Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Chalkboard (Cork Board) Of My VERY OWN!

I've seen them on Pinterest. I've seen them on blogs. I've envied them from afar, and now, finally, I
decided to make one of MY VERY OWN! Here is the epic saga of how a girl, injured and alone, managed to turn a thrift store cork board into a dazzling, amazing chalkboard!

Let's begin at the beginning. First, my wrist is injured. I've whined about this before, but I'm hoping it might explain later failures, so pity me, reader. PITY. ME.

With injured wrist, I managed to do the easiest part of this whole fiasco, which was to paint the cork board. I painted the actual cork with two coats of chalk board paint. I have never used it before and it is as fantastic as you've dreamed! However, I believe it was meant for FLAT surfaces. But more on that later.

Then I painted the outside frame white. After it all dried, I decided to "season" it, based on one blog's recommendation. This is where you color with the flat side of the chalk over the entire board, then erase it. This makes it so your mistakes aren't as glaringly obvious, which is a good thing because it was at this point that I began to get CREATIVE--AKA the part where things started going a bit wonky.

A lot of chalkboard how-to's tell us to freehand it. I don't know if they are the descendents of Rembrandt and DaVinci or what, but we mere mortals cannot freehand! So (clever, clever me) I
decided to print out a template and trace it onto the chalkboard using my trusty old willow charcoal technique (in which our heroine colors on the back of her print-out with willow charcoal and then traces the design onto the desired surface, in this case, a cork/chalk board).
This did not go quite so smoothly. Likely because charcoal is black much like, oh I don't know, a chalkboard, perhaps? Still, in the right light I managed to see about two-thirds of my design and decided to take advice from the experts and "freehand" the parts I couldn't see.

This is the part where I was VERY thankful for my ultra-skinny chalk PENCIL. I picked this baby up in the fabric section of a craft store. It's perfect for eentsy beentsy lines. So, I traced over the dark design with a light white. Then I filled it all in. This required much smudging.

The "experts" often said to wet the chalk to make the design stick better and look brighter. I tried this, but only ended up with goopy chunks of chalk stuck to my board. Then my chalk broke. ALOT. So, plan B was to just fill it in with good, old dry chalk and smudge. But my big clumsy fingers were not suitable to the thin lines of my font, so for that part I used a pencil eraser. Smudge-a-rific!

When it was nearly done, I decided to blow away the crumbly chalk pieces and accidentally spit on the board. Yes, spittle. From my mouth. Thankfully, it didn't do too much damage and I was able to keep going, careful to make all my future work spittle-free.

At the end, my design looked like something a really artistic 12 year-old might do. I decided it needed something more... so I added thin highlight lines to the words (again thankful for my ultra-thin chalk pencil).

I guess it wasn't too bad for the first attempt, but I'm still envious of those fancy-schmancy artists out
there who make words into ART. Maybe I'll try again, but probably on a flatter surface (AKA no cork bumpies). In the meanwhile, I'm proud of what I accomplished with my (sob story) injured wrist and broken chalk pieces!  

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