This was one of the easiest DIY projects I’ve ever done that I feel ridiculous for not doing it sooner. I bought a small tin of chalkboard paint years ago with the intention of making myself a kitchen menu. I’ve always liked writing down a list of all the meals planned for the week (mainly so I don’t forget about them and waste food) I also like lists – they help me think. Now that I have a toddler it’s even more important to meal plan. So for years I’ve been thinking about the perfect ‘something’ to make into a menuboard. I thought about new frames, thought about hunting down secondhand frames, thought about finding some scrap wood and painting that up – which just meant this little project has sat off to the side for too long. So the other day on an absolute whim I went down the road to the local Op Shop, saw the perfect frame (The Op Shop Gods were looking out for me that day!) and bought it for a grand total of $5. The frame had an ugly 80’s ‘painting’ in it (by painting I mean a print of a painting but then clear lacquer is messily brushed over the image to give the appearance of a real painting). I lightly sanded it, cleaned it, put masking tape around the frame edges and then gave it two coats of the blackboard paint. It honestly took about 15 minutes (not including the dry time). I think it’s turned out so well! What do you think?
Everybody kept asking me what ‘theme’ I was going for in the nursery. Theme? Does “no theme” count? I decided early on that I was going to make the nursery flexible for a growing human – I didn’t want to commit to a crazy wall colour or big piece of expensive wall art which I (or baby) might get sick of. Instead I decided to install a frame shelf which would run across the longest wall in the room so we could interchange art, books and toys along the shelf and keep the room interesting (see above pic!).
Once the shelf was installed I wasn’t sure where to start. I thought about getting an alphabet print, but realistically how long will it be before baby can understand the alphabet? Second I thought I might paint myself a piece of art or buy something fun, but couldn’t figure out exactly what I wanted. I was pretty keen on an inspirational quote (probably more for myself than a baby!) but didn’t know how it should be delivered. Then I thought about something really interchangeable – coloured chalkboards where you can make and change the art yourself. I had seen a tutorial on A Beautiful Mess about making your own coloured chalkboard paint using tile grout and it just so happened that I had some leftover from some tiling I had done recently! It was meant to be!
Coloured Chalkboard Squares
What you need:
- WOOD – I bought 6mm MDF wood from the local hardware store (at a cost of around $6) and got my partner to cut it into three pieces.
- PAINT – I bought 75ml acrylic paint in three different colours.
- TILE GROUT – You will need roughly a tablespoon per 75ml bottle of paint. If you don’t have some lying around, ask your family and friends to see if they have any. It’s the kind of thing that sits in the back of someone’s shed unused!
- CONTAINER – You’ll need something to mix the paint in. I always use old margarine containers.
Simply mix the tablespoon of grout into the 75ml of paint (try to make sure it’s consistent) and paint straight onto the board. I painted both sides as the back would be partially visible as it leans on the wall.
Acrylic paint is fairly quick drying, though to be safe I waited a day until I ‘chalked’ the board. This entails running chalk over the board and then wiping it off.
Once it’s chalked you’re good to go! A great idea for pre-school children is using the board to write a letter each week to learn (think Sesame Street!), or you could write a quote, draw a picture, or let your kids draw their own art! I love the versatility and affordability of this project!