Flea Market Frame Chalkboard

Chalkboards have been a huge décor trend for a while, and ever since I first saw one hanging on the wall at my cousin’s house I have wanted my own. They’re great for writing a little love note, lyrics from your favourite song, or inspirational words when you need them! Mine also did double duty as our wedding reception program sign.

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I decided to also make mine magnetic so that I had a place to display photos and cards, and an excuse to use my repurposed skeleton key magnets.

Here is how you can make your very own magnetic chalkboard. Sorry for the poor photo quality, I took most of these photos about a year ago with my iPhone so they are not the greatest… hopefully you get the general idea!

Flea Market Frame Chalkboard

1) Find an old frame that you like the shape of and remove the picture and backing. Old mirrors from antique vanities where the mirror is broken would work well too, or you could luck out like me and find a frame where the picture is already missing. If the frame is damaged or the corners aren’t square, you will want to reinforce it before proceeding.

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2) Measure the inside dimensions of the frame. There should be an edge that will hold the chalkboard in place, so make sure you measure from the outside of the edges (otherwise your chalkboard will just fall right through the frame, and nobody wants that).

3) If you want your chalkboard to be magnetic like mine, you have two options: use fiber board and paint it with magnetic paint, or order a piece of sheet metal to size from a metal shop. As you can see from the pictures, I tried the magnetic paint on fiber board option first, but I found that it gave the board a gritty, rougher texture because of all the little bits of iron ore suspended in the paint. It also wasn’t all that magnetic, so I ended up redoing it later with sheet metal, which gave it a smoother surface and a stronger magnetic pull. If you are going to be hanging heavier items like thick paper with your magnets, you will probably want to go with the sheet metal.

If you are using the sheet metal, clean it really well with rubbing alcohol to get any shop grease off. Once it’s clean and the alcohol has evaporated, prime it with a couple of coats of metal primer spray paint.

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5) Once the magnetic paint/primer is dry, you’re ready for your first layer of chalkboard paint. I have heard that you can make your own chalkboard paint using tile grout and your paint of choice, but I just used ready-made chalkboard paint that I bought at Home Depot. I would love to hear from anyone who has made their own, though! I used a foam roller so that the paint would go on really smoothly and followed the directions on the chalkboard paint for the number of coats and drying time. I used 2-3 coats of chalkboard paint on mine. After my last coat, I left it for a few days before moving on to the next step.

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6) To attach the chalkboard to the frame, apply silicone adhesive along the edges of the chalkboard and drop it on to the back of the frame. The metal should be heavy enough that you don’t need to use clamps while the silcone dries, it should stay in place as long as you don’t bump it. But if you’re using the lighter fiber board, you may want to clamp the board to the frame edge until the silicone is dry, or put a heavy object on the fiberboard to weigh it down. Follow the directions on the silicone for drying time. If possible, lean the edges of the frame on a workbench or stool so that you can look at the chalkboard surface from underneath, and wipe away any excess silicone that leaks through onto the front. Once it dries you can also try to scrape it off with a sharp knife blade but you might also take off some of the paint, so be careful!

7) If your frame didn’t come with mounting hardware, use a picture hanging kit to attach screw eyes/wire for mounting.

8) Choose your favourite quote and use your best lettering skills… or you can fake it like I did by following these steps (don’t worry, I won’t tell if you won’t tell).

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(yes there is a picture of the chalkboard on the chalkboard. If only there had been a photo of us on that chalkboard too)

I love my chalkboard… I made it over a year ago and I’m still in love with it. It hangs in our bedroom on the wall that faces our bed, so these words are the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see at night. I love that I have the option of sticking up a nice photo or sweet card from my husband with our magnets too.

Anyone else have a mad obsession with chalkboards? We’ve made a few for friends and someone else just asked me to make another. I’m tempted to use adhesive chalkboard paper which I recently discovered exists, I would love to hear if anyone has tried it.
-C

Our Wedding: Décor

Although I spent a lot of time on the invitations and stationary, decorating our wedding ceremony and reception hall was a big job too. Since our dinner was held in the restaurant of Spectacle Lake Lodge, it needed some tweaking to have the look I wanted… Mostly this involved hunting through flea markets or stores for the right item, but I also made a few key pieces.

For our ceremony, I was tempted to make a program to match our invitations- but one of my first DIY projects was refurbishing an old flea market frame into a magnetic chalkboard, and I knew it would look awesome as our program. To write out the program, I did a few Pinterest searches until I found an example of one I liked. Then I used a chalk marker to write, erase, and write again until I was happy.*

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For our seating plan, I loved the look of salvaged window frames that I found on Pinterest. I found the perfect window at Tin Barn Market, a really cute shop in Merrickville, ON.  I printed out the seating plan and traced over it on the window using white Sharpie markers (water soluble, not oil). At first I was using clear tape to stick the paper to the underside of the window, but I had to do some emergency tweaking the night before the wedding and I discovered (duh) that I could just literally put the window on top of the paper and trace over it without using tape!

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When I found a really cool piece of driftwood at my family’s cottage a few summer’s ago, I knew I could make something unique with it. Our wedding gave me the perfect excuse to figure out what exactly! I bought tealights and glass holders from Ikea, measured the diameter of the glass holder and bought a forstner drill bit from Lee Valley (I actually bought the wrong size at first, which is why I am now banned from measuring things).  My husband drilled holes into the wood where I wanted the candles to go, and we hot glued the glass holders on… you could also drill deeper so that the glass just sits in the recess. We paired the driftwood with photos of both of our parents and sisters from their respective weddings.

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One traditional wedding item that I never planned on getting was a cake topper. I just didn’t think it was for me, and everything else about our wedding was not really all that traditional (for example, I opted not to wear a veil… and DIY’d a fascinator instead). But then I made the mistake of doing an Etsy search for a cake topper and I found this adorable pair:

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How CUTE?? I guess they were more steampunk than “rustic elegant” but I had to have them. Maybe it was all the Daft Punk I was listening to at the time… or maybe they reminded me of a Get Up Kids album cover, a band my husband and I both liked when we were dating.  They were one of the few things that I really splurged on and spent more than I reasonably should have. But je ne regrette rien!

For our gift table, we made a card box out of old wood pallets. We more or less followed a tutorial I found on Instructables.com. The best part about a wood pallet project is, it’s FREE! Well, providing you have the necessary tools and hardware lying around anyway. We scored our pallets from the loading dock at my workplace, but I’ve seen them in big stacks at Canadian Tire, Home Depot, and at the Ottawa Trainyards. I also made a bunting banner to go with it. Admittedly, it is large for a card box but now it does double duty in our living room as a storage box (you can see how we made it here).

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To put the finishing touches on the hall décor, I used aqua blue glass vases to tie in our wedding colours in various spots. Some of the vases I filled with artificial cherry blossoms, and I used one of the larger vases with a large pillar candle on the mantel, along with my flea market lanterns and Ampersand sign (an Etsy find). For our “guestbook” I wanted to do something unique, so I went with these adorable wooden hearts. We put the hearts in a keepsake box I found at the Third World Bazaar a few years ago, and once they were signed our guests placed them in a mason jar. Finding the mason jars at flea markets was probably the most time consuming thing I undertook for the wedding- I paid anywhere from $2-20 for them depending on how much energy I had for haggling!

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(bottom left photo credit My Tran Trung)

All of our decorations really pulled our “rustic yet elegant” theme together… plus it was so fun shopping for everything! Stay tuned for my next wedding post: our flowers and centrepieces!

-C

Note: all photos taken by LilyCreek Photography & Art Studio except where otherwise stated.

*Although easy to wipe off with water at first, when I tried to erase the chalkboard weeks after our wedding the chalk marker wouldn’t come off. So if you want it to be temporary, you may want to avoid the chalk markers and stick with good ol’ chalk. I found this really awesome link on Pinterest that shows how to do a faux hand lettered chalkboard, I’m definitely going to do it that way in the future!

And so it begins…

Hey there! I am going to use this space to document my adventures in DIY. My plan is to eventually have photos and maybe even tutorials on some of my cool crafts/projects/adventures! In the past year I have tackled a variety of projects including the following: turned a flea market frame into a magnetic chalkboard;

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refinished a hand-me-down generic coffee table to better suit my style (before/after);

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fixed up an old sofa with a jazzy new slipcover (before/after);

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and made cozy Christmas covers for throw pillows out of thrift store sweaters/old buttons!

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Not to mention all the cool things I did for my intimate cottage wedding this past September… I made some of my accessories, hand-lettered our seating plan on salvaged window panes, and sourced tons of unique decorations from local flea markets. Here are a few teaser shots that one of my friends took… I’m going to put it all together in a future post, because there are too many things to mention and the end result was awesome (If I do say so myself).

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Right now I am working on a mobile for my adorable nephew and in January I’m going to learn how to use Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint at Malenka Originals, an awesome shop in Ottawa that I have been dying to visit.

I love having a project to focus on. It’s so satisfying to work hard at something and then have a tangible result! Also, my day job is working as a research scientist, so I find myself really needing a creative outlet.

Here is a picture of me tackling the slipcover I mentioned above… I think it was the first time I had ever sewed a zipper on anything and I was SUPER proud.

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More to come!
-C