Ahh it feels good to be back here! Things have been so hectic around here being in two weddings on back-to-back weekends, and I’ve barely had a moment to sit down and relax, so I am very grateful to be back here writing today.
It has been a cool, wet fall day in Edmonton today, and we got our first snow! I know I just posted recently about loving September and looking forward to fall, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still a shock when the snowflakes start falling so shortly after the hot, summer days. That, combined with lots of rain and a cold, grey sky has made for one of those days where people tend to just want to lay low, not exert themselves too much, and get home as quickly as possible.
It’s harder to crawl from slumber on fall days like these, and usually I just want to stay warm and dry at home and be cozy (thinking I’m not alone here). If I must go out, I will spend half the day thinking about the exact way I’m going to relax when I get home (such is the lucky life of middle age without children!).
My ultimate way to relax in the evening on a day like today is to have a hot shower right upon returning home, to warm up from the dampness of the day that so often sticks in our bones, cook up some simple comfort food, and settle in with a book, under a blanket and near a window. If it is not too cold to open the window so I can smell and really listen to the rain, all the better, an inclination which, I’m sure, comes from having spent my childhood in Vancouver.
Luckily, we actually had great weather for my BFF’s wedding this past weekend! It was a tad windy and a little chilly at night, being outdoors, but I had no problem staying warm after a few beverages, and the setting was gorgeous, check it out:
As usual when you are planning or are in a wedding, the days leading up to the big finale are littered with a multitude of tasks as you work to ensure that everything has been thought of and nothing is not where it is expected to be. Now I have to say that I felt like I got off easy on a lot of the planning and didn’t have that many responsibilities, but what I did have I was more than happy to do, and I wanted to share part of that today – the chalkboard!
How To Make a Wedding Chalkboard
Step One: Set up and gather your materials
Find yourself a chalkboard and set it up on an easel (or wherever will work for you with what you have available). You will also need chalk, a cup of water, a very slightly damp cloth, and some q-tips.
Step Two: Gather your inspiration photos.
This sucks to admit, but I’m not really great at coming up with creative ideas out of thin air. So I get along by looking at a variety of images, and combining different elements together into one brand new whole. Have some photos handy for reference if you’d like (you can take a screenshot so you can just look through your photo gallery so you’re not constantly switching between websites). For font ideas, I like to use this free font website.
The unofficial theme for the wedding was tandem bikes, and the groom is an avid mountain biker, so I loved blending that into the wedding theme.
Step Three: Space things out
Make a few marks that you will remove later on to help guide the size of your lettering and graphics. This step is key to ensuring things don’t look squished when you’re finished.
Step Four: Key element outline
If you intend to have more elements to your chalkboard than just a straight-written quote, it’s a good idea to map out some guidelines as to how you want things to sit. You can draw out the basics of your graphic at this stage, too, and all of this will also help with keeping things proportionate later on.
Step Five: Outline your lettering
This is a good place to be able to practice your free flow writing, which can take practice to get the hang of. It doesn’t need to be perfect at this stage, but you want to ensure that you have the right loops and angles that you are looking to achieve in the finished product. (Yes the ‘u’ is supposed to be there – it’s the Canadian way!)
Step Six: Trace out where you want the writing to be thicker, then fill it in from the top down
While you are still outlining, clean the board as you go along only just enough to visualize where your lines need to be. This is the stage when I will use a dry paintbrush to clean up the edges, but the paintbrush will leave a fair bit of dust behind. Allow yourself to rest your hand on the board for stability as you are writing and don’t worry about smudging what is below, you can clean that part up when you get there. You should blow instead of rub the excess chalk away as much as possible, which will reduce your touch-up work later.
Step Seven: Use your finger to clean up the edges
I find that it makes a big difference if, in addition to starting with a very clean board, you lightly squeeze the damp cloth with your fingertips before rubbing away the bigger patches of dust. You don’t want your fingers to be wet (chalk is much harder to remove if applied to a wet chalkboard), you just want to avoid your finger being dry and covered in dust from the last spot you touched up as that will only spread the dust around.
Step Eight: Use a q-tip to clean up the areas that require more precision
This can work with both a wet or a dry q-tip. I recommend just a drop of water on one end and keeping the other end dry, as sometimes the wet end will leave streaks that you can then easily wipe away with the dry end. Experiment and find what works for you.
Step Nine: Create a sharpened edge on your chalk and work on the graphic details
To make myself a sharper edge for the finer details of the graphic, I started filling in the banner until I had plenty of edge around the circumference of the chalk to work with. Again, work your way from the top down and left to right, and once the basics are there, do your touching up.
Step Ten: Outline and begin filling in the banner
I googled chalkboard banners to get a good idea for the type of banner I wanted, and started by outlining the main sash of it followed by the tails.
Step Eleven: Finish the banner tails and lettering
For the inside of the tail ends, just smudge the chalk with your finger until you get the desired result – this is a great way to add a 3d effect to your banner.
Blow over the board and remove any excess dust that you can, and Voila!