode, we came up with a couple of ways to make our own chalkboards so that we can practice the fine art of chalkboard lettering, though I should point out that there is in fact a chalkboard or two inside the book itself provided for your practice needs. The book is amazing and is a lot of fun, so do check it out.
The main thing you are going to need for this craft is, of course, a chalkboard surface. A simple walk around the craft store and you will find that you have a lot of options. There are chalkboards that you can glue onto other surfaces, there are chalkboard stickers and there is chalkboard paint. For our purposes we used chalkboard paint. And because I’m investigating making chalkboards in a teen craft setting, my goal is both less expensive and easier to make. If you are making a chalkboard for yourself and have a little more money to spend then there are no limits to how creative you can be.
- A blank canvas (purchased at Michael’s)
- Chalkboard spray paint
- Duct tape
This version was actually pretty easy to make. We simply spray painted our canvas with the chalkboard paint and waited for it to dry. I recommend using a couple of coats, which means drying in between coats. We had some other chalkboards around so we practiced our lettering using the book while we waited for the paint to dry.
We then decorated our chalkboard and made boarders, etc. with our duct tape. Pretty simple but satisfying.
- Old picture frame (purchased at a thrift store for a quarter)
- Spray paint (any color)
- Chalkboard spray paint
- Matte board
- Markers, etc. to decorate the painted frame
To prep our project, we first took our frame apart. You can safely discard the glass. We then spray painted our frames our color of choice, in the example above blue. After drying you can use sharpies to draw doodles on the frame if you would like.
To make the chalkboard, you first need to cut a piece of matte board the size of frame so that it fits inside. Then give it a couple of coats of chalkboard paint, allowing the paint to dry fully in between each coat. When your chalkboard is dry you simply put the frame back together with the chalkboard inside.
We had a lot of fun making these and they were a big hit. Together with the book you can do some fun chalkboard things. If you make a bigger chalkboard using a larger frame that compliments your teen area you can create a fun space for your teen area as well to do signage and fun displays.
About the Book:
Hardback, 176 pages (also available in Electronic book text )
Filed under: TPIB
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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