One of the things we did for Alma’s second birthday was make her a fun chalkboard table for her cars.
This project actually started last summer and went through a few different changes along the way. It started with this crazy dirt-and-rock-filled-brick-planter in our sunroom:
This planter has been annoying me since we moved in 3 years ago. I’ve never known what to do with it. Since our bunny lives in the sunroom, I couldn’t just plant some plants in it – he would eat them. For a while he liked to dig in the box, but that ended up making a huge mess. The dirt in the planter is a really fine dust that coats the whole room when dug up. Add a curious toddler and the sunroom was never clean.
My mom actually suggested that we do something with the planter. I think I had just given up at this point. Her first idea was to dig out all the dirt and fill it with something more fun (and less dirty) to play with. When she came over and started digging, she realized how horrible the dirt was after inhaling the super-fine dust. We started brainstorming again. The next idea was to cover it with a board and paint a scene on it for Alma’s cars. You know those old carpets that have the town and roads on them? That idea, but in paint. After agreeing that this was the perfect idea, I thought it would be even cooler to just use chalkboard paint. I wanted the girls to be able to create their own towns, or whatever, not just be stuck with the town I painted for them. Imagination and creativity are always encouraged here!
Jesse and my mom went and bought all the supplies, and Jesse quickly built the board using plywood and quarter-round strips. We countersunk the nails, and filled the holes with spackle so everything would be smooth. Then the board sat on the planter for a couple months.
Finally, I decided Alma’s birthday was the perfect reason to finish this project, so I sanded everything down and started priming the board.
I used two coats of primer, then sanded it all down again. I wanted to make sure the wood was really sealed because the chalkboard paint is expensive and I didn’t want to waste it by having it soak into the wood. Also, the directions say to prime and sand bare wood.
Then came 3 or 4 thin coats of the chalkboard paint. I can’t remember, but I’m pretty sure I did 4. I wanted smooth, even coverage, so I did really nice, thin coats. Below you see what it looked like halfway through the second coat.
Then back out to the sunroom to cure for a few days. I already liked how it looked so much! No more dirt!
I followed the directions on the can to prepare the chalkboard by rubbing the side of a piece of chalk all over the whole thing and wiping off with a dry cloth. Our original idea was to attach the whole thing to the wall, but I sort of love how I can tip it up and brush the chalk dust into the dirt. We might need to attach it if Alma or Harriet start lifting it up all the time, but it’s pretty heavy and I don’t think they know it opens.
I’m not sure who will like it more, me, or Alma. I had a lot of fun writing a birthday message, and drawing a little road for her new cars. I’m excited to work on my chalkboard-writing skills.
Alma definitely does love it, though! She seems to like the drawing part more than the car part these days, but I’m sure she’ll appreciate that it is a fun, versatile toy out in the sunroom. I also have a ton of the paint leftover, so I’m already thinking about what else could use some creativity. Chalkboard all the things! Uh oh….
ps – I am linking up with a link party on I Heart Nap Time!