Jewish Journal

DIY: Mock Chalkboard Art

by Julie Bien

November 26, 2013 | 11:15 am

Kurt Vonnegut would approve. I hope.

I'll admit it. I have a decorating problem--I get bored with my walls, but don't exactly have the budget to refresh the art every year. I also have a thing for 'word art' (is that even a thing?) So to satisfy my need for updated digs, I decided to take budget painting into my own hands. I went for a chalkboard aesthetic, but honestly, paint with whatever color palette your creative heart desires. You love crimson and azure blue? GO FOR IT! 


-1 used wooden picture frame with cardboard backing (I got mine for $2 at a garage sale. You can also use cheap art that you find at Goodwill if you don't mind painting over the used canvas)

-acrylic paints (any colors you want, although I used dark gray as my base because I wanted it to look like a chalkboard)

-a  medium foam paintbrush

-a small bristle paintbrush

-a dish to mix paint colors (I use an old plastic dish used for decorating cupcakes)

-letter stencils in a cool font (or you could free-hand it)

-a quote or phrase that you want to look at every day (until you get bored and paint a new one)

*optional* - a chalk pastel pencil for outlining your letters

Step 1.

Disassemble your frame--put your backing and glass aside for the time being.

Step 2.

Pick the color you want for your frame, mix it up in the paint dish (if you want something other than a color straight from the bottle) and begin painting your frame with the foam brush.

You don't want to paint on a super thick coat--it looks cool with the grain of the wood showing through (IMHO.) However, if you want a totally opaque color, paint on two to three thin coats of paint, letting each coat dry before adding the next.

Step 3.

Once you're done painting your frame, set it aside to dry.

Step 4.

Take your cardboard backing (or the old canvas) and using your foam paintbrush, paint it a second, darker color than your frame. I wanted mine to look like a faux chalkboard so I went with a dark, charcoal gray--but anything will work.

I'd recommend using two to three thin coats on this part of the project, but possiby more if you're covering up existing art.

Step 5.

Once you're done, set it aside to dry while we work on setting up a stencil.

Step 6.

First, come up with a quote, word(s) or phrase that you'd like to put on your mock chalkboard. Make sure it can feasibly fit on the size canvas that you're using--the general rule of thumb with word art is to keep it short and sweet so that it's readable from a distance.

I'm going with the Kurt Vonnegut quote, "So it goes." However, the possibilities are endless (no need to keep it PC!)

Step 7.

Now you can either arrange pre-made stencils into a phrase that you like, make your own stencils out of a cool font from your computer, or if you're an uber-awesome artist, you can skip this step and go straight into free-hand painting your phrase (not for the faint of heart or shaky of hand.) I chose this route...although I make no claims about being an uber-awesome artist--I just wanted to try free-handing it.

Step 8.

Ready? Set...stencil! I used a white chalk-pastel pencil to do my outline before painting--this is optional, but seeing as I was free-handing it, it made it easier for me.

Step 9. Now it's time to paint. You should probably use two coats of paint for this part (especially if you're using white paint like I am.) You really want the words to pop off the background.

Once you're done, let it dry.

Step 10.

Reassemble all the pieces, and voila! Cool word art! And for those who are feeling really crafty, you can always attach heavy duty ribbon to the back of the frame and hang it from that.

I'm not that crafty though...

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Hi. I’m Julie Bien.

I’m a writing, blogging, coffee-drinking machine.

I also have a thing for sustainability, organic gardening, cooking, and easy crafting. I’m like Martha...

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