My closest childhood friend is getting married in the fall, and I volunteered to help out with some of the decorations. She wanted a chalkboard menu, so she found a great chalkboard at TJ Maxx and handed it over to me.
I've seen so many adorable decorated chalkboards in grocery stores, bistros, and aaallll over Pinterest. Utilize Pinterest for brainstorming ideas, since the possibilities are endless!
This is the final result of my chalkboard menu, and some tips to make your own:
I was a little overwhelmed at first, trying to decide how I wanted the menu to look, and how to accomplish it without messing up!
I found it helpful to play around in Adobe InDesign to format the text first. This way, I was able to figure out the spacing and the placement of the text before I went bananas with the chalkboard markers.
I also toyed with drawing different "MENU" lettering options for the header, and asked the bride which she liked and which she didn't.
Personally, I decided to go the route of grocery stores and bistros and use chalkboard markers instead of traditional chalk, since I didn't want my hard work to erase easily. I bought my markers at Paper Source, and this is what I got:
The white marker is a different brand than the colored markers, which came in a 4-pack. The white marker is made by Chalk Ink, and the colored markers are called "Bistro" and are made by Uchida. All are supposed to wipe off with either water or an ammonia-based cleaner, so they shouldn't be permanent, in case you want to change up your chalkboard art, or if you mess up and need to re-start.
They also chip off a bit when you scratch at the dried ink once you've drawn on the chalkboard, so be careful handling/transporting the board. It seems pretty durable with light touches, though.
Before it was time for markers, I lightly drew on all lettering and the flowers with a white colored pencil, which I found really helpful in translating the spacing from the InDesign printout to the real board.
I found the two different marker brands worked pretty much the same, and didn't really notice any quality difference. That said, filling in larger forms was tricky, as the markers didn't blend with themselves very well, and tended to get really streaky. Most of the lettering was just fine, and the ink flowed well.
I tried to do a second coat on the filled-in forms (the peonies and the leaves) once the first coat dried, to see if it would even out the streaks, but it just kind of re-liquified the first coat and moved it around. I was able to eventually fix some of the streaking this way, but it was frustrating. I would recommend being strategic and creative with your streaks so that you don't attempt a second coat.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with the results, and the bride loves it, so that's what matters most!
I'm already itching to get my hands on more chalkboards to decorate. What's great is that these markers also work on glass and other non-porous surfaces...so I think some mirror and window drawing may be in my future...
So I just moved a few weeks ago, and took over my friend (and doppelganger) Maggie’s apartment when she moved in with her boyfriend. It’s an apartment I’ve always admired, and I jumped at the chance to make it my own. My elderly great aunt is even nearby--only a block away.
I was extremely lucky to inherit some of Maggie’s taste and hard work, as she painted nearly every wall and put up the most magnificent wallpaper in the built-in vanity hallway.
I’m still getting some things put away, but the vanity is one of the things I made a priority right off the bat. I have this incredible stained glass window that was perfect to prop on the window sill, and it adds some privacy so I still get the natural light, but no one can see me. I needed a mirror, and found a nice one at Target on clearance for only $19.
Even though there’s a large window and an overhead light in the hall, I quickly figured out that the lighting still wasn’t right. The first morning I went to do my makeup, I was totally in the shadows, and things were looking rough. I needed more light! Quick! As a renter, I can’t exactly make many changes to the space, and the closest outlet is in the bathroom off the hall, so I needed a solution. I really had my heart set on traditional vanity lighting, and with a little DIY modification, I had a cheap and easy solution. Here are the results, and how I did it:
Cute, right? I watched a few different videos to make sure the general instructions were the same. There are tons of tutorials out there, but here are two of them which I found helpful:
I found my light fixture at an Ace Hardware for $13, and a set of GE Reveal 40 Watt globe lights (these create a very clear light, so be careful when buying your globe lights not to buy some that will give off that yellowy incandescent light). I was able to get a box of 3 for around $10, which was cheaper than buying them individually. Bonus!
I used an existing extension cord from my “box o’ cords” to wire into the fixture, then hung the fixture above my mirror on some nails. I tried using Command strips, but the back of my particular fixture is slightly recessed, so the Command strips weren’t thick enough to bridge that gap. I snaked the extension cord down the wall and along the edge of the vanity, then into the bathroom where I plug it into the outlet.
I plan on getting a wireless remote, to make it easier to turn on/off. I found one at Target for about $15, so once that’s purchased, all in all the whole thing (including the mirror) cost less than $60 which is WAY cheaper than buying a pre-made lighted vanity mirror, which can cost hundreds. It’s easier and more fun to make your own, and customize it to your individual space. Plus, it’s not permanent, so you can take it from place to place, and not cause damage to the walls!
So, now I have plenty of proper light to play with makeup, and, another bonus, the wallpaper is great for the occasional selfie!
The Peony wallpaper can be found online at Urban Outfitters as of a few days ago, but when I went to grab the link to post here, it's sold out! Bummer. They do have plenty of other lovely papers, and hopefully they will re-stock the Peony paper soon!
So go forth and DIY! Let me know if you have any questions, and I'll do my best to help. I'll be posting more DIY projects soon!