Friday, April 13, 2012

Pinterest Challenge - Silver Framed Chalkboard

I try my hardest not to go on Pinterest every day, but it is really difficult when you are looking for a gift or design idea, and need a little inspiration. With the baby showers that my friends have graciously given me, I was in need of some different and inexpensive ideas for hostess gifts. One happened to be a Pinterest idea:

Cute and easy, right? Kind of. I did make some with success, but this tutorial shows that it isn't as quick as you would think.

First, I purchased some old silver trays at Salvation Army for $2 each. They were in good shape and just needed some polishing. But don't polish them before you start this process, as you may end up getting them dirty and smudgy.

Forgive the lighting in these photos, apparently the only time I have to do projects these days is at night when the lighting is horrible. 

I purchased some Con-Tact Chalkboard paper on Amazon to use for this project. After reading many how-to's online, some of the projects that used the chalkboard paint were a little streaked or required multiple coats, which I did not have time for. Also, our local Michaels was out of the chalkboard acrylic paint, and I can not use the spray paint (aerosol/fumes+ baby = no-no). But this stuff was fairly easy to use, and I love the finish it provides.

But there is one step to do before you get it looking pretty, which may require the help of a man and his drill (or a skilled Father-in-law who had it done in 10 minutes). See these little holes where you later tie your ribbons?

You need to drill them into your platters. And since we needed someone to hold the platter and someone to drill accurately, we had no hands left to hold a camera and take photos. So try to follow these directions to make the holes:

First, mark on the plate with permanent marker where you would like the two holes. These marks will go away once you drill. Second, get a large heavy-duty nail or screw and a heavy hammer. While one person holds the platter steady, the other should try to hammer the screw/nail into the plate to puncture the metal. It does not have to go all the way through, it just has to puncture the metal. This makes the drill bit go in easier. Next, use a 1/4" drill bit (or larger), and make sure it is for metal and not wood. Start the tip of the drill bit in the puncture and drill until you have a round hole all the way through the platter. Repeat on the other hole. To finish off, use a metal file to file down any sharp edges around the holes, as they will snag your satin ribbon later if you don't!

 I first cut a square piece of the Con-Tact paper to fit over the area in the middle of the platter. I taped a few sides taught before I began cutting the round edges with scissors.

Just insert your sharp scissors and run them around the inner edge of the platter.  

This wasn't the most conventional way to do it, but on this platter, it seemed like the easiest way to get the shape right.... or close.

 Here is the finished cut (above) and flipped (below).

Ok, so maybe my scissors weren't sharp enough, or it was just an overall bad idea to do it that way. The edges look ROUGH. 

I just took my scissors and gently went around the circle to make nice clean edges. Luckily, I could do this free-handed and it didn't make too much difference on how the chalkboard fit onto the platter. 

Here is how I would recommend doing it in the future, as I did with the other platters that had a more unusual shape. I placed the Con-Tact paper over the platter, and taped it to secure. I then took a marker and traced the inner edge of the platter, then removed the Con-Tact paper and cut along the tracing. It ended fitting perfectly with clean edges.

The next steps are probably the hardest. Remove a small section of the Con-Tact paper to expose the sticky side. Place the contact paper, sticky side down, on your platter, and as you smooth with one hand, pull the white backing underneath with the other hand, until the entire piece is stuck down.

I also found that using a credit or membership card as I went along helped smooth any bubbles. I ended up with some tiny bubbles or marks, just because the silver wasn't completely smooth on the surface.  But for the most part, it looked great.

It was at this time that I took a silver polish cloth to the platters to shine them up and get rid of any finger prints and tarnish. If the platters need a good deep clean, I would clean them with a rag and silver polish 1-2 days beforehand to make sure they dry well before you apply the chalkboard. 

Next, I decided that I wanted my platters to have the ability to be hung, rather than just put on a shelf. I took satin ribbon cut into two almost 2' long strips. The first strip is fed through each hole from front to back. Then about 6" above the top of the platter, I made a knot, and then over that tied a bow. Repeat the process, feeding the second ribbon from the back of the platter through the outside edges of the holes (so the top ribbon is on the inside edges of the holes). Tie in a knot and then in a bow at the top of the platter.

I use the bunny-ear method to tie my bows. I saw years ago that Martha Stewart thinks this makes the best bows. Frankly, its how I learned to tie my shoes, and have tied bows this way ever since!

Next, I cut the tails on the bows with some scissors, keeping the tails shorter for the bow at the top of the platter, and longer on the piece that actually hangs the platter. 

For the final touch, I took some chalk and wrote messages on the chalkboards. With each chalkboard, I included pieces of chalk tied with more of the satin ribbon. I really loved how they turned out, and I actually have some leftover Con-Tact paper, so I may just have to make myself one soon!

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