DIY Chalkboard

cabinet-doorI’ve been wanting to update my kitchen cabinet doors, but since I change my mind a lot I figured painting was too much of a commitment (not to mention a lot of work). After removing a few of the doors to open up the space (read about that project here), I decided to turn some of the remaining doors into chalkboards. This creates a convenient space to make lists, jot down notes before I forget them, or display temporary artwork.

You can purchase chalkboard paint at hardware stores, but again, painting requires a decent amount of effort and commitment. A much easier, cheaper method is black contact paper! You can purchase contact paper marketed specifically as “chalkboard contact paper,” but I’ll let you in on a secret–it’s exactly the same stuff as plain black contact paper, which you can purchase at most home improvement stores (I bought mine for $6.99 at Fred Meyer).

Simply measure the area of your cabinet door, cut the paper to fit, and stick it on. My door required two pieces, but you can barely see the seam. A few things to keep in mind while putting up large pieces of contact paper:

  1. Clean the surface before you use it (contact paper likes a smooth, non-greasy surface)
  2. Peel off a bit of the contact paper backing at a time and smooth out bubbles as you go
  3. Contact paper is fairly easy to remove and re-position, so remain calm if it’s crooked–just peel off and try again
IMG_1652

My supplies for chalkboard labels

I also love the look of chalkboard labels on jars and cans, so I purchased a paper punch from the craft store. The one I bought is called “flourish square” from Martha Stewart Crafts and is super easy to use. Regular chalk works perfectly well on black contact paper, but for more precise lettering or for writing in smaller spaces (like the labels) I recommend a liquid chalk marker. These can also be purchased at most craft stores.

Below are some ideas to get your crafty juices flowing. If you make something, I’d love to hear about it!

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Here’s a cabinet door in my kitchen–lots of space for shopping lists, recipes, and doodling.

fridge-sticker

A pretty idea for a fridge sticker–just trace a design on the paper before cutting it out.

fridge-sticker-2

More fridge stickers–according to her blog, the bottom sheet is for the author’s kids to scribble on. Neat!

chalkboard-framed

For a framed version, simply take the glass out of a picture frame and cover the cardboard insert with contact paper.

chalk-board-clock

For a DIY version of this clock from ThinkGeek, just trace around your clock on the paper, stick it on the clock face, and make your own numbers!

cups-and-straws

These straws and cups were made with strips of black contact paper. Writable cup labels would be a cute idea for keeping tracking of guests’ cups at a party.

jar-labels

Jars labeled with black contact paper.

cabinet-with-contents

A cute way to let people know what’s behind the door!

Instant Kitchen Facelift: Removing Cabinet Doors

Maybe it’s the darker winter days making everything a bit gloomy, or my tacky kitchen cabinets that make that space overwhelmingly…brown–whatever the reason, I recently decided my kitchen wasn’t bright enough and could stand a facelift. The cabinets could certainly stand to be painted a lighter color, or completely removed and replaced with floating shelves, but I don’t have that kind of time or energy at the moment. Another easy way to open up the space in your kitchen, but without having to do a lot? Remove the cabinet doors!

This is relatively easy to do, and lets you make a minor change that can have a big impact. It’s also a good project for folks on a budget, or for renters who aren’t allowed to make drastic changes to their kitchen.

A few tips:

  1. You can do this alone, but if your cabinet doors are heavy, proceed with caution–nobody wants you to get bonked on the head with that door, and holding it steady while removing the hinges can be tricky (I used an electric screwdriver and made sure to move breakable things out of the way).
  2. Once the inside cabinet is revealed, you might want to spruce it up with some contact paper (easy to find–check out the links in my post on contact paper projects), or a contrasting shade of paint.
  3. Because the cabinet contents are now on display, group things in like colors so it doesn’t look too cluttered (I opted to keep a few doors on, in order to hide my mismatched items), or employ some baskets or storage bins to keep things tidy.
  4. Make sure you have a good kitchen exhaust/vent if you remove cabinet doors near your stove–airborne oil particles from frying stuff may travel and cling to exposed items.

And there you have it–a more open space that looks lighter and brighter! It’s also much easier now for guests to find things and to put things away. Some inspiration:

apttherapy-open-shelves

from Apartment Therapy

green-kitchen

from Emily Ann Interiors

white-cabinets

from Houzz

white-subway-tile

from In Your Back Pocket

dre-kitchen

My own work in progress. Next up–covering the interior with contact paper!