Happy September, Friends!
I received several questions following my Mud Room Makeover post about how exactly I created my chalkboard family calendar. How did I create the design, what did I use for my “chalk” and more generally, what do you need to know to replicate this project? So here are a few tidbits-bits to help you out if you are hoping to do something similar in your home (which I TOTALLY suggest!).
But first, a bit of a disclaimer.
*I created this chalkboard before creating this blog. So… big bummer… I don’t have many great process shots of the project along the way. The space was poorly lit, and I didn’t really plan on sharing the photos that I did take, so they definitely lack a little something to be desired :). Apologies, friends!
Before we talk about the chalkboard, here’s an oh-so-lovely look the mud room wall prior to this project:
Nothing to see here, folks.
After installing the beadboard and chair rail, detailed here, I painted an accent color all around the sides of my chalkboard. I chose Benjamin Moore’s Palladian Blue, as I found it to be fresh, clean, and subtle. A nice pair with my Simply White lower 1/3 of the wall.
With the accent color dry, I moved on to the chalkboard. I taped off the chalkboard area using a level and regular old painters tape. I created the accent strip around the perimeter of the board by using an additional strip of tape on all 4 sides, leaving a gap of approximately a 1/4 inch between the two tape strips.
I painted the board with Valspar tintable chalkboard paint, in Gray. You’ll find that most chalkboard paints on the market are not actually tintable. They tend to come in true black, which, while not the end of the world, wouldn’t have felt quite right in this space. I painted the board with 3 coats, as advised when creating a functional chalkboard that you plan to write on and erase with some regularity.
I finished in the middle of the night (because that’s when moms of tots paint, obviously), snapping this quick pic in the dark before sneaking up to bed:
After letting the paint fully dry (read: for several days, because life got away from me), I moved on to the fun of designing my calendar and family center. Photoshop was my secret weapon in mapping out where each element would lie. Whether you use photoshop or a pad of paper and pen, I do suggest working out your plan prior to taking any steps on your actual wall. Taping off elements is a labor intensive process; the fewer time you have to do it, the better!
As for supplies, I headed over to trusty Amazon Prime to purchase a few of these awesome solid paint sticks, which look remarkably like chalk when applied. Their texture is similar to that of a tube of lipstick and these sticks are perfect for any elements of a chalkboard that you intend to be permanent.
I began with my calendar, located in the bottom left of my board:
You’ll notice that wherever possible, I made the gap between boxes and borders the same width as my painters tape. If you have any intention of completing this project in a reasonable amount of time, I implore you, DO THIS! If the gaps appear too wide for your taste, you can always add some artistic flourishes later in the process. (In fact, if you skip ahead a bit you may notice that I added a bit of a 3D detail to the calendar boxes to create the illusion that they were less far apart. Easy peasy.)
With the calendar in place, I moved on to my month and year banner as well as my board header. For elements like these, I drew drafts with plain school chalk first, and then went over my drawings with the permanent paint stick.
I continued working one element at a time, until my board began to fill in.
After toying with many options, I finalized my plan to include a calendar, “Don’t Forget” box, season check-boxes, and a “Coming Soon” box. While “Don’t Forget” and “Coming Soon” spaces have plenty of practical uses as the kids get older (e.g.: don’t forget to put your homework in your backpack, and coming soon: History paper due date!, etc.), they also work for more broad family messaging while the tots are little. Things like “Don’t forget to have a generous heart!” and “Coming Soon: picking tomatoes, watching the leaves fall, and pop-pop’s birthday!” have adorned our board this summer.
The seasons boxes provide a bit of arty fun to the board, and have been a fun job for our little guy to find the appropriate season and check its box each time we update our calendar.
He just loves it! And finally, a peak at the finished product:
Would this be a project you’d take on for your family? Have other creative ideas of where a family board like this could go? Do let me know in the comments below, would you!?