Chalk It Up

Chalkboards aren’t just for teachers educating little ones anymore but instead are being utilized for all aspects of life.  As seen below, people are using chalkboard paint for entire walls of rooms, for displaying recipes, inspiring words, calendars, and signs, for hosting purposes including seating arrangements, weddings, or writing names on glasses, for labeling plants or spices in gardens, for organization, and for kids to show off their artistic talents.   Chalkboard paint has become easily accessible whether you purchase it from Home Depot or whip up a batch of your own in your favorite color (recipe found here).  Have you ever used chalkboard paint to make your life a little more exciting or more manageable?  If so, how and where?  I’m looking for a new, easy DIY project that incorporates chalkboard paint since I’m incredibly jealous of Cece’s new chalkboard kitchen (see below) and would love suggestions!

Images via 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Seeing multiple images of chalkboards and chalkboard walls displayed in kitchens, my friend Cece was inspired to give it a try in her new Chicago apartment and graciously asked me to tag along.  After taping off all the doorways, lights, and outlets, we applied the first coat of Rust-oleum Specialty Chalkboard Latex Black Paint to her clean kitchen walls, allowed it to dry four hours, and repeated with a second coat.  My favorite part is that the doorways along the wall basically create two separate chalkboards: one large one for anything at all (notes, inspiring words, etc) and a smaller one perfect for grocery lists, recipes, or weekly menus.  Seriously, how cute?  Jealous? I know I am!

The Before:

The During:

The After:

DIY Rug

DIY Rug - In Entryway

Our entry table from IKEA is long and lean, unlike any rugs found in stores or online.  The normal 2′ by 3′ rugs aren’t nearly long enough and stick out awkwardly from underneath the table.  However, with the snow, rain, and dirt brought to us by the lovely winters of Chicago, we were in dire need of a place our wet boots could call home.  After scouring the internet for advice and tips, I chose to mainly follow Momtastic’s tips and advice and create my very own hand-painted rug.  I am extremely proud of this DIY project.  Is it perfect?  Absolutely not, but it fulfills my expectations perfectly.

Materials:

white duck cloth (fabric)
tape measure
scissors
straight edge/level
vinyl (Home Depot Flooring Department)
gesso
grey latex paint
roller paint brushes (2)
stencil (or create your own by following these directions)
painter’s tape
foam brushes ($1 for 15)
acrylic paint (yellow and white)
small stiff paint brush
spray adhesive
duct tape
polyurethane

Directions:

1. Cut vinyl to the rug size desired using a straight edge, level, and scissors.  We wanted our rug to fit the exact length of the entry table but be about an inch wider so our final measurements were 39″ L by 14.5″ W.

2.  Measure your fabric (duck cloth) so that it is 4 inches larger on all sides of the cut vinyl.  We simply added 4″ to each side of the previous measurements and cut our duck cloth at 47″ L by 22.5″ W.

3.  Prepare your workspace.  Since we live in Chicago and it is the middle of winter, this meant completing this project completely inside our apartmentTo make sure the mess was easy to clean up we covered the floor and the wall with a drop cloth from Home Depot.

4.  Using a rolling paint brush apply two thin, even coats of Gesso to the fabric allowing drying time between each coat.

5.  When Gesso is completely dry, paint 2 to 3 coats of paint onto fabric again allowing each coat to dry in between applications.  We used interior matte flat latex paint tinted a semi-dark grey.

6. Optional Step:  Pour acrylic or fabric paint onto a flat surface; combine colors if necessary.  We combined mustard yellow and white acrylic paint in a plastic paint tray.

7.  Using a level, straight edge, and/or measuring tape straightly line up the stencil in the corner using painter’s tape to secure the stencil in place.  Luckily our Martha Stewart stencil was exactly long enough that we only needed to trace it once vertically and about 8 times horizontally.  Remember you do not need to stencil the extra four inches of fabric that will be pulled taut over the vinyl flooring and adhered to the back. 

8.  Using a foam sponge brush and a dabbing motion apply a thin layer of the acrylic paint.  I found these foam sponge brushes at Michael’s for 15 for $1 and used about 8 of them throughout the whole stencil process.  Always better to have extras!  I used my left hand to hold the stencil while I applied the paint with my right hand to eliminate the possibility of the paint getting underneath the stencil.

9.  Repeat step 8 covering the entire area of your fabric.  I suggest doing this while watching your favorite show or movie.  My show of choice while being productive was Grey’s Anatomy.  Oakley was such a great helper too!

10.  Using a stiff flat artist paint brush and the leftover latex paint touch up any not-so-perfect areas.  As you can see clearly in the picture above, this was by no means perfect so I used a paint brush and our grey paint from before to go through and hand touch up any areas of unwanted yellow paint.

11.  Allow the finished rug to dry completely.  While walking from the bedrooms to the kitchen and back, I would do silent cheers every time I saw my new entry rug drying.  I mean come on, who really creates their own rug.  I know I never thought I would.

12.  Place the fabric design side down on a drop cloth placing the cut vinyl on top.  Make sure the fabric is evenly placed and your design is straight.

13.  Spray adhesive onto the backside of the fabric and right-side of the vinyl.  Let the glue become tacky before adhering.  Press out any air bubbles.  I used Loctite High Performance Spray Adhesive Middleweight Bonding since it was intended for both acrylic, fabric, and vinyl.  If like me you must do this step indoors make sure to open windows and cover your nose and mouth so you don’t inhale the chemicals.

14.  Beginning in one corner use spray adhesive to adhere the excess fabric to the underside of the rug and onto the vinyl.  Spray the glue before each step.  I would complete step 1 (upper left picture) in all four corners before moving on to complete step 2 (upper right), step 3 (lower left), and step 4 (lower right). 

    
   

15.  Pull the sides taut and adhere them with spray adhesive.

16.  For good measure, tape sides and corners with duct tape to make sure fabric stays adhered.  Isn’t my yellow duct tape the perfect match?!

17.  Apply a coat of polyurethane over the painted areas of the rug.  Allow to dry and apply 3 additional coats.  I used four coats of Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane Superior Durability Clear Gloss in a spray can.  The polyurethane protects the fabric and acrylic paint and creates a wipe-able surface that is much easier to clean!  As with the spray adhesive, make sure to open a window and cover your nose and mouth.  Luckily it was 45 degrees in Chicago in January when I needed the windows open!  If it all possible, apply outdoors or in an open garage. 

18.  Enjoy your handmade, one-of-a-kind rug!