Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Chalkboard Vinyl Lists: A Tutorial

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A week or so back I shared how I made over our refrigerator in my Fridge Front Organization post.  Since I'm rapidly discovering that, much as in real life, my blogging style is incredibly verbose, I promised a tutorial on how I made our chalkboard lists.  Had I included the tutorial in that last post, I'm pretty sure I could have published a book on that post alone.  But these lists were so easy to make!

They've been so convenient since we put them up.  The menu looks sad and barren because we didn't have the kids the week I took this picture.  Deputy Dad and I were both working Monday, Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday this week.  I work 11:45 am to 10:15 pm and he works 6:00 am to 6:00 pm, so days we both work and we're kid-free, he takes care of his own dinner.  Wednesday and Thursdays during the kid-free weeks are our days to enjoy each other, so we always make sure to have a nice meal together.  Sunday is my day to me, but since Deputy Dad gets off at 6:00 we generally have dinner together.  I just hadn't decided what it was going to be this week.  You're welcome for the long explanation that you didn't ask for about our meal situation.  :)  I just didn't want anyone to think I wasn't feeding my family.  #thatwouldbebad

So anyway, when I cleaned off the fridge I measured the freezer door space I had available to put my lists.  I made sure to stay out of the way of the fridge logo and the handle, which left me with about 14.5" x 26" of free space.  I knew I wanted some white space between each list so it wasn't a giant blob of black on our white appliances, so I decided to make each list 7.5" wide and 12" tall.  

I opened up Silhouette Studio and made a canvas that was the size I wanted the overall list to be.  I always like to take this step for every project, even if I'm making a subway art piece or a layered project that I know I'm going to cut in multiple smaller pieces.  It just makes it easier for me to visualize.

I knew I wanted a little bit of a unique shape to our lists rather than a plain rectangle, so I opened up my Silhouette library and just did a search for "shapes" to see what I had.  I ended up selecting the 12x12 background shapes in the middle of the top row.

Adding your shapes to Studio is super easy.  All you have to do is double-click on the shape you want to use and it will drop the image right in to your workspace.  

Since I only wanted to use one of the shapes, I just clicked the "ungroup" icon down in the lower left.

Then I selected the two shapes over to the right that I didn't want to use and deleted them.

Once I was left with only the shape I wanted, I moved it over to my workspace.  From here I opened up the scale window and adjusted the size of my shape.  Since this was a square shape and I wanted a rectangle, I made sure to uncheck the "lock aspect" box.  Then I decided I wanted to make my shape a hair smaller, so I changed the dimensions to 6.75 for the width and 11.5 for the height.  I clicked apply and centered it on my canvas.  From there I cut it three times on three different sheets of chalkboard canvas I trimmed down to 7" x 12".  I'm pretty sure I used this chalkboard vinyl from Silhouette, but I honestly ordered it so long ago that I'm not 100% certain.  It was kind of a pain to unroll because it was so gosh darn thick and it kept wanting to curl back up.  Once I had everything cut, I just left it under my computer for awhile hoping that the warmth and the weight would help everything flatten out a little and it totally did.

I thought applying these would be a serious PITA because I'm terrible with straight lines, but it was actually pretty easy!  We used a laser level and a bubble level.  We had to use both levels because we discovered after I stuck them on the first time that our refrigerator isn't level, so I used the bubble level to get the laser level line straight.  Once I had that straight, I lined up the top edge of the far right decal with the line and applied it.  Then I stuck a piece of wider painter's tape along the left edge of the decal to use as a spacer.  I worked right to left, so I lined up the middle decal with the level line and applied, then repeated with the tape and third decal.  It took all of ten minutes!  I was worried that there would be a ton of texture peeking through because of the texture of the refrigerator, but the vinyl is so freaking think that none of it peeks through!

Our lists paired with these chalk markers have been amazing.  They wipe off so easily, and it's been a lot easier to keep track of what we need to get from the grocery store!  The to-do list is nice too, because on the days I'm working and I need Deputy Dad to do something, I can write it on there and it's easy for him to see and remember and vice versa!  In this house, that's a good thing.

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