February 6, 2013

Chalk it up!

A while back I had Mr.B put our chalkboard/corkboard that we made in my office underneath the shelves we installed. (You can read all about it here, here and here.)

I've finally decided I can't stand staring at the blank chalkboard any more and while we were at Hobby Lobby a couple weeks ago I was looking for a chalk pen but opted for plain old chalk. The pens only come in packages - so my choices were white, red, blue and some other color or pastel colors. I really only wanted white - so $.88 later I was happy with plain old chalk.

I started by picking a quote that I really liked and would inspire me every day. I ended up picking E.E. Cummings quote "It takes courage to become who you really are."

The next step was to measure the size of my chalkboard - it was roughly 23" x 23" so I created a document in Photoshop that was that size. I made it that big because I wanted to see what it would look like when it was finished and be able to print it out. So it only made sense to make it the exact size.

I started by just planning out how each line would end up. I kept everything in one font for now I just wanted to see how I wanted the wording to layout.

The-Freckled-Redhead-Chalk-Board-Art
Then I played around with the fonts and adding in some different things to make it more fun. I ended up switching what words were on what line - but I came up with something I really liked. I added in the banner behind courage and some arrows pointing to 'who you'. I ended up using 4 different fonts. It takes and you become are in Wendy Medium, courage is in Willing Race, who you is in Sloppy Hollow, and really are is in Bell MT.

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The next step was figuring out the printing. The easiest way for me to wrap my head around it was to break my 23" x 23" into 8 1/2" x 10 sheets because that's the biggest my printer can print. I used the rulers in Photoshop to mark all my lines off. I had 4 full 8 1/2" by 10" pages and 2 pages that were a little shy of that....and then the bottom 3 were really small. I played around with moving stuff around but I really liked this layout and figured I'd be able to work with it just fine.

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From there it was just cropping each 'sheet' and then printing it - undoing the crop and re-doing the next crop until everything was printed.

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After everything was all printed out I started to match everything up and tape it together - it helped to do the middle section together and then do the top and bottom parts separate.

The-Freckled-Redhead-Chalk-Board-Art
The printing worked out well because as I mentioned the majority of the wording was on full sheets or almost full sheets. The bottom portion left me with cut off words so in order for the words to line up correctly I just trimmed the top half of the paper off so that it would line up with the words in the picture above.

The-Freckled-Redhead-Chalk-Board-Art
Here you can see what I mean - I wouldn't have been able to line up the letters without trimming the top. They didn't need to line up perfectly as you can see with the 'U' in you, but the way the bottom pages printed they wouldn't have lined up  at all without a little trim from my paper cutter.

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I then taped each separate line together - and ended up with a big poster size. I didn't worry about trimming the bottom portion off - I just left it as is.

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This is how the chalkboard has looked for well over a year now. We made this chalkboard last winter and it sat in the mudroom untouched and then we moved it into my office and it's sat untouched.

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I've always heard you should 'prime' the chalkboard before you use it - so I went to town and chalked up the whole thing and wiped it off.

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I then flipped my poster over and chalked up the entire back - you can see there is chalk dust all over it.

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Then with Mr.B's assistance I centered it on the chalk board. I also laid a towel down underneath so that I didn't have to clean up chalk dust for a decade.

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I then started tracing around the letters. Mr.B was really skeptical so after I did the 'it takes' I lifted up the paper and I became skeptical too. It was so light you could barely see it. I was bummed so I took the poster back down - and with a wet piece of chalk went over the entire 'poster' again.

The-Freckled-Redhead-Chalk-Board-Art
I also cleaned my chalk board again so it was a little tacky with water and then hung my poster back up and traced around the letters using the end of a sharpie. It came out a lot better. The combination of more chalk and the chalk board being kind of wet was the perfect combination.

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Using wet pieces of chalk I started tracing around each letter and filling in where I needed too...

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I didn't like how my banner around courage turned out so I just wiped it off with a wet towel and re-did it and then started playing around with different things.

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Here's where I ended up. It was still a little wet from where I wiped stuff off in this picture, but I am so happy with it.

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The key is wet chalk. For getting good coverage to trace and for when your tracing out each letter. It's darker and will last a lot longer. I've never used the chalk pens but I'd say from the looks of it - the wet chalk comes out just as good.

I'm really happy with my finished project and although I ran into a little problem through trial and error I figured it out and I love it!
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