This absolutely GENIUS idea came about as I was planning an Old Timey themed party for The Boy’s BIG 30th birthday. I wanted a gentleman’s club meets speakeasy type of feel and had already collected my top hats and mustache costume props and now I needed to decorate the house.
I thought it would be fun to make up some silent movie placard looking signs with sassy sayings and put them all over the house (which I totally did). These were really easy to make with just chalk on black construction paper. Spray with a little fixative so that the chalk doesn’t smudge and you are good to go!
After looking for old timey signage inspiration online I kept coming across a lot of fun designs on chalkboards. I had a few chalkboards buried in my art supply closet that I could use but they just didn’t seem BIG enough to really have the impact that I wanted. And then I had a “lightbulb” moment.
See, I have this fabulously long counter that runs along one side of my dining room wall and is lined with cabinets (storage for days!). When we first moved into our house we had stashed all of our liquor and wine on that counter. Well as it turns out, we had a pretty impressive collection and it dang near filled the whole counter.
After a few successful parties that area quickly became dubbed “the bar”. So back to that lightbulb moment…I decided I wanted to paint the cabinets above the bar with chalkboard paint! AWESOME! After a quizzical look or two from The Boy, I was finally given the go and I got to painting.
Painting the Cabinets
1.) Prep the cabinets First I taped off the cabinets around the outside of the “frame” with some blue painters tape. If your cabinets have a glossy stain it is probably a good idea to sand them down so that your new paint will stick a bit better.
2.) Paint the first coat. Using a large foam brush I started painting on several coats of paint, alternating the direction of my brush strokes with each coat to get a more even and less “liney” chalkboard surface.
3.) Let dry, then repeat. Be sure to let the paint dry pretty well in-between each layer. If you apply another coat too soon while the paint is still tacky it will peel off and get little chunks of half dried paint in your brush strokes. Don’t worry if this happens you can pick out the chunks or sand them down later, but it is much easier to not have to deal with it at all. You can tell when the paint is dry because it goes on very dark (almost black) but starts to lighten to a dark matte gray once it dries.
Remove the painters tape BEFORE your final coat of paint dries. I didn’t know this trick at the time, having not painted too many things that required the use of tape, so I waited until the paint was totally dry. When I removed the tape, I had a rough edges where the tape stuck to the paint and peeled paint off but fortunately nothing too major and I was able to touch it up with a small brush. But it’s something that would have been good to know beforehand.
4.) Prep the chalkboard surface and starting drawing! After letting the paint totally dry (it is recommended 3 days but I didn’t wait quite that long) prep the chalkboard surface by rubbing a piece of chalk (turn it sideways) all over the surface and then erase. Now you are ready to play!
I love love LOVE how they turned out. For the party I bought some sidewalk chalk in fun bright colors and decorated the cabinets with old timey writing mimicking the look of old bar signs or something you would see in a dime store.
We picked out two “signature” drinks to serve that night and wrote the drink recipes on a cabinet door. We had all of the supplies needed for each drink neatly laid out on the countertop below. It was a huge hit! People loved the chalkboards and the drinks weren’t half bad either. 😉
An Old Fashioned for the gentleman…
…and a Raspberry Fizz for the ladies
I loved the signs so much that I have left them up until the next themed party. I can’t wait until the holidays to use them as signboards for the dinner menu or to display desserts. They are too cute and damn useful too and they make me smile every time I see them. =D
Happy Birthday Jonny!