Pinspiration Monday: DIY Chalkboard Menu (Part 2)

Good morning and welcome back from the weekend! Just wanted to thank you all so much for your kind words and continued support from last week’s one year blogiversary! It was so nice to hear from everyone and to get your opinion via poll and comments. Based on your feedback, I will be continuing my “Pinspiration Monday” feature on a weekly basis. Also, I’ll be bringing back the “Thrift Store SCORE!” feature on a monthly basis based on readership consensus. Lastly, you all voted and I’ll do my best to focus posts more on DIY projects with a little bit of organization and family life on the side.

For poll results, feel free to click on over to last week’s post, find the polls and click on “View results” at the bottom-left of each. Thanks again for your feedback and I look forward to implementing some changes that I think will keep things interesting and that I hope will keep you guys coming back for more!

Now for today’s topic – I’m back with a little “to be continued” post to finish up the DIY chalkboard menu I’ve been crafting for our wedding next month. To remind you, here are my Pinspiration images:

Source: This is Glamorous

Source: Style Me Pretty

The frame I used came from a close friend, who offered it to us from her grandfather’s home – We’ve since transformed the crumbling and stained antique into a clean and bright, “like-new” frame perfect for a wedding reception menu.

Next up, we needed to create the inner chalkboard section. To do this, John and I went out to Lowes with frame in hand and picked up a piece of thin wood. We had a lumber department employee cut it to size for us (for free!) and then brought it home for painting.

I used the same can of Valspar chalkboard paint that I’ve used for this project and this one – I think I still have over half the can left. It has served me well…

Using a 3 inch foam roller, I rolled on five thin and even coats of the paint, giving it about 30 minutes of dry time between coats. “Why five?” you might ask – Well I forgot to check the paint can for instructions on painting raw wood and only did so after the first coat. It was then that I found out I needed to prime the wood beforehand. To compensate for skipping that step, I doubled the recommended amount of chalkboard paint coats to make sure the wood was GOOD and covered. Luckily, after giving it a week of dry time, there was no staining or bleeding through the paint so I think we are safe.

If you would rather do fewer coats, by all means prime first and then you’ll probably only need two or three coats of the chalkboard paint.

Here it is after a week’s-worth of dry time:

For the final step, I carted the frame and newly-painted chalkboard over to my dad’s shop. As I’ve mentioned before, he’s a woodworker and is my trusted go-to for finishing touches like this. I wasn’t sure where to start with attaching the chalkboard to the frame, thinking maybe we would need to somehow attach two long and thin pieces of wood across the back. As per usual, dad had a much easier solution.

Instead of using large pieces of wood to secure the chalkboard, he pulled out these tiny metal tabs with holes for screws. Once attached, they would give just enough tension to hold the chalkboard in place.

He started by pre-drilling four holes for the screws, one in each corner. Then he took a pair of pliers and gently bent down the edge of each tab so that, when screwed into the frame, it would put tension on the back of the chalkboard and hold it steadily in place.

Last step – Screwing each firmly into place:

In no time, we were all finished (or technically DAD was all finished since I really didn’t contribute much other than moral support)…

(Yes, that’s a bottle opener on the side of the island in my parent’s house – We are beer connoisseurs in our family, haha. In fact, John installed his own on the island at our house last weekend!)

I know this post is already photo-laden, but I couldn’t help going a little photo crazy in dad’s shop while he worked on the frame. I wandered around aimlessly snapping the things in the shop that I’ve seen and been around for my entire life – As I was editing the photos later, it really occurred to me just how much he’s built over the years and how EPIC his workshop is. He has long since outgrown big box store jigs, etc, choosing instead to design and build his own. Looking around his collection of tools and wood, it’s just so overwhelming and really kind of magnificent. I just had to share.

Can’t be in the shop without a chilled glass of beer to sip on between cuts and drilling…I wasn’t kidding about the “beer connoisseur” thing – In fact now that I think about it, while I was at my parents working on this John was over at his friend’s house working on a home brewing kit!

During my wandering and photo-taking, I stumbled upon this beautiful tool box that he had built for himself. Check out the dove-tail finish…

And lastly, I have to brag about his involvement with the historic home of Thomas Jefferson – Poplar Forest is about five minutes away from my parents’ house (and our house too). Dad has been commissioned to build collectible boxes for the estate shop, crafted using antique wood from the property. You can check out his boxes here (it’s the fourth item from the bottom of the page). Here’s the description from the website to give you a more eloquent synopsis:

Historic Wood Boxes 
Made from historic Tulip Poplar wood from Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest plantation, these boxes and trivets are a beautiful addition to one’s home. Hand-made in Virginia by Patrick Williams.

I can’t get over just how COOL it is to visit my parents house and venture to the basement to see incredibly valuable and historic wood piled on tables ready to be made into boxes. Some of the pieces are even spotted with worm holes. It may seem silly, but I just think it’s so interesting…Maybe all of you other history buffs can understand.

Cool, huh?! The local paper even ran a story on him and another local woodworker – Check that out here.

Anyway, I’m lucky to have a dad who can help with these types of things and I can’t wait to show off our finished chalkboard framed menu at the wedding reception. Only 33 days to go!!!

UPDATE: We got the wedding photos back and I wanted to share a quick image of the chalkboard menu in place and showing off the tasty eats in my mom’s lovely handwriting…Hope you enjoy!

Photo credit: Katie Stoops Photography

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