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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002
  • Tues. – Fri. 10am – 4pm
  • Saturday 10am – 5pm
  • Sunday 12pm – 5pm

Visit the carle


Making Art Together

How To Make a Chalkboard

 Ally Lynes, The Studio's Spring-Term Intern, assisted with last month's special Studio activity with special guests from Knack. Here is her report of the day...

February’s Special Sunday drew a lot of visitors into the Carle! Collaborating with Knack, a local creative reuse center, guests were encouraged to create and embellish their very own chalkboards using a variety of upcycled materials. Knack founders Amber Ladley and Macey Faiella were on hand to introduce the materials and help get people started.

Guests began by selecting their black matte board and materials from a buffet of options. Wide-eyed children and families sorted through bins discovering treasures such as puzzle pieces, textured fabric scraps, bottle caps and more.

Before the glue began to flow, a very important step was needed to prime the matte board so that it could be reused again and again as an erasable chalkboard. Amber and Macey showed guests how to do this by coating the entire board in chalk and then wiping it away. This process allows for the chalkboard to be used multiple times, enough to hold all of the messages one could think of.

Now it was time to decorate! Hands were flying as guests excitedly reached for glue bottles and materials, applying everything to their boards and showing them off in the process.

After some cases of over-excitement, Amber, Macey, and I thought to remind guests that if they wanted to use their chalkboards, it was important to leave enough room in the center so they could write their messages. Decorating around the border would help to leave this center space.

However, some guests came up with creative ideas where they would split their chalkboard into different quadrants, creating mini chalkboards within their larger one!

The final step was threading a ribbon, yarn, or string through the board’s holes so that it could be hung and admired. Guests walked away with a home-made, usable chalkboard perfect for holding their creative thoughts and messages!

A big thanks to Amber and Macey from Knack for bringing this great project to the Carle!

If you want to recreate this project at home, here’s what you’ll need:

-Black matte board cut into desired sizes (ours were about 8” x 10”)

-Various found materials (upcycled materials or scraps of paper and /or fabric)


-Rag or paper towel

-Glue (liquid works best for the 3-d materials and fabrics)

-Ribbon, string, or yarn

Begin by first putting two holes in the top of your cut matte board; this will be where the ribbon or string threads through to hang your creation.

Next, prime your board by coating the entire front surface in chalk and wiping it away with a rag or paper towel.

Now decorate! Using your various materials, glue them around the boarder, leaving enough room in the center of the board for writing your messages. Be careful not to cover the holes while gluing, these need to be clear for the string to go through them.

Thread the holes using ribbon, string, or yarn so that your chalkboard can be hung.

Make sure the board dries flat before you hang it. Liquid glue tends to run and your materials may slide off before they’re fully dried!

You now have your very own reusable chalkboard! Thanks again Knack for this awesome idea and visiting us!


More information about Knack: Center for Clever Reuse

Founded by Amber Ladley and Macey Faiella in July 2012, Knack is a socially responsible for-profit creative reuse center in Easthampton, Massachusetts, where you can:

-Find all sorts of reusable materials for your creative projects

-Take a workshop or drop in during their open studio time

-Have a party (birthday, craft night, creative gathering, etc.)

-Shop for upcycled gifts/art handmade by local artists


by Diana MacKenzie

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 at 3:29 pm and is filed under By Diana MacKenzie, Internship Program, Special Events, Elementary School, Found Materials, High School, Homemade Materials and Tools, Middle School, Mixed Media, Preschool, Special Guests and Artist Visits. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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