With my upcoming Asheville chalkboard lettering class on July 20 (want to play? register here!), I thought I would share my two favorite tips for lettering on chalkboards!
First and foremost, season your boards!
No matter where you get your chalkboard, antique/goodwill store, art supply store, or hardware store, I highly recommend taking the time to season your new board several times before doing any writing or doodling.
Why should I season?
If you've ever lettered on chalkboards before, you know that ghosting is real! Or if you're a chalkboard beginner, take my word for it. Ghosting is a black shadow left on the chalkboard when erasing your lettering. It happens with regular chalk and with chalk markers and can make lettering new phrases and designs hard without requiring you to paint them with chalkboard paint again.
Seasoning your chalkboard is easy!
Warning: it can be a bit messy! But who doesn't love a little productive mess making? To season your board you'll need a single piece of whole chalk, and some tissues or papertowels. Lay the chalk flat on the surface and rub it all over. You want to cover it completely, and I suggest going in multiple directions. Once your board is covered (and you've probably made a lot of chalk dust) erase the entire thing using your tissues or cloth. Don't worry about getting it spotless now, because you're going to do it all again! If you have the time (worth it), I high recommend doing this at least 3-5 times through. The more you season, the better prepped your chalkboard surface is for writing.
Now that your chalkboard is prepped, your'e ready to letter! Remember to season your board often, and at minimum before its first use.
Sharpen Your Chalk!
Chalk can be a funny medium to work with. Just like pencils, the tip of your chalk stick can wear down and even break. One of the best tips I learned was to sharpen my chalk! You can use any two-holed pencil sharpener... pictured is the Staedtler I have. You'll just place your chalk stick in the larger of the two holes and rotate to sharpen.
While the unsharpened piece of chalk is great for larger lettering or even drafting pieces, the sharpened piece allows for much finer details and better control. If you're going to be inking in a final piece, I use either a sharpened piece of chalk or a chalk pencil for my sketch to have thin, traceable lines!
With these two prep tips complete, start practicing! Just with all skills, chalkboard lettering takes dedicated time. The more you practice, the more comfortable you'll be. The more comfortable you are, the happier you'll be with your final pieces! I'd love to see your chalkboard work! Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org