DIY: CHALK ART SIGN

One DIY I keep coming back to is chalk art… partially because I am addicted to it but also because they always turn out great. Having homemade art pieces like this in your home can act as a great conversation starter. This could also be a perfect gift idea for a housewarming. For my wedding I used this DIY to make a welcome sign for my guests as they entered the ceremony space. If you need some inspiration, check out the gallery below for some projects I’ve completed!

SUPPLIES:

Supplies for chalk art

  • Chalk Board Paint (NOTE: I use Rust-oleum Chalkboard spray. I prefer the spray because it doesn’t leave any streaks)
  • Krylon Workable Fixatif
  • Picture frame
  • Chalk
  • White Charcoal Pencil
  • Q-tips/ cotton swabs
  • Paper Towel
  • Paper (size of frame or surface you are using)
  • Masking Tape
  • Pencil & Pen
  • Cup of water

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. FIND A FRAME. Start by choosing a surface that you want to chalk-ify! I went to Goodwill and picked up a few old frames. I’ve also completed this DIY on sanded and finished wood planks with good results.
  2. SPRAY FRAME WITH CHALK PAINT. You’ll want to do this step outside. Lay newspaper on the ground so nothing else gets sprayed. Remove the glass from the frame and place it on the newspaper. Follow the directions on the bottle of the chalkboard spray for usage and drying times. Essentially though, you will hold the bottle a foot or two away and start making short swift sprays across the surface of the glass. Let it dry ‘to touch’ and add another layer. Let dry completely (24 hours).
  3. GET A DESIGN. You can either find a design online that you like, or you can create your own. Get a piece of paper that covers the entire surface of the frame (as shown below). Print the design onto it, ensuring it is centred and the EXACT way you want it to show on the frame. If you are creating your own design, sketch it out on the paper using a pencil. This is the time to make all the modifications you need. If your design uses letters, here are a few options and tips for how you can incorporate words onto your design:
    • Measure & create yourself: Use a ruler to measure out the spacing and width of each letter (I’ve done this and it is VERY time consuming. This is the method I used in the picture below).
    • Print it: You can print out the letters, position them on the paper, and tape them with masking tape.
    • Trace: Trace letters from something you have printed, a magazine, newspaper, etc. (Truth be told, I got lazy with one of the projects I did and placed a sheet of paper over my laptop screen and lightly traced some letters directly from the screen).

      Wedding Sign- progress pic
      If you don’t have a large enough piece of paper, tape a few pieces together like I did (shown above). Doesn’t need to be perfect!
  4. TRANSFER DESIGN ONTO CHALKBOARD. Once you have a design you are happy with, you will need to transfer it to the chalkboard surface. Place your design face down on a table and rub the long side of a piece of chalk all over the back. Make sure to cover the whole area. Lightly lift the paper, turn it over (your design should be facing upwards now), position it so that it is straight and centred, and place your design on the chalk surface. Tape the edges using masking tape.
  5. TRACE DESIGN TO TRANSFER. With a pen, begin tracing each letter and image on your design. If you used pencil to sketch the design, using a pen will help show which areas you’ve traced over.
  6. START DRAWING. When everything is traced, remove the tape and the piece of paper attached. You’ll have chalk residue all over the surface but don’t worry! As long as the words and images show up as well, this is what you want. The picture below shows what the transfer will look like.
    • For example: In between “10,000” and “work” you can make out the words “Way that won’t”. It is relatively faint but it acts as a great guide to making sure the design is how you want it.
  7. FILL IN DESIGN. Now it’s time to fill everything in with chalk. For larger areas,use chalk to fill it in. For small areas or parts where the design is more intricate, use a white charcoal pencil. (NOTE: I actually prefer to do most of the design using the charcoal pencil. It looks the same as chalk but because of the fine tip it results in cleaner looking edges).

    Edison sign- progress picture
    I used chalk for the large zeros, but a white charcoal pencil for other details such as writing “Thomas Edison” and the word “Work”
  8. CAREFULLY CLEAN AROUND DESIGN. As you go, try not to lay your hand on the design. As well, use a wet q-tip to take away any reside close to the edges of words and images. For intricate designs, I recommend wiping off everything in a small area (maybe about 2 inch square at a time) and redrawing it carefully. Otherwise, you will have areas that have chalk residue in small crevices that will be impossible to remove later.
    • For example, in the picture below the top-right border edge has smudges in between the stripes… these were near to impossible to clean after I had drawn in the stripes with chalk (eventually I got it out but it was a pain…. live and learn!). The top-right corner, on the other hand, is a lot cleaner. I used the technique stated above of erasing a small 2 inch square area and connecting the lines around it. DON’T erase too much or you’ll have a hard time making the transferred image look the same.

      Edison sign- progress
      In the picture above, you can see that I have wiped away some chalk residue around the words. Clean area as you go.
  9. CLEAN EDGES/BORDER. When you’ve completed the main body of the design, use a wet paper towel to clean off the sides. When it is dry you can add a border if you’d like (plenty of simple chalk borders on google images). Lastly, use a sealing spray for artwork, such as Krylon Workable Fixatif. It will last longer and you won’t have to worry about anyone touching or smudging it.
edison-sign-progress-2
I DID make this Edison sign, but did NOT come up with this particular design. The design can be credited to CJ Hughes. He makes custom chalk designs and his website can be found here.
Wedding sign- all progress stages
Here is another example of the steps I used to make a welcome sign for my wedding.

And there you have it! I’d love to hear what you think of this DIY. Let me know in the comments if you try this or have any other helpful tips for this art project.

 

 

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