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Monday, June 16, 2014

Pregnancy Tracker Chalkboard DIY Project

      So...after I found out I was preggo, I knew I wanted to find a
cute and creative way to track all of the important milestones during my pregnancy so I could look back after the baby is born and remember all of the amazing changes my body went through on its journey before birth.  I had seen several ideas online that I considered, but I kept going back to my favorite idea - the pregnancy tracker chalkboard.  During the several weeks after I found out I was pregnant, I looked everywhere for a chalkboard that was the right size - Hobby Lobby, Michael's, HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, etc.   I knew I wanted something that was tall and narrow so it would fit in a picture longways and have plenty of room to write on.  Nothing I found was quite what I wanted....no surprise there. :) So, of course, I did what I always do when I don't find what I want - I decided to make it!!
    I decided an open back frame with a piece of wood set behind it painted with chalkboard paint was my best bet, so I went to Hobby Lobby and found an open back frame.  The majority of the sizes were 24 X 36 or smaller, but I finally found one that was almost as tall as I am - a 24 X 48 inch frame.  Perfect! Large and in charge!! And it was 50% off!  It was not the color I wanted (a gaudy black & gold combo), but I knew a little coat of paint would fix it right up.  I bought some white spray paint, some chalkboard markers, and picked up a thin piece of wood from Home Depot that was amazingly exactly 24 X 48 inches (no cutting....sweet!!).
        My first task was painting the frame.  Now, let me begin by saying that I have a love-hate relationship with spray paint.  It's so easy to use and dries fast, but it almost never covers well, even in coats.  And if it does cover well, you literally knock the object against something and it chips.  After coating the entire frame with the white spray paint (hoping for a different outcome this time), I ended up painting it the old fashioned way with white paint and a paint brush just because you could literally flick the frame with your finger and the spray paint would chip.  Not cool....  (Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but I would have just put two coats of regular paint instead of spray painting, just FYI.)  I also made this mistake with the chalkboard paint too.  I had regular chalkboard paint, but I thought I'd be cool and buy the chalkboard spray paint.  And once again, the new kid on the block just didn't cut it.  The chalkboard spray paint took coat after coat to cover the back board, and it still didn't look like a thick enough surface to write on, so I painted it again with two coats of the regular chalkboard paint.  It turned out way better!!  Lesson learned - spray paint sucks....and it's expensive. Stick with the old fashioned stuff.

Liquid nails dabbed into corners of frame.
      After the back board was dry, I used liquid nails to glue the back board into the frame.  I just squirted some in a cup and used a q-tip to kind of dab it onto the edges.  I was scared to do a full line of it all the way down the edge of the frame, because if it expanded too much and squirted around to the front of the frame, I knew it was going to be a bear to get off!  I set the back board into place and put some heavy objects on the back of the board to keep it bonded to the liquid nails until it dried.
    Afterward, I ended up having some spots where the liquid nails did seep out where it was visible from the front of the frame, so I used a toothpick and a razor blade to scrap out the little bits of glue so it wouldn't look tacky.  We can't have tacky, now can we??!
        After all the excess glue was scraped away, the frame looked spectacular! It was exactly what I was looking for.  All I had to do next was decorate it so I could take my first picture for 8 weeks.  That part was fun!!  I LOVED the chalk markers I bought at Hobby Lobby. They wrote with such ease and had such a color pop.  By the time I finished creating the board and decorating it for my 8 week picture, I was in reality almost 9 weeks preggo.  But I was not about to wait any longer to get my first picture done.  In retrospect, I wish I'd had the board done around 6 weeks so I could have taken a picture then and proved that I did actually have a fairly flat stomach before pregnancy.  By 8 1/2 weeks I was already looking like 18 weeks (which I made sure to explain on my first pregnancy board), so I was a little bummed that I didn't get to track the belly from it's original state.  I may never see that flat belly again....sad day. :(
    For my first picture, I tried just propping up the board against the wall but I thought it looked dumb.  So I decided to mount the board on the wall in our living room.  In order to do that, I had to put eye screws into the sides and put picture hanging wire through both sides in order to hang it on the wall.  I used my studfinder to find the stud in the wall, and put a strong screw in to hold it, since the frame is pretty heavy. Using the picture wire made it easy to take the frame on and off the wall so I can decorate it each week.

        So basically I LOVE my pregnancy chalkboard.  However,  I am also now in a love hate relationship with the chalkboard markers because they STAIN!!!!  After I was done with my 8 week board and was ready to start working on my 9 week board, I took a wet cloth to wipe off the chalk.  It did in fact take off the very top layer of bright color, but it also left an exact stain of where every single word or picture had been.  I scrubbed, I wiped, I used Windex, I used Dawn dish detergent...nothing worked.  After thinking for a moment about what takes everything off, I tried a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, and that was actually the final trick that took off the chalk, but it took no less than 10 minutes of hard core elbow grease scrubbing.  I was a tad bit bummed about that.  But nonetheless, I love my board and I am already cherishing the cute pics my husband has been able to take of me each week to track my little baby bump and the incredible growth and development of our sweet baby!!  Here are my pictures for  Weeks 8, 9, & 10.  I hope eventually to post more about what is going on each week during my pregnancy, but since this post is devoted to the DIY aspect of it, I'll save all that for later!! God Bless!!









5 comments:

  1. Love your blog! We have similar stories..I had trouble trying to conceive, am a teacher, and do a blog with weekly chalkboard updates! Would love if you followed us back: tinybabyg.blogspot.com
    Take care, mama!
    Jessica

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  2. Your boards look great! Do you remember what brand you used for your chalk markers? I was also wondering if the magic eraser ever damaged the chalkboard paint at all.
    Great blog! Thanks for sharing all the info!

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    1. I got the chalk markers at Hobby Lobby...not sure of the brand. Yea the magic eraser did seem to slowly scrub some of the paint off but I had painted it with several layers so it didn't seem to matter much.

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