Sherry at Young House Love, Katie at Bower Power, Kate at Centsational Girl, and Michelle at Ten June are holding a Pinterest Challenge Party this week. It is a party for linking up a project that you completed that you have been itching to do since you pinned it to a board on Pinterest. This challenge gets your butt in gear to just do it! I took the challenge. I wanted to re-learn how to draw on a chalkboard decoratively without being an artist.
Here are a few of the chalkboards I have pinned that were my inspiration.
When I first started working in retail display, drawing signs was one of my jobs. When I stopped working at the store and no longer was creating signs by hand, I lost my touch. This challenge is my time to re-learn what I once knew how to do so well. I am a bit rusty, but over the weekend I had a family birthday celebration at my house and embellished a chalkboard with a menu for the party.
Chalkboard art and lettering is not hard, the process just takes some planning and with each board you create – you will get better. This post contains a step-by-step tutorial as well as a section on tips and tricks.
I know some of you may be saying, but I can’t draw a stick figure or have no idea what to draw? This is when you head over to your boards on Pinterest or look in magazines for quotes, line drawings, and images you like. Look for shapes you like, not complex art. Flowers, fonts, basic shapes are good images to start with. Use a stencil or your doodles until you feel more confident.
I printed out the words “Happy Birthday” using my computer and printer as lettering inspiration. I used the font: EcuyerDAX. To print out swirls and flourishes to use as design elements to copy, install a font that produces decorative elements instead of letters when you hit a letter key on your keyboard.
To learn how to install a free fonts see my post: My Favorite Free Fonts
- If you are using a brand new chalkboard – season it first. This will help lessen “ghosting”. Ghosting is when you draw on a chalkboard and after it is erased – you still see the images, but in black. To season a chalkboard: Use a full piece of chalk and run it on its side over the entire surface of the chalkboard. Make sure to rub it in well. Once the board is covered – erase it. It is now seasoned.
- Most important tip: Don’t use dry chalk. Dip the chalk in water before drawing on the board. As you work, keep dipping the chalk in water to keep it wet. At first, the chalk lines will look faded – not bright – be patient and let it dry – it will dry bright white or whatever color chalk you are using. You can also keep the board wet and draw on a wet board. I did both.
- Keep it simple at first – the more boards you create the better your drawings, centering, and lettering will become.
- Make a sketch to determine placement of your images and words. Pick one image to make the focus. In my art it was the cake and copy – Happy Birthday.
- Make a border – I used a square at each corner and double lines. I then filled the double lines in with dots of color.
- Mix up font styles – Thick, 3-D, thin, serif, shadow, and script. A good rule of thumb is to use no more than 3 fonts. One heavy print font, a script font, and one thin caps font.
- To find the center of a word or words for one line – count the number of letters and spaces between each word. For instance “Birthday” has 8 letters – an even amount– no spaces, so the center is between the “T” and the “H”. If I wanted “Happy Birthday” all on one line. The letter/spaces count would be: 14 – making the center point between the “B” and “I”. If using both lower case and capital letters, capital letters take up a bit more room, but this is a good rule of thumb to center lettering. Draw the center letter or space on your center point and then draw the other letters out from this center point to each side to complete your word. This is the hardest part of chalkboard art – making free hand letters. Some letters will be bigger and your centering will look off. Mine is off, but it still looks OK – not perfect – but fun and festive. Don’t try for perfection. The imperfections can sometimes add to the charm of chalkboard art.
- Use a dime store pencil sharpener to keep the tip of the chalk pointy.
- Use colored chalk on the focus image or border.
- When you add the wet colored chalk over existing dry white chalk it will appear that the white chalk has been ruined. It has not – just wet and looks faded. When it dries it will look nice and bright again.
How To Draw Like an Artist on a Chalkboard
- Chalk – white and colors
- Bowl or glass of water
- Damp rag – Do not use paper towels – they will leave a fiber residue on your board. I used a Handi-Wipe.
- Q-Tips – dipped in water are the best erasers to get into tight spots and fix mistakes.
- Sewing measuring tape or ruler
- Computer fonts or art print-outs, clippings, or stencils to use as visual guides
- Sketch pad and pencil
1. Clean board with a wet rag. Repeat to make sure you are getting as much chalk residue off the board before starting your drawing.
2. Use the tape measure to find the center of the board – width and height. You can draw a faint line down the board to help guide you and erase it later with a Q-Tip.
3. I like to do the border first as it helps guide me on how much space I truly have to draw on. Use a ruler to make straight lines if needed.
4. Using your sketch as a guide, start drawing your focal image. If you mess it up, just wipe it away and re-do it. You can also use the chalk transfer method to get your drawing or photocopied image on to the chalkboard.
How to Transfer a Drawing to a Chalkboard
On the back of your drawing, lay a piece of chalk on its side and then rub the back of the paper with the chalk so it is covered with chalk. Flip it over and place the paper/drawing where you want it to go on the chalkboard. Draw over the image with a soft tipped pencil. The pressure from the pencil will transfer chalk to the chalkboard. When you remove the paper you will see a faint copy of your drawing. Go over the lines with chalk to bring your image to life.
You can see more on how to do this in this post: Thanksgiving -How to Draw a Turkey on a Chalkboard
5. Add in the rest of the design.
6. Add the color last. Remember the white chalk around the newly applied colored chalk will look like it faded since water touched it after it was dry. Just let it be, it will dry bright white again.
7. Erase mistakes and smudges with the tip of a wet rag and/or Q-Tip.
8. Let dry and display.
9. If you want to seal your design on the chalkboard so it will not smudge, spray regular hairspray in an aerosol can lightly over the design.
With a little practice and a few imaginative ideas you too, will be on your way to creating fun and festive chalkboards to use for entertaining or to add some of your personality when decorating your home. Decorative Chalkboards can truly add a festive personal touch to your surroundings.