Monday, 5 August 2013

Be Inspired Monday: Canvas Blackboards (Tutorial)

 Introducing ... the 'new' Sufficient Grace! Things have changed around here and it's just a tad bit exciting! Intrigued? Have a peek here to see the changes! While you're visiting, enjoy the first post for 'Be Inspired Monday' below ...

I've been wanting to make some canvas blackboards for my kids rooms for a while now and found some time to make them the other afternoon. It was so enjoyable to be doing something creative, it has been far too long in between times! I thought I would show you how to make one too.
Here's a list of supplies you will need:
  • Canvases of your choice of size and amount (these are 12"x 24" thin and flat)
  • a brush of some sort to achieve a smooth finish
  • blackboard paint (apparently you can make your own, mine is store bought)
  • a hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • ribbon of your choice
  • sharp scissors
  • glad wrap
  • you don't necessarily need a cute little helper as in above photo, but I prefer one!
 This project really isn't very time consuming and it's always nice to achieve something quickly when you're pressed for time. I had to give the canvases three coats of the blackboard paint (you can choose a different colour if you prefer) so that there was really even coverage. You could prime the canvases first with a white acrylic paint, but I didn't have any on hand, so I chose to do three coats instead (Make sure you shake or mix the paint really well before using to mix all the pigments thoroughly). I find that the more coats the smoother the chalk writes on the surface. Take care to make sure you have a smooth, even finish by swiping your brush (I used mine on the side of the long edge as it covered a larger surface area faster) from one side to the other in a straight line before the paint dries, you don't want to end up with bumpy chalk writing!
A little tip to make cleaning up easier. Line your painting surface with glad wrap before you begin painting, then you will be able to just peel it off quickly and throw it in the bin, and your surface won't be covered in paint!
 Coffee break while the coats of paint dried thoroughly ...
 Little Miss P also painted a mini blackboard canvas and we thought that it's the perfect size for grabbing when on the go. At places like basketball (where the younger kids wait for the older kids to finish playing), piano lessons (where one is waiting for the other) etc. this will be a great, quiet, minimal mess activity for hangman, naughts and crosses or just drawing with two sticks of chalk! It's even a great size for Mr R to use while in the shopping trolley seat as I do the groceries (or while I have a coffee with friends at Gloria Jeans!)

The places this little blackboard can go are endless! I think I'll keep it with the chalk together in a large zip lock bag, so it's ready to grab on the way out the door. Imagination tool!
 Once the paint is thoroughly dry you can begin to add the ribbon to the edges using the hot glue gun. To measure the length of ribbon needed, you just need to stretch it along the sides of the canvas and snip with about an inch overhang at each end. With the girls canvas (above and below photos on the left) the ribbon came with a glue strip pre-attached, so no hot glue was required. The boys ribbon (above and below photos on the right) needed to be applied with the hot glue gun.

Make sure your hot glue gun is very hot and not warm, and you will need to use a fairly generous amount in a line along the edge so that it really adheres properly. It took me a couple of times of trying as my gun wasn't hot enough and the ribbon just peeled off because there wasn't enough glue. I used my fingers to quickly rub the ribbon on the glue in sections as I went along the length of the sides. Be careful as the glue is obviously still hot!
 The girls chose a 'girly' kind of ribbon, and the boys chose, in my opinion, the most boring ribbon out of the three I had to choose from (photo a couple above)! The ribbon over hang on each end is so that you can flip your canvas over and hot glue them down to the back of it as tabs. This helps to keep the ribbons in place even more and gives a nice neat finish to the edges as well.

The main purpose that I was wanting to create these canvases is so that I could use them as a way to teach my children more of God's word. Children can be such visual learners and having these canvases in their rooms (they share rooms) reminds them of the importance of God's Word and living in His ways. I really desire my children to remember His Word and this is just another way it can be done! It's also an excellent tool for me because it is just so easy to wipe it off and write a new verse every couple of weeks or so.

I may also write great quotes or little messages to them on these as well, but for the most part, it will be scriptures. (I will actually go back and add the reference too, so the kids learn where to find the verse)
 This is the first verse I've chosen for the kids to memorise, John 15:12. I love that I can choose a verse that's something I'm teaching into the hearts of my children too. (As you can see in both above and below photos, we are in the process of painting walls!)

As these are flat canvases, they don't have hanging wires, so I have just leaned the boys one against their wall on their drawers and the girls one is blue-tacked to the wall as it is light enough!
Well, that's it! I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and enjoy making your own canvas blackboards! I'll be happy to answer any questions for you and would love to see or hear how your canvases turned out too! Have fun being creative!
I've linked up with A Wise Woman Builds Her Home for even more inspiration for you, my lovely readers to enjoy!

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