Chalkboard How-To

This week i worked on 2 pieces for our Environments team. I had actually made one very similar for them last week but on paper so they asked me to recreate it on chalkboards. I thought I would have fun with the project and make a time lapse.

Materials List

Chalkboard How To
make animated gifs like this at MakeaGif
  1. Sketch paper & Pencil
  2. Chalkboard or Corkboard
  3. Chalk (I use Crayola chalk)
  4. Chalkboard paint
  5. Multi surface acrylic paint
  6. Washi tape
  7. Brushes - any would work!
  8. Paper towels
  9. Chalk Marker (wipes off)
  10. Paint Marker (more permanent)

Process

Step 1: Paper Draft 

This is where you can play around with placement before spending time on the board.

Step 2: Paint the Board

If the chalkboard is new, then there is no need to paint. If its had chalk on it before, you will notice it never really gets clean. This piece was actually a cork board so a cork board shouldn't give you any problems. Just try a few coats for cork board! Note: make sure you save some time for it to dry!

Step 3: Layout the Basic Structure

I like to use Washi tape to lay out a basic structure because it keeps my lines straight and it wont stick to the board too much.

Step 4: Simple Chalk Outline

This should be a super simple outline and it should be done with a very light hand just to have something to direct you.

Step 5: Go over Chalk Outline with Chalk Pen or Paint Pen

If you want to make a simple sign that you want to be able to wipe off at some point, then you can use a chalk pen. Note: chalk pens are also great on glass/mirrors, etc.! Make sure to do this with a steady hand.

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Step 6: Double the Downstrokes

To get this "look" of the thick and thin letters, you need to double all of the downstrokes. So, if you are writing a "J" the trunk down would be thick and the little loop up wouldn't be. Neither would the stick across if you put it at the top. After this, I wipe off the chalk so it's easier to concentrate. Note: if you're using a chalk marker, wiping it at this point will WIPE IT OFF so you either have to write with the chalk super neat or, wipe around the letters as not too smudge the ink.

Step 7: Paint in the Downstrokes

You can do this with the chalk pen or paint pen as if you were coloring with a marker but I usually go with a paint so it's more vibrant.

Step 8: The Clean Up

Once the paint dries, I go over the edges just to make sure everything is straight and smooth.

The Final Product

I hope you enjoyed this How-To! Please let me know if you would like me to create a How-To for anything else!

Review - "Floral Watercolor" Class with Jenna Rainey

In case you've never heard of Jenna, let me introduce you... She is AMAZING! She is a dreamy West Coast based calligrapher and oh-so-amazing watercolor-er ((?) haha). Feel free to check her work out at Mon Voir and her instagram @JennaMRainey

In August, I took "Intro to Watercolor" with her at the West Elm DUMBO location in Brooklyn, NY. It was spectacular.

"Floral Watercolor" with Jenna Rainey

Materials: The class came with an entire watercolor kit that included 6 individually packaged paints, a section for mixing, pencil, 1 brush, 1 sharpener, 1 eraser, 1 small pad of paper, an additional set of 3 differently sized brushes, large sheets of blank paper on a clipboard and an instructional sheet that explained a bit of color theory.

Time and Attention: The class was 2 hours long and had about 7 students. The class was small enough that we all received tons of 1 on 1 attention but not too small that I felt like everyone was watching me and since it was my very first stab at watercolor, that made me feel great!

Price: The class was priced at $200 for 2 hours which seemed pricey (a portion of the proceeds were donated to a charitable organization) but I love her work so I decided to reserve a seat for myself and one for my sister in law as a gift. I knew she would love it! . Since I've never taken a painting, drawing or watercolor, etc., class then I don't really know where it falls in the spectrum but for the amount of instruction and attention I received, it was worth it. 

Class Instruction: Jenna was helpful and really knowledgable when it came to mixing colors, getting shapes right and really open to sharing what brands she linked and where to order them. I particularly appreciated her transparency since I know a lot of artists don't like to share their "secrets." As far as watercolor painting, Jenna has a really relaxed and free/fluid style. She translates that really well and gives clear instructions. Since it was my first time, and probably since I am not a painter by any account, I had a lot of trouble but she was so patient and took out time to help me get the strokes right. 

Overall Review and Feedback: I really enjoyed learning "Floral Watercolor" with Jenna and feel I've learned a lot of foundational elements that will help to support my calligraphy. I thought I'd include a little example of what I learned. Before attending Jenna's watercolor class, I had never experimented with painting or watercolor and the very next day, I created this in one sitting. This class was worth every moment. 

Review - "Modern Calligraphy I" Class with Jenna Rainey

In August, I took "Modern Calligraphy I" with Jenna Rainey at the West Elm DUMBO location. It was spectacular.

In case you've never heard of Jenna, let me introduce you... She is AMAZING! She is a dreamy calligrapher and oh-so-amazing watercolor-er ((?) haha). Feel free to check her work out at Mon Voir and her instagram @JennaMRainey

"Modern Calligraphy I" with Jenna Rainey

Materials: The class came with 1 nib, 1 straight pen holder, paper, a clip board, a small container of ink and a letter and number template sheet. I brought along my oblique pen holder and she gave me tips for it too.

Price: The class was priced at $200 for 2 hours which is by far the most expensive Modern Calligraphy class, per time, that I've ever purchased; (granted, part of the proceeds went to a charitable organization). Even in NYC, that's on the expensive side but I decided to go for it simply to get to meet and learn from Jenna. In my opinion, it was worth every penny for a person who knows a little about calligraphy and wants to meet someone like Jenna that has been doing it for a while especially since she is not usually on the East Coast. It's definitely more affordable than flying to one of her classes in Cali!

Time and Attention: The class was 2 hours long and had about 12 students. At first I was a little worried that we wouldn't get enough time but it was perfect. The class never felt over crowded and Jenna's technique has so much freedom of expression that once you got the hang of working the calligraphy pen, it didn't take long to work through the alphabet on your won. She paid really close attention to each student and was always great at adjusting the way we held the pen, paper and handled spacing, etc. 

Class Instruction: The time spent speaking to Jenna was definitely the most valuable part of the class for me. She shared all the details about what kind of nibs are good for what kind of jobs and where to purchase nibs, paper, etc. She also talked about how/when to use guache and what kind of ink she uses - which I was dying to know ever since I purchased her Calligraphy Starter Kit on Etsy last year!

Overall Review and Feedback: I really enjoyed learning with Jenna and would recommend taking a "Modern Calligraphy I" class with her. It's fun, low pressure and you really come away with a good foundation to make it your own. -- I'd really like to see take a "Modern Calligraphy II" class with Jenna that specifically focuses on flourishing and digitizing (although that may be a Modern Calligraphy III class!) and I'd really like to have an entire day of instruction which gives more time for 1 on 1 instruction and feedback.

DIY Burlap Banner

This week I worked on a burlap banner for our friend's Bridal Shower. It was pretty easy to make and it came out so great so I thought I'd share a How-To!

Castro Mineo Families

Budget: $40.00

Final Price: $24.86 after 25% off (I already had some of the materials!)

Time: 4-5 hours depending on number of letters

Materials

Burlap Banner Materials
  1. 1 sheet of paper
  2. Burlap (2 yards): $7.49
  3. Scissor or Rotary Cutter: $11.99
  4. Modge Podge Matte Finish: $2.62
  5. Paint: $1.49
  6. Jute (String or Ribbon): $2.00
  7. Ruler: $2.24 (any will do)
  8. Glue gun/glue sticks: (any will do)
  9. Brush: (any will do)
  10. Chalk: (optional)
  11. Iron: (optional)

Process

  1. Cut out a paper sample triangle to cut all your triangles against to make sure they all cut the same size.
  2. Lay out the burlap and cut same size triangles using the scissor or rotary cutter – 1 for every letter of your banner.
  3. If your burlap is wrinkled, iron each piece for a few seconds.
  4. Glue the edges of the burlap triangles with the matte modge pode to seal the edges from fraying. Let dry.
  5. Sketch out the letters for the banner with a piece of chalk or paint them directly onto the triangles. Let dry.
  6. Lay out the triangles equally spaced and use a hot glue gun to  attach the triangles to the jute/string. Remember to add slack on each side to have enough to hang it up.

Click through:

Final Result!

Burlap Banner

Tips and Tricks

  • 2 yards of burlap was a lot. I suggest getting less burlap if your sign isn't super long.
  • I really liked using the rotary cutter much better than using scissors.
  • I purchased materials at the Michaels on Columbus avenue in NYC instead of ordering (no shipping & handling)
  • Michaels  always has coupons handy on their site so always check when you visit the store! I got an extra 25% off my entire purchase on this visit!

DIY Wooden Chalkboard

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Time: 2-3 hours depending on coats of paint/drying time

Budget: $20.00

Final Price: $12.78 after 25% off (I already had some of the materials!)

Materials

Chalkboard Materials
  1. Chalkboard paint: $4.49
  2. Wood slice: $8.24
  3. Chalk marker: $3.00
  4. Brush: (any will do!)
  5. Sandpaper: (if handy)

Process

  1. Sand the wood for a few seconds to make it smoother. 
  2. Shake the chalkboard paint container and paint the wood slice with an even coat of paint. I decided to paint out and leave a little boarder as to not paint out to the bark. (Repeat when dry, 1 or 2 more times!)
  3. Once completely dry, write your quote or word with the chalk pen to make it last longer than if you were just to use chalk.

Tips and Tricks

  • Once dry, it might be easier if you sketch your quote or word with a piece of chalk just to check spacing. Once you've got the spacing right, clean off the chalkboard with a moist paper towel and then use the chalk marker.
  • I purchased materials at the Michaels on Columbus avenue in NYC instead of ordering (no shipping & handling)
  • Michaels  always has coupons handy on their site so always check when you visit the store! I got an extra 25% off my entire purchase on this visit!