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My Journey As A Scroll Saw Pattern Designer #624: We Can Chalk Another One Up!

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 886 days ago 2885 reads 1 time favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 623: Not Out of the Woods Yet With This Design Part 624 of My Journey As A Scroll Saw Pattern Designer series Part 625: Message Board Options »

While simple, this latest project took a little figuring out. As I stated yesterday, I wasn’t really happy with some of the things that I initially drew and like many of the projects I design, it took some revisions to get it how I wanted it to be. I know sometimes people think I just draw, cut and I am done, but lots of times there are some little things that don’t go together quite right or feel right and I have to tweak things just a bit and re-cut or remake them. Other times things get totally scrapped and I have to start over. Fortunately for me, this project wasn’t too bad and while there were some revisions that needed to be made, I do like the outcome.

The final project looks like this:

I like the simplicity of it, and also the cuteness. I have to offer a million thanks again to MrsN (Katie) for her suggestion of making my own felt eraser. I actually bought an eraser at Staples, but it was one of those square and clunky foamy type things and was just “Meh.” Besides – since I wanted this chalk board to be stuck on the refrigerator, how the heck would I keep the eraser handy without leaving it on a the counter? That’s all people need is something else to clutter up their counters. Not to mention getting in the way of food items and making things overall messy. Not good.

I decided to make the eraser something that would go with the kitty theme and cut this simple, but cute paw print:

I painted it tan so the paw prints would show up nicely. They are cut of 1/8” overlay pieces and glued on separately.

For the eraser itself, I made a base of plywood and wrapped it in felt. I also slid in a thin rare earth magnet between the layers and glued it so that it wouldn’t fall out. I love these rare earth magnets (available from Lee Valley Tools) and have lots more projects in mind using them. They are so strong that they will hold up to four layers of felt – although I only put them in two layers deep. I then glued the little felt/magnet packet to the bottom of the paw holder:

This sticks up on the refrigerator very nicely. In testing it out, I think it did a decent job of erasing the board. There was still some residual writing left, but if I dampened it even slightly, every bit of the chalk erased. Now I don’t know if that is because I didn’t really let the chalkboard paint cure the full 24 hours (I was anxious to show it here!) or perhaps because it may need another coat of the paint to give a nice thick base. But either way it is very workable and I feel the eraser I made performed just as well as the one I purchased. I will do some more experimenting and give an updated report on it soon.

The next issue was the chalk tray. I wanted something cute yet functional so that the chalk would also be handy while the board was hanging. I had seen similar boards with the chalk held on by string, but I didn’t feel that was practical and thought that having a dangling piece of chalk would be annoying every time you opened the refrigerator. Also, if any of you ever tried to tie a piece of chalk to string and have it hold, you know how frustrating it could be. Since this is something that I wanted to be fun for the kids too, I didn’t want to go with that idea either.

The answer? Make a little tray that will hold the chalk and keep it handy.

Like many of the projects that I design, I try to use limited tools so that people can make them with just a scroll saw and a drill press and maybe a sander. While I could have routed a piece of wood for a shelf, I didn’t want to include routing in the process. Keith suggested perhaps angling the shelf back toward the main board, but I thought that would be complicated and difficult and the cutting would have to be pretty perfect for gluing. I didn’t want to do that, so I decided to make a little mice ‘rail’ that would hold the chalk onto the shelf.

In my first attempt, I had the tails much longer and flowing. But even with using the 1/4” plywood, which is quite strong, they seemed cumbersome and in the way when picking up the chalk pieces. I wound up going back to the scroll saw and taking off a good third of the ends of the tails and making them more compact, which strengthened the piece and made it easier for little fingers (and larger ones too!) to pick up the chalk. I think they still look fine and they do a great job of holding the chalk from falling:

The final step was adding on the magnets to the back, which was easily done with two part epoxy. Because of the amazing strength of the rare earth magnets, I only used 1/2” discs and they are quite sufficient. I used four of them just to be sure that the board wouldn’t start to slide down each time you opened the refrigerator door and that worked quite well. The result is a simple yet solid project that is both fun and functional.

I really had fun with this project. I am going to submit it to the magazine and see if they are interested in it. If not, I will be putting it on my site very shortly. I like it because it is fun and simple and I can think of so many shapes that would be appealing to both children and adults alike. While it didn’t take the brain of Einstein to figure it out, there were some issues that needed some work to make it look nice and professional. I am even going to include instructions so that you can have it free standing on a counter or a dresser if you don’t want to use the magnets. (And of course you can hang it on a wall)

All in all it was a good couple of days work. I hope you all enjoyed seeing this little project come to life. I am certain there will be more similar items to follow.

Have a fun Saturday! Take some time to play and do something creative!

-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine, If you like reading my blog, come visit at Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"



14 comments so far

View Roger's profile

Roger

14170 posts in 1407 days


#1 posted 886 days ago

very neat. It must be a left-handed chalk holder? lol, jus kiddin. this would be better than my 10,000 post-it notes I have stuck everywhere for reminding me of this n that.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Kentuk55@bellsouth.net

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7489 posts in 1523 days


#2 posted 886 days ago

Hi, Roger:
I keep a list that is stuck to the refrigerator with a magnet, but the top of the pad keep tearing away from the cardboard backing because of the weight of the paper. It looks sloppy and is a pain in the butt. I like the idea of the board because the black looks nice and clean. I think I will keep one here on my own refrigerator. (PS – I always look left handed because I need to take the picture with my right hand! I am not good at left-handed pictures.)

I am glad you like it. :)

Sheila

-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine, If you like reading my blog, come visit at Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"

View HamS's profile

HamS

1117 posts in 992 days


#3 posted 886 days ago

Morning Sheila,

I like it. when I first realized it sas a chalk board I was thinking how to turn the color scheme to work with white board dry erase markers. I know they have paint on surfaces. I need a violin or some musical outline or maybe staff paper. I promise if I steal your idea I wont try to sell anything like it. I think you really got the shape of the cat life like. I have been cat-less since early fall when Leo, our calico tom had to be put down. The old boy was 18 and quite the elderly feline gentleman, but he had a full life. Your cat reminds me of Leo’s brother, Raider, who was jet black with the silkiest short hair. We found him along with two other kittens in the litter of a wild cat that was killed. We had a huge apple tree that had a hollow part of the trunk. This cat always had her kittens in the tree. When we saw her in the road I went to look to see if there were kittens and found them. They were about three days old when the mom was killed and we tried to save the kittens. two of them died before the night was out but Raider made it. He was a great hunter and would always bring his trophies to the back door. I think he shared with the wild feline population which were all related to him. That is another story.

Well raider was long muscalar and sleek like a small panther, and the silouette (sp?) you cut caught him perfectly.

-- My mother named me Hamilton, I have been trying to earn my nickname ever since.

View BritBoxmaker's profile

BritBoxmaker

4340 posts in 1639 days


#4 posted 886 days ago

Excellent, Sheila. Here are you left handed? All the cleverest people are you know!

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging. http://www.theartofboxes.com

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7489 posts in 1523 days


#5 posted 886 days ago

Thanks, Ham. I also enjoyed hearing about your cats. My first cat we got when I was about three. Her name was Cindy because she was jet black and named for cinders. Her fur was shiny and sleek and we had her until I was sixteen. Just a beautiful cat and a good friend (after we grew up enough not to chase her!) I drew the cat here from a back lit photograph of a cat in a window. I liked the pose, too and thought it would be nice. I needed one ‘bulky’ enough to make a decent writing surface and this one did OK.

Hi, Martyn: No – I am right handed. But I AM a natural blonde so I am sure that adds to my ‘cleverness’. ;)

Sheila

-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine, If you like reading my blog, come visit at Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"

View KnotCurser's profile

KnotCurser

1799 posts in 1672 days


#6 posted 886 days ago

Sheila,

Yet another winner – this looks great and provides a use. Winner!

You know, if you were to use a piece of whiteboard for the cat and cut out black mice you could have a dry-erase cat!

Feel free to use my suggestion – just throw some cash my way when the millions of dollars roll in. ;-)

Take care!

-bob

-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: rrww@rhoadesclan.com / www.rhoadesclan.com

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7489 posts in 1523 days


#7 posted 886 days ago

Thanks for the idea, Bob. I don’t know where to get the white board, but I will suggest it in the instructions. I know lots of people like dry erase as opposed to chalk these days – a bit cleaner I think – but I like either.

As for the ‘first million’ I promise to throw some your way when I reach it (IF I am even able to throw anything by then!) Glad you enjoy it! :)

Sheila

-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine, If you like reading my blog, come visit at Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"

View patron's profile (online now)

patron

12976 posts in 1944 days


#8 posted 886 days ago

you have a winner here sheila

a ‘just right’ project
with endless variations

congratulations !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View BritBoxmaker's profile

BritBoxmaker

4340 posts in 1639 days


#9 posted 886 days ago

‘lol’, David.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging. http://www.theartofboxes.com

View KnotCurser's profile

KnotCurser

1799 posts in 1672 days


#10 posted 886 days ago

Sheila,

Check this out: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Pacon-Corporation-Dry-Erase-Rolls-Adhesive-18-x20-6-RL-White/16353303?findingMethod=rr

Or, you could go to the source of everything now-a-days – Amazon!
http://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=490746011

Instead of painting the cat, just stick this to it – instant dry erase kitty!

;-)

-bob

-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: rrww@rhoadesclan.com / www.rhoadesclan.com

View BritBoxmaker's profile

BritBoxmaker

4340 posts in 1639 days


#11 posted 886 days ago

This is interesting stuff but not wishing to be awkward, Bob. I think the cat looks better, black.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging. http://www.theartofboxes.com

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7489 posts in 1523 days


#12 posted 886 days ago

Hum. . . I was looking into something like that Bob, but from the reviews I read most of the stuff is far from ‘fool proof’. I have some other ideas that I want to check out though for those who prefer dry erase to black boards.

Myself – I like the look of the black boards. The silhouettes look awesome dark like this. I know that is a personal preference though and I do respect the others that want to find white boards. I am seeing what I can come up with. I see there is a paint for making white dry-erase surfaces, but the reviews on them weren’t very positive and the cost was high (about $30 for the kit – it is a two part system) The joy of using the DecoArt paint is that the 2 oz bottle cost only $2 and the 8 oz is only $6 (at DecoArt.com – I am sure you will be able to get it on sale at Michael’s or other craft suppiers) The link to the Decoart site is here:

Decoart Chalkboard Painthttps://www.decoart.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=D&Category_Code=CP

I put three coats on this board and I probably used about half an ounce.

I want to keep this project fast, easy and cost effective so those who do craft shows can make a bunch up and hopefully make a decent profit on them selling them.

I do appreciate your thoughts though and it is good to know what others are thinking and may be looking for.

Take care and thanks! :) Sheila

-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine, If you like reading my blog, come visit at Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7624 posts in 2655 days


#13 posted 885 days ago

Very COOL!

I think you’ve Got it!

How did you fasten the shelf to the cat?

Nice eraser!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7489 posts in 1523 days


#14 posted 885 days ago

Just used two part epoxy Joe. Clamped it up and it really holds well. The bottom of the shelf is the same quarter inch ply so there is enough to really hold. :)

Sheila

-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine, If you like reading my blog, come visit at Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"

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