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How to make a chalkboard out of wood and paint, with a matching organizer to hold the chalk and eraser! I've listed this on Etsy, for the SewUseful contest. You can find the listing here: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=6472485

Step 1: The Chalkboard

I sew a lot and I've gotten tired of making notes to myself on post-its that then disappear under mounds of fabric as soon as I need them or add to the clutter and later clog up my vacuum cleaner. So I decided to create a chalkboard that would hang on a wall near my workstation. This way I can write down notes, measurements, or sketch out designs, and best of all I'm not wasting a bunch of paper!

This project has two parts, both of which I've included here. The first section details how to make a chalkboard. The second part shows how to make a fabric wall organizer to hold the chalk, eraser, pencils, or anything else you might like to have handy while you work.

Part I: The Chalkboard*
Creating your own chalkboard is fairly simple and easy. It is simply a matter of selecting the size of board you want and then spraying on multiple coats of paint.
  • You can make your chalkboard magnetic, as well, by first coating your board with magnetic paint. I didn't do that here since I already have a magnet board (as seen in the picture).

Materials: 24" by 36" piece of lightweight wood (or any size you like).*
1 can of Chalkboard paint (approx $5.00).
This comes in either spray or paint-on varieties. You can also make your own in any color you'd like! See instructions here. http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/ny/how-to/how-to-make-your-own-chalkboard-paint-016134
*I used a piece of 1/8" thick Melomine that I got at a local hardware store. If you don't want to pay for a whole piece, ask if they have any scrap pieces that are close to the size you want. You might be able to get a piece for free or at a discounted price.

Step 1: Drill one hole in each corner of the board.
These holes will be used later to hang your chalkboard. These holes are not necessary if you prefer to hang your board using picture hangers or other devices.

Step 2: Apply first coat of chalkboard paint.
Be sure to spray in a well-ventilated place and to follow the instructions on the can of spray or roll-on paint.

Step 3: Apply a second (and third) coat of chalkboard paint, if necessary.

Step 7: Wait 24 hours.

Step 8: Hang your chalkboard!
I simply held the board up to the wall and hammered small picture nails into each hole. If you decide to hang the board in some other way, just keep in mind that you’ll be writing on the board, so you'll want something fairly sturdy and strong that will hold the board in place.

Step 2: Cut the Fabric

Materials: 3 quarter flats of fabric in 2 patterns or colors (1 background piece, 3 pocket pieces)*
Interfacing
Thread
Ribbon
*A quarter flat measures approximately 18" tall by 21" wide. You do not have to buy fabric as a quarter flat. Any scraps lying around will do as long as they are large enough.

This organizer consists of four parts: one (1) large, rectangular background panel and three (3) square pockets.

The large background panel should measure 18" tall by 21" wide (a quarter flat of fabric).

The pockets (3) will all measure the same: 12" tall by 6" wide.

You will need four pieces of interfacing, either sew-in or fusible. I used sew-in for this project, but either will do.

The interfacing for the background panel measures 9" tall by 21" wide
The interfacing for each of the pockets will measure 6" tall by 6" wide.

These are patch pockets, which means you'll essentially be making a fabric squares and then attaching them to the background panel. To make the pockets you'll simply be folding the fabric over the interfacing and then sewing them inside out. The pockets are kind of like interfacing sandwiches with fabric bread.

Step 3: Pin the Interfacing to the Fabric

Step 1: After you've cut out the fabric and interfacing flip the pieces of fabric over so that the "right" side of each faces the table.

Step 2: Pin the large piece of interfacing to the bottom half of the background panel. You can then move the panel off to one side as you won't need it for a while.

Step 3: Match up each pocket with a piece of interfacing and pin the interfacing to the bottom half of each pocket.

Step 4: Sew the Left and Right Pockets

Left Pocket

Step 1: Select one of the pieces of pocket fabric (any of the three will do) and flip it over so that the interfacing is still on the bottom half. Position the ribbon across the fabric, 1" below the mid-way point of the rectangle. Leave some ribbon dangling over each edge. Pin the ribbon in place.

Step 2: Sew the ribbon to the fabric, through the interfacing. This will attach the interfacing to the fabric, so you can remove the pins that hold it in place.

Step 3: Fold the rectangle in half so that the "right" sides face each other. The ribbon should now be inside and the interfacing should be outside.

Step 4: Measure the seam allowances. The pockets should measure 5 1/2" tall by 5 1/2" wide when turned inside out, so mark the seams where you will sew using tailor's chalk. If you originally cut the fabric 12" tall by 6" wide you should have a seam allowance of 1/2" along the top and bottom and 1/4" on the left and right. If the pockets are 5 1/2" square you will be able to position them easily across the background panel, assuming it measures 21 inches across. If your background panel is longer or shorter, you may need to redistribute or recalculate the final dimensions of the pockets.

Step 5: Beginning along the bottom right hand corner, sew around the edges of the pocket, leaving a small area near the bottom right corner open. This will leave you room to turn the pocket inside out.

Step 6: Trim off the excess ribbon and fabric around the edges using pinking shears to keep the fabric from fraying.

Step 7: Turn the pocket inside out (so that the ribbon is now on the outside) and tuck in the edges of the area that you did not sew (this should be the lower right hand side of the panel, assuming you started along the bottom right side of the pocket). Pin the tuck so that the edges do not curl back outside.

Step 8: Iron the pocket, being careful of the ribbon.

Right Pocket

Repeat steps 1-8 above.

Step 5: Sew the Middle Pocket

The middle pocket is almost identical to the left and right ones. The only difference is in how you attach the ribbon. I've listed all the steps for making the pocket below.

Step 1: Flip over the final piece of fabric so that the interfacing is still on the bottom half.

Step 2: On the other two pockets you spread the ribbon all the way across the fabric. This pocket will be a little different. Cut a piece of ribbon 38" long (you can use a shorter piece of ribbon if you know how long you want the ends of the ribbon to be; 38" is pretty generous).

Step 3: Find the exact center of the top of the pocket (this should be 3" from either side, if your fabric is 6" wide). Mark this. Then, extend your center mark down 1" below the top of the pocket. As with the other pockets, the ribbon will be placed 1" below the top, so you want to find the exact middle of the pocket, 1" below the top.

Step 4: Measure 1/2" to the left and right of this center line. These marks will indicate how far you should sew along the top of the ribbon. Remember, you don't want to sew the ribbon all the way to the middle of the pocket, since you want to leave some room to tie your bow.

Step 4: Pin the each end of the ribbon into place, as you did on the other pockets. Since you have a much longer ribbon, this will leave a lot of it dangling about in the middle. After you've pinned the ribbon to the sides of the pocket, cut the ribbon in half. Now, starting with the left ribbon, spread it across the pocket and pin it at the mark that is 1/2" left of the center mark. Then, spread the ribbon on the right side across the pocket and pin it at the mark that is 1/2" to the right of the center mark. These pins indicate how far you should sew. The pins will also help to keep the ribbons even with each other, so that they will create an even line across the pocket.

Step 5: Sew each half of the ribbon to the marks where you've placed your pins. Repeat this with the other side of the ribbon. This should leave you with two pieces of ribbon with a space of 1" between them. Once you have finished sewing the two pieces of the ribbon, tie a bow. Trim the ends of the bow.

Step 6: Tuck up the ends of the bow so that they won't get caught in the seams when you sew. You may need to pin them, if necessary.

Step 7: Fold the top half of the pocket down so that it covers the bottom half. The "right" sides should now be facing each other; the ribbon should be inside and the interfacing should be outside.

Step 8: Measure the seam allowances. The pockets should measure 5 1/2" tall by 5 1/2" wide when finihsed, so mark the seams where you will sew using tailor's chalk. This should be 1/2" down from the top, 1/2" up from the bottom, and 1/4" in from the left and right.

Step 9: Beginning along the bottom right hand corner, sew around the edges of the pocket, leaving a small area near the bottom right corner unsewn.

Step 10: Trim off the excess ribbon and fabric around the edges using pinking shears.

Step 11: Turn the pocket inside out and tuck in the edges of the area that you did not sew. Pin the tuck so that the edges do not curl back outside.

Step 12: Iron the pocket, being careful of the ribbon.

Step 6: Position the Pockets

Step 1: Locate your background panel and place it so that the "right" side faces you. The interfacing should now face your table and should be on the top half of the panel.

Step 2: Arrange the three pockets as desired on the top half of the background panel and pin them in place. I've fixed mine equally across the panel, but go crazy!

Step 3: Pin the pockets in place.

Step 7: Sew the Pockets to the Background Panel

Carefully sew around the edges of each pocket, beginning at the top right corner and finishing at the top left. Be sure not to sew the top of the pocket or there will be no opening!

If you crisper top edge, you can sew this edge before you attach the pocket to the panel. Simply ironing the pocket, though, works pretty well.

Step 8: Sew Up the Panel

Step 1: Having sewn the pockets into place, fold up the bottom half of the panel so that the "right" sides face each other, with the pockets inside.

Step 2: Create three loops of ribbon and pin them upside down in between the panels; place one loop at each of the upper corners and one in the middle.

Step 3: Pin the edges of the panel together.

Step 4: Starting along the bottom, sew the panels together. Make sure you leave an area open (as you did before, while sewing the pockets) so that you can turn the panel.

Step 5: Turn the panels inside out so that the "right" sides now face out. At this point the panel should look like the finished product. If your loops did not appear, then you'll have to rip out the seams you just made and reposition them.

Step 6: Iron the entire panel so that you get nice clean edges.

Step 7: Tuck in the edges in the area you did not sew, make sure all the corners are neat and then sew around the entire panel again. This will give the panel tight, crisp edges.

Step 8: Position your Wall Organizer below your chalkboard and hang it in place using the ribbon loops! Enjoy!

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