4 Chalkboard Projects and Time-Saving Tips

I’ve had a lot of people leave comments over the last few years, wondering how I get so many projects done each week, so I thought I’d share a few of my secrets.

work smarter, not harder

1.  First of all, I know many of you are employed outside the home.  I am not.  Both my blog and my shop ARE my business, and both were started because I am a homeschooling mom, and if I was to bring in any income, it needed to be home-based.  So, I’m free to work on my projects all day (and often night).  That said, I easily put in a 40+ hour work week, just like any other full-time job.

2.  Most people work on one or two projects at a time.  I generally have about 4 projects in the works at a time.  They are all in various stages of completion, but it keeps my workflow going smoothly, and I don’t have any “down” time, waiting for paint to dry, before I can finish a project.  I just allow the paint to dry, and work on another step of another project while it is.

3.  If I’m painting something in one color, I usually paint several more things the same color, at the same time.

For instance, when I painted the top of the school desk with chalkboard paint, I worked on several more chalkboard projects at the same time.  Not only do I accomplish more, but I don’t spend so much time cleaning up, and getting out supplies.

vintage school desk makeover

While the desk top was drying, I painted a piece of salvged metal with with chalkboard paint, and turned it into a magnetic menu chalkboard.

metal menu chalkboard

I created an image with Picmonkey, including the word, “Menu”, and my favorite little design underneath it (the same design I have in my blog header).  I printed the image out, rubbed chalk all over the back side of it, then traced over the design onto the chalkboard painted metal.

Chalkboard Menu

I used a white acrylic paint marker to trace over the design, so it is permanent, an won’t rub off.  If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know I hate to cook…really hate it.  I’d rather do just about anything than cook, so obviously, a menu chalkboard is a little laughable.  Here’s the reality of what would normally go on my chalkboard…

chalkboard menu

It’s listed in my shop HERE.

While the paint was drying on that project, I painted a melamine tray with chalkboard paint as well.

Here’s what it looked like before.

melamine tray

And here’s the after…

chalkboard tray

While the paint was drying on the tray, I also painted a wooden tote with the chalkboard paint.

Here’s the before.

wooden tote before makeover

I did wax it after I distressed it, so it can’t be used as a chalkboard, but I love how it looks.   Here’s the after…

vintage wooden tote

black wooden tote

I’ve listed the tote in my shop HERE, but I won’t be sad if it doesn’t sell.  I can think of about 10 different ways I could use it in my home.

When I went to put the chalkboard paint away, I noticed how badly the chalkboard wall in my entryway needed a fresh coat of paint, so I did that too.  The free printable and tutorial for the antique style school chart are HERE.

antique school wall chart

I usually have at least 4 blog posts that I’m working on at a time as well, and I work on blog posts the same way as I work on my projects.  I take a bunch of “before” photos at the same time, and I photograph anything that is in progress, or completely finished at the same time.  In the evening, I sit down and edit the photos, and upload them all into blog posts that are all in various stages of being written.  So, with each step of a project, I’m also working on a step of the blog post for the project as well.

I don’t always do things this way, or do that many projects at a time with one color of paint.  Sometimes I may want to paint something for a little while, then I may want to work on a paper project for the rest of the day.  But, on days when I really want to accomplish a lot in a little time, I follow my streamlined process, and crank those projects out!

signature closing

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  1. Ellie LaJuett says

    You are too clever!

  2. Dear Angie,
    I am at such a low point in my life at the moment but reading your daily Posts lifts my spirits. Please, keep up the good work.
    I have loads of projects I’d like to do, I just don’t know where to start. I have to furnish a whole six room, ground floor Bungalow, House, after a tragedy, I don’t know what you call these types of property in the USA. The task seems so daunting.
    Anyway, Happy New Year to you and yours and have a wonderful 2015.
    Kind regards

    • Dear Rachel, I’m guessing here at what might be so daunting to you about your house project so forgive me if I’m way out of line. If it’s furnishings that you are needing, please check Facebook to see if there is a trading/selling/garage sale type of page for your locale. If there isn’t please start one and then tell everyone you know to check it out. I live in a very rural area where there are few stores to shop in and we have a similar FB page that’s been a god send for finding used furnishings, clothing and household items. Some people want cash for their things but others are willing to trade or barter to get useful things for themselves. Once you have the page set up or found you can post and ask people if they have any of the things you are in need of. I hope this helps you. Chin up!

    • Hello Rachel,
      I’m so sorry you are going through such a difficult time in your life right now, and if my posts bring you any kind of encouragement, I am so glad. Is the bungalow your home that you need to furnish? Search thrift stores, Craigslist, and the newspaper classified section for your furniture, if you are on a tight budget. As long as the fabric on furniture is in good condition, you may be able to paint it, if you don’t like how it looks. Of course, I’d paint anything wood to improve its appearance. I really think you can furnish nearly an entire home from a thrift store – from furniture to bedding to lamps and kitchen appliances – that’s what I’ve done for my entire married life. There are very few pieces in our home that we bought new, and in hindsight, I wish I wouldn’t have bought most of them new. Please take some photos of the space you are trying to furnish, and send them to me. If you need ideas, I’d be happy to throw out some to you, and if you’d like me to post them on my blog, I’m sure many of my readers would love to help you as well!!


      Jeremiah 29:11New International Version (NIV)

      11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

    • Rachel, I’m in the same position after having lost our home and everything in it back in April. After spending four months going from hotel to hotel due to advanced bookings, we were finally able to find a little house within our budget. We had insurance, but they’ve yet to settle, so in the meantime, we’ve had to do what we can to furnish it with the things we need now like beds and somewhere to sit. I have found my greatest resource to be family, friends, and even the kindness of strangers. Don’t be afraid to ask for help…people love to help when they can and you can always pay it forward when you are in the position to. Also, try going to your church, even if you aren’t a parishioner there, if they are anything like my local church has been, they will be only too happy to band together to help you in any way they can. If there is a Salvation Army near you, don’t be afraid to go into talk to them…they are there to help people and you will find that they are very kind, understanding, and generous. And the Red Cross was really good to us, too, they put us up in a hotel immediately and it`s a good thing because it took our insurance five days to send us any money…give them a call, if they can`t help you, they may know of a resource you can access. I’m not sure what your financial situation is, but you may even be able to get some sort of funding through the government that would help…it doesn`t hurt to go into your local government office and speak to them about what`s happened. There is help available, Rachel, please don`t be too proud to ask for it and accept it. I was always the type who wanted to give and never take, but I`ve had to change my line of thinking an allow people to help me. The love and kindness people have shown me has been overwhelming and it`s renewed my faith in humankind…and I vow to pay it all forward when I can…that`s the best part of it!

      I hope you and yours will be okay, Rachel…it`s a lot to go through, I know. I still mourn for our old home and all of our possessions, most especially the personal ones that are irreplaceable. And you need to allow yourself that grieving period…but also remember that we are sooooooo much more than our possessions and as horrible as this experience has been, we can learn from it…we can come out of it for the better. Sending many blessings your way and wishing you much serenity, strength, and comfort in this difficult time!

  3. Good morning Angie, thank you for this post, it reminded me of how I am supposed to do things. To Rachel, so sorry you having difficulty. Don’t be daunted by the task you have before you. What did Goethe say….(paraphrasing)” without a plan, there is chaos and confusion” ..step 1 would be to figure out the function of each space…I.e. Bedroom, living room, etc. next plan would be to figure out within that space what is needed for it to function as designated. I.e. Living room…tv, game area, computer? Etc. for colors pick neutrals with splashes of color in pillows and artwork. I’ll stop here, because it is not for me to take up Angie’s space with this advice. But I wish you luck! I’m sure there are sites on line that can help you.

  4. Mornin’ Angie, You clever woman! I never asked but I wondered 😉 It makes such good sense to do several like things at once and I can see how much time that would save without the clean up between each step of each project. I don’t blog of course but I am still in the middle of that whole house remodel project and you’ve got my wheels rolling a little quicker to figure out how I could get more done by doing like things in several rooms at once.

  5. Hi Angie! Thank you so much for sharing your tips with us! That is what I’m learning to do as well. Like others, I have so many projects, craft and otherwise, that need to get done. Your tips will help me today, to stay on task! Stay warm! Blessings from Bama!

  6. GREAT way to work your day! I am more like the person who starts a project, gets distracted, starts another project, gets distracted and by the end of the day, none of them are done. Well….some of them are not done.
    Treasures by Renee

  7. Suellen Wassem says

    Angie, I am so happy To discover your blog! I love it and all your great ideas. I am a quilter, knitter, rug hooker, home “decorator”, crafter and I love to read…also a retired 70 year old. I usually have 4 – 5 projects ( or more) in various stages, going at all times. Their are different times of the day that I like to work on certain types of projects. We have two homes…OH and Fl…and I am always looking for budget ideas for decorating. Keep on inspiring all of us!

  8. I love this way of thinking, Angie! I am very scatterbrained and have always have projects going on all over the place at once…you’ve showed me I can harness my tendencies to get more done. Love all of your wonderful re-dos!

  9. Marlene Stephenson says

    Boy you are organized, i admire you for that.Have a great day.

  10. Do you think chalk-painting would work on a tin surface?

  11. Angie I work just like that. I have several projects at once in the works. I save time on cleaning brushes and cleaning up paint cans. I usually do not work on more than one blog post at a time however. I love your magnetic chalkboard! That is the secret to getting so many projects done 🙂

  12. Kim Ceder says

    Angie, Love the antique school chart but sadly the link isn’t working. Can I still get it. Love the way your brain works. Great ideas! Thank you.

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