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Community gardens aren’t just allotments — they’re urban farms, great places to share gardening skills and crops.
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Being one who grew up with chalkboards being a big part of my daily school life, I love to see that something that has in recent years been rendered obsolete by the invention of the dry erase board so quickly finding its way back into our daily lives. Not only are chalkboards back and even more functional than ever, they've earned a place in our hearts and homes as fun and decorative instead of the dreaded place we learned how our precious hours of evening play were to be robbed from us.
Chalkboard paint can be purchased premixed in cans for application by brushing or rolling onto a porous surface. I was excited to recently find that chalkboard paint is easily mixed at home. If you want to break with tradition and forgo the standard black-colored chalkboard, mixing it yourself allows you to make it any color your heart desires. The recipe is simply 1 cup of paint mixed with 2 tablespoons of un-sanded tile grout.
The chalkboard paint can be applied in straight lines (a band around the top, vertical stripes circling the entire pot, a couple of bold chevron stripes) using masking tape to mask off the areas to which you don't want the paint applied. If you want to get a little more intricate with shapes, you can use a few Fiskars tools to help you achieve the look you want.
Create a mask by layering strips of masking tape on the front of a terracotta flowerpot. If you will be painting the rim of the pot as well, wrap masking tape around the pot beneath the rim to help achieve a crisply-painted line. Using a Fiskars Shape Template, cut out your desired shape and place the cut shape over the masking tape, and trace it onto the tape. Using the Fiskars Fingertip Knife, lightly trace over the traced shape and peel away the masking tape.
Using premixed chalkboard paint and a sponge roller (for a flat, smooth finish), paint over the masked area. You will need to apply 2-3 coats for thorough coverage. The instructions for the paint I used suggest allowing an hour of drying time between coats.
To make a chalkboard paint the color of your choice, mix 2 tablespoons of un-sanded grout with an 8 ounce bottle of paint.
Punch a butterfly from a piece of freezer paper and cut a wide area around it to create another mask. I don't recommend using plain paper. When I tried it, it absorbed moisture from the paint and separated from the adhesive leaving a layer of adhesive and paper on the pot when I peeled it away. The waxy surface of freezer paper will prevent it from absorbing moisture from the paint.
Spray the paper side of the punched freezer paper butterfly and the mask from the previous step with adhesive. Allow the adhesive to dry until it is no tackier than masking tape. If you do not wait, you will have adhesive residue left behind on your pot and it does not come off without the paint coming off with it.
Place the punched butterfly on the pot, trace around the butterfly, and remove it.
Scuff up the area inside the butterfly tracing with the Fiskars Fingertip Detail Knife.
Place the mask over the scuffed butterfly. For even better paint adhesion, you might apply a coat of primer before applying your homemade chalkboard paint. Roll or brush on your colored paint.
Let the paints dry for 24 hours. Any areas of homemade chalkboard paint need to be lightly sanded with 150 grit paper. All painted areas should be conditioned by rubbing them with the side of a piece of chalk and removing it with a soft cloth.
These pots are now ready to add a little whimsy to my vegetable garden for the summer. And this fall, I can bring them into my house to brighten up my kitchen over the winter months!
Terra cotta flower pot, premixed chalkboard paint or un-sanded grout and colored paint of choice, freezer paper, spray-on adhesive, foam roller, masking tape.