diy chalkboard with stencil lettering

I love the look of writing on a chalk board, you know the type you see in hipster coffee shops.
This is a diy that I have been wanting to try for a while, lots of pins on the old inspiration pinterest board.  It turns out it is a really achievable diy, all you need is a printer, some sharpies, a pencil, and a little patience.  

I have been wanting to add something to this rather blank wall in Currawong Cottage for a while, see the before below.  After all the filling and sanding, painting and more painting, it was fun to have a project that was just for fun.  

First the frame

  • Two lengths of wooden wall trim were plenty for this project ($45 for both).  
  • Use blue tape to mark out the dimensions of your board on your wall, it will help you get the size perfect for the space.  You can see I didn't get it quite right the first time (below left).
  • Measurement the final length and width and cut the wall trim lengths to size, the mitred corners are pretty easy to achieve with the a mitre box and a mitre saw.
  • Remember to measure either inside corner to inside corner, or outside corner to outside corner and best to check against the wall before you do the final cut.
  • Paint to match your design, I used my favourite Paris Grey Annie Sloan chalk paint, it is seriously the perfect grey.

For the chalkboard

  • I painted chalkboard paint from White Knight right onto the wall, clearly this is not a feature that is moving in our cottage.  For a less permanent feature have a piece of wood or board cut to size.
  • Chalkboard paint is thick and heavy to use, make sure to stir it often while you are painting to keep the paint properly mixed.
  • You will need at least two to three coats to get a good coverage.
  • I also found that brush marks remain pretty visible so it is best to keep your strokes even and in the same direction.

Assembling the frame
My frame went straight onto the wall but the process is the same for a piece of board.

  • Lay the pieces on the board, or tape to the wall like I have done, and make sure that all the pieces fit and the lengths are correct.  First time round my frame was bigger than the chalkboard, back to the handsaw for a quick adjustment.
  • Use a good glue, Mr B likes Weldbond, apply glue to both sides and stick carefully in place.  
  • I taped each piece in place with blue tape to make sure they didn't move around as I was adding the other pieces.
  • Once I had all the pieces on the wall and the corners all neatly lined up I secured the pieces with my fabulous Ryobi Airstrike.  This little beauty takes all the hard work out of this type of job. (see other Ryobi projects here)

First part done!

The stencil
This is the really fun part.  

  • Print your writing out to the size you want.  I used the Currawong Cottage logo and played around until I was happy with the size.
  • To start the stencil, turn the paper to the wrong side and tape it against a window.  You will be able to see the lettering clearly through the paper.  
  • Use a lead pencil and make a thick outline around the letters.  When you are finished you will have what looks like mirror writing on the wrong side of the sheet of paper.
  • This takes a little while and requires good light through the window and patience. 
  • Turn the paper to the right side and tape in position on the chalkboard.  
  • Rub over the outline of the letters with the pencil, and amazingly the pencil on the wrong side transfers onto the board (below left).  It is pretty amazing!  When you remove the paper your stencil will be beautifully outlined and ready for the final stage.

Finishing off the writing
Take your fabulous white Sharpie Paint Pen (from the tool section in Bunnings) and follow the pencil outline, repeat and fill to get the effect you want.  I watched lots and lots of tutorials first to give me courage, this one was really useful.

I had such fun that I used the same stencil to create a street sign to hang outside, I haven't photographed it yet but it turned out really well.

Delighted with how this worked out, and also how long it took to do.  Sometimes you just need a project that can be done in a day.  
Have fun making your own!!

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