As I mentioned in last week’s tutorial over how to make a wifi password sign, Hernán and I recently remodeled the apartment in our basement. We purchased our house in April, and at that time, the basement felt a bit sparse and too modern for a house built in the 1950’s.
After years of renting apartments that I couldn’t customize, it was amazing to be able to make the space exactly how I wanted it. Of course, that meant splashes of color, eye-catching artwork, and one-of-a-kind touches.
After being live on Airbnb for five days, we are already booked for nearly the whole month of August! Our first guests arrive this weekend, so I wanted to put the final touch in the apartment: DIY chalkboard art with some Boulder recommendations. I took photos as I worked so you can make something like this as well! Feel free to modify the steps below as needed:
1. Clean Off Your Chalkboard
Before you do anything, use a wet cloth to wipe off your chalkboard. Wait for it to dry a bit, then give it a second wipe-down for posterity.
After the second wipe-down, walk away and let evaporation work its magic as you plan your design!
2. Plan Your Design
The key to successful DIY chalkboard art is a good draft. Begin by using a pen or a pencil to draw a shape to represent the dimensions of your chalkboard. My chalkboard is 48″ x 24″, so I drew a rectangle that is twice as tall as it is wide.
Now, use a pencil to divide the rectangle into four quarters. Once you’ve done that, start sketching out a draft. It’s usually easiest to start at the top and work your way down.
Continue to sketch and erase until you like the look of what’s in front of you.
Now you have a nice guide for what to write and draw on the actual chalkboard!
3. Sharpen Your Chalk and Draw Guidelines
A lot of serious chalkboard artists use chalk markers. You can do that if you’d like, or you can go the cost-effective route (like me) and use regular ol’ chalk. Put that chalk through a pencil sharpener to give it a pointed tip. The pointed tip will make it a lot easier to write and draw! Now, use your freshly sharped chalk to divide the chalkboard into four.
These guidelines reflect what’s on your draft paper, so you’ll be able to use them as a reference as you draw and write.
4. Start Writing!
You will probably find it easier to make your DIY chalkboard art if you lay the chalkboard on a flat, horizontal surface. Use your draft as a guide, and start from the top. This applies to both left- and right-handed people: it’s easy to avoid chalk smudges if you start at the top and work your way down.
You can use your chalk to make light guidelines for yourself. Once you’re finished writing on those guidelines, moisten a cotton swab and use it to erase the guidelines.
As you write, you’ll notice that the pointed tip of your chalk becomes blunt very quickly. For that reason, you’ll want to keep your pencil sharpener handy! When your chalk becomes too blunt, just run it through the pencil sharpener again.
If you’re creating text-heavy chalkboard art, don’t be afraid to switch the lettering styles up. You can find several different lettering techniques in Hand-Lettering for a Latté.
You won’t be remiss to add some calligraphy to your chalkboard! You can use the faux calligraphy technique to add a touch of any calligraphy style.
5. Finish and Display
Once you finish writing on the chalkboard, prop it up somewhere and observe it from afar. Ask yourself whether your guidelines are sufficiently erased, and/or if you need to add any touches here or there.
If you’re convinced that you’ll never want to change your chalkboard again, you can spray hairspray on it to set the chalk. I personally love having the option to wipe the surface clean someday and come up with a fresh design, so I’m leaving this chalkboard as is.
I hope that you enjoyed this little DIY chalkboard art tutorial! Remember, there are two secrets to an awesome chalkboard: making a pencil draft first, and keeping your chalk sharp. If you’re curious to see photos of the rest of our Airbnb, you can do so by clicking here. We stopped renting it out after my toddler was born in September 2018, but it’s still fun to look at the pictures! We had so much fun putting the space together to make a space that’s comfortable and creative with just the right amount of quirk.
Have a wonderful weekend, and thanks very much for reading TPK!