I really appreciate the thoughts and comments from yesterday's project. There were a lot of great ideas and it got me thinking in several new directions. I have lots of ideas for other chalkboard projects and I want to develop them, but I am also looking into adapting the patterns for dry erase boards, as several people suggested that.
I haven’t had a lot of experience using dry erase products. While I did purchase a board last year to use when teaching the online Scroll Saw Class that I offered here on lumberjocks.com, I found that I only used it once or twice and wound up putting it in storage. If I remember correctly though, the surface of the board was quite slick and seemed like plastic.
In my search for creating your own dry erase boards, I found a range of products from paint to film that you stick on to surfaces to full sized boards. I did notice that just about every one of them was a bit costly and in reading reviews on the products, overall they weren’t very positive.
The paint consisted of a two part system that needed to be mixed and then applied in several coats, allowing at least two hours drying time in between. This required some patience and I have found that isn’t a trait that many people possess. There is a lot of room to make mistakes, too and all it would take is one batch not mixed exactly right to have faulty results. In reading the reviews, many people said it simply didn’t work. Several of the reviewers went through the entire process they followed and it appeared (to me at least) that they did everything right. I went to more than one site to read up on it and the general consensus was the same. Besides that – the small kit that I saw available at Home Depot was listed at their site for a cost of $31.89 – which seemed to be a lot of money considering the given results. It was difficult to find a review of someone who was happy with it.
A second option I looked into was using a roll of dry erase material.
While this seemed like it would be a much less labor intensive method and somewhat more successful, I found the material also to be quite pricey. In doing some web searching, I saw that you could purchase it on 50” wide rolls at $19.95 per foot HERE. I also found some other brands at Amazon.com that looked a bit cheaper, but the reviews were still mixed. Overall though, I think that it would be a better choice than the paint and if someone really wanted to make it work, it would be possible to apply this to the surface of the wood before cutting and it would be OK. I don’t know if I would recommend it though without trying it first, and I may pick up some of this covering in the near future and do my own experiments and see how it does before I can recommend it.
There would also be the additional issue of gluing on the bottom chalk tray to the material. Since the material would only be stuck on, you would either have to leave it off of the bottom edge or use some kind of screws or nails, making things more complicated. I would imagine you could get it to work though and I certainly don’t want to close my mind to it and if it is possible. Why not give it a try?
Personally however, I just like the look of the black board better. Perhaps I am old fashioned, but I like the dark silhouette of the board and feel that it looks warmer and is more attractive than the stark white of the dry erase board. I also like the ease of application and low cost of the chalkboard paint. I applied three good coats of it to the cat board, which measures 15” tall by 13” wide and I probably only used an ounce of paint, if that.
I need to be honest though and in my hurry to get the project done, I didn’t sand after the initial coat of paint – something that I think will benefit this project greatly. I find that it is a little difficult to remove all the chalk with the dry eraser. However, by sprinkling a couple of drops of water on the eraser, it is immediately removed completely. So I am considering sanding and coating my own board again today. I didn’t want to do so yesterday, as the label on the paint suggests a 24 hour curing time – another point that I disregarded in my hurry to show this project off. So today I will do a light hand sanding and re-coat the board and then in a couple of days I will let you know what the results are. I suppose my eagerness got the best of me.
DecoArt also offers the chalkboard paint in blue and pink. This could be nice for kids rooms and such. I really wish they made it in white or even other warmer and more contemporary colors. I can think of many applications for different colored boards. I am going to call my representative and see if she knows of any plans of them expanding the color line of the products, as I still think they are the way to go with this project. Besides their ease of use, they are very reasonable at approximately $2 per 2 oz bottle, $3.40 for 4 oz and $6 per 8 oz bottle. You can see them on their site here: DecoArt Chalkboard Paint
I kind of wish that they made a traditional green color too. While I know that there is a green chalkboard paint spray by Krylon, I much prefer the brush on method for application. I think that it is much less messy and easier to have a smooth application, but that is just me.
As you can see, there are all kinds of options available. When I create a design such as this, I like to give people choices so that they can adapt the pattern and design to their own needs and preferences. As far as I am concerned, the more versatile the design the better. I am sure too that I will be receiving many personal stories as to how others made this work for them, and that will be very helpful. It is always a learning process and I always learn a lot from others’ experiences.
As for today, I am going to be writing instructions. I have three patterns to write and I don’t want to get too far behind in things. It was cold and windy yesterday and when we went for our walk, we turned around before we were half way through. The wind off of the ocean was brutal and blowing right at us. It still looks windy today as the sun is rising and it seems like a good day to stay in and get some work done. I don’t mind though. There will be plenty of time for road trips and days at the beach. I like to take each day as it is.
Thank you again for all the nice comments on the little chalk board. I already have ideas for several more and want to get at them soon. I was very encouraged by your positive response and I am happy that such a simple project is received so well.
Have a great Sunday!
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"