$12 Large Framed Chalkboard

Pastels. Eggs. Candy. Sunday best. Worship. Easter was yesterday and was filled with all of these beautiful, fun things. I love Easter because it celebrates a fresh start. A clean slate. Spring is evident everywhere, in new blooms, in beautiful colors, a perfect picture of redemption. The Easter story is powerful, and we’ve been seeing “He is risen” photos popping up all over our Instagram feed making us even more thankful to be a part of such a beautiful community of creatives celebrating the gifts and beauty of our Creator.

Most of the last couple of weeks has been full of rehearsals in preparation for our Easter services at work, which makes for a busy and [wonder]full schedule. Somehow, though, Amanda and I found ourselves with a chunk of time Saturday morning to get together for donuts and coffee. Friends, the sun was shining, the shop was gorgeous and the blog planning was productive! We did a quick live video that you can check out here to see what all we were up to, and here are a couple of photos from our adventure.

Because schedules have been so busy lately, I’ve been all about the quick and easy projects and upgrades. I still haven’t finished the floor in our hall bathroom or the shelves, but we’re getting there! Despite that, there wasa little extra time to work on small projects that needed my attention but I hadn’t had time for in the past, like the chalkboard over my coffee bar. I have always been pretty much in love with the idea of a coffee bar and have seen a few inspirational ones which led to my coffee cabinet upgrade which you can read about here. Almost all of my idea board photos have chalkboards in them, though, so I was bound and determined to figure out how to work an oversized chalkboard into my coffee bar.

Before I had time to build a chalkboard, I was walking through Hobby Lobby on a completely unrelated shopping trip and stumbled on their aisle of chalkboards. To be perfectly honest, I always thought it would just be completely cost-ineffective to buy a framed chalkboard the size I wanted {we’re talking 3′ wide} when I could build one for around $20. Well, I was wrong! Sometimes making them from scratch isn’t the way to go!

I found this unfinished framed chalkboard at Hobby Lobby originally for $14.99, except that day it was 50% off. So it cost $7.50. Say what!?! Way cheaper for an already framed chalkboard than if I had bought a sheet of blackboard at the hardware store and bought wood to frame it and … oh, yeah. Then there’s the time it would have taken to cut down the boards, build the frame, attach it … you get the picture. Even after all of that, it would have cost $20 to build one on my own including stain… so I bought it!

Patience is not one of my virtues, friends, so I brought it home and hung it up immediately as it was. I had a magnolia wreath, hung it on the chalkboard with a 3M hook and called it a day. It was cute, don’t get me wrong, but looked unfinished {because it was} and it was also missing something. When a DIY-er, upgrade! I headed down to the garage and pulled out my favorite stain of all time, Minwax Early American, covered my dining room table with a plastic dropcloth, found an old sock with holes in it and stained the frame on that chalkboard. Instant. Upgrade.

If you don’t have stain on hand, stores like Home Depot and Lowes and even Walmart sell small cans of stain for around $4.

Before…

After!

A couple of staining tips. I never brush stain on. Ever. It goes on so much smoother with something soft like a cloth, an old rag, an old tee shirt, or a sock. Believe it or not, we have a sock stash in the garage for staining. True story. I also don’t do the whole brush on, wipe off thing. Probably because I use Early American which is not a super dark stain to start with. At any rate, I wipe a coat on thinly so there’s nothing to wipe off, let that dry and then if it’s not dark enough, I’ll do another coat. It’s easier and less wasteful, in my opinion. Finally, wipe with the grain, not against it. You’ll have weird lines if you try to go against the grain so just roll with it.

I did not clear coat this sign. You can, and it’s absolutely helpful, but it’s really not exposed to any elements so I didn’t take the time to. I also mentioned it was missing something with just the wreath. It’s not a coffee bar without a sign, right? I made this sign a while ago using the same technique for the words as our wood gather sign and the same distressing technique as our planter boxes. Because 3M hooks are awesome, I hung it on the chalkboard the same way and ta-da! It feels like that niche is finished and is full of materials I love: greenery, chippy white paint, chunky farmhouse furniture, chalkboard, wood elements and, of course, coffee.

Now that that’s done, I need to get back to that bathroom flooring so we can check that one off the project list. But first, coffee. Happy Monday, friends!

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