DIY Chalkboard Sign

May 16, 2016

It's wedding season! This year is special for my family because my sister will be getting married! She's been trying to save on expenses where she can so I've been helping her DIY a few things, and this chalkboard sign is one of them. I have a lot of time this summer so I wanted to take on this challenge of making my own frame and chalkboard. As you can see from the written words, this sign will first be used for her bridal shower (the date shown is not real for privacy reasons) and reused for the ceremony, reception, and future events.

After doing a lot of research, I've come up with a way to make a cost-efficient chalkboard sign without compromising for the quality of material used. Depending on the dimensions you choose to make your sign, the amount of wood and the size of your chalkboard may vary.

- Framing lumber - I got a 2x2x8 framing lumber from Home Depot (96 inches in length)
- Four 2 inch flat corner braces
- Sandpaper
- Paint/paintbrush or spray paint
- Elmer's chalk foam board - 20 x 30 inch size is the one I used, but smaller sizes are available if you choose to make a smaller sign
- Glue gun
- Chalk
- Drill and drill bit
- Screws
- X-ACTO or utility knife
- Ruler and pen/pencil
- Optional: nails and hammer
- Optional: wood glue or strong adhesives

While it may seem like a lot of materials, the total ended up being under $20 CAD. The cost may vary for each individual depending on the materials you already have, but you will definitely save money on the frame unless you already have one to use or plan to thrift one.

1. Cut the framing lumber into 4 pieces. I asked a worker at Home Depot to cut two 28 inch pieces and two 20 inch pieces, but the dimensions can be up to you to decide. Just keep in mind that when you assemble your frame, the empty space within your frame must be smaller than the dimensions of your foam board, or else your chalkboard will have to be made in multiple pieces. To make use of your lumber, make sure the total length of the 4 pieces you want are equal to the length of your lumber.

2. Sand your wood pieces down to get a smooth surface for painting.

Left: Sanded; Right: Unsanded

3. I personally like painting before attaching everything together, so the following steps are based on that. If you like to assemble before painting, follow step 4, then continue back with step 3.

Paint the wood in the colour of your choice. My sister's wedding colour theme is mint so I mixed a few colours to get as close to mint as I could.

4. Glue your wood pieces together or nail them together. I personally only used glue gun to adhere the wood together because the frame will be reinforced with corner braces later. If you want to ensure a stable frame, use wood glue or a strong adhesive.

5. After the glue has dried, flip the frame over and lay the corner braces on the frame. Mark where the holes are and use a drill and drill bit to make holes. After the holes have been made, lay the brackets back in position and drill some screws into the holes to secure the frame.

6. With a pencil, mark how much you need to cut the chalk foam board so it fits just within your corner braces. Afterwards, use an X-ACTO or utility knife to cut the board to size.

7. Now comes the fun part, which is writing out your message. Since the sign will be used for my sister's bridal shower first, I wrote "Welcome to Rachel's Bridal Shower" and the date. For privacy reasons, the date is not the real day.

Search up "chalk fonts" or get inspiration online to choose your fonts and determine how to arrange them. It is best to write it out on a piece of paper first so that it can be used as a guideline. Avoid using liquid chalk markers on the foam board as I've heard it can ruin the surface. Instead, use regular chalk. Precision may be harder but you can always sharpen the chalk to get thinner lines. If you make a mistake, just use a damp paper towel to erase.

8. Once your message is written, glue gun the board to the back of your frame.

And now you have a chalkboard sign customized for you! I think this method is great because the chalkboard sign ends up being very light, durable, and reusable; best of all, you made it from scratch for a reasonable cost.

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