My 10th Anniversary was a couple of weeks ago. If you’re anything like my me, you might have had grand dreams of what your 10th Anniversary would be like, way back when. When we got married and I thought out to our 10th anniversary, I imagined we would take a big trip to Hawaii, or go on a cruise, or do something really memorable. I don’t really know what I was thinking. Sure, lots of people are able to make those things work and have a really spectacular 10th. But when kids and family and crazy lives develop, plans change – am I right? My 10th was still totally great and amazing, just not in the extravagant ways I had naively imagined when I first got married. A trip to Hawaii is just not in the cards at the moment, but we did manage to take a 3 day escape to Estes Park in Colorado a month ago when we were visiting my parents (thanks mom and dad for watching 3 kids and 3 dogs for us so we could get away for a couple of days!)
My husband and I don’t usually do huge gifts for our anniversary, but we try to find something in the “material” for that anniversary year (the well known ones are silver for your 25th and gold for your 50th). For your 10th anniversary, the material is aluminum. I spent some time searching on Pinterest for something aluminum that I could create, and an idea started to form for a gift that ended up turning out super cute, although actual aluminum never made it into the final plan. So I picked up a roll of aluminum foil, practical and useful – great gift, right? Maybe I should have made him a knight in shining armor costume – wouldn’t that have been romantic? LOL
My family is big on “filling buckets” which is a common term in preschools and grade schools nowadays – the basic premise is that we fill other people’s “buckets” when we compliment them, or do a nice thing for them, or make them feel special in some way. When people’s buckets don’t get filled regularly, they start to feel empty, and sad. Thats not to say that you should give false compliments just to build someone up, its just a way to get kids thinking about doing things for, and being considerate to others.
So in part for the gift for my husband, I came up with the idea of creating a customized chalkboard, where we could write something we love about eachother – simple things like “I love you because… you make great pancakes” or “I love you because… you put the toilet seat down last night”, ha ha. My original idea was to find a cool old vintage aluminum can like these to hold some chalk and and eraser, next to the board.
But finding those a day before our anniversary, just wasn’t in the cards. So I found something else, its not aluminum, but I think it turned out even better, and is more personalized and meaningful for our family.
Here is the full tutorial for my husband’s gift… and by the way, I know its not a super macho guy gift, but he really loved it!
DIY “I Love You Because…” Chalkboard With Interchangeable Tiles
- Old board – use whatever you have around – mine measured 1″ x 6″ x 22″
- Primer (spray or brush on)
- Chalkboard Paint
- Shims (or MDF or thin wood scrap – this is for the name tiles)
- Spray paint or wood stain – in 2 colors
- Vinyl cutouts and a cutting machine (or if you have great handwriting, you could hand write the lettering with a paint pen)
- Decorative nailheads, or ribbon
- Small eye hook
- Unfinished open wooden box – I got mine from Hobby Lobby for $1.99
I had everything but the small wooden box already, so my only expense was the $1.99 for the box! Not bad!
Step 1: Cut your board down to whatever size you want it to be (I cut mine to 22″), and then give it a good coat or two of Primer. I used Zissner Spray Primer. If you plan to use wood stain rather than spray paint for the top half of the board, you only need to prime the portion that the chalkboard paint is going onto.
One thing I would pay attention to (that I should have looked at more closely) is that if you have any large knots in your board, to align them on the top half of the board, so that you aren’t putting the chalk paint over those. I made the mistake of not doing this, and I had to go back after the fact and add some wood filler, sand it down, and respray the chalk paint to get a smoother surface.
Step 2: Tape off the top half the board, and give it 2 good coats of spray paint in your desired color (I used bright red) – you can also do stain here which would look very nice as well
Step 3 – Once the top is dry, carefully remove the tape and retape the top portion, and give the bottom 2-3 light, even coats of the Chalkboard spray paint. Don’t forget to get the edges!
Step 4: While the chalkboard paint is drying, take some 2″ shims and cut them down to your desired width. I used the wider end and cut off the thinner part. You can also use scrap wood, MDF, or whatever else you might have, as long as its pretty thin. I made mine about 5″ long, as my board is 6″. Apply 1-2 thin coats of primer to the shims.
Step 5: Give your shims 1-2 coats of spray paint in your desired color or stain
Step 6: While the paint is drying, I started cutting out the vinyl letters on my cricut. I made one tile for each member of my family. For my husband and I, I made the tiles double sided so that one side says our names, for when we are leaving a message for eachother, and the other side says “mom” and “dad” for use with the kids.
Step 7: Once dry, apply the vinyl lettering to the top half of the board. You can use any lettering you want, mine read “I love you because…”
Step 7: Nail in 2 small nails at the top and bottom of your chalkboard. Make sure the distance between the nails is exactly the same at the top and the bottom
Step 8: Drill holes into the shims that are the same distance apart, as your nails. Make sure you use a drill bit that is a little bigger than your nailheads, allowing the tiles to slide on and off the nails.
Step 9: I added some additional vinyl lettering to the bottom of the chalkboard portion, right above where the lower tile would go. This lettering is a sign off, and reads “xoxo,”
Step 10 (optional): I had some decorative steel nails/rivets, so I nailed those in across the seam where the red paint meets the chalkboard paint. You could also glue a ribbon down across this area, or add some other decorative element.
Step 11: Screw your hook into the side of the board
Step 12: Decorating your unfinished wooden box – Find some cool photos of your family, and using Modge Podge or Decoupage glue, adhere them and seal them to the outside of your wooden box.
Step 13: Fill your wooden box with your name tiles, an eraser, and some chalk! (Unfortunately chalk pens won’t work well with this board, as wood is too porous of a surface and the chalk from a chalk pen will stain – I learned this from experience)
The whole project took me about 2 hours (spread out over a bit of time to take account for drying) – much of that was tweaking my cricut which has a dull blade and kept snagging on the vinyl. Overall a super easy project, that the family will love! Now just hang it somewhere that the kids can reach, and try to fill eachothers buckets up on a daily basis!
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