My first chalkboard art
Yesterday I did my first chalkboard art project for my new office, and while mine cannot be compared to some of the gorgeous chalk art I’ve been seeing everywhere, I did learn a few things along the way that might help you. Here it goes.
Ten things I learned
1. Who is Dana Tanamachi?
First of all, before you pick up a piece of chalk you should know this name. Dana is probably the most famous chalkboard artist out there right now and gazing at her fonts and her fabulous works will give you some wonderful inspiration.
via Design Sponge
I watched a time-lapsed video of Dana completing this project and I learned one thing loud and clear:
via: Design Sponge
2. Completely sketch out your words before you begin.
This is so important. Make sure you get that last letter in place so you know there’s room. I originally wrote a long quote from Anne Frank that came out great. I was actually pleased with the different fonts I used until I realized there was no room for Anne Frank’s name at the end. Which gave the quote it’s entire power.
So I erased it all and began again. All that work and time, gone.
3. Download free ornamental fonts
4. Consider using a overhead projector if you have one.
This is one way to create to create a masterpiece on your chalkboard. Here’s a perfect Halloween example.
But what if you don’t have an overhead projector for your fancy phase?
5. I learned that you can use a grid like this one.
In fact, if I had done this with my Anne Frank quote it would have worked. Amanda, a stylist at Burlap and Denim has a great tutorial on using a grid to map out your words. You should visit this site for her tips.
6. Use regular old chalk.
Nothing fancy. I know this sounds like a no-brainer but I actually tried using the Chalk pens they use at Starbucks, and I couldn’t get my board clean again. I had to paint over it. In an interview I stumbled on, Dana said she gets her chalk at the dollar store.
7. Use water and rags to completely erase chalk lines.
These are the basic items you need. I used the hair spray tip from Amanda @ Burlap and Denim although Dana is on record saying she doesn’t use any fixative over her professional work (read the great discontent interview).
Here’s one important tip I’ll stress: remember to erase your old chalk lines completely with a wet rag before writing again.
I grabbed my chalk and started drawing my typewriter free-hand before I realized my previous words were not completed gone. Can you see the word “Think” behind the paper?
8. Q-tips are your best friend when using chalk
This tip is so simple. This is how you get clean lines.
9. You don’t need to soak your chalk in 7-up before using
I read online somewhere that some chalkboard artists soak their chalk in 7-Up before using so the color is more vibrant. This is what happened when I did that. Look at the letter K. The chalk fell apart when I pressed hard. Maybe I soaked it too long, but it didn’t work for me.
10. If you’re going to sketch free-hand have your computer fonts close by.
I didn’t realize that writing a long word would be so time-consuming. I had to try a few fonts to make it fit on my chalkboard. I finally searched my computer fonts and found one that would work; I used this screen as my guide while I wrote.
Well, those were my ten tips, I hope they help. And I hope this post inspires you to pick up a piece of chalk and just go for it. It’s not about perfection, surrounding yourself with words you’ve carefully selected and art you’ve made yourself …is a joyful expression of YOU! Have fun with it.
Let me know how it turns out. I love to hear from you!
I’m linking up here, please join me: