In the last year or so, I have shown you a number of chalkboard related projects around our house. Several of you have asked for information on how I do chalkboard lettering. So today I want to share with you my little bit of knowledge on the subject. I look at it as simply drawing with chalk. 🙂 Please keep in mind, I am not a professional.
This was one of my first larger sized ones – the Life is a Game board. For it, I tried out a variety of fonts with sayings about playing games. I drew lines to help keep it straight.
For the Halloween movie board, I looked at the covers of the dvds and tried to write in a font that matched that style for each one.For the Christmas board, I simply printed out the message using a variety of fonts, and then I wrote it on the chalkboard looking at the printout. Most things I have read say to mix up to 3 fonts on a project.
For the spring one, I played around with the lettering until I had it like I wanted.
This was a menu board I did last year. I want you to notice how white the lettering is. The reason it is like that is because it was done with a chalk marker (sometimes called chalk ink.)
This is the chalk marker I use. You can normally find them at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby, but it can also be ordered from Amazon (like everything else on the planet. 🙂 )
It is easier to handle, but the writing does not look as handcrafted as a regular piece of chalk. It will last much longer than regular chalk, and it can be erased. Sometimes it is difficult to get it all off without leaving a shadow. Just rub it with a piece of Magic Eraser, and that does the trick. I normally use plain old chalk for most projects, but this one had so much writing, it was easier with the chalk marker.
Here is another project done with a chalk marker. I wanted you to see that you can write on practically any surface with it.
And here is one of several I have done with recipes (using ordinary chalk.)
So let’s look at how I do a chalkboard recipe. Start by rubbing a piece of chalk all over a board to “season” it. Wipe it off with a dry paper towel. This keeps “ghost letters” from appearing under the new writing. You are going to want to keep a dry and a damp cloth beside you as you work to erase your mistakes.After seasoning the board, the title was written . Normally, I would try to center the title, but in this case, I wanted to draw a little something in the space after the title (a tomato.) Remember from my first lettering post, I try to make the letters go up and down on an invisible line.
Then I drew a line to start the “banner” under the title.And then I finished drawing the banner.
For this particular board, I went ahead and used lines to help me keep the letters straight. It actually looks more like a recipe card to me when it has that. I don’t measure like many professionals will tell you to do. I just “eyeball” it. The end of the ruler is up against the chalkboard frame, and that keeps it straight. Don’t try drawing out all your lines at one time (like notebook paper.) Your hand will smear the lines when you begin to write your text on it.
Just draw a line and write the text for it before moving to the next line. You can erase between the words if you prefer.
And continue doing that until you finish.
In my last lettering post, a sweet reader (Kathy) made a suggestion that perhaps an alphabet of my lettering style would help. So here is a rough draft of some of the letters I use in my writing. Remember that I trace over the down strokes to give more variety to the width of the letter parts.I don’t have a particular brand of chalk that I prefer. I have seen recommendations for Crayola chalk in several places, but it has not made that big a difference to me. I have also read that you should sharpen your chalk with a one of those small personal pencil sharpeners that you can find with all the back to school sales now. That would probably help if it worked, but I have never done it. So I am going to get a sharpener and try that out. I have also read that you can dip your chalk in water frequently to help make the writing brighter. I have never tried that, and I am curious about it. So I may play with that idea soon, too. And yes, I do consider this play.
**update: I just tried out the pencil sharpener sharpened piece of chalk, and it works wonderfully! You can see the chalkboard done with it here.
Now if you want to see a real professional at work, click on the photo below to see Dana Tanamachi making her art. She is truly gifted.
Another artist you should take a look at is CJ Hughes….beautifully amazing work here.
One other thing that I have not mentioned is the quality of your board. The better it is, the easier it is on which to letter. Don’t expect a board from the dollar store to do as well as one from Pottery Barn (and no I am not being a store snob here…I have used both.) The finish does make a difference. But…even if you don’t have a board, you can still do all of this on black cardstock – seriously. Several years ago, I started wrapping large boxes in black paper for my classroom to use for displaying quotes. I didn’t have the money to spend on super large chalkboards for classroom decorations, and these worked great. You can see them by clicking here.
Okay… I think that is all I have to tell you about chalkboards today. Hopefully this has helped you in some way. Chalk is so forgiving because you can erase your mistakes as you go, and then keep on going. So get some chalk, and go play with it. 🙂
until next time…