After several craft fairs and being at the farmer's market this summer, I went through quite a few paper signs for my products. After recycling the last set, I thought I could do better by making something reusable.
Noodling around Pinterest usually gives me some great inspiration. I'm not one of those "pin now for later" types. If I pin it, I'm probably trying something out within the week. If not, then it serves as inspiration for something else that I'm working on. I actually scroll through my Recipes to Try board and cook things from it. Crazy, I know.
Pinterest led me to reusable chalkboard signs. Perfect! Being able to erase and re-write as often as I liked was just what this minimize-waste person wanted. The local craft stores weren't coming up with the sizes and price that I had in mind, so I did what I usually do and thought--I can make it myself for way less. Here are some of the steps involved, which are not difficult in the least if you have chalkboard paint and some blue painter's tape.
Start with wooden signs that are inexpensive (less than $1 each) that already have pretty rounded corners.
Paint the perimeter white, whatever size "frame" you want for your chalkboard. You can be messy in the center because the thick chalkboard paint will cover it up.
Measure and tape off the area you would like to be the chalkboard surface. If you press firmly with the tape, you will get a nice crisp edge when you are finished. I had this jar of chalkboard paint on hand, which was a bonus not to have to buy another supply.
Paint with your chalkboard paint. I found 2 coats covered well.
When everything is dry, remove the tape and you are almost done. "Prime" the surface with regular chalk, rubbing in all directions (I don't have a photo of this step). You should be all set to go! Unless...
...you decide to make things less tamper-proof like I did and use a chalk marker on your homemade chalkboards.
It doesn't come off!!!!! This sign has been *erased.* Grrrrrrrr. As if wasting all that work wasn't bad enough (regular chalk DOES come off, so you're fine if you stick with that), two days after finishing these signs, I found this at AC Moore:
Real slate chalkboards. Bigger than the ones I made myself. A better size for my booth setup. For $1 each. I bought 5 for less than the raw materials I used to make the first version. Moral of the story? Don't trust everything you read on the package of a craft supply. Old fashioned materials (slate, plain chalk) are often much better than their new-fangled counterparts (chalk pen). At least now I can stop recycling paper signs!
As co-owner of Stitchery in Portsmouth, RI, I teach sewing classes to children and adults. Welcome to my blog Dancing Threads RI.