I love sharing handmade holiday ideas with you each year, and I’m excited that I’m actually starting early in the month this time! Some of the ideas that I’ll share will include complete tutorials, some will be a little less structured (like today’s) and give you some ideas while pointing you to other tutorials or patterns.
I have wanted a giant piece of artwork with Isaiah 9:6 for our fireplace mantel for the last few Christmases, and this year we made one! Oh, and it was really fast, really easy and fairly inexpensive! I started with the free chalkboard background from How to Nest for Less. Erin suggests only printing it as an 8X10, but I found that it worked beautifully for a much larger print. I used Gimp, which is a free downloadable image manipulation software, and I cropped the background to 2250 X 3375 at 125 pixels/inch. This gave me a printed image of 18″ X 27″.
Once I had my background ready, I used the font, Chalk Hand Lettering, for the verse and KG Eyes Wide Open for the reference. I saved the finished file to a flash drive and took it to Staples. In the Print & Copy Center, I had them print it centered on a 24″ X 36″ engineering print. My total cost at Staples was less than $4!When my print was ready, we headed off to Lowes. There we grabbed this molding, a pack of sandpaper and a sample size jar of paint. We also picked out a piece of plywood and had them cut it 1 1/2″ larger in both directions than my finished chalkboard background. Back at home, Ray miter-cut the molding to fit around the piece of plywood, and I cut the print to the plywood measurements. The extra 1 1/2″ left 3/4″ on each edge outside of the chalkboard background. Because the molding that we chose has a lip on it, the plywood slides up under it – just like it would if you were using a store-bought frame.From here, I sanded and then painted the frame pieces.While the frame pieces dried, I headed out to the backyard with an assistant and my trusty can of spray glue to attach the print to the plywood. The easiest way to do this is to spray the glue on, then have someone hold one end of the print while you press the print down onto the plywood from the opposite direction. I just smoothed it with my hands, and it flattened out perfectly.Once the paint was dry, I ran a piece of sandpaper over the edges of the frame pieces to give it a little bit of dimension, then we used wood glue to glue each piece to the edge of the plywood. I did have to be a patient with this part of the process since each piece had to be clamped for a bit while the glue took hold.When the glue was dry, our chalkboard print was ready for the fireplace mantel! Our total cost was less than $30 and an afternoon of our time, and I think the result is beautiful!