I learned a really fun new skill recently and let me tell you, it was a long time coming! For someone who has so many chalkboards in their home, I sure was terrible at filling them! Thankfully, I remedied that little issue now and can proudly say that I definitely know how to put together a fairly respectable looking piece of chalkboard art. 🙂
I’ve always been a little mystified at how people make their chalkboard lettering look so beautiful but I was convinced that learning this skill was just not for me. I was actually kind of under the impression that they just had really steady hands and were able to just draw really straight letters like that naturally. Attempting to do that just seemed like a recipe for disaster and big-time frustration, so I avoided even trying. For years.
One sunny afternoon a few weeks ago, a magical little corner of the internet called Skillshare popped into my life though. I spent 30-something minutes watching a lovely professional hand letterer (seriously, that’s a thing) named Lauren Hom walk me through the steps for perfect chalkboard lettering in her class “Hand Lettering for Chalk Murals” and I was all set! I’m so excited to be able to offer 2 free months of Skillshare to all of my readers today so you can go check out that chalkboard lettering class for yourself and then take a whole bunch of other classes that look interesting to you for free! Seriously, go check it out.
Skillshare is an online learning community for creators full to the brim with interesting, useful, applicable-to-real-life online classes that you can take from experts in all different fields from photography, to social media, to home styling and design, to cooking, to flower arranging, to everything in between. There are over 15,000 classes available to take and I have to say that I’m actually, genuinely super excited about the classes they have available. They’re all set out in a way that’s very clear and easy to understand, and the subjects are all things that real people like you and I are interested in and able to use in our daily lives.
Skillshare put together a little video to introduce you to Lauren Hom, her class, and basically what she’s all about. It makes a difference to have classes taught by really interesting, fun, likable people, don’t you think?
Here’s a better look at how my chalkboard looked when I started with it. 🙂
I absolutely loved my chalkboard lettering class and felt inspired to get up and try out my new skill right away. Of course, you can go take the class from the expert yourself, but I wanted to share some of my notes and my learning process here with you today too!
The first thing I learned is that chalkboard lettering doesn’t require any kind of fancy materials. I think I was always under the impression that anyone who was good at chalkboard art always used those fancy chalkboard pens, but that’s just not the case, regular old chalk will do! The best eraser is just a damp towel!
Now, this next thing was a pretty monumental learning moment for me. When you’re laying out your text on your chalkboard, you want to draw very faint guidelines for your letters, just like when you were learning to write on lined paper in first grade! You just erase them later when your letters are in place! I know, it seems pretty obvious to do that now, but the idea of doing that just never crossed my mind before! Like I said, I just thought everyone had really really straight writing. Silly Courtenay! 🙂
I loved watching the letters themselves come together in the videos for the class. The letters really are made up of very simple, easy-to-replicate parts that come together to make something magical. I was really impressed to see how the letters all started off as very simple shapes, just like I would normally draw, but then became these amazing fancy-shmancy letters with a few simple additions!
It’s amazing what a difference the finishing touches can make in a piece of chalkboard art, or even just how adding a little extra thickness to your letters can make them really stand out. Again, the piece as a whole comes together to look so artful and actually kind of complicated, but when you look at each element and each letter up close, you’ll see there really isn’t anything to it. Actually, each letter on its own (on my chalkboard at least) looks really imperfect, but when you see all the letters together, it looks great.
This class was a series of really small videos, each just a few minutes long. I found that to be super helpful because I could go back and re-watch a part of the class if I found I was getting a little stuck when I was working on my project. Each section was really quick and easy to find and that made the chalkboard art really fun and non-frustrating to play around with.
So here’s my finished chalkboard!
The quote is from Margaret Atwood and I think it’s probably my favorite quote about spring that I’ve come across, so I’m excited about being able to have it on display in my home. It says “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
You’ll see in the class that Lauren gives you a few different ideas for simple flourishes and shading that you can add to your chalkboard if you think it looks a bit empty or in need of something extra. I was so happy with how my chalkboard looked once I’d done my basic lettering and adding a few of the recommended flourishes here and there that I decided not to push my luck and just left it as is. 🙂
Pretty great for someone who had no clue and pretty much refused to even learn how to do chalkboard art just a few short weeks ago though, don’t you think?
If you decide to go on Skillshare and take the chalk lettering class here are a few of my tips:
–Be very very light with your guidelines because you will need to erase them. If you make them too heavy, then you’ll end up with smudges on your chalkboard when you go to erase. I made mine a little heavier so you could see them clearly in the photos and they were a little tough to erase cleanly.
–Don’t be afraid to give individual letters their own little personalities. The letters on your chalkboard don’t need to completely match the style of all the other letters on your board, or even on the same line. Actually, adding little flourishes to random letters here and there really adds to the overall personality of the whole chalkboard.
–Don’t judge your work until you stand back. I found myself falling into the trap of thinking “Oh my goodness, this is terrible. This is really just not my thing.” from time to time because when you see the individual letters up close as you’re writing them, they tend to be really imperfect and look weird, lopsided, and just generally wonky. That’s kind of the nature of writing with something as big as a piece of chalk, but honestly, when I stood back and saw the chalkboard as a whole, I loved it. So listen to the expert and trust her, (Lauren I mean, not me). She knows what she’s talking about. 🙂
Definitely go check out Skillshare for yourself and pick up a few new skills while you’re at it! There are a few different flower arranging classes that are calling my name right now so I think I’ll spend a few minutes during the evenings this week brushing up on my skills for all the summer flowers coming my way!
Skillshare Premium Membership begins at $10 per month, but as a reader of The Creek Line House, you’re entitled to two free months to try it out! Just click here to redeem your coupon for 2 free months!
Have you tried Skillshare before? What classes are you going to check out first?
Thanks so much to Skillshare for sponsoring this post! I was compensated for my time putting this post together but all ideas, opinions, and suggestions are my own as always!
Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.