Chalkboard Memo Board – The Time I Made a 4th Grade Teacher Use a Power Tool

DIY Chalkboard Memo Board (4th grade project) | Pretty Handy Girl

DIY Chalkboard Memo Board (4th grade project) | Pretty Handy Girl

Before the end of the school year a REALLY GOOD friend of mine asked if I would give a talk in her daughter’s class about what I do for a living. I hemmed and hawed because I rarely have the free time. But, the main reason I was hesitant was because I didn’t know how to talk to 4th graders about what I do. Saying I’m a blogger is something that is hard for me to vocalize. “I write a blog” sounds simple and easy. But, in actuality, I do so many other things to make this blog a reality. Just a few of my job descriptions are: writer, photographer, builder, crafter, teacher, photo editor, business woman, manager, social media coordinator, graphic designer, web designer and all around handy girl! How could I explain all of that to the students?

Suddenly, an idea hit me! I would waltz into that classroom and use my platform to break down the stereotypes about women and handy people within 30 minutes (or less!) Then I’d empower the 4th grade students by letting them build their own chalkboard memo board AND use a power tool! Lofty goals, but I felt sure I could do it. Little did I know that the students wouldn’t be the only one empowered.

The quiz:

I started out by talking to the kids about what a handy person is. They shared terms that fit the definition of a handy person: fixes things, builder, carpenter, plumber, woodworker, and home improvement specialist. Then I showed them a slide presentation and gave the kids a quiz asking them to tell me which of these people are handy:

DIY Chalkboard Memo Board (4th grade project) | Pretty Handy Girl

I showed them one picture at a time and as expected, they got all of the answers wrong.

The answers: [Read more...]

Wall Mounted Desk Tutorial

Wall-Mounted Desk Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Wall-Mounted Desk Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Hey, I hope you had a fabulous weekend! Was it productive? Full of DIY activities? Well, I’m back with a tutorial for building a wall-mounted desk. The great thing about a desk that is wall mounted is it can be small or large and it won’t take up any floor space! This gives a nice clean look and makes the room feel larger. Plus, the materials will almost certainly cost less than buying a desk.

My son is starting to have more homework in school. (I didn’t realize that first grade was the new 3rd grade!) I figured soon enough he’s going to need a spot to sit and work on homework. Plus, he’s an avid Lego builder and this makes a great surface for him to build on.

Materials:

  • Finish grade plywood (my desktop is 16″ x 40″)
  • Painter’s Tape
  • 1 – 2″ x 4″ x 93″
  • 2 – 9.5″ x 9.5″ bird’s mouth brackets
  • 4 – 3″ cabinet mounting screws
  • Paint
  • Paint brush
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Level
  • Pencil

Instructions: 

Begin by assessing where you want to mount your desk. For better perspective, you can outline the desk area with painter’s tape on the floor.

Wall-Mounted Desk Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Cut your finish grade plywood to size. Using the Kreg Rip Saw with my miter saw is much easier than hauling out the table saw and getting as assistant to help lift the plywood. If you put a piece of rigid foam insulation underneath, you can cut almost anywhere! Just set your saw blade depth slightly below the plywood.

Wall-Mounted Desk Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Cut your 2″x4″ stud 4″ narrower than the length of your desk top surface. (My desktop is 40″ long, therefore my mounting stud is 36″ long.)  Locate the studs in your wall. Mark their location.

Wall-Mounted Desk Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Pre-drill holes in the mounting board at the stud locations. Use a small bit slightly narrower than your screws. Then use a larger bit the width of your screw head to create a countersink hole. Drive the cabinet mounting screws into one end of the mounting board and into the stud. Use a level to make sure your mounting board is level, then drive the additional mounting screws into the other studs. [Read more...]

How to Make a Chalkboard Surface Desk

How to Make a Chalkboard Surface Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Make a Chalkboard Surface Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

As part of the makeover of my son’s bedroom, I wanted to create a fun chalkboard desk surface for him to write and build legos on. The idea of a chalkboard coated surface came to me when I remembered how much he liked the mini-chalkboard decals that used to be on his room wall.

Creating a chalkboard surface on any desk or flat surface couldn’t be easier with the right tools. Here’s how you can create your own chalkboard desk!

Materials:

  • 3M fine grit sanding block
  • Valspar High-Hiding Primer tinted gray
  • Rustoleum chalkboard paint
  • 2″ paint brush
  • Foam brush
  • Small craft paintbrush
  • Desk surface (I used pre-cut finish grade plywood)
  • ScotchBlue painter’s Tape
  • General Finishes Water-based sealer (or satin Minwax Polycrylic)

Instructions:

Begin by lightly sanding your desktop with the sanding block. Wipe any dust off with a damp rag.

Paint one coat of primer on your desktop surface. (A little note about my primer: I asked the Lowe’s paint department to tint it as dark as they could with black colorant. This helps when you are painting over the primer with a dark color.)

How to Make a Chalkboard Surface Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

After the primer has dried, create a border on your desktop with painter’s tape. Press the edges down firmly with your fingers. Paint one coat of chalkboard paint with the paint brush. Brush the paint in one direction. Let that layer dry. Repeat with a second coat brushing across the original strokes (i.e. vertical then horizontal.) [Read more...]

How to: Build a Wall Chalkboard with a Chalk Ledge

wall chalkboard

wall chalkboard

Chalkboards are popping up everywhere (like Brittany’s DIY chalkboard calendar from last week) and you can easily make one, but how about upping the usefulness by making a chalkboard WITH a chalk ledge?  Jaime here from That’s My Letter to show you how easy it is to add a chalk ledge to your chalkboard.

chalkboard with ledge

You definitely need a place to put all that chalk (or chalk markers like we prefer).  This chalk ledge protudes a minimal  1 3/4″ from the wall but still has space enough to hold lots of chalk.

chalkboard with ledge 5

I also attached a galvanized pail for more chalk markers.

chalkboard with ledge 1

wall chalkboard 1

I installed this chalkboard near our back door mudroom area.  Unfortunately the key pad for our alarm system is nearly smack in the middle of that wall.  I simply cut out a square in my plywood using a jig saw to accommodate the key pad.  My kids love their new chalkboard and somehow the key pad isn’t quite so obvious once they start drawing around it.

chalkboard with ledge 2

Supplies:

  • 1/2″ plywood (cut to desired size)
  • 1×2 pine board (cut to length of plywood)
  • 1 3/8″ x 1/4″ thick flat trim moulding (cut to length of plywood)
  • black chalkboard paint
  • blue painters tape
  • stain
  • polyurethane
  • foam brushes
  • drill
  • Kreg pocket hole jig (not necessary but definitely easier if you have one)
  • 1″ pocket hole screws
  • wood glue
  • 3/4″ trim nails
  • countersink bit
  • 2 1/2″ toggle bolts
  • 5/8″ spade bit (check toggle bolt requirements)
  • pencil
  • level

Instructions:

Step 1: Cut your plywood to size, using your Kreg pocket hole jig make pocket holes every 8″ along bottom edge of plywood (on back side). (I used the portable base with automaxx clamp here, much easier that slipping a large piece of plywood into the jig.) [Read more...]

DIY Chalkboard Calendar

DIY Chalkboard Calendar | Pretty Handy Girl

DIY Chalkboard Calendar | Pretty Handy Girl

How did you like Jacque’s Perpetual Menu Calendar? Well, in the spirit of getting organized, I wanted to share with you my easy chalkboard calendar.

DIY Chalkboard Calendar | Pretty Handy Girl

It’s been very popular with our kids. They like knowing which days they have Tae Kwon Do and they also like to count down the days to important events. In the past I drew out the calendar lines, but trying to erase inside the lines was tedious and time consuming. And what busy mom has time for that?!

To create this quick chalkboard calendar you need to start with a chalkboard wall (or large chalkboard.)

Then you’ll need these things:

Materials:

Instructions:

Using the level, make a straight (and level) line for the top of your calendar. (Mine is 28″ wide.) [Read more...]

Pretty Handy Girl’s Christmas Home Tour 2013

Pretty Handy Girl's Christmas Home Tour

PHG_Christmas_Home_Tour

Welcome, welcome! I see you made it here from Songbird’s beautiful home. If you are coming here first, be sure to check out Marianne’s home:

songbird-house-tour

I can not tell you how excited I am to have you in for the tour. Last Christmas we were living in a demolition zone. So, it feels wonderful to have our kitchen complete and be able to focus on decorating for the holidays.

Pretty Handy Girl's Christmas Home Tour

I’m also enjoying low fuss decorating. Like this fake wreath that looks fabulous when you tuck some live greenery inside (thanks for the idea Colleen.)

Pretty Handy Girl's Christmas Home Tour

Pretty Handy Girl's Christmas Home Tour

Another lazy decorating trick is to wrap garlands around the chandelier. [Read more...]

Hostess Gifts in a Paint Can {Lowe’s Creative Idea}

Paint Can Hostess Gift Idea | Pretty Handy Girl

Paint Can Hostess Gift Idea | Pretty Handy Girl

As the holiday party invites start to roll in, you might be struggling to come up with a new hostess gift idea. These chalkboard painted buckets are a quick and easy way to throw together a unique gift basket that will fill the recipient with joyful scents and treats. I took half an hour and lined up a bunch of these metal paint cans to paint a stripe around the center.

Paint Can Hostess Gift Idea | Pretty Handy Girl

When dry and seasoned I can grab one and write a personalized message. Then I’ll fill it with a candle, DIY scented room spray, a pillow case, lotion or soap dispenser, a gift card to Lowe’s and of course some Hershey’s kisses! If you have an eagle eye, you may have picked up that I used paint stirrers decorated with washi tape (or painted with chalkboard paint) to use as the gift tag.

Materials:

Paint Can Hostess Gift Idea | Pretty Handy Girl

 

Instructions: [Read more...]

Easy Wooden Chalkboard Sign {Countdown to Christmas Idea}

Easy Wooden Chalkboard Sign | Pretty Handy Girl

Easy Wooden Chalkboard Sign | Pretty Handy Girl

Do you keep scraps of wood and say to yourself, “I might need that for something someday.” Well, today is your someday! Grab a scrap (or ask Lowe’s for their scraps) and create this super easy wooden chalkboard sign.

When you’re done, you can turn it into a sign that displays your favorite quote; a plaque welcoming friends; or you could create a fun Christmas Countdown sign!

Easy Wooden Chalkboard Sign | Pretty Handy Girl

Materials:

Easy Wooden Chalkboard Sign | Pretty Handy Girl

  • Scrap wood (3/4″ thickness works the best)
  • Chalkboard spray paint
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Red paint (I used Miss Mustard Seed Tricycle Milk Paint)
  • White paint pen
  • Chalk
  • Pencil
  • Eye hooks
  • Drill
  • Drill bit slightly smaller than the eye bolts
  • Ribbon
  • Pencil
  • Safety glasses

 

Instructions: [Read more...]

DIY Chalkboard Painted Mugs

Chalkboard Painted Mugs | Pretty Handy Girl

Chalkboard Painted Mugs | Pretty Handy Girl

Have you seen those cute chalkboard mugs at Starbucks? They are so fun and I think it would be funny to write crazy messages on them daily. I decided to try may hand at a DIY painted version. Let me say up front that I did a little test using Rustoleum Chalkboard paint on one mug and Porcelaine Chalkboard paint (made for glass and ceramics) on a second one. I expected the regular chalkboard paint to flake off, especially after seeing this happen after just one coat:

Chalkboard Painted Mugs | Pretty Handy Girl

However, after a second coat and baking it in the oven, it appeared to hold up after an initial dishwasher run. I can chip off some of the regular paint with my fingernail on the edges. But,overall the paint seems to be hanging onto the mug. That being said, based on the way the Porcelaine paint immediately took to the mug and appears to be harder to chip, I expect the Porcelaine painted mug to hold up much longer. So, if you want a chalkboard mug that will last longer, use Porcelaine paint.

Materials: [Read more...]

Decorated Chalkboard Clipboards

Easy Decorated Chalkboard Clipboards | Pretty Handy Girl

Easy Decorated Chalkboard Clipboards | Pretty Handy Girl

Decorated Chalkboard Clipboards are a great little DIY gift idea for the teachers in your life (or anyone who uses clipboards.) I plan to give these to my boys’ teachers with a gift card to an office supply store tucked under the clip.

Best of all, they are a project that the kids can help with. So gather the munchkins around and let’s get started.

Materials:

Easy Decorated Chalkboard Clipboards | Pretty Handy Girl

  • Clipboards
  • Chalkboard or Chalk-like Paint
  • Foam brush
  • Emory board or a scrap of sturdy cardboard
  • White chalk
  • Makeup pencil sharpener
  • Washi tape
  • Small ruler

Instructions: [Read more...]

The Painted Chairs – a Second Chance Makeover

a second chance - painted chairs

Painting chairs - a second chance makeover | Pretty Handy Girl

My search for some small chairs for the kitchen table area is finally over!  The chairs I had before blocked the view from my kitchen to the family room and vice-versa, their backs were too high and overall they were too big for that small space.

kitchen area before RLC

I’d seen some pretty, small and colorful chairs from the catalog magazines I receive, but their prices weren’t that pretty. Almost $150 per chair!  Craiglist was my searching place, it almost took me a year but I found them, $5 each!

Painting chairs - a second chance makeover | Pretty Handy Girl

Their condition was good, no squeaky sounds, loosened parts or missing screws. Their appearance was on the drab side, they looked better in these pictures than they did in real live.  At some point they had been re-stained but the job was poorly done because they felt bumpy.

Painting chairs - a second chance makeover | Pretty Handy Girl

I knew they deserved a second chance! And I knew just how to do that.

Painting chairs - a second chance makeover | Pretty Handy Girl

Materials: [Read more...]

Why My Grandmother Would Love that I Wrote All Over Her Coffee Table

gma_bunny

close_up_signature_on_table

My grandmother wouldn’t mind that I painted and then wrote all over her coffee table. She was one of the most giving people you’ve ever met. She truly was the type of person that would give you the shirt off her back if you needed it. I strive to live up to her legacy every day of my life.

She was also a very lucky lady. I mean lucky as in she could spot a four-leafed clover in a field of them. She was constantly finding money on the ground.

gma_in_silver_sweater

When I was living with her my freshman year in college, she made me do a U-turn on a street because she saw a five dollar bill in the middle of the road! She was a hoot and loved to make people laugh with her jokes or just dressing up as a bunny every Easter.

gma_bunny

(That’s my sisters and me in the floral skirt.)

She also won several contests in her life. But, she rarely kept her winnings. One of the things she won was a solid construction coffee table. When I was moving into my first apartment, she gave it to me. We used it for years until my design tastes changed and I bought a new one. Grandma’s coffee table moved into our attic. It sat there for years, buried under bags and suitcases.

When the big tree fell on our house, we did some serious purging in the attic. I should have taken the coffee table to Goodwill or sold it at our yard sale. But, something made me keep it a little longer. [Read more...]

How to Make a SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall {For Imperfect Walls}

second_board_up

how_to_make_chalkboard_wall

Have you ever wished you had a chalkboard wall in your home? But, you didn’t think you could create one because you have textured walls or damaged drywall?

blank_wall_for_chalkboard_paint

I feel your pain! We have a little wall between the kitchen and the dining room that was the perfect spot for a chalkboard wall. But the drywall was ripped from the removal of the beadboard. Sure, I could have ripped out the drywall and added new, but honestly I’m beyond drywall in our kitchen renovation process and I don’t like going backwards.

rough_ripped_drywall

Instead of replacing the drywall, I came up with a new solution to making the wall smooth enough for a chalkboard! You could also use this technique if you wanted to remove the chalkboard in the future if you change your mind, or if you live in a rental and aren’t allowed to paint walls.

Ready? Alright, let’s get this chalkboard painting party started now! [Read more...]

Chalk Painted, Stenciled and Distressed Dumpster Table

after_art_table

Dear Beautiful Table, your scandinavian antique beauty has us mesmerized. What’s your story? Did a family of four sit around you and talk about the day’s adventures on the farm? Or were you an antique table brought over from Europe and passed down for generations?  Or were you simply an ugly table left by the dumpster of an apartment complex in Raleigh, NC? {insert record scratch sound bite here} Yup, would you believe that a few short weeks ago, this beauty was sprawled in pieces by a dumpster? All the pieces (including the leg bolts) were neatly in a plastic baggy and secured to the table. This is one of the best pieces of furniture I’ve ever found in the trash (well next to it to be exact.) I didn’t have to do any structural repairs, just reattached the legs. But, it looked like the below photo when I picked it up:

[Read more...]

Faux Zinc and Chalkboard File Cabinet – Lowe’s Creative Idea

open_drawer_cabinet_chalkboard

This summer I was out thrifting with a few friends for I Heart Thrifting Day. At the Goodwill I grabbed a metal chest that had extra wide and deep storage! That was about the only thing that it had going for it. The hot pink and mint green were disguising the true potential of the chest, but like a color-blind dog, I was able to see beyond its garish appearance.

And then the poor chest sat in our garage for months and months until I had a chance to work a little spray paint magic and turned it into….ta da: [Read more...]

Bonus Room Plans to Convert to an Arts and Craft Room

Flow_Wall_Craft_Room_storage_plan

 

Hello, this is Pretty Handy Girl reporting from the sick bay this week. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen my trip(s) to the pharmacy and my hopes for those little pink babies: [Read more...]

Chalkboard Calendar for the Refrigerator

adding_the_chalk_ledge

You may remember when we created our Summer calendar and bucket list. The boys really responded well to being able to see what was coming up on the calendar. And I enjoyed not having to pull up my Google Calendar on the computer whenever I was put on the spot for a play date. So, continuing to use a calendar in the kitchen was a no brainer. But, creating new calendars on poster board each month — although fun — seemed a bit tedious.

In a sheer stroke of genius suggested by Pretty Handsome Guy I decided to paint a chalkboard calendar on our fridge: [Read more...]

Make Your Own Customized File Bin with Mod Podge

custom_fabric_covered_file_bin

I’m just curious if I’m the only person who loses sight of her desk every week? I spend Monday mornings clearing the clutter and figuring out my plan of attack for the week. I could really save that 30 minutes each week by corralling my clutter in one place! On a recent excursion to Walmart, I found the perfect storage solution!


I also found lots of other goodies at Walmart. My friend Su and I had a blast shopping together. Su is the stay-at-home mom of five. She has a wonderful vivacious personality and is loads of fun to be around. If you haven’t met Su yet, head over to her blog The Intentional Home.

Being crafty gals, we set out to find some inspiration for a new craft project using the Plaid products that were sent to us.

(The Plaid paint selection is just like the candy aisle for me. Drooool!) In the past I have ordered aprons and canvas tote bags for teacher gifts, but now I know that I can pick them up at Walmart!

Sorry if I digressed a little, but that happens to me in those big super stores. Back to my storage solution. I found the perfect sized file bin at Walmart, but the design wasn’t cute enough for me. While browsing the aisles, I also picked up some cute pillow cases, and soon a plan was hatched to give my storage bin some personality. Here’s how I did it: [Read more...]

Best of Pretty Handy Girl 2011

It’s the end of the year and I know y’all have been busy. So, I thought I’d give you the cliff notes version of Pretty Handy Girl in 2011.

Gift Bucket Liner from Goodwill Pants

How to Paint a Dandelion Wall Mural

Fork Photo and Note Holder

Spring Paper and Button Flowers

How to Paint Doors the Professional Way

 

How to Paint Like a Pro Series:

 

Build Your Own Ladder Display Shelves

Photography Secrets for Shooting Indoors

 

Toilet Repairs Series:

 

Dream Big Butterfly Window

Backlit Cut Out Bookcase

Rustic Wine Crate

How to Replace an Ugly Hollywood Strip Light

Board and Batter Tutorial

How to Make a Branch Towel Bar

Light Bulb Comparison

How to Install Low Voltage Landscape Lighting

Ombré Paint Chip Lampshade

 

Cabinet Door Revamped to Chalkboard Message Board

Kitchen Cabinet Turned into Shoe Storage Bench

 

Dollar Tree Placemat Garden Flag

 

Beveled Glass Light Fixture Ornaments

DIY Matchbox Car Race Track

 

And Finally, A Whole Slew of Power Tool Tutorials:

Compound Miter Saw

Jig Saw

Finish Nailer and Compressor

Cordless Drill

Circular Saw

Table Saw

Band Saw

I don’t know about you, but I’m super excited for 2012! I hope you’ll stick around for some more DIY tutorials and empowerment!

Did you have a favorite post of mine this year that I forgot to mention? Do tell! Chosing from almost 200 posts makes for some tough decisions.

Creative Gift Wrapping Day #4 – Chalkboard Tags

What is better than a creative gift wrapped package? A creative gift wrapping that can be re-used again and again and again! Chalkboard tags made from foam board are adorable and can be used after the gift has been opened.


Materials:

  • Chalkboard paint
  • Foam board
  • Chalk or chalkboard pen
  • Wrapping paper
  • Ribbon
  • Hole Punch
  • X-acto knife
  • Pencil
  • Ruler

Measure and cut out a 4″ x 6″ rectangle of foam board. The trick to clean cuts in foam board is to use a brand new x-acto blade! It is that simple.


To make perfect diagonal corners, measure 1″ from the corner (across and down) and make  marks. Then draw a diagonal line connecting the two points. Cut off the triangle.

Use the hole punch to put a hole in the middle of the top edge.

Spray paint or paint chalkboard paint onto the foam board. Let it dry.

Season the chalkboard rectangle by rubbing chalk all over the board. Then wipe it off. This will eliminate the chalk message “burning” into the chalkboard and will allow the recipient to re-use the board.


Write a message on the chalkboard tag.


Wrap the present with wrapping paper and a big bow. Attach the tag to the bow.


Now your gift recipient has a cute little re-useable chalkboard tag.


 Merry Christmas, Renee!


Materials:

  • Chalkboard paint
  • Foam core
  • Chalk or chalkboard pen
  • Wrapping paper
  • Ribbon
  • Hole punch
  • X-acto knife
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Clothespin
  • Silver or Gold acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Hot glue gun (or Elmer’s glue spots)

Follow the instructions above for making a foam core chalkboard. Eliminate the steps on cutting diagonal corners and adding a hole for this one.

Take apart a clothespin and paint both sides using the silver or gold acrylic paint.

Wrap the present with wrapping paper.

Wrap ribbon around the present, but don’t tie a bow. Just make a knot.


Make a separate bow out of the same ribbon and use hot glue (or Elmer’s glue spots) to attach it to the clothespin.


Clip the clothespin over the knotted bow on your package and slide your chalkboard into the clothespin.


“Merry Christmas, Baby!”

Only one more day until Christmas! Better get wrapping people! I’ll have a final wrapping paper tutorial for you tomorrow, I bet you can’t wait!