DIY: Wood Chalkboard Signs

Sorry for missing a post last Thursday.  Life’s been a little crazy lately, but I hope I’ve made it up to you with this DIY tutorial today!

So have you jumped on the chalkboard everything bandwagon yet?  I hadn’t until now, but I was really itching to and finally got the chance last week.

A partner and I manned a booth at the Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival this past weekend for Farm Fresh To You.  The event was great and our booth was jazzed up a little with my new signs.

I’ve outlined my process for you below so you can make your own lovely chalkboard signs.  It’s such an easy project with just a little down time and it’s definitely worth the effort!

Active Time: 1.5 hours
Inactive/Wait Time: 26 hours (may be more or less depending on how many coats of paint you use)
Staple Gun
Staples (preferrably ones smaller in width than your wood)
Hammer (optional)*
Cardboard or Newspaper
Chalkboard Paint
Sponge Paint Brush
The Wood: I got my piece of plywood from The Home Depot and a nice team member sawed it into four equal squares for me.  *I ended up wanting a rectangular shape for one sign, so I used the staple gun to attach two of them together and needed the hammer to flatten the staples to the wood since the staples are thicker than the wood.
First, lay out your cardboard or newspaper and place the wood on top, right side up.  Paint the right side of the wood and the exposed sides with the first coat.  The paint I bought recommends at least two coats, with one hour dry time in between coats.  This is definitely necessary, as you can see in the third photo below, the wood is still very visible through the paint.  I ended up with three coats and you can still see the wood grain a little, but that’s okay.

Once you’ve painted your wood with the desired number of coats, allow to dry for 24 hours to cure.  Next, condition the paint by rubbing chalk all over, and wiping with a cloth and a light mixture of soap and water to clean.

You might find that a little of the paint rubs off when you wipe the chalk with soap and water, but that’s okay, it happened to me too.  Also, the first time I wiped the boards, I didn’t use enough water and my boards were still very chalky once they dried.  Just go over them again with some more soapy water until they’re pretty clean of chalk residue.  This is what mine looked like after just the first wipe:

I wanted two of my signs to hang, so I attached twine to the backs.  Flip your wood over so the wrong side is face up.  Mark with a pencil where you want the twine to be attached, then measure your twine to the desired length.  To make the signs easy to hang from a canopy, I used two separate lengths of twine so they could be tied together at the top like a bow (as pictured below).  Tie knots at the ends of your twine that will be attached to the wood so the twine won’t slip through the staple, then staple the twine on top of your pencil marks.

Now get out there and get creative with your signs!


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