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Chalkboard Seating Chart DIY

November 2, 2012

{This post was originally published on Going to the Chapel on September 1, 2012. I’m moving all (16, lame!) of those posts over to my regular blog, slowly but surely!}

I sure wish I had taken more photos of the process of this one. Unfortunately all I have is the finished product:

Torin and I made this completely from scratch. We went to Home Depot and bought trim we liked, and then cut it to size and built the frame. You can find DIY instructions for a frame just about anywhere on the internet, and it’s really simple. All you need is a miter box, saw, measuring tape and pencil. Measure the outside of the molding to the sizes you want, use the miter box to trim to 45-degree angles, and, lazy strikes again, we used wood glue and the staple gun to piece it together. Easy peasy. Then I spray painted the finished frame gold.

The chalkboard part is a piece of hardboard, which is that stuff that looks like super thick cardboard, and it’s smooth on one side and rough on the other. It’s pretty cheap, it’s light weight, and came in a size close to what I wanted, so that’s why we got it. If I were doing this again, I would not buy that stuff. It didn’t take the chalkboard paint very well (which also could have been due to the kind of chalkboard paint I used, more on that in a bit). I’d use plywood if doing this a second time.

This time, I did prime, but it didn’t make much difference. I used spray chalkboard paint, and it just didn’t go on well. Next time I’d definitely use brush on chalkboard paint, as I think the coverage would be better and it would go on smoother, contrary to what you might think. The spray paint ended up with a rough kind of texture, which made writing on the chalkboard tricky later.

After the frame and the board were dry, I glued them together using wood glue and clamping them together for 24 hours. When making the frame, some of the staples did cause minor splits in the wood, so I didn’t want to use any more and make it worse. The glue seems to be holding up just fine. The trick is the clamping, it makes the hold much stronger in the end. You can just use a ton of heavy books on top of it if you don’t have a bunch of clamps (that’s what we did!).

Writing on the chalkboard: I tested first with a piece of chalk, and it was awful. You couldn’t even read it. I think it was a combo of the roughness of the board and the thickness of the chalk. I needed another solution, so off to Joann’s I went. I wandered the aisles and finally decided to try watercolor pencils. Worked like a dream! Writing on a wet board made a difference as well, it made the writing smoother and the color brighter. The thinness of the pencils enabled me to get precise lines. As for the writing, no tips there, just keep drawing and erasing until you get something you like! I did look at fonts I liked online and try to emulate them to the best of my ability for the numbers. The names are just my handwriting. And that’s all folks!

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