Ever since we moved into our townhouse, about a year ago, I have been trying to figure out what to do with the big hole – aka the tv niche – over our fireplace. I found lots of great projects for completely covering up the niche, but we are renting the townhouse while Roger finishes up dental school so I needed to figure out how to fix the problem without affecting the house. For the first half of the year I just decided I would try to deal with it and have layers of decorations over our mantel, but that just made it look cluttered. So I started the search again for a way to deal with this big hole.
Look how huge it is! I can’t even reach the back when standing on the exposed brick below the fireplace!
Seriously, if I had a ladder I could make this a fun little reading/sleeping nook it is so huge and roomy! Doesn’t that sound fun? But seriously, I have come up with a million ideas on how to fix this problem but none of them seemed practical or would have a pretty end result. I had hoped I would find something(s) to fix the problem while on the longest yard sale, and although I found some cute things I didn’t find anything to deal with the question of what to do with the big hole!
Finally, I settled on the idea of putting a huge chalkboard on top of the mantel. The only thing is I knew I would never find a chalkboard the exact size I needed it, and even if I did it would be way too expensive! So of course the only thing that made sense was to make it myself!
The original plan was to make a frame for it, but we are really liking the look of the chalkboard as it is right now… I guess we will have to wait and see what happens, come January I might get bored with the look and decided to spice it up with a frame! Until then, I am fully enjoying the look of our fall mantel – and I can’t wait to share the fall banner I am making with you on Friday!
So here is how I did it!
First, I measured the hole and headed to Lowe’s to see what thin precut boards they had available. After a lot of debate – with myself – I settled on the thinnest board they had that was 4 by 4 feet. I then pushed the little button for “help” – the one you are never allowed to touch as a kid – and had them cut 5 inches off the top.
I then somehow got it to fit into my little Camry and brought it home. I then gave it a good sand down, and wiped it off with a damp and dry cloth, before applying the first coat of Valspar Chalkboard Paint. I thought about using spray paint but then decided I wanted the the look, texture, and durability of painted on chalkboard paint.
I then let it dry for over the required amount of time due to rainy/stormy weather – talk about having to have lots of patience! Then I sanded it a second time before wiping it down and giving it a second coat of chalkboard paint.
Oh and there is a huge family of wasps – including all of their in-laws and long lost relatives – that have decided they love our back porch. So the entire time I was trying to sand and paint my allergic self had to carefully avoid disturbing them. Scary!
Anyway, once I had let it dry another 24 hours Roger and I decided we liked how it looked and so I left it at just 2 coats of chalkboard paint. I then rubbed it down with chalk, wiped it off with a damp cloth, and proceeded to decorate it for fall!