Monday, July 27, 2015

Make Chalk Boards for Shoeboxes

I thought that small chalk boards would be good for shoeboxes so I decided that I would make some. Today, while I was out, I did find some already completed at Dollar Tree for $1 but these were too wide to lay flat in the shoebox. For easier packing, I feel that the chalk board needs to be able to lay flat. I figure that the ones I'm making cost about 17 cents each.

This can make a good project for a church youth group, a Vacation Bible School craft, a scout group or some other group. With a dozen or so people, these can be made pretty quickly.

Materials needed:
1 large piece of backing  board or plywood, 3/8 - 1/4" thick
sanding block
chalk board paint
paint brushes, sponge or bristle
lytex or rubber gloves (optional)

I recommend that you use some type of gloves for this project or your hands may look like this.

I used to be able to paint without making a mess but that time seems to have passed. You also might want to wear an apron or an old shirt.

 I made my chalk boards to be 4 x 6" so that they will fit flat into the shoebox without any trouble. 
Many lumber yards will cut the boards for you but be sure to ask what they charge. My local Lowes store would cut them at 25 cents a cut.  That could add up pretty fast. If you can find someone with a table saw or a radial saw, they can cut them for you. My son cut mine on a radial saw in about 30 minutes. For the 4 x 8' piece of board, he was able to cut 165 pieces. That's a lot of chalkboards! It helps to fill a lot of shoeboxes though and remember, every shoebox is a gospel opportunity. 
If you don't want that many, you should be able to buy a piece of board that is half that size.

Sand the edges of the cut boards so that there are no splinters. You can use plain sandpaper or put it on a sanding block. IMO, it's easier to use a sanding block. You can buy sand paper already cut to size for sanding blocks or it's easy enough to cut it yourself from a sheet.

You will want to spread out newspaper or card board to cover your surface before you paint.
Paint each board. I started out with a can Krylon spray paint but I was only able to do about 20 boards, one side, with it. When I got more paint, I got a quart can of Glidden chalkboard paint. This was more than enough to do all of the chalkboards. You can paint just one side or you can paint both sides. Painting the edges is up to you. Each side that you paint needs two coats of paint. I paint it horizontal the first coat and vertical for the second coat.
I set the slab of boards outside in our Texas sun and they dried in about 20 minutes. Inside it will take a little longer to dry.

You will need something for an eraser to go with the chalk boards. I took fabric scraps and cut pieces about 4 x 6" for this.
Be sure you also include at least 2 or 3 pieces of chalk for the children to use. Because chalk can be very dusty, you might want to put it into a zip lock type of bag so the dust doesn't get all over the other items in the box.

Cost breakdown:
1 sheet of board   $15
1 qt of paint           10
sand paper, misc      3
  total                    $28
Divided by 165 pieces = 0.16969 cents per chalk board

Left over fabric scraps  free--If you don't have any, ask your church members or mothers for some.
Chalk cost varies. Look for it on sale. I found some side walk chalk, which works just as well, in the Dollar Spot at my local Target. That was 12 pieces of chalk for $1.

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