DIY Wedding Blackboards

Blackboards came along quite late in the DIY wedding process but they were definitely one of my favourite projects. When I reflect on our wedding, I often talk about ‘my’ DIY projects and the ideas ‘I’ had, much to my husband’s frustration. But the DIY blackboards really were a two-person project, and we both contributed to them equally.  

On our wedding day, the blackboards brought all the various elements of the wedding together. We used them for everything: from the ceremony welcome to the seating plan; from the bar to the dance floor; and from our photo book to the bathroom baskets. We also used them as a photo prop for the stag and hen do’s, as a consistent reference throughout the proceedings. Once we started on the blackboards we almost couldn’t stop, had we not run out of time I’m sure we would have made several more. 

We made our blackboards from scratch, which meant that it was a very cheap project. My husband went along to a local timber merchant and asked for some cheap plywood scrap to be cut to the size we wanted (40cmx60cm). We don’t have a car so he had to totter home on the train, carrying the piles of wood under each arm.  

So, here’s what we did:

What you’ll need:

  • Plywood cut to size (we used 40cm x 60cm)
  • Sand paper
  • Blackboard paint and paint brush
  • Graphite
  • Access to a printer/a printed copy of what you’d like to write on your blackboard
  • Scotch magic tape (or any kind of sticky tape)
  • Pencil
  • Blackboard pens (I used these and these so that I had a variety of sizes)
  • Blackboard pen remover (it is nearly impossible to correct your mistakes without this!)

Steps:

  1. Get your plywood ready by sanding down the edges – your wedding party will thank you when they don’t get splinters when putting these in place ready for your big day! It also gives the board a neater finish. Mike did ours with sand paper and elbow grease but if you’ve got an electric sander this will no doubt save you time (and joint pain!).
  2. Paint your boards in blackboard paint with two coats per side. Don’t forget to paint the edges. Leave these to dry overnight.
  3. Design your text or pattern that you’d like on your boards, bearing in mind you’ll need to be able to trace whatever you choose. I played around with text on Word and found images I liked on Pinterest to print out. Depending on the size of your board, you’ll need to print these on several bits of paper and align them on the board, unless you’ve got access to an A3 printer, or bigger.
  4. Arrange the pieces of paper as you’d like them to be on your board and attach them with the sticky tape as a hinge to ensure the placement remains right.
  5. Apply a thin layer of graphite to the back of the paper (the side without the text/pattern) then place the paper back on the board (graphite-side down) and secure all edges in place with more tape.
  6. Trace the outline of the text or pattern with a pencil. You’ll need to press quite hard to ensure a clear outline is traced onto your board.
  7. Using the pencil trace as guidance, draw over the outline using a thin tipped blackboard pen.
  8. Fill the pattern or text with a thicker pen, do a double layer if required.
  9. If you go wrong at any stage use the blackboard pen remover, you’ll need to scrub a bit to get this off. I used kitchen roll and a circular motion – worked a dream.
  10. Leave to dry overnight.