Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Signage 101: "A" Frame Wood Chalkboard Sign Tutorial

 Sometimes I come up with some crazy, but perfect last minute ideas and this was no exception.

 Last Saturday we were trying to figure out what kind of signs we were going to put out on the street corners for the Bake Sale, and after calling a couple of print places we decided we did not want to pay $7.00 each for a blown-up versions of the flier. Left with no other ideas I told Ryan that I would just rather make signs. He was not too in-favor of the idea, but I assured him it would be do-able and that I would be-able to use the signs again. Some elbow grease and $50.00 (so long to $7.00 each) later I had my signs and they are just how I envisioned. 

 I think these signs would look so cute for parties, weddings, or even just in the house somewhere. Now I am just worried people are going to steal them off the street corners on Saturday.  Wouldn't you come to my Bake Sale if you saw these cute signs with balloons attached to them?

We made three of them so that is kinda why it cost us a little more, but here is how you can make these cute chalk board signs too. 

Materials Needed: (1) 8x4 sheet of particle sub flooring cut in half and then in thirds or to desired size.  We bought ours for about $14.00 at Lowes.
(2) Hinges for each sign being made. 
(1) Gate hook and eye set for each sign
(1) Foot of small chain for each sign
Screw driver
Needle-nose pliers
Paint of your choosing
Chalkboard paint (I used Valspar chalkboard paint from Lowes)
Foam paint rollers, craft paint brushes


Step 1: Prime cut boards. I used Glidden's Gripper Primer. It is important to prime board like this because it is really porous and you will want to fill in the tiny holes and seal it.

Step 2: Roller the boards in your paint color of choice. I only painted the front sides of the boards and the edges and didn't bother painting the backs that will not be seen. I did two coats of paint and applied it with the foam rollers.

Step 3: Make a stencil / template of your design. I made my image in Photo-Shop. Does it look familiar?  Then I took the image into Illustrator and tile printed it out on my printer. Other word-processing programs may have this option just "Google" it.  After printing out all the pages I cut the image out and taped it together. If I did it again I would not have done it in black because it rubbed of on my fingers and onto the boards. 

Step 4: Trace your stencil onto the boards. You will want to measure and layout the stencil on your painted and dry boards making sure it is just how you want it. Once it is just right simply trace. I only did one side of each sign for right now and am planning on doing a different design on the back sides later.

Step 5: Once traced you can start painting the design with a craft brush and chalkboard paint. I used really cheap small brushes from Lowes and wished I would have gone to a craft store and bought better quality ones. Your work is only as good as your tools. 

Step 6: Fill in the design area with a foam brush and chalkboard paint. The first coat was really streaky with the Valspar chalkboard paint. 
 I ended up doing almost 3 coats of paint when it came down to it. I let the first coat dry completely before adding the second and third coat. I was unhappy with how hard it was to paint with this brand of chalkboard paint, but it works really well when dry and used as a chalkboard. If I were to do it again I would probably look into Benjamin Moore's chalkboard paint. 

Step 7: Adding hardware. Lay your finished and dried front and back pieces upside down on the floor with the designated top of each piece touching.
Get your hinges and measure out where you want them and place them right side up on the seam of the two boards. Then using a screw driver attach the hinges to each side. 

Step 8: This you will need some muscle for. You want to take your gate hook and eye set and remove the hook from the eye so that you can attach the small chain to it. I used needle-nose pliers. Please be careful though because it is easy to have the pliers slip while doing this. You will also want to open a link on the small chain as-well. 

Step 9: Attach the eyes to the back of both boards. I didn't want to go find a drill bit so I just used an extra hinge screw to start my holes for the eyes. Then I took the eye and by hand screwed it as far as I could into the hole I had made. Repeating on the other side.

Step 10: Once finished with step 9 I stood the hinged boards up and opened them into an "A" frame. Then I took the hook that I had already attached to the small chain and hooked it into one of the eyes on the inside of the "A" frame. Then I pulled the small chain across to the other eye so that I could see how much I needed to shorten it. Then using the needle nose pliers again I opened up the link and attached it to the eye. This way I have a chain that I can hook in and out when setting up the signs that will keep it from falling open. The signs are pretty heavy and sturdy on their own too, depending on how thick of boards you get.

 I will probably end up rewriting the messages a million times before I like them, but I am just weird that way. Hope you like this tutorial. Send me pictures if you make one. 


  1. Love it! Those are so cute! This Saturday right? I'd like to stop by, especially if your making cupcakes because you know I love your cupcakes.

  2. Ya, it is this Saturday. Summer and them are coming down for it too. Of course there will be cupcakes in-fact that is only baked good I am doing.

  3. Those are SO cute! It was so fun to meet you today! Sorry we couldn't stay longer!

  4. Love this! So cute and so many things you can do with it. I would come to your bake sale if I saw your super cute sign! :o)

    Kendra “Domestic Princess in Training “

  5. love those, they are so cute! I would come to your bake sale for sure, yum!

  6. This is adorable and such a great idea! It'd definately be the best looking/cutest garage sale sign I have ever seen! I love that they are re-usable!

  7. Super cute! I love that you can change the sign for what ever you want it now! :)

  8. Great idea!!! That would be great at a school or church carnival too.

  9. I love this! And seriously, I would steal it off the corner if I had a chance. I'm thinking it would be awesome to make one if you had a craft bazaar or something. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!

  10. They turned out DARLING!! I'd follow a sign like that fur sure!!!

  11. Thanks so much for sharing this adorable idea. We're going to make one for the church/reception for our September 3rd wedding. I knew I wanted a sign with chalkboard paint, but couldn't quite pull up a picture in my head. This is PERFECT!!

  12. that is adorable! I love the shape of the chalkboard. Great job!! Much better than a sign shop sign!

  13. So pretty! I'm gonna link up to this project sometime in the near future at Dollar Store Crafts (whenever I post my next chalkboard roundup... not sure when that will be). These are darling! I bet they'll come in handy for lots of other events... garage sale, anyone?

  14. Very cute! Thanks for the tutorial!!

  15. Could you use spray chalk board paint? Just a thought but it goes on and dries fast and seems as though it would be less time consuming. Just curious. (i'm lazy and always low on time) :)

  16. I bet you could use the chalk board spray paint. You would just have to make and tape off your template differently to assure you would get crisp lines.

    I am into painting though and would never even think to spray paint wood furniture like some people do. I am way to into my painting process.

  17. Wonderful, wonderful! Did you ever link to One Pretty Thing with this?

  18. From One Pretty Thing - LOVE THIS IDEA! For Parties, Garage Sales, Birthdays, Just Because. I am begging my husband to help me with this (i can't touch saws...)

  19. Beth Ann: I just had Home Depot (or Lowes I can not remember) cut them for me. The board whole is to big to bring home in a car or SUV anyways. I just had them cut it in half and then into thirds. Hope that helps!

  20. Great idea! I wanted to let you know that I featured this on my site today. Stop by and check it out if you get a chance!