House For Six

Pinboard To Home: Chalkboard Family Calendar

Deme Crinion8 Comments

Goodness, this might be the latest post on the face of the planet!  I know, it's ridiculous that I'm just getting around to sharing January's Pinterest to Home project, so I will be completely honest.   This chalkboard family calendar was supposed to be a pretty simple number....but it kicked my butt.

I promised to share the good and bad, so strap yourselves in for one wacky ride!

For those of you that missed the post introducing this new monthly Pinterest To Home series, it was inspired by all those great Pinterest challenges that pop up in blog land every few months.  The idea is simple - take inspiration from one of the pins on your Pinterest boards, and make it a reality in your own space (or kitchen, or wardrobe, etc).

This month I took inspiration from Carmel, Jen, and Jackie....and took to making our own DIY chalkboard calendar for this empty wall.

We desperately needed a way to centralize our various schedules and activities, and this peninsula where the hubs and I touch base each day was the perfect spot. 

Plan A:
Paint chalkboard paint directly on the wall and frame it out with some trim. When I went to tape off the area, I realized that the wall was really textured and there was no way we would be able to write evenly on it.

Time for a new plan..

Plan B:
As we were cleaning out the office, I came across this picture that used to hang in our living room.  Here it is in the "before" shot:

I got this after college so it's not really my taste anymore.  I do, however, LOVE the frame and it happens to be about the size I wanted to make the calendar.

The picture was matted on a really sturdy board, so I flipped it over and prayed it was smooth....smooth enough!

I had some chalkboard paint on hand but since the frame is black I wanted something with a little contrast, yet still dark enough to see the chalk writing easily.  I mixed some black and white interior paint to make a dark grey and applied it with a small roller.

The next part was to make this a no-kidding chalkboard. Magic in a bottle here can make any color surface a "chalkboard" with a few clear coats.

I followed the instructions on the bottle, applying one coat horizontally, waiting an hour, then applying another coat vertically.  I waited 24 hrs for it to cure, then rubbed chalk over the whole board to condition it.

Here's where things started to go downhill.  Again.

After a couple days (because this whole project happened in slow phases), the board started to bow.

I feared that might happen, but hoped I could flatten in inside the frame.  This would've worked except the frame was missing some prongs, and in those areas there was a noticeable gap.  I considered trying to glue those spaces down but I wanted the piece to feel totally stable since we would be writing on it...and I didn't want to worry about it popping out of the frame if we pressed too hard.

Time for a new plan.

Plan C: 
Now I thought I would just have a piece of board or wood cut to fit the frame and paint it. But on a trip to Hobby Lobby for other project supplies I spotted a chalkboard the same size as the frame I had been trying to make work.  After hitting so many road bumps, my desire to DIY the project went right out the window upon seeing exactly what we needed.

I snatched her up for $14.99 and headed home. You can see the gaps on the old board here:

Of course, once I got the new board home I felt the need to get crafty with it.

I played around with the measurements, then used washi tap to create the grid lines.  A crafting knife worked perfectly for cutting nice straight edges.

All taped up!   At this point, I wasn't sure if I liked it, but decided to see how it looked with a few things filled in.

I used chalk markers for the titles and to number the days.  This will wipe off with a damp towel but not with an eraser - ideal for things we want to change monthly but don't want smudged by accident.

When you first press down and wait for the paint to flow, it can gush out onto your work surface if you're not careful.  So, I compressed the tip on a plastic bag and moved over to write on the board after the first rush of paint had cleared out.

I didn't hate it and I didn't love it, but I was getting a nervous twitch over how small the last box was compared to the rest.  And how much the width of the tape shrunk the writing space within each box.

Yikes. Time for a new plan.

Plan D:
 I pulled up all the tape and used a paint pen to create new grid lines.  This way they won't rub off when we clean the board each month, and we have a little more space to fill in our activities.
Somehow, that last column of boxes still ended up narrow, but at this point, I was over perfection and just wanted it UP. ON. THE. WALL.

I mounted the hardware that came with the board, making sure to measure an equal distance down from the top edge on each side so it would hang evenly.

  We filled in our dates and up she went!

I love the space on the side for notes and random info that doesn't fit in one date box.

It's only been up a day but it's already been so helpful! 

We still need to paint this wall, and once we do, I'm certain I'll get the itch to paint the frame.  But that is a project for another day.  It's a "done for now" in my book and I'm just so relieved to check it off the list!

After a painfully disjointed post and an ever-changing project that didn't turn out exactly how I envisioned, there is good news.  While trying to figure out how to make this project behave itself, I started on this month's Pinterest To Home project...and it's already halfway there!  I'm hopeful I won't torture you with all the ways it didn't work this time.  Fingers crossed!

I hope all of your "pin" inspired projects were much more successful than mine!  I would love to see what you've been up to, so feel free to share links to any of your projects in the comments!