“Oh, confound my forgetful mind!” If I was a seventy year old man I think I would be saying this a lot as I am constantly forgetting things. I have to write EVERYTHING down. Our house has all kinds of notebooks, sticky notes, and pads of paper lying around so I can write a quick note and save my memory. But, you know the problem with with paper notes? They can get lost so easily! That is what led me to discover the power in on-the-wall message boards. An established message center puts the forgetful mind at ease and is sure to save time that you would have spent trying to remember things.
I believe every house should have one of these handy command centers, and so, I set one up in our home.
It’s important to set your command center up in a place that you will see everyday on your way in and out of the house. I chose this little corner in our kitchen as that side door is probably the most used door next to the garage door.
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So, lets go over material real quick:
- Metal serving trays- $1.00 each at the Dollar Tree
- Chalkboard Paint– $14.95
- Chicken Wire$10.00
- Key Hooks
- Pallet Board
Tools you will need include:
- Needle nose pliers
- Sponge brush
Alright, lets go over how to make the chalkboard signs first, shall we?
I just love the metal serving trays from Dollar Tree. They are so pretty and delicate. So, you’ll want to set up a spot to do your painting by laying newspaper down to catch drips.
I used a sponge to apply the paint because they allow it to go on nice an smooth (also because they are cheap and what I had on hand). Now, you could tape around the edges, or take meticulous care to get straight lines, I just don’t care that much, so I didn’t do any of that. Let them dry for a good 12 hours.
Apply a second coat to ensure full coverage. And, let that dry overnight. It’s not a one day project, but putting the layers of paint on goes so quickly, that it’s not really a time waster.
Now, once they are fully dry you need to “season” the paint. I’m not sure why, but this is what the can and every other chalkboard tutorial tells you to do. Simply rub the broad side of a piece of chalk over the entire thing.
Look how the chalk brought out the etching details from the metal. So cool! You can go ahead and wash those off to give yourself a clean slate to work with when you hang them (tee hee, I made a pun! Mr. Charming would be so proud!).
Speaking of hanging them….this was a little challenge as there is nothing on the back to secure any type of hanging device onto them. It took a little trial and error, but I think I got it figured out.
Puncture two small holes into the top of the tray using a hammer and nail. Then cut a piece of wire (I just unwrapped a piece of chicken wire from the rest), thread it through the holes from the back and bend the tip with your pliers enough so that it will catch on the outside of the hole instead of sliding back through. Simple as that.
Update: Or, you could just buy some “Command” products to hang these suckers.
If you aren’t in need of a whole command center, these can be used a cute little signs as decor on shelves or counters like so:
hmm….I could go for some coffee right about now.
Now, set those aside as we move onto our chicken wire frames. I still like to use paper notes that I can take with me if I go places, so this solves the issue of losing them. I can simple clip any note or small object to the wire for easy remembering.
Cut the wire in the shape of your tray, leaving about a half to full inch extra, using your pliers or small wire cutters. Chicken wire can be nasty stuff with all it’s crazy sharp points jutting out everywhere, so wear gloves if you don’t want to cut your hands up like I did mine. (hashtag: lessonlearned)
Place the tray face down on your wire.
Now, use your handy pliers to bend the wire over the edge all the way around the tray.
To hang these, I just made sure to leave one loop intact to slide over a nail.
Buy some tiny clothes pins from Hobby Lobby and you’ve got the perfect spot to hang little notes and bits of paper.
Moving along to the key holder…
I just took a pallet board from my scrap pile, cut the edges straight, and sanded it. Then I screw a couple of frame holders onto the back, and screwed the hooks onto the front.
It looked a little plain so I drew a little extra decoration on with a Sharpie.
Getting the configuration just right took some extra thought, but I’m very happy with how it all came together.
I hope this has inspired you and will help you put together your own dollar store command center. It’s so worth it!
If you don’t like this type of message center here are a few alternative options: