Friday, May 20, 2011

Entry Room Re-Do, Part 1 aka Custom Chalkboard Tutorial

I'm so excited to share this post with you. I'm just really proud of how this project turned out. This is part 1 of my entry-room re-do of 2011. As I've become more and more obsessed with my shabby to chic craze I decided the first room I wanted to tackle was my entry room. I figured it is the very first room that guests see when they come to my house so it should reflect who we are and what we love. In its current state it didn't do either one of those things. So, it was time to put together a plan and get started on it. I'll have a final room reveal eventually but I wanted to share the projects as they are finished.

First of all, by re-do I'm not doing a total overhaul of this room. I'm actually not even painting! Can you imagine? I actually still love the color of the room and I don't want to change that. What I do want to change is what is actually on those walls and the furniture in the room. Since it's an entry way I'm very limited as to furniture placement. While the room is very large for an entry it is still basically the hallway into my house. I'm just blessed by having an 11' X 16' "hallway". :) I like the bones of the furniture in the room, just not how they look right now. More on that in a different post.

My first project is the one very large open wall. It is on the left hand side as you enter the house. There are 2 chairs with an antique table between them and an old china cabinet at the far end. I started by moving my gallery wall. I had started a gallery wall a few years ago but it was located at the end of the wall with a very large picture in the center of the wall. I wanted to move the gallery to the center and have it take center stage in the room. I also wanted to incorporate a custom chalkboard into the plan. So, that brings us up to date before we begin the rest of this post...Creating a custom chalkboard.

First of all, I looked for a frame for the chalkboard. I wanted it to be rather tall so I could put some really long quotes on it if I wanted. (It will be used for quotes and I will change them out monthly.) So, during one of my Goodwill trips I found the frame I wanted. It had a picture of trees in it but the frame was perfect with my color scheme. I didn't even have to paint it. I wanted it as is. The cost of the frame was $20.

The first step was to remove all the staples holding the picture in place. Once that was done I removed the picture and then used it as a template on a piece of wood. I used some scrap lumber my dad had from his currently happening kitchen renovation. I marked the outline of the picture on the wood using just a regular pencil.

After that we (Hot Rod helped with this part) took the wood to the barn and cut along the markings using our table saw. It worked perfectly. The scrap wood just happened to be exactly the width I needed where it was notched out. How's that for being lucky?

After it was cut out I filled all of the nail holes (remember it was scrap wood that had been used so there were numerous nail holes) with caulk (I just use caulk to fill holes, just make sure you get the kind that says "paintable".) Then I took it outside and using my handy-dandy new saw horses I sanded her down. It was really rough wood and if I skipped this part it would have been a very rough surface with splinters galore! I already had the caulk and the sand paper and sander so this step was a freeby for me.

Next, it was time to paint. I wanted the board to be the same color as my walls (a deep burgundy) but the left-over paint I had from painting the walls had all gunked up. I took a stir stick to get it matched and it really isn't an exact match but for this, it is close enough. So, following the directions I found on the intranet I mixed one cup of paint with 2 TBSP of sanded grout. I used whatever grout I could find that we had. Turns out we had left over grout from the bathroom floor job. It was a gray color but I just said OK and used it. I mixed the two together and then started to paint using a mini roller for cabinets and shelves. It worked amazing! I got the paint at Lowes and just got a quart for $14.97. The grout was another freeby. I did have to buy the new mini roller and some roller pans but I'm viewing that as a great investment since I know I will use these multiple times. The total cost for the roller, some more rolling covers and the rolling pan was about $20. You just have to remember that eventually that cost should be divided upon at least 9 more basically a couple of dollars if you look at it like that.

And, there she is all painted and pretty.

So, the next step is to sand it again. This time I used 220 grit sand paper. I discovered a few things here. You really need to leave the surface a little rough. It is the grout (roughness) that actually makes the chalk work on it. So, don't sand until it's completely smooth, that is not the goal here. I did have to buy the 220 grit sandpaper because I didn't have any that smooth. Total cost of that was about $3.00.

Once I was done sanding, I wiped it all off with a damp cloth and let it dry completely. Then I took a piece of chalk and laid it on the side and rubbed the entire board with the chalk. I actually forgot to take this picture as I started so just pretend that the board isn't already kind of whitish already shall we? So yeah, after I coated the board with the chalk I wiped it away with the eraser I have. I bought new chalk at Hobby Lobby for $1.99 and already had the eraser.

I just couldn't wait to see if it actually worked...and IT WORKS! I now have a custom colored chalkboard.
The next step was to insert the board into the frame. I used my electric stapler for this. At first I tried to attach it in the same manner the picture was but that really didn't work out. The board was too thick. So, instead I straddled the stapler over both the board and the frame and that worked and will hold the two together. I already had the stapler and staples so this step was another freeby.

Alrighty then, so the major part of the board is complete. Now it is time to do some accessorizing! I went to Hobby Lobby yesterday because they had all their knobs and pulls on sale 50% off! I've been waiting to get some new knobs for the china cabinet until they would go on sale. I pretty much don't buy anything at Hobby Lobby unless it's at least 40% off. You know they always put things on sale! Well, while I was marveling at all the wonderful choices of knobs I found a few other items (also on for 50% off) that I just loved. I bought all 3 of these and then spray painted them using my favorite Rustoleum Heirloom White (it's the bomb diggity of paint colors I tell you!) The hook was $4.99 and then half off that. The key plate was $9.99 and then half off that. The drawer pull was $2.99 and then half off of that. So, total price for all 3 of them was $9.00. The paint I had but I did buy some more for more projects I just love this paint so much. I found the cheapest place that carries it too I think. It's at Home Depot for $2.97 a can. One can was more than enough for all 3 of these.
After they dried I screwed the drawer handle upside down on the bottom of the chalk board itself.

The little mini hook with the small mirror in it went on the wall right next to the board about half way up. It blended in well with the rest of the wall gallery (still to come's not quite ready to be revealed yet.)

Next I went scrounging through the house and found a small pail that I had bought on the dollar aisle at Target. It was bright white so I painted it in the same Heirloom white. Then I found some burgundy ribbon that came close to matching the walls and inserted it in the holes where it had originally had white organza ribbon. I tied a pretty bow and hung the entire thing from the small hook. The eraser went in there. The chalk is in the upside door handle. it is...
I put my first quote up on the board. I really really wish I had prettier hand writing! I may erase and try harder to get it all even, level, and pretty...or I might not! ha ha ha
Here is a shot from a little further away to give you some idea of the scale of the piece. Don't worry, there is a lot to be changed in this picture still...just pretend the blue chair is not clashing and the welcome post doesn't have a Valentine's Day figurine on it ok?

So, there you have it, my tutorial on creating a custom chalkboard. Total price for me was about $50. That may seem too high but if you are luckier than I am you may still have some left over paint that matches the walls that isn't all gunked up you could use. Savings of $14.97! You also may already have the great frame to use. Savings of $20. You may even already have all the paint supplies and sanding supplies you need...a savings of $5.00. So, if you had all of that already all you would need to spend is the money for the drawer handle to hold the chalk and the small hook to hold the eraser. Total cost theoretically could be a grand total of $10! Just think of the possibilities!

Whew! Sorry for the long post with so many pictures but I really wanted to share how I did this. It was so easy and really cheap overall. I can't wait to finish the room now. I just walk in there every so often and admire my work.

Hope you have a wonderful (inspired) weekend!

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