Monday, July 11, 2011

The Chalkboard

We are slowly adjusting to the work week after a relaxing vacation with perfect weather and very few projects.  This is one that I completed a while ago, but it took some time before I could write about it.  I am feeling refreshed, and ready to share. 

I knew that I wanted to make a chalkboard out of a headboard for our kitchen, and that I would know the right piece when I saw it.  I waited and waited, and one day, this spoke to me (via Craigslist):
It's a footboard, actually, and I felt as though it was created with the idea that it would be a bed for a while, but someday it would find its calling and be repurposed as a chalkboard.  The asking price was $50, so I sat on it for a little while.  I hadn't planned to spend so much.  But it haunted me.  A week later it was still there, and I offered $25.  She countered $35, and I just couldn't walk away.  I happily picked it up and immediately began to destroy it.  There will be no pictures of the destruction.  That's how painful it was.  Multiple weekends of pain.

First, I thought I would strip the finish, because someone had already started to do so, and it was a bit dark against our pine floors and pickled oak table.  I have only attempted stripping furniture once previously, and that was a complete disaster that ended with me rinsing the furniture with a hose in the backyard, and then painting it. I should have known better than to try again, but I thought I would take it slow this time, removing the finish bit by bit until it was done.  But like the last time, the stripping solution started drying and the finish didn't seem to be coming off, and I ran out of patience, and I ended up hosing it off in the backyard.  Not good for the grass, not good for the wood, but they both survived.  And, much to my pleasure and dismay, the wood looked a little lighter, and weathered, which is what I was going for.  So the next weekend I tried to remove the remaining finish, which ended with the hose in the backyard.  I sanded the rest of it off as best I could. 

Next, I decided to paint, which we all know is not usually part of the plan when one sets out to strip finish from a piece of furniture, unless that person is me.  I wish I could vow not to make this mistake again, but I know myself well enough not to make that promise.  I thought I would do a whitewash because I still wanted it to be lighter, but I didn't want to lose the weathered look of the wood.  I mixed half paint and half water, brushed it on, and then wiped it off with a rag.  It was lighter, but it still wasn't what I wanted.  So, I finished it off with some dry brushing.  I dipped my brush in the paint and then wiped it on a rag, removing most of the paint, and made brush strokes over the whitewash.

The part I was looking forward to finally arrived.  I put a coat of dark-tinted primer in the center panel, and covered that with two coats of chalkboard paint. That was easy.

And then I said, Good enough

I've got to find a way to camaflouge that pesky light switch, but the chalkboard has been a big hit with guests.  I love seeing what people draw, and leaving it up for a while, until the mood strikes to create something new.

I linked this up to the Before and After Party on Thrifty Decor Chick.

1 comment:

J said...

I LOVE it...great job!