Friday, July 23, 2010

Wall Activity Center

Several months ago I fell in love with the Pottery Barn 'school house utility decor' - but did not want to spend $169 each on a chalk board, cork board, and paper roll dry erase board. So it was time to figure out how to make something similar myself. Since my kids are little and I didn't want tacks at their level I just did the chalk board and dry erase easel.

You will need:
  • 2 large dry erase boards, one large cork board (if you want to do all 3) - I used the board dudes black framed version so I didn't have to paint the frame, such as this.
  • Painters tape.
  • Chalk board spray.
  • Small curtain rod approximately 22" long with 2.5" bracket projections such as this (note this is not the one I used, nor have I purchased this one).
  • Paper roll - I bought the one from Ikea.
  • Drill with 1/4" drill bit, and long screws - for mounting, 4 each.
What I did:
  1. Tape the framed edges of one of the dry erase boards, spray evenly with chalk board spray - set aside and let dry.
  2. On the other dry erase board, mount the curtain rod brackets . I set mine 4" from the top.
  3. Drill a 1/4" (or sized to your screws) hole in each of the 4 corners of the boards. I placed mine 2" from the top and bottom. This will allow you to mount the boards without fear that it will fall down, and remove from wall without cracking frame. Go slow when drilling and use a firm even pressure.
  4. Mount boards to the wall, with screws - add paper roll to curtain rod and enjoy!
Variations: Paint the framed portion of the boards bright colors, or using plywood recreate the school house theme and paint. Add a ledge to the bottom of each board.

Have other questions or theme suggestions for this project? Leave me a message!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Alphabet Flash Card Wall Art!

I looked everywhere for alphabet wall art for my boy's playroom that was not going to cost $150 - the only thing I could find were teaching posters so, I decided I could make my own version for substantially less. Because I had items I could repurpose, I made this for under $30.

You will need:
  • A pack of flash cards, your choice. I used these.
  • Paint of your choice, I used some white interior wall paint we had around.
  • Small paint roller.
  • A frame with heavy backing (I repurposed an old piece of metal framed art from Ikea). You could also frame a piece of plywood to get the same effect - the frame should sit above the backing about a 1/4 inch to give an edge/lip for pouring the gloss finish.
  •  Spray adhesive.
  • Pourable resin finish (I used, "pour on" high gloss finish: HERE. Which gives the finished piece a glass like finish - be sure to check the measurements so you will have enough, once you start pouring you can't stop - mine was 4 square feet).
What I did:
  1. Paint the backing, the color of choice - let dry at least 4 hours. I did two coats.
  2. Measure and set flash cards with spray adhesive - let dry per adhesive directions. The measuring part is actually what took me the longest. I used measuring tape and a pencil to ensure the items were lined up.
  3. Mix the resin per package directions and pour, avoiding bubbles. Brush with a small foam paint brush to smooth evenly. Let dry at least 24 hours. If bubbles appear during the drying process you can pop them, avoid trying to re-spread the resin as it is now tacky.
  4. Hang and enjoy!
*Be sure to do this craft in a well ventilated area, such as a garage as the paint/spray adhesive and resin all have very strong smells - you also need to let this project sit for several days to ensure it is dry.

Let me know if you have any questions about this project!