How-to: Make Re-usable Chalkboard Signs instead of Posters

Re-usable chalkboard signs tutorial (3 of 3)

If your kid wants to set up a lemonade stand or hold a car wash, your first impulse is to buy some poster board and fat Sharpies and let them make themselves some signs. Forget the posterboard! Here’s how to make a re-usable chalkboard sign for your kid’s next lemonade stand or car wash.

If you spend a little more time, however, and make a good-sized chalkboard sign, then not only will you save some trees, but you won’t have to scrounge for poster board ever again!

Chalkboard signs, such as the one my kiddos and I put on their lemonade/friendship bracelet/cookie wand/popcorn stand, are greener than paper, infinitely re-usable, fun to make, and easy to clean up after.

Here’s how to make your own re-usable chalkboard signs:

While I worked, the kiddos dragged out all our leftover house paint and painted the rest of their stand.

The base of the chalkboard sign is a stash piece of plywood. Remember that although plywood is heavier than poster board, if you want a large sign you can always lean it against a tree or set it on an easel instead of holding it to shill your car wash.

If you have a scroll saw in your toolbox, you can also cut your plywood sign into different shapes–thought bubble, heart, scalloped oval, etc.

Re-usable chalboard signs tutorial (1 of 3)Paint the plywood sign with at least three coats of chalkboard paint, letting the paint dry completely between each coat. To cover large areas in a shorter time, I painted using a large dishwashing sponge instead of the foam brush that the chalkboard paint manufacturer recommends.

When you’ve got all the coats of chalkboard paint on the sign, let the paint cure for the recommended time before you draw on it.

Chalkboard signs are actually easier to read than poster board signs, since the contrast between the background color and the chalk images is so high. Drawing fat letters makes your sign even easier to read–since little kids have trouble writing legibly, much less decoratively, you can outline the fat letters and let your kids color them in.

P.S. Here’s what to do with your leftover chalkboard paint!

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Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life, and my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties.


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    • It really is! I’m thinking of making a giant outdoor chalkboard just for play, because the kids REALLY like drawing with our artist’s chalk outside, but the sidewalk is just too hard on that kind of chalk.

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