A for Effort: The Chalkboard Project March 20 2014

A few weeks ago a friend asked me if I would be interested in hand lettering a wedding party chalkboard for one of her clients. I agreed, giving the disclaimer that I had never done anything like that and would need to do some research! After a few minutes of googling, it seemed that it would be an easy project and pretty straightforward. Woohoo!

The plan was to design on the computer first. What a relief! I could stay inside my cozy little comfort zone for a wee bit longer. I got the measurements of the actual chalkboard and got to work…

Design done! That part was easy! Thanks illustrator!

The bride and her mother loved the design! Now I was ready to chalk it onto the board. Then the clouds started rolling in and the birds all dashed for their nests. When I got the actual board in my hands I was surprised to see how BIG it was! Yes, I had the measurements beforehand. No, I didn't take a tape measure to map out how massive it actually was!

Ok… No problem! The plan was still intact! Please proceed…

Next step was to print the design to actual size, in tiles.

Design printed to actual size… check.
Weighted down with various objects… check.

I decided to take the operation outside. We're dealing with chalk after all, and just the thought of all dust in my office made me sneeze (and have flashbacks to elementary school). Plus… it was a lovely day and I needed a little sunshine and fresh air.

Here's where the plan veers DANGEROUSLY off track. Next step was to chalk the back of the large design print out, and then transfer onto the chalkboard by tracing… Like a chalky transfer paper. Not so fast…. the massiveness alone was working against me. The concrete texture was hindering chalk application to the paper. And the chalkboard itself, I could tell, had been DIY'ed as well, leaving brushstrokes and a less than smooth finish.

So what now? Plan B was a projector… which I didn't have.  OK, plan C?

I realized that what I did have was a grid and an ability to free-hand. So without hesitation, I started to sketch out the design onto the board. 

It was my only option!
There was a lot of erasing, and redrawing, and erasing some more. But miraculously, I finally got it all to fit. 

Squuuuuueeeeeeze in there little letters!

Success! The only thing left to do was to trace over it with chalk markers. Yes, you read right. Chalk Markers.

The problem with the chalk marker is it sorta looks like a paint pen. Very precise. So I chalked over the chalk marker to get the authentic chalk look back.

Now we're chalking… I mean, talking. Hehe


Not too shabby, in my opinion (yes, mom, I know the lines are a bit off-kilter), considering it was first (and possibly last) time designing in chalk. While I don't think I'll add large chalkboards (or chalkboards of any kind) to my list of services, I do think it was great for me to step outside my comfort zone and try something new. It was a learning process and I'm glad I did it!

What projects have you done that ended up being a learning experience?