Friday, October 14, 2011

How to : Make a blackboard

♥ blackboards

I recently fell in love with the idea of a blackboard.. whether it be in your kitchen (for recipes, or shopping lists) or in your workspace for notes & reminders... its just a nice thing to have.. and can be handy too.

I wanted one for my workshop... so I can chalk down all my jewellery orders,
and their deadlines.

When I realized you couldnt buy a blackboard anymore (they are all green - the one's you can buy from stationers) I was dissapointed and did not want a green chalkboard.

So.. I .. with the help (most of the help) of my boyfriend Bryce, made one! So get your boyfriends/ dads/ husbands in check this weekend to help you make one.

I wanted a distressed look for the frame... and I think we did pretty well.

In total, the maisonite for the chalkboard, the wood frame, glue.. paint... everything cost roughly R300.00

You will need :
Maisonite - inexpensive, and very smooth. This is what will form the actual blackboard. :
(Decide on the total size you'd like your chalkboard to be.) This is the size of the piece of mainsonite you need to purchase. My mainsonite piece measured : 90cm x 120cm

You can also use the size of the maisonite to determine the length of the 4 pieces of wood you will need for the frame.


My piece of mainsonite measured 90 x 120cm
We chose 7cm wide pine, and 22mm thick.

We had the  4 piecess of pine for the frame mitred (so that all the pieces of wood for the frame fit together squared) where we bought the wood - (Builders Express) at 45 degree angles - our pieces of pine for the frame measured : 2 x 90 cm &  2 x 120 cm

Cold glue wood glue

2 colors, I would suggest white which will be used as the base of the frame,
Then another color, we opted for gray which looks great distressed and is also fairly neutral.
We chose matte PVA paint. Luckily sample paints were available for purchase, and it was just enough for our frame.

We used panel pins to secure pine pieces for the frame against the piece of mainsonite.

Blackboard paint
We used plascon : School Board Paint. ( About R80.00 )

Two paint brushes for painting your two colors onto the frame aswell as your blackboard paint.
Be sure to have some thinners handy to clean your brush after paitning the mainsonite with the black paint.

A small piece of an old rag

A tea bag & some hot water



Knife, or scraper

Once you have everything laid out, Get Started...

First step, is to mark off on the maisonite with a pencil, up to what point the blackboard paint must be painted to. Dont paint the whole piece of mainsonite, as before the frame is nailed to the mainsonite, the frame is glued onto the mainsonite piece. The blackboard paint will prevent the glue from setting :

Next, start painting your piece of mainsonite with the blackboard paint right up until, and a little over the lines you have marked off. Paint quickly to prevent paint build up on the board - this paint dries quickly.
Also remember to paint the whole piece of mainsonite in one directon.

See how you go - You may need to paint it twice. If it is very bumpy, lightly sand it down.

Once you've painted the mainsonite, leave it to dry & Begin working on the frame.


Join one of the shorter pieces of pine for the frame, with one of the longer pieces of pine with the wood glue. (otherwise, if you've opted for a square blackboard, join any two pieces)

While the wood glue is setting,   hammer a panel pin into the sides of each of the two pieces  of pine.

Do the same with other set of two pine pieces.

Don't join all 4 pieces of pine together before joining it to the piece of maisonite.

Once the blackboard paint has dried, attach one of the 2 joined parts of the frame to the mainsonite with some wood glue.
Place the other 2 pine pieces that are joined on the maisnonite aswell, to see if you need to make any adjustments to the placing of the 2 joined pine pieces you are about to panel pin to the mainsonite.

We used a vice to hold the two pieces while we hammered in our panel pins.
If you dont have a vice - wait for the glue to dry, and get resourceful :)

Once the wood glue has dried holding the first 2 joined pine pieces to the mainsointe,
Turn the mainsonite board upside down.

Begin to hammer the panel pins in a  zig zag about 2-3 cm apart along where the pine pieces are joined to the maisonite.

Keep note of how wide the pine piece of the frame is - so that you dont hammer a panel pin through the maisonite that will be showing in front - making up the acual blackboard.

 Do the same with the second set of the 2 joined pieces of pine.

Now it will start looking like a blackboard ! ♥

This is where the fun begins... 

Experiment, and have fun with painting, and paint techniques.

If you want to go for the distressed roughed up look like we did, paint the frame with a base color, we used matte PVA - white.

Let your base colour start to dry, and then.. start applying your second color.
We used rough sandpaper, a scraper... and our fingers to apply our second color!

Wait for the second color to dry a little bit before wiping a few areas with a rag giving more of a distressed look.

Apply some more paint.. scrape.. sandpaper it... just have fun and remember theres no wrong thing to do.

Let the paint dry a little more... and give the frame more of a distressed finish with a tea bag, and a piece of rag.

Squeeze your teag bag over a piece of rag or cloth, and apply the rag all over the frame.

Use an old pocket knife, the point of a scraper, anything a bit sharp - and scratch away at a few areas on your frame.

This is what our frame looked like when it was finished.

Make it your own, and make it special by painting the Date on the back, and take a picture of yourself and a loved one making it    :

I used clear lacquer to paint over a picture of my boyfriend and I as we were finishing off the blackboard :

Enjoy, & have fun ♥

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