If you want to sing out, sing out, and if you want to be free, be free, cause there's a million ways to be, you know that there are.
--Cat Stevens

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hanging Chalkboard Welcome Sign

Little tiny "chalkboards", delicate flowers, and hand-spun rope could anything be more fun? We have had a piece of beautiful rope that we made as part of our honeymoon in Nauvoo, Illinois. For a long time I have fretted over how best to display the lovely little coil of rope, moving it form one shelf to another. Finally this January I came up with a plan and recently I finished it.

Earlier this year I saw some beautiful bunting and was inspired. Immediately I thought of the rope we received in Nauvoo . I grabbed Pat and we headed off to get supplies. Somehow we never got around to working on this beauty until recently. The thing that impressed me the most is how cheap it was to make. When we added up the cost of the supplies used we came to around 5 dollars. I will apologize now for both the quality of the photos and the lack of photos of the earlier stages of the project. I am not much of a photographer, though hopefully I can improve, and I am very much absent-minded and often forget I want to blog about something until after it is finished.
  • 1/4 sheet 3/8" cabinet grade plywood about *$8 (this project used about 1.67 sq ft making the cost of the material used about $2)
  • 1 qt. Flat black paint about $13 ( we used a little less than 1/6 of the can so the cost for this project was around $2)
  • tiny amounts of white, pink and green paint--on hand
  • Rope-free souvenir
  • Pencil
  • Paper for sketching
  • Medium grit sand paper--on hand or $1
  • Paintbrushes-on hand
My husband's family all speak almost exclusively French, so we wanted to find a way to include Bienvenue ( welcome in French) on our sign. We played with a few different ideas before deciding the best route was to print it in smaller letters underneath welcome.
The first step in this Welcome sign is to cut your plywood into 4"-6" rectangles, and drill two equally spaced holes with a 3/8" bit about 1/4" from the top of the rectangle. Use the sandpaper to sand the face and sides of the rectangles until the corners are rounded the faces are very smooth. Brush off any sawdust and paint the front and sides of each piece black. You'll want to be sure to get inside the holes so that no wood accidentally shows later on. We took about a 3 week break at this point, but there is no need for you to.
While the paint is drying or some other time, you'll want to think about the type of lettering you want to use. I decided to freehand the large letters for Welcome and Pat did the small print below. It took me about 3 hours and a lot of paper to sketch out all the letters how I wanted them. Once your paint is dry and you have decided on your lettering you have 2 choices on how to get them onto your boards. You can draw very darkly with a #2 pencil on your paper and then flip the page over and carefully rub the image onto the board, or you can freehand the letters using your sketches as a guideline. I prefer the second method, but Pat's mother who drew the flowers prefers the first method. Whichever works for you is the best method to use.
Using detail brushes carefully fill in your letters with white paint. It took us about three coats of white paint to completely cover the black. Do the same for the colors you choose for your flowers. When the paint is dry you can thread them on your rope and hang them.
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