How To Make a Wedding Chalkboard

How to create a wedding chalkboard without stencils

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.

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The view from my window today

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:

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I loved that little blue house across the lawn and wish I had gotten a better photo of it, it would be so gorgeous in black and white, too!

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Blow over the board and remove any excess dust that you can, and Voila!

Celebrating Half Birthdays

Yes, 1/2 birthdays are a thing!

A couple days ago I got to enjoy the most wonderful surprise – out of nowhere my fiance showed up in the living room with presents for me for my half birthday! I got a nice, fluffy new body pillow that I totally needed, a Sephora gift card, and a couple of my favourite bath products. (I haven’t gotten into the habit of photo documenting my life yet so, sorry, I don’t have pictures!)

Although we’ve celebrated half birthdays in the past, we only did it once and I completely forgot about them this year so it was a great little surprise!

I’m sharing because I think everyone should consider surprising a loved one (or even just someone you know who could use some cheering up) with this fun mini celebration, and I’ll tell you why.

Particularly the very first time that you celebrate someone’s half birthday, you can expect to get a pretty awesome reaction. I was brought to tears at how sweet and thoughtful it was since there was no reason at all for him to give me a gift other than remembering one particular day which I wouldn’t have even noticed had passed.

Most people don’t have a clue when their half birthday is, so this is a big part of what makes it great. Surprise gifts are always better given than gifts that come with expectation or from obligation. To be sure, I absolutely love giving presents for regular birthdays and for Christmas, but a half birthday is just a bit sweeter somehow, and there are all kinds of reasons to celebrate it.

Anyone who is in a relationship could benefit from doing this, even (and especially) if it’s not every year. It can be a one time thing you do to show some affection just because, and there’s no commitment to celebrate every single year as there is with Christmas and birthdays. If you do celebrate it every year that is totally fun too, but at some point people will start to remember the date and it could come to be an expectation. I suggest skipping some years and keeping the surprise factor!

If you’re single with a love interest, a carefully chosen gift at an unexpected time could be just the break you’re waiting for.

If your birthday falls on a major holiday like Christmas or even if it falls on the same day as someone else’s birthday who you don’t care to share it with, you could decide to celebrate your half birthday instead! (Does anybody actually like having a Christmas birthday?)

You can even use it as an excuse to just throw a party, and decorate with the ‘half’ theme, like making half cookies or serving a half birthday cake, for example.

If you want to have some fun and give this a try, you’ll need to first determine the date, which is actually slightly trickier than it sounds. There are a few different ways you can approach it:

  1. The simplest way is to add 6 months to their actual birthday. This way, as my birthday is March 5th, my half birthday became September 5th.
  2. To accurately calculate the exact date, you need to add 182.5 days to the birth date. (counting days on the calendar seems pretty tedious, so I’ve never done it this way)
  3. Check out this half birthday calculator for the exact date with leap years factored in. This site tells me September 3rd.

But the date is not what is important, really, and it’s not the gifts either. The point is that you are taking the time to show someone that you love them, in whatever way you choose, for no reason other than that you want to make them smile.

You could bake them a cake, give them a nice card that you have personally written to them in, or take them out for dinner or a favourite activity. You could finally finish a task that they’ve been nagging you about. Just think of whatever would be special to that person and do that.

 

Taking the time to think of them is an expression of love, and I fully believe in making sure that you take the time in life to show people that you love them, and putting in the effort to make fond memories with those people. When you show your love and appreciation for others, it strengthens the bonds you hold with them.

You are letting them know that to you, they are someone really special who is worth thinking of, and that is always a worthwhile effort.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”

– Maya Angelou

 

 

Has anyone else here celebrated some half birthdays? If you have, share how it went and what you did! If not, are you considering it now?