Our mantle has been empty since March of this year. It looked lonely. Chad begged me to fill it. With. Anything.
But I couldn't put a single item up there until I had a vision. And I didn't. It used to be pretty plain with four picture frames that were all black and all the same kind just different sizes. That is so not the mantle design of a wedding planner! It must be hard living with someone like me but I had to see the end result before I could start. And my artistic brain needed time. I gazed at the emptiness and pictured a million different things up there but not one thing that I wanted.
And then it happened. I told Chad I was stuck and simply didn't know. I'm sure it was a big surprise to him as it was empty for 4 months! So we started brain storming all the little things that we liked. We liked layers, we liked chalkboards, mirrors, books, globes and candles. I went to Hobby Lobby and found everything plus a cross that I really liked and an "M". We stood in our living room with everything out of their Hobby Lobby bags and I just started playing around. For decorating your own mantle I suggest looking through Pinterest for inspiration and brainstorming things that you like. After all it is your home so you want it to be about you and things you enjoy! This is what we got ...
I just filled the chalkboard out yesterday. I'm kinda proud of how it turned out. I scoured Google on how to draw on a chalkboard and this is what I used:Chalkboard Empty Frame Ruler Chalk (I used white this time but I want to use color next) Pencil sharpener Glass of water Q-Tips
The very first thing you need to do if you are using a chalkboard for the first time is to "season" it. You do this by rubbing a piece of chalk all over the board using the side of the chalk. Press hard and cover every inch of the board. Leave it for a few minutes and then go back with a damp cloth and clean it all. By doing this you won't see shadows of words that you erased each time you use your board.
Then choose your saying. I wanted a bible verse so I choose one that I liked and played around with it on Photoshop to make the design that I wanted. You can use Microsoft word or any computer software that you have, or if you are really artsy you can draw it freehand on a blank sheet of paper. That will give you an image to copy on your board.
We got a plain chalkboard that was 12x24 and then an empty frame to go around it but there are plenty of chalkboards with ready made frames. I used a regular pencil sharpener to sharpen the chalk just like a pencil until I had a point (keep sharpening as you go along). This was so much more important than I thought! To make sharp lines with your words you need sharp points! Then I dipped the chalk into water and kept doing this intermittently while I was drawing to make sure it was wet at all times. It will look faint at first when it is wet but it dries and looks great. (I even had my board damp before I started) I found the middle of the chalk board and made a small mark, then choose the middle line of my bible verse and started there. Count how many letters are in the sentence and include the spaces between the letters. Find the letter that is in the middle and start with that letter. Then you can work your way out both ways. That way you don't start writing and get to the end of the board and run out of room. (I didn't do this for the first sentence and had to write the last word underneath but I liked it that way so I didn't erase it).
For example ... I used Be Strong as my foundation. Counting a space before and after the words I get a count of 11. The middle letter of that is "t" so that is the letter that I started with.
All the sentences that I wrote were meant to be crooked or rounded out, but if you want a straight line then it's a good idea to use a ruler and make a light line where you want the bottom of the words and another where you want the top of the words so that they all stay the same size. You can use a q-tip dipped in water to then go back and erase the lines. Also use your q-tips to erase any mistakes or chalk dust that gets on your board. I fount it worked best when I used one side wet to erase a mark and then go over the wet spot with the dry end of the q-tip. Some times you have to do this several times to get the mark gone so don't worry if it doesn't work the first time.
Just have fun and I hear you get better the more times you do it. When a letter wouldn't look good I'd just go over the edge and make it bigger and just played around adding things where I thought they were needed. Leave a comment if the directions are confusing or if you want to ask a question.
This is my favorite part of 1 Corinthians 16 : 13-14