Jessica Garvin admits to having an obsession with chalkboards. Naturally, she managed to include a chalkboard in her Christmas decorations.
Jessica writes about life, style and, yes, chalkboards on her blog Little Baby Garvin. She’s also one of the talented bloggers taking part in our Holiday Style Challenge series here on The Home Depot Blog. We sent Jessica a mystery box of Home Depot Christmas decorations for her to use in decorating for the holidays.
Jessica didn’t just style a lovely holiday dessert table… she built the table! And there’s a chalkboard, of course, with a holiday message. She shows us how she created a chalkboard customized for the spot where she hangs it.
Decorating for the holidays is always a highlight of my year, and this year I was more than thrilled to be decorating an outdoor space with mystery boxes from The Home Depot. I would call my style Modern Farmhouse. I like a collection of vintage things but arranged in a very clean, simplistic way.
With an empty stone patio, we decided to take on a major DIY project and build a farmhouse table. We picked out some beautiful cedar from The Home Depot lumber department– the more knots and character, the better. We chose to make our table six feet long to best fit our space.
To keep with the modern style, we used a router to inset the legs and the plank across the bottom. We stained all of the wood, framed it out and then built a planked top to give it a more rustic look.
We chose some metal garden chairs from Home Decorators Collection to accent the table. I love the contrast between the light and dark!
One of the best things about the holidays are all of the sweets, so we decided to put together a little hot chocolate bar. On the tabletop, I used my old jadeite cake stands that complimented the colors in the retro inspired ornament wreaths that were hung on the pathway.
Along the back side of the patio, we used 4 ft. pre-lit potted Christmas trees to build a wall to help make the space more defined and extra cozy. A few sprigs of greenery and a small garland are the perfect way to bring it all together.
DIY CHALKBOARD PROJECT
Inside our screened in porch, it was empty aside from the patio furniture that we already had. With a big blank wall, what better than to add an oversized chalkboard?! An outdoor chalkboard is both fun and functional– add festive greetings for guests, or let toddlers to get messy with chalk, no cleanup required!
We wanted to build this chalkboard ourselves to best fit the space and we love the way it turned out! A dark stain gives it a more vintage look and also compliments the dark stain on the table. We also dressed it up with a beautiful 9 ft. prelit garland, I love the way the lights look against the dark wood and chalkboard paint.
- A 4 x 6 sheet of plywood, approximately 1/2 in. thick.
- For the frame, three 1-in. x 2-in. x 8-ft. trim boards made of basic white pine
- A box of 1-in. screws
- Eight 3-in. screws
- A quart of chalkboard paint
- Any stain of your choice.
How to Make the Chalkboard
The first step is to begin painting the plywood with chalkboard paint, letting it dry well in-between each coat. After each coat, change the roller, this will help keep the surface level and smooth. With the plywood, one side is already usually smoother than the other, so be sure to choose that one for painting.
For the trim boards, rather than making the frame the exact same size as the plywood, we wanted to allow for a ¼ in. overhang around the entire thing. This will help hide the edges of the plywood and allow for a little room for error. The dimensions for our chalkboard warranted two cuts at 72 and ¼ inches and two more at 43 and ¼ inches. The 5-in. variance allows you to frame out the chalkboard by placing the shorter trim boards inside the longer trim boards. Once the boards are cut, stain each side with a clean rag.
Once all the paint and stain is dry, it’s time for assembly. Place the chalkboard on it’s back and lay the trim boards in place. You can clamp the boards down to ensure they don’t move after getting them lined up correctly. The two most important parts of this step are 1) making sure the trim boards cover the edges of the chalkboard, and 2) keeping the boards straight on the chalkboard. When measured diagonally, the measurements should be pretty close.
Pre-drill and screw the long boards into the short boards from the side, I used two screws at each corner. If possible, keep the chalkboard clamped to the frame and flip the entire chalkboard and frame onto its face. If you don’t have clamps, no big deal. Just center the chalkboard on the frame, making sure the chalkboard doesn’t overhang anywhere. Now use 1-in. screws to fasten the chalkboard to the frame. I used one screw every foot all the way around the chalkboard.
Now your chalkboard is finished and you can hang it however suits your space.
TIP: Don’t forget, before you draw on your freshly painted chalkboard, you must season it first by running a piece of chalk on its side all along the entire board, then erasing it. This will allow for easy erasing in the future as you make masterpieces!
Thank you again so much for including me in the Home Depot Style Challenge, we had such a fun time with it and will be enjoying our farmhouse table for every single holiday from now on!
Jessica Garvin writes about life with her husband and two small children (and about chalkboards) on her blog Little Baby Garvin.
Visit The Home Depot’s online Holiday Decorations Department for everything you need to decorate for Thanksgiving and Christmas.