This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Sharpie, but all the opinions are my own. #pmedia #StaplesBTS http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV.
I would absolutely describe myself as a gal that likes to keep organized. I find comfort in knowing what I’m doing tomorrow, next week and even next month! With SO many things on the go, my calendar is my lifeline really … it’s how I keep everything spinning in my head straight. I’ve used a traditional paper calendar for years now and it works, but if I’m being honest, I really don’t like how it turns into such a jumbled mess as plans change. The Monica Geller in me needs my universe to be neat & organized and my messy calendar was frankly, driving me nuts (please tell me I’m not the only one)!
I cannot wait to share how I organized my life with this Aqua & Gold Chalkboard Calendar!!!
Here’s what you’ll need to build your own:
30″ x 24″ piece of 1/4″ thick plywood
1″x2″ pine – 2 pieces cut to 31.5″ and 2 cut to 25.5″
1 piece of 36″ x 24″sheet metal
1/4″ screen moulding
Zinsser 123 Primer
Chalkboard paint (we’ll chat more about that later)
Chalk or Chalk Pens
Sharpies in your choice of colour(s)
Picture hanging hardware
We began by building the frame. We cut two pieces of 1×2 to 31 1/2″ and two to 25 1/2″. If you have a mitre saw, this is where you would cut your corners to fancy 45 degree angles, but since we didn’t, we simply butted the corners up against one another like this:
To give the fame a bit more stiffness and provide a place to nail the MDF to, we cut a few 1 ½” long pieces from scrap 1x4s and nailed and glued them as shown. To get the top to sit flush with the frame it’s a good idea to test fit the top before gluing and nailing the scrap pieces. We had to remove a couple (and cut a couple more when they broke while removing them) when the top didn’t sit flush the first time around. Whoops! In the end, we were left with a frame that looked like this:
We then cut our plywood down to 30″ x 24″ and nailed it onto our scrap pieces of pine.
We purchased some paper thin sheet metal for the base of our calendar with the hopes that we could make the calendar not only a chalkboard, but magnetic too – I know, mind blown, am I right?! Well, spoiler alert: it doesn’t work. Insert devastated blogger here.
The hardware store was supposed to have cut the sheet metal to just the right size – note to self: follow your gut: when that voice in your head is telling you that it’s a much bigger piece than you asked for, you’re probably right! Whomp, Whomp. My heart sank when I realized that I was going to have to make the 25 minute drive back to the hardware store to either re-cut the metal or buy some tin snips to do it ourselves. Brady, in his infinite wisdom and reasonable tone, suggested we try some scissors before making the trip and what do you know? – they worked just fine! To mark the cut lines we used the black Sharpie that we keep in the shop (we may not have a mitre saw, but what kind of shop would it be without a handy-dandy Sharpie?!) and just cut along the line.
With the metal sizing righted once again, this is where I chose to stop and paint with the hopes to avoid any taping (yet another brilliant suggestion from Brady!). I started with a coat of Zinnsser 123 primer over the frame, the sheet metal and our screen moulding pieces (don’t worry, we’ll put those to good use soon). I then painted 3 coats of Cloud White paint (leftover from this Paint Dipped DIY End Table project) over the frame and mouldings. Now it was time to turn our sheet metal into a chalkboard and this is where things really got interesting (I’ve got you on the edge of your seat now, don’t I?)! You see, months ago I came across a brilliant paint from Martha Stewart Crafts that has the ability to turn any painted surface into a chalkboard. I’ll just give you a minute to let that sink in.
That’s right folks, that means that instead of making the traditional black chalkboard, I was free to use any colour I wanted! I’ll give you one guess what colour I chose (this would be SO much more fun if y’all hadn’t already seen a picture!) … need another hint? Anyone that’s read about my DIY Ladder Shelf, knows how smitten I am with the bright aqua colour I chose (Benjamin Moore Origins’s Sweet Turquoise OR-368). I simply used a foam brush to apply the paint as per the instructions – 2 coats of aqua & 3 coats of clear chalkboard paint later and I had myself my very own aqua chalkboard! Eeeeek!
Finally it was time to put it all together! To attach the painted metal to the frame, we used the construction adhesive that they recommended at the hardware store. We were a bit nervous about using too much and having it spill out the sides, but the goldilocks theory proved useful and we seemed to have just enough.
For the trim we used our ¼” x ¾” screen molding. With this were able to get pretty good angle cuts with a circular saw. Using a tip he had read to cut the trim as you go was really helpful to Brady. Unfortunately, he was so focused on making good cuts that he ended up cutting the wrong piece, leaving not enough trim to go all the way around and requiring yet another trip to the world’s farthest hardware store. Having pre-painted the trim (new and old) already, we simply used the construction adhesive to attach it to the frame. We used a golf pencil to keep even spacing from the trim to the outside of the frame (full credit for this creative idea goes to you … you guessed it, Brady!) and made sure that all of the corners lined up with the corner of the frame. Definitely use a mitre saw if you have one, but in a pinch, the circular saw worked out okay for us. We’ll chalk (pun TOTALLY intended) this one up to the list of projects that it would have been nice to have a mitre saw for and keep saving our pennies.
We weighed it all down with clamps and photo albums (creative, right?!) and let it set overnight.
Once the adhesive was dry (and the paint was touched up), I had a blank canvas on which to create the calendar. Brady’s engineering skills proved ultra handy for this part as he was able to design a template for me on his super cool engineering software, which made things SO much easier! I knew I wanted to leave some extra space at the top to write the month and some on the side for extra notes. He came up with and printed out a 21″ x 19″ template, which I was able to easily transfer onto the chalkboard by simply colouring over the lines with a pencil, placing the pencil lines down onto my board and then tracing over them from the other side of the paper. I quickly realized that I didn’t even need to trace the entire line, but just mark the corners of each square – since I would be using a ruler to make my final lines anyway, I really just needed a guide to match it up with at either end.
With everything marked in pencil, it was time to take the plunge with a permanent marker. Enter again the fabulous Sharpie! With my trusty ruler in one hand and my gold Sharpie in the other, I traced from one end to the other until my calendar grid was complete. Then I stood back and admired how pretty my gold Sharpie looked on my aqua chalkboard!!! I used a foam brush to apply one more coat of clear chalkboard paint over top of it all.
Before covering my new chalkboard in chalk, I had Brady attach some picture hanging hardware to the back to hang it with.
Then one last important step, “seasoning” the chalk board, which basically just means rubbing a piece of chalk all over the board and then wiping it off with a wet cloth.
Finally it was time to turn this grid into a calendar! I had made some super cute numbered magnets to mark the days, which I won’t waste your time sharing today, because this is where my blow-your-mind idea all fell apart. With my pretty new calendar lying on the living room floor, I proceeded to add my brilliant magnetic numbers into their respective spots. Everything looked pretty and perfect and I was SOOOOO excited about it all! Then I picked it up and every single numbered disk slid onto the floor taking my dreams to knock your socks off with it! Ugh! SO frustrating! After trying at least a hundred times more to make these magnets stick with (of course) the same disappointing result, I gave up and resigned myself to the fact that my my brilliant idea just wasn’t going to come to fruition. After giving myself some time to grieve, I decided that my aqua chalkboard was special in it’s own way, even if it wasn’t magnetic and so, still deserved my undying love! So, instead of pretty magnets, I rolled with the punches and just used some chalk to mark the numbers on my calendar. With my plans changing at the very last minute, I had to make due with what I had on hand, which was plain old chalk, but I can’t wait to pick up some chalk ink pens the next time I’m in the city. I really do LOVE chalk ink because, unlike it’s traditional counterpart (ie. regular chalk), you need a wet wipe to wipe it off not to mention that you can write with so much more precision (and let’s face it, they make everything look so much prettier!). I also plan to write any important events that I know aren’t likely to change through the month with the chalk ink as well.
The very last step was to fill in my calendar! I used some post it note tabs in different colors to work in the most important part – every single thing I need to keep track of. This is where things got really organized (I’m talking life changing organized)! I used the rainbow of Sharpie Fine Markers I picked up at Staples along with some post-it note labels to colour code each event: each person had their own colour, our nightly meals got another colour and finally, my blog stuff (that overwhelming amount of blue!) claimed it’s own colour too!
I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of this part sooner! SO much easier to keep track of everything!!!
Here’s how it all came together in the end!
I am CRAZY excited to finally have SUCH a neat & tidy way to keep my life organized! Plus, isn’t it pretty?!
Ready to get your life organized for back-to-school? Sharpies are on sale now at your local Staples (or online if you live in the boonies like me!) until August 24th while supplies last! Looking for more ways to get organized with Sharpie? Check out their website or visit them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for all sorts of inspiration!
How are you getting your life organized for back to school?
*This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Sharpie, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #StaplesBTS Find more information on my disclosure policy here.*
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I can't wait to hear your thoughts!