I made a couple of these for Christmas presents and they were a big hit. My wife saw a picture of one online somewhere and was of the opinion that I could make them (which translates to make these for Christmas presents or else)
They are very straight forward, you can make these with almost no tools or experience. They are also relatively cheap. If you have to buy the chalkboard paint and stain/varnish from scratch it will cost a bit more, but i have made four so far and have maybe used 1/3 of the small tins of paint and stain.
The thing i love about these are the plethora of options you have when it comes to creating them. This is a basic design, but you can change it up any number of ways. It really comes down to how good your imagination is, and the tools on hand..
Step 1: Tools and Equipment
I used a slab of pine for mine, which i cut in two. The sizing is completely up to you and what end result you want, but mine are approximately 60cm long and 28cm wide.
Saw of some description. I used a table saw.
The choice of finish on the outside is once again going to be personal preference, but i chose mine based on the golden hue it gave when applied to pine.
The masking tape width will determine the width of the border.
The handles you can pick up cheaply, or if making one for yourself go all out and get something super fancy.
I used little feet for this one but you could just as easily use stick on felt pads.
I used pine as it is cheap where I am but still comes up nicely. Plus i didn't want to black out a really nice piece of hardwood. You could use cheap wood in the middle and a nice wood for the border, but you would need to be able to make it flat with a planer or jig of some description. There are easy ways to do that, but for this one it is about making one as easily as possible.
Step 2: Preparation
As previously stated, I bought a large piece of wood and cut it in half, but the size will be up to you.
I sanded back the surface just to knock out a couple of nicks in the wood and get it uniform, and to just round off the corners and edges.
Next, use the masking tape to cover up a border area. I used masking tape as it is extremely easy to get a nice straight edge on the chalk board portion. Just take your time and get the edge right and flatten the tape out vigorously. You don't want any paint getting under the tape.
Step 3: Painting
Time to paint.
I'm not sure if you can tell from the picture, but I found a good way to not get paint leakage is to go around the edges first, starting on the tape and brushing back to the wood. You are effectively flattening the tape down again doing this. Worked for me, but then I didn't test it just painting normally so it might not be necessary.
This paint is a thick paint, and seems to splatter quite easily, so be wary. Follow the paint instructions for drying time and coats. I used 3 on these ones, but have used two coats previously with no issues. I really only did 3 to see if there was much difference between 2 and 3 coats, but it seems there isn't a noticeable difference.
I peeled the tape off after the third coat as soon as it was on, while the paint was wet. This worked well for me, and didn't have any splatter issues while removing it. Be wary of the paint on the tape. You can sand any mishaps back easily enough. I think this stuff can jump, as I was sure I didn't get any on myself, only to find it on my hands later on.
The last pic is with the tape removed.
Follow the instructions on the tin for cleaning brushes also.
Step 4: Staining
The first picture is after the paint but without the stain, the second is with 1 coat of stain.
for this step you can use any method you like to get the stain onto the wood. I stained the edges also as they will be visible.
This time I used a foam roller to apply the stain, the first ones I made I used a rag. Both gave a good result, with a nice uniform finish. I probably prefer the roller, as you can squeeze any leftover back into the tin, and it is easy to be precise. Just use what you have available.
Once again, follow the instructions on the stain of your choice for application. It is pretty straight forward, apply, and wipe off excess. It doesn't matter if you go a little on the blackboard paint, as you can wipe it off straightaway, and once it dries, the tiny bit you went over is impossible to see.
Step 5: Feet
I added the feet here, though in hindsight it would have been better to do before painting.
Depending on what you chose for the feet, attach them however you are meant to. Mine were like little nails, so I just had to tap them in. Be sure that when you are done you don't have any wobble in your board, so take your time with this step to get it right.
Step 6: Finish It Off
Lastly, add the handles you chose at either end. Mine were simple screw through the holes type, so I just had to ensure they were centred and screw them in. Easy.
After that, sit back and have a beer, you deserve it. Or present it to your significant other and bask in the glory of their praise.
These are designed to have food on a plate on them with the name of the food written in chalk. This is not a food safe board, although you could probably make it so. To see what it is meant to look like with food on it, google the title. My artistic skills are non existent, so I didn't try to show what it looks like.
Overall this project took a few days, however this was only due to drying times on the paint and stain, as they were 12 hours and 8 hours a coat respectively.
As I said, this is a very easy project but does give great results. The ones I gave out as presents were well received.
I love that there are almost endless variations on this design, meaning anyone can make a rather unique gift for their loved ones and for much cheaper than if you went to buy one of these.
Thanks all for reading, I always appreciate feedback(praise or constructive), so feel free to leave a comment.