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Friday, December 21, 2012

56 Preston's Bedroom Update: A DIY Chalkboard Calendar

Although many of the plans for Preston's room have evolved and changed along the way, the one thing we knew for sure was that we wanted to bring in a large calendar. 

Preston is growing and all of the sudden he has this thing called "a life".  Practices, school activities, sleepovers and study nights.  Sometimes it is hard for both of us to keep up with it!

I keep a family schedule in a central location, and it's the first place Preston goes to look every night after school, or else it is just a daily, "Mom, what are we doing tonight?". 

The hope is that by giving Preston his own calendar, I can write in family obligations and his practice schedules and then he can write in his due dates, tests and plans with his friends.

Preston and I both really liked this version from PBteen, but I didn't love the $70 price tag for a large piece of vinyl...

So, we did what we do best, we made our own version.

I started out with a piece of MDF we had leftover from previous projects, along with a few pieces of oak wood strips found at Home Depot.


Following the directions on the cans, I gave the wood strips a couple coats of stain and the MDF board a few coats of the chalkboard paint. {Those iphone photos were accidentally deleted, boo.}

Once everything was cured and dry, it was time to create the calendar grid.


It helped by drawing a small quick version of the calendar on a nearby scrap piece of paper, along with measurements, so that once we started drawing on the chalkboard with a ruler and pencil, we were confident about our markings.

For the lines themselves, I found a white Sharpie paint pen on Amazon.  The pen would help me paint the perfect lines on the chalkboard {I have since seen a similar pen at Michaels}.


By painting the lines with a paint pen, the calendar can be updated month after month and then wiped away without the lines going away with the schedule.

Next step was to attach the trim pieces to the outside of the calendar with our brad nailer.  It was important to draw the grid prior to adding the trim boarder, so that the yard stick could lay flat.


To hang the calendar, we attached picture hanging loops and wire to the back {using a kit similar to this one}.  Oh, and we quickly primed the calendar with a piece of chalk too.  Isn't the finished product a beautiful piece of work!?!


Once the calendar was on the wall, I thought it would be fun to bring in a few of the colors from the room by adding vinyl lettering for the days of the week.


Then I got to work with the chalk and chalk pen to add a bunch of special dates and reminders to the calendar.  That way, I could surprise Preston with the finished product before he arrived home from school.


So much fun!


I wiped the board down a few times {I like to use a damp microfiber sponge to erase}, and it always washes up nice and clean and the lines stay nice and crisp!



Not only do I adore the functionality of it, but I also love the addition it made to the room!  It was a great way to begin filling the big empty wall.


We thought about adding a chalk holder {an upside-down cup drawer pull}, however, for now, the chalk just rests on the ledge...


To say that we all love it is an understatement!  And the best part of course is that Preston is enjoying it and can draw and add his own items as well.



Now, only time will tell if this keeps him more organized throughout the school year with all of his obligations and social life...  I think that it is fun enough that he will want to keep up with it.

Since we already had the MDF, chalk paint and stain on hand, the only cost to us was the trim so we came in far below the inspiration budget.  And it's not just vinyl!  Love.

What high end item have you been inspired by, that you DIY'd and saved some major moolah? 

Want to see more updates we have made to this tween boy bedroom?  We painted the dresser, the nightstand, some stripes on his curtains and DIYd a pendant light.

56 comments:

  1. Wow, this is such a cool idea. We sometimes (when we are feeling organized) keep a centralized schedule, but we don't always keep up with it. We have a really tight schedule some nights, and I always wish there was a way that it never catches the kids off-guard. Thanks for this idea!!

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  2. Hi , It looks amazing! Could you give us the meassurements of the board as well as the size of the calender blocks?

    E

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  3. What type of chalk pen did you use? Also how does it come off...just water and a rag or a more specialized cleaner?
    Thanks!
    Allie

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    Replies
    1. I was going to ask the same - I've been looking for a fine chalk pen... Way cuter then the PB one, btw!

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    2. I too had the same question! I find it hard to be precise with just a piece of chalk and would love to find a great pen.

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    3. ditto, whats the pen?

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    4. I had the same question about the pen and was wondering if this is it? Thanks! Rebecca http://www.amazon.com/Chalk-Ink-Pen-White-Marker/dp/B007YJTJSY/ref=sr_1_2?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1356180740&sr=1-2&keywords=Chalk+pen

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    5. Hi sweet gals!
      I found the chalk pen at Michaels {I just asked someone, they were burried with paint pens in the paint isle}. They come in colors or just white, and work great on chalk boards for finer writing. It is a little more challenging to remove the ink that just chalk, but I just use a damp microfiber sponge and it seems to do the trick!

      And Rebecca, I believe that one would work just as well from Amazon, it actually looks to be even a bit more fine tip than the one I found at Michaels.

      xoxo!
      Jen

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    6. There is such thing as a CHALK PEN??? Does it sound like chalk on a chalkboard? all gritty and screechy? Or is it more like a fluid? Holy cow, you may have just changed my life. Again! I LOVE all the chalkboard stuff and I love that IDEA, but the mess of chalk and the SOUND of chalk is just unbearable to me.

      I shall look into it.

      You rock. I love this for my own Preston's room!

      Thanks :)

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    7. I would love to know this too! I hate the sound/feel of writing with chalk so if a chalk pen was smoother then I would love to make better use of chalkboards around the house.

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    8. I want to know this too! I hate writing with chalk but if the chalk pen writes more smoothly and without the screeching noise I'll soon be putting chalk boards all over the house.

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    9. The pen writes extremely smoothly - I love it far more than chalk! And I also love that you can find them in vibrant colors.

      xo!
      Jen

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  4. This is really great! You did a beautiful job! Pottery Barn might need to hire you!

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    Replies
    1. Ha! Love that :)

      Thanks much Melissa!

      xo,
      Jen

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  5. This looks amazing. I think I have a project coming up. :)
    Also, I don't know if you know already, and if you don't it might sound silly, but coca cola works perfect for cleaning chalkboards. Particularly homemade chalkboards. Not a lot of effort is needed. Just make sure to give it a quick wipe with a damp cloth after to stop it drying sticky.

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    Replies
    1. That is crazy, never knew! Thanks so much for the great tip!

      xo,
      Jen

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  6. This is such a cool DIY project Jen. It's great to have a large, unique piece that is also functional to fill up that big wall.

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  7. I love this! I just hate how my handwriting looks on chalkboards and dry-erase boards or else I would have them all over my house. But you did such an amazing job with that! Looks like it would be worth the $70 way more than a silly piece of vinyl!

    - Chloe
    http://rainbowsandhoneysuckle.blogspot.com/

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    Replies
    1. Hi Chloe!

      I don't love my writing either, but it's still gonna be a fun add! I say go for it!

      xo,
      Jen

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  8. I have to do something like this in my eldest son's room, he too is starting to need to keep track of dates and deadlines! It looks really nice, Jen, great job as always.

    Antonia x
    http://tidyawaytoday.wordpress.com

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  9. So cool! You are seriously an amazing Mom. When I have kids I hope I'm half the mom you are!

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  10. That is so cute and perfect...and I love your penmanship!!!

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  11. This is such a great idea and the size is awesome! I'm just learning the value of kids having their own calendar this year with my, um, 7 year old 1st grader. :-) Haha! They realize they have a life ~ that was funny! They're obviously not synced with mommy and daddy's gmail calendars and it has eliminated 100 questions a day. I do need a more permanent calendar to work with though and this is so versatile. Thanks for sharing!

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  12. I love it too - gonna have to stash that in the maybe list...You have such great ideas for Moms of boys.

    BTW PBteen must have heard you because when I clicked on your link theirs was marked down to $35.

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    Replies
    1. I ordered the PBTeen vinyl but returned it because you can't use chalk pens on it! So I'm making this board instead. :)

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  13. Only $35 now if you need another...yours is cuter though!!!!

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  14. Looks fabulous, but every time I think of chalkboards I can't help but to get goosebumps, both from the thought of the chalk as well as the eraser!

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  15. WOW! That turned out beautifully!!!
    Great job! :)

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  16. It's really cool and I might be doing this for my growing girl's playroom/study. You always have the best ideas.
    Jule {inside9B}

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  17. Fantastic!! I Like!!! How I wish I am as handy as yours...

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  18. Great results. Love your blog Jen. So many great ideas :) For those of us without the time or workspace, here's an alternative and you can pick your own colors for the weekdays and grid. http://pinterest.com/pin/383791199464774340/ Plus you'll get that tingly feeling knowing you've helped bulldogs and boxers who are in rescue. "How" you may ask? Well, I use the free product I earn from my sales to donate to these rescues for their online fundraising auctions on facebook. Check me out on www.facebook.com/debbiek.uppercaseliving Merry Christmas!

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  19. So clever! Love how it looks with the trim. Pinned for future inspiration :)

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  20. Do you have the measurements for the calendar?

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    Replies
    1. Sure thing! It is 27" tall by 39" wide.

      xo!
      Jen

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  21. Love it! Can't you please tell me what type of pen his holding in the picture? I would love to have something like this, but I'm not very fond of writing with school chalks.

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    Replies
    1. Hi there!

      We purchased a chalk pen from Michaels.

      xo!
      Jen

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  22. Thank you for such an inspiring idea. I saw this at the beginning of the week, and the next morning I set off to create my own. I managed to find an off-cut piece of MDF 4ft x 4ft, for only £6 (what a bargain) and even found a paint pen, and chalk pens.
    Work were kind enough to let me paint the boards in the workshop, keeping my house clean and paint fume free. I finally finished it up tonight, with the white lines and I've already started using it. I'm so pleased with it. Thank you again!!

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    Replies
    1. Oh my goodness that is so awesome! I love hearing when readers replicate projects and have success! Makes my heart smile big!

      xo,
      Jen

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  23. I love this! I'm actually going to make it for my parents as a joint birthday present! I was wondering where you got the days of the week stickers??

    Thanks :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Natasha!

      I used the Silhouette CAMEO craft machine to cut the vinyl days of the week.

      xo,
      Jen

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  24. Love all your post and ideas, absolutely great. I have just started blogging to expand my handmade business of organizing goods all made with fabric, but was looking to expand to more and this could be a great idea, hope it's alright that we take your idea and work with it. You have inspired me to revive my love of creativity. Thank you
    Nadia
    www.decorganizecanada.com
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Decorganize/469445796450768

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  25. Can you trek thus non DIY'er what a MDF board is?

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  26. Hey Jen, I love so much of what you do on this site and get so inspired by your posts. I LOVED this chalkboard calendar the moment you posted it and have been waiting to make mine. I'm not as wood savy and I knew there was no hope of actually building my backing, but I bought a frame set and painted the plastic/glass with the chalkboard paint instead. It looks great. I used three coats and once it had dried I rubbed chalk on it. The only problem is that I wrote on the calendar I made with chalkboard markers and now it will half rub off, but still is very obviously still written. Should I have done more than three coats? What is the missing dynamic here? Do you know? Or does yours not rub off clean also?

    Thank you for your help!!!
    http://mitchelltomorgan.blogspot.ca/2013/04/chalking-it-up-diy-chalkboard-calendar.html

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    Replies
    1. Hi Tara!

      First, love love love that you are as excited about this project as I am! It's always fun to hear when readers try out something they see here, totally made my day!

      Yes, chalk pens are a bit tricky to clean. I agree completely and I have heard it does help to prime the board, but does not always solve the problem.

      I use wet sponge or microfiber rag and some elbow grease and can usually get the pen off just fine, but it it has sat for awhile, I will reach for the magic eraser and that always seems to do the trick. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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    2. Awesome, thank you Jen, I so appreciate it!

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    3. I have had the same problem. What I do is recondition the chalk board with the regular white chalk that I rub all over and wipe it off. Usually does the trick for me. You might to rub the white chalk over it a few times. Good luck

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  27. I am so happy that I found your board! I did a useless space in my kitchen with chalkboard paint last year. Came out awesome, but after so much use, I decided to add another coat and make it "more purty" with painted lines, etc. I was delighted to see the vinyl days of the week that you used, as that was my intention as well.

    A little thing that I found as I bought two Sharpie paint pens, one in oil-based (pink stripe) and one water-based (blue stripe). Used the oil based first, could not get a good line bc it was on the wall already/horizontal. Switched to the water-based and kept it as vertical as possible-- worked like a charm!! Tomorrow I will clean off the chalk guide lines and do a second coat of line, but it looks amazing! Thanks for the post. :)

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  28. I made a smaller version of your chalkboard calendar using a dollar store mirror. AT the time I thought it was a good idea but now I am not sure. The chalk goes on but is very hard to read especially if I take a picture of it. Should I add more chalkboard paint? Please let me know, thanks!

    Mia | Home Organizing in Chicago, IL

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    Replies
    1. Hi Mia!

      I have not done chalk paint on a glass surface, but I have seen it done. I think regardless of the surface, you should do multiple coats, and then be sure to wait the recommended time, prior to seasoning it with the chalk.

      Best of luck to you!
      Jen

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  29. u can also attach a cup pull at the bottom to store the chalk pieces.
    lexie jay

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  30. I just made one for the whole family to use and hung it in the kitchen. I love the look and that it keeps everyone on the same page. Thanks for passing along the how to. I love your blog and always have a running list of projects I want to make.

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