Monday, March 5, 2012

Make your own: Children's art display board

Between Pinterest, Etsy, Very Jane and other craft websites, I've seen a lot of these boards you can hang or display children's art and/or pictures from.  The problem with buying one from a vendor is that they usually run around $30.  So I took a trip to Hobby Lobby determined to figure out how to make one for myself.  

Supplies I bought (all costs are estimates, I can't remember exactly):
1 plain wooden board - 6in x 36in ($7)
1 can black spray paint ($5)
1 pad of 300 letter stickers ($8)
1 can aerosol paint sealer ($5)

Supplies I already had:
1 tube cream acrylic paint
1 silver paint pen
1 glue gun
5 regular clothespins

Originally, my plan was to paint the board in cream and arrange the stickers over the board, then spray paint black over the whole thing and remove the stickers once the paint dried to have the sentence read in cream. It didn't work as well as I wanted.  From here you can't tell, but you could see where the cream paint started and stopped underneath the black spray paint.  Also, the letters weren't as crisp as I wanted them to be, the sides around the stickers had leaked from the paint and blurred the edges.  So I had the idea of tracing the outlines of the letters with a silver paint pen.  This worked well, but I wasn't a huge fan of the color combination between the cream and the silver.  Also, I wasn't genuinely excited about the plainness of the black board with the little coloring of the letters.  Before I placed the clothespins, I decided to spray paint sealer over the entire thing, hoping it would create a gloss effect and blend in the start and stop lines from the cream paint under the black spray paint.  After I let it rest for the 24 hours, I hot glued my clothespins (9 inches apart) and hung up my board.  The kids were so excited to see it up, we immediately found art from playgroups and school to fill our display board.  This is the finished product (the first time around):

The board didn't make it a full day before coming apart.  In my attempts to "pretty" it up, the hot glue from the clothespins never fully adhered to the board because of the sealer and all five clothespins were the first to fall off.  Then, in my haste to display my completed project, I didn't secure the board well enough to the wall and the rest fell down.  

It took me a couple days, but I was determined to make it work.  So I started over on the back side of the original board.

This time, I decided to use four different colors of scrapbook paper I already had.  The dark and light silvers are 1 inch thick, the white is 2 inches and the blue pattern is 1/2 inch thick.  Then I arranged them in a way I thought was interesting but would work with the black letter stickers (Thankfully the pack I bought at Hobby Lobby had enough for two complete sayings).  I secured the paper to the board using tacky glue and folded the ends over and around the back of the board, securing the ends with hot glue.

I figured out how long my saying would be from the messed up back side and measured it out so I would have enough space and not have to rearrange my letters.  Also, I measured 2 1/2 inches from the top for the bottom line I would place my letters on.  I figured out that the easiest way to ensure even spacing between letters and words was to start at the beginning and end and work towards the middle.  It helps gauge how much space you have to work with.  I didn't want to draw a line on my papers, so I used the broken shelf from my freezer (note to self:  Even though the shelf does a good job of holding a steady line, no more cramming frozen fruits and veggies in the door of the freezer).

As you can see from the finished saying, I ended up moving the "made" more towards the middle of the board when I saw the amount of space I had.  If you end up losing the adhesive of your sticker letters, you can always use a glue stick or tacky glue.

The (finally) finished product!  I'm unhappy with the way the picture turned out.  The reflection of the overhead light in the stickers makes it looks red and the dark silver look black.  But this is just so you can get the basic idea.

Full of proud children's artwork!

In the end, I am really happy with the way it turned out with the scrapbook paper.  I like the four colored stripes and am glad I decided to try and make it myself.

My recommendations:

If you decide to recreate this board, you are more than welcome to try paint, but I suggest using only one type of paint, either acrylic or spray paint, and definitely no sealer.

The stickers worked wonderfully for the lettering.  I've also seen vinyl lettering.  Or if you have good penmanship (I do not), you could use a paint pen.

When I hot glued the clothespins to the board (the second time), I covered the back of the pin and also glued around the sides after placing it on the board.  I'm hoping this will help secure them.  So far, there hasn't been any movement of the clothespins.

There are a multitude of sayings you could put on your board.
Examples include:
-Look what (name) made
-Wall of Fame

Most of all, get creative!

My next task is to figure out how to include a "pin it" button on my posts!

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