Trend Alert: Chalkboards
Many times, a trend slowly comes along, creeping into our consciousness, and other times, it seems like a trend hits quickly and it's suddenly everywhere. At first, there were many do-it-yourself home projects featuring chalkboard paint. People used it to paint walls, doors, memo boards and even storage jars. Over the last year I have seen lots of chalkboard-inspired items in the crafting world. How do you incorporate a trend such as this into your paper crafting?
I've always loved chalkboards. I am sure it stems from elementary school days when I first had the chance to write on a real chalkboard in school. The grind of the chalk against the board, the dusty eraser and the freedom to wipe the board clean and start over if I made an error was just wonderful to me. I still get a bit of a creative high when I think about how much I enjoyed writing and drawing on the chalkboard in school. Nowadays, the kids use whiteboards and dry-erase markers, so chalkboards have become a bit nostalgic to all of us adults of a certain age.
When I started to notice the trend of using chalkboard paint in home projects, I ran to the home-improvement center to purchase a quart or two to try at home. My son now has a 3-foot-tall chalkboard circling his bedroom. About that same time, I came across products by Canvas Corp
that were chalkboard-esque. They have products made from chalkboard cardstock called Chalkstock. This is as versatile as regular cardstock. You can cut it with a trimmer or scissors, or run it through a die-cutting machine to cut it into different shapes. Canvas Corp also has precut card bases and tags made from this basic, ready-to-use product.
Beyond chalkboard cardstock, there is also chalkboard vinyl or sticker paper. Silhouette America makes adhesive-backed vinyl that is meant to be cut by their electronic die-cutting machine. You can also use it in manual die-cutting machines or simply cut it by hand with scissors or a trimmer. This type of product is great for creating stickers to use on storage jars or wall art. Since it's not as permanent as paint, it will allow you to try out a trend and move on from it when you are ready to try something new.
With the blank canvas or board, how do you re-create the look of a chalkboard? Of course, you can use chalk on both the chalk cardstock and the chalkboard vinyl, but it will smear and wipe off easily. This is great if you plan on using your project as a message center or want to reuse a cute die-cut tag. It's not so great if you want to send a card, and the message disappears before it gets to its recipient. I've found a few other great items that will work well on a more permanent basis.
One of my favorites to use is a white gel pen. Uniball Signo makes a nice opaque ink that shows well on black. After the ink dries, your message won't disappear.
Another medium to try is pigment white ink stamp pads. Pigment ink is usually very opaque and will leave a nice stamped image on black. Pigment does take a while to dry, though. You may want to use a heat gun to set the ink or sprinkle on a bit of clear or white embossing powder before hitting the design with the heat gun. This creates beautiful stamped images.
Of course, many paper manufacturers have made it even easier for us to get in on the chalkboard trend. Almost every major company has included some sort of chalkboard paper or embellishment in their latest collections. On the market you can currently find many different pattern papers, stickers, tags and embellishments that have the vintage black with dusty white designs imprinted on them. On these products, I would suggest using white gel pens or white pigment ink for stamping to personalize your projects.
Once you get a chance to incorporate the chalkboard styles in your paper-crafting projects, you may find yourself wanting to try all of the different products. I encourage you to seek out some of these great products and try them out in your projects. Inspiration happens when nostalgia meets a current trend!