I wanted to try to make as many things as I could for this new wall and decided I wanted a few chalkboard elements included. I decided to try two different things to see how it would go. I have several plain art canvas' laying around and at Christmas time I picked up two faux silver trays at the dollar store. Armed with a can of Chalkboard spray paint I was ready to go.
The first thing I did was tape off the edges of the two trays I planned to paint. It's definitely easier to work with the straight sided tray. The other one I painted was oval and that took quite awhile to tape off because of the curved edges.
The canvas was an inexpensive one from the craft store, it's 16 x 20 and it was pre-primed. My husband did the first few coats for me and since we had a nice sunny day the coats dried quickly. I wanted to make sure we had a really nice coat of the paint on each piece so I bet we had at least 8 thin coats on each piece. The trays each had an embossed design on the center section and after we were done painting these were no longer visible.
I left them outside to dry for several hours and left them to cure for two days before I added any chalk to them. Not sure that step was necessary but its what I did and since I wasn't sure what I was going to put on them it gave me a few days to decide.
I have a list of several items I wanted to incorporate into my new wall and one thing that I wanted to make sure to do was make it as personal as I could. I decided to pay homage to the year we got married on the small rectangular silver tray.
Since I'm not that great at free hand drawing anything I knew if I had something to look at I can usually copy something with fairly good success. When I was designing what I wanted in Photoshop Elements I realized that if I just cut out what I had designed on my Cameo I could just use it as a stencil.
Here is my design cut and placed and ready to fill in.
I just held it down tight and basically colored in the stencil with chalk. When it was pretty well covered I removed the paper and did any clean up needed. I made sure to fill everything in the best I could and cleaned up all the stray bits of chalk dust. And trust me, there was a lot of it.
Here is the finished tray, I added the hearts myself because that corner looked a bit bare. I need to figure out how to seal them since they will be hanging on the wall and will gather dust. I've heard hair spray works but I'm still researching that.
* One thing I want to add is I did not season these pieces as you normally would with a newly painted chalkboard piece. I decided not to do that because I wanted the dark black background vs. the chalky white one you would get on a seasoned board. This was purely a personal choice but I'm sure the pieces would have stood up to a good rub down with chalk.
For the canvas I decided to first drawn my own frame around the edge. I used a piece of paper cut a bit smaller than my canvas size and just dragged my chalk along the edge while I made sure to hold it down tight. It created a nice sharp edge on one side and a softer more irregular edge on the other.
I repeated with a smaller piece of paper to make another frame line and when I was done I added lines in the corners to mimic the mitered edge of a picture frame.
What to put in the frame took some time to decided. Eventually after much deliberation and approval from my husband I decided on a line from a favorite song. I used the same technique as the tray to add my text to this piece. I decided to make the font more graphic since the other was so curvy, I thought it would be a nice contrast to use different styles for each piece since they will hang on the same wall. Before I started filling in my text I placed a book underneath the canvas that was the same thickness. It helped to have a nice firm surface to fill in each letter. I did save all the centers of each letter from my template like the A, D, O, R and B and just laid them down holding carefully while I filled in each letter. I thought it would be easier to do that than try to remove the chalk after and I definitely think it was. I had a fair amount of clean up to do on this piece and just dipped q-tips in a bit of water to help get any large smudges off. It took some time but eventually I got it cleaned up to my liking while still leaving a few stray bits to keep it looking hand done.
Here are the two finished pieces together.
I could see so many possibilities with this, using my Cameo just took so much of the stress of free hand drawing away. If you don't have a Cameo you could still design your art, print it out on your home comptuer and cut it out with a sharp craft knife and go from there.
I have a few more hand made items for my wall so I'll share those as they get done.