Thursday, April 4, 2013

DIY Chalkboard Table Numbers

Alternate title for this post: Here's how a can of chalkboard paint, a little trial and error, and an idea can end in thrifty DIY success for your wedding, or any event!

I've been holding on to a can of chalkboard paint for about 2 months now, waiting to paint a giant magnetic chalkboard in the Sparkle and Ink office. But low and behold, as I was working on table numbers, I found a use for it while it awaits its higher purpose.

About 6 months ago, I had procured this great frame from IKEA (Only $5!) for a wedding expo that I participated in. I LOVED the look and the price. I've been waiting to re-purpose it as a wedding detail because it has such great lines. I decided that I should combine the frame with the chalkboard paint and create an inexpensive table number option.

Here's how it all went down:
1 ~ I opened up the back of the IKEA frame using the very cool little plastic latches

2 ~ My goal was to temporarily change the frames into chalkboard table numbers, but only temporarily, I wanted to be able to re-purpose them again, back to a frame after the event. This works well for a couple who wants to create table numbers for a wedding, and then later on, use these frames in a baby's room (they are plastic and safe). So I knew that I didn't want to chalkboard paint right onto the plastic plexi-glass window that came with the frame. My first thought was to cut a piece of vellum the same size as the window. I got out my ruler and scissors. By the way, if you do a lot of crafts, it's definitely worth having 1 pair of scissors for paper, and one for fabric. 

3 ~ Next I got my patiently waiting Rust-oleum chalkboard paint (available for $10 at Home Depot). and began painting the piece of vellum (cue major record scratching sound effect) EPIC FAIL! The vellum curled right up, and was clearly not going to work. So, needless to say, I scratched this plan. But I still did not want to ruin the frames by paining on the clear window part. SO...
4 ~ I decided to try using a thin piece of cardboard. My initial hesitation with cardboard was 1) it curling up like the vellum, and 2) it not being erasable especially with water (you'll see why later). 

5 ~ I again cut the size to fit the picture window of the IKEA frame. 
6 ~ I again painted a thin layer of the chalkboard paint onto the cardboard, and voila, it seemed to be working, or not curling up anyway. 
7 ~ The directions on the paint can say to let it dry for 4 hours before re-coating, but I'm not especially good at waiting. Plus, I was determined to finish this project and take pictures during day light, before having to drive my daughter to swimming. So, about 15 minutes later, the paint was dry to my touch, and I went ahead and re-coated it. So far, so good.

8 ~ After about another 15 minutes, the cardboard seemed dry again, so I put it back into the frame, and  SUCCESS! It looked great (see below) but now for it's write-ability and erasability test... 
9~ I grabbed my chalk pen. Oh yes, if you have't tried them, chalk pens are fantastic! I have one from Michael's "Brides" collection. It gives that great chalky look, without the dust, and without the hassle. 
I was free to write and decorate away! I wish that I had beautiful calligraphic handwriting, but I did my best. 
10~ Now for the true test, erasing. I was able to wipe off the chalk marker with a paper towel, but it did leave a bit of a residue.
 
11 ~ So, I dove right in, and tried a little water. To my amazement, it worked! I was able to erase again and again, the photo below shows my masterpiece after wiping, writing and wiping again with water (5 times!), and it's still looking pristine!
And there you go! Fun table numbers created in about 1 hour (never mind my vellum incident, I took one for the team there, and you can skip that). 
Total cost of 10 table numbers: 
Frame  (IKEA) = $5.00 each x 10 = $50
Paint (Home Depot) = $10.00
Cardboard = free if you can re-purpose some that you already have
Chalk Marker (Michaels or online) = $5.00 
Total = $65, or $6.50 each

And, you are left with great frames to use in the end! This method can be used with any frames by the way, thrift store frames can make for a great kitchen chalkboard/message board. Dollar Store frames can work as well and significantly reduce the cost. You can also get chalk markers in a variety of colors, which can definitely increase the fun factor! I'm going to be purchasing some for my large office chalkboard/project board.

I can think of about a zillion uses for a chalkboard in a frame. What would you use this for? Have you made anything fun lately? Share a link below, I'd love to hear!

Sparkle On!
- Kathy

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