Friday, March 9, 2012

Chalk Cloth

I made my sister some Chalkboard mats and a table runner because she parties like it's 1999.
They have a pool and an outdoor eating area and they like people:)
Below is a lot of writing about my experiment with Chalk cloth so you can skip it if you have no interest.
I bought the chalk cloth from the store but you can get it on etsy. I cut the size I wanted, rounded the corners with a plate (or cut a circle using a serving platter) and then bound the edges in bias tape. You have to prime the cloth with chalk before you use it by laying the cloth flat and rubbing regular chalk (lay chalk on it side) first one way to cover the whole thing then wipe off with a dry towel/paper towel then rub with chalk going the opposite way, then wipe off, etc. then it's ready to go! It will look chalky even after wiping off with the recommended dry towel. After I sent these to my sister I wondered if would it still be primed if I wiped it all off with a wet wash cloth. Really wiped off good. It still worked. For me anyway. But it will still have a little bit of a chalky look to it. What I'm trying to say is after priming it and wiping with a DRY cloth you can wipe off and subsequent writing with a wet cloth and it will still be primed.

I love that you can write what is in each dish. As a seriously picker eater, I hate not knowing what's in a dish. The above picture might be self explanatory to someone looking at the bowls with those dips in it but lets say I make a casserole and it's not obvious what's in it. I could write on the mat "taco casserole with beans, onions and salsa". I would therefore stay far away from that dish:) Or you could write "vegan casserole" or "Meatloaf with vegetable landmines" or..."gross stuff in here Jennifer, stay away".

 The above picture is my experiment with a chalk pen (which I did not have till after I sent my sister her mats) and a regular chalk stick. The chalk pen wins hands down. I have really crappy childish handwriting anyway and a regular chalk stick exacerbates it. I just could not get it to be pretty. But the chalk pen is much nicer. It does take practice. I notice a difference but maybe you don't? Bad handwriting is bad handwriting. But if you have pretty handwriting imagine how pretty it would be??
Ok, one last thing about the chalk pen. If you leave the chalk pen on the cloth for days and days (I experimented with leaving the chalk pen on for 2 weeks)  it will be VERY hard to get off unless you use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser then it's easy like a Sunday morning.

So the above picture is still chalky and the bottom one has been wiped off with a wet wash cloth. Still chalky around the edges (that's the draw-back to the bias binding; it gets chalky too). Also when you go to wipe it off you need to use a towel to hold it still because the oils from your hands leave prints.

Here is the runner being stored on a hanger. I also wanted to show off  the girls new art shelf. This is our kitchen/art room. The bins holds all their papers, supplies, etc. to include play-doh.  They love being able to get their own stuff out even though they have to ask first. I did have to child safety lock the scissors. Ava was a little to sneaky with them and was cutting things she shouldn't.
The runner in action.
I would love to say Emily wrote the names of the dinosaurs but sadly that's my handwriting.

Some Info:
1. Chalk cloth available on etsy.
2. Chalk pen available on etsy, Amazon and a bunch of other places, just google it. I bought the Chalk Ink brand Wet Wipe Markers, size 6mm from someone on etsy.
3. Prime cloth first with regular chalk stick.
4. Do not iron chalk cloth or put in washing machine; wipe off only with dry or wet cloth. You may have to prime again after a while of usage.
5. Do not store chalk cloth folded or with clips on a hanger. Roll cloth or hang over a hanger bar. If you clip it the clip marks are almost impossible to get out (this happened to me) so I'm assuming folds will be hard too.
6. Use a trivet/hot pad when placing hot foods on it.
7. I have no idea what happens if you spill food on it. Lets/ hope it wipes off:) I'm sure you could run that area under water I just wouldn't put it in the washing machine and you may have to prime again after getting it wet.
8. I've seen people make table clothes out of the chalk cloth so dinner guests can write all over it while they eat but having experienced a chalk table at the store, I wouldn't do it. I can see the chalk getting all over your forearms and clothes. Unless you used  the chalk pens...

I hope this helps anyone who has questions about or will have questions about chalk cloth and chalk pens. I did a lot of internet searching when I bought it and just want to share what I know.


Heather Murphy said...

Looks like fun! Thanks for the info. Hey, I'm in the airport on my way home from house/school hunting in San Diego - our new home starting this summer! Aren't you from there? Can you give me the scoop on fabric stores? I saw some good ones I think! Thanks!

Corinnea said...

Really well done how-to! Was the binding difficult with the texture of the cloth? I've been wanting to try some for years. I think I shall PIN you for future reference! Thanks for the cute ideas!

Kelly's Korner said...

Great info!!! If anyone asks about it at the store we'll have a reference! And, thanks for the tip, the store shall be carrying chalk markers in about two weeks. :)

Cheryl said...

What's on the back? Do you use another fabric like a quilted runner and bind? Or is the fabric double sided?
Thanks - Love this idea!

Jennifer said...

Cheryl: Nothing is on the back; it's not needed unless you plan on flipping them at some point. The back is sort of woven looking with white threads. Nothing you can use-kind of ugly. I think the binding makes it look finished though. Thanks for your comment! And Corinnea you asked and I emailed you but I'll answer here too: was the binding hard to sew because of the type of cloth? No it was actually easy to sew meaning the machine handled the weight and thickness just fine. I used a size 16 needle. I also used my teflon foot but before I had the foot I used blue painters tape on the bottom of the foot so it would glide better. Thanks for pinning me Corinnea:) And Heather I sent you a loooong email about San Diego!

Jessica said...

Oh man I want some of this! We are doing a wedding shower soon and this could work really well since it's a black and white theme.... will have to check cost out... thanks for posting!!

Keeley Barr said...

does the stugart store ship?? I looked on Etsy and they don't have any simple shapes like yours or they had colored fabrics on the border/back and I like the plain look so it can go with everything!

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