Since Blogger and Wordpress don't work well together, the content of this blog is also at Wordpress at Marti's DIY.

Privacy Disclosure: Blogger uses cookies. If you're ok with that, stay here, read, and comment. If you're not, then don't.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Wood Dry Erase and Chalk Board Place Cards Tutorial

Dry erase board place cards:

Chalk board place cards:

After I finished the three planter boxes, I had a lot of scraps. I have a hard time throwing away scraps, which is how I had enough wood to make the planter boxes. But these were much smaller pieces, from six inches to about three feet. Just for fun, I wanted to see what I could make with the six inch pieces.   Before making the planters, I searched the internet for ideas to use tongue and groove pine leftovers, and couldn't find a thing.  Maybe this will help others searching for ideas.

I'm going to show you how to do this solely with a miter saw, or using a combination of table saw, miter saw, and router.  I began with the miter saw because I really didn't have a plan when I started, just an idea, and this saw was easier to tweak the design. After I made, remade, and remade the first few, I knew how I could do it faster, easier, and with precise dimensions on the other saws. But it's possible to do it all on the miter saw if that's all you have.

By the way, these instructions are detailed for the beginning woodworker.  Experienced woodworkers can glance at the photos and figure out what I did and how to do it better and easier, I'm sure.

Miter Saw Version

My boards are tongue and groove (T&G) pine, 5-1/8 inches wide plus the tongue (I'm not counting the tongue because I cut it off.)

To make a set of four place holders, you would need:

24" T&G pine, cut into 5-1/2 inch pieces
primer (I like BIN for this)
white or light eggshell paint
Mod Podge
4 sheets of decorated paper or fabric (I used paper napkins for the above)
clear dry erase paint or chalkboard paint
foam paint brush
medium grit sand paper
wood glue

Step 1: Make angle cuts on one side
Step 1: Set miter saw at 30 degrees and cut one side of each board.

Step 2: Make angle cuts on other side
Step 2: Turn board around, measure 4 inches from top of cut edge and cut the same angle. I found it easier to draw a line for this. Yes, my board is longer than 5-1/2 inches, but I took this photo while still in the experiment stage.

Step 3:  Make beveled cut on tongue side
Step 3: Now the edge with the tongue. Draw a line or just line up the blade so it cuts on the line. You'll end up with an beveled edge there.

Step 4: Cut bevels on sides
Step 4: Set the miter saw back at 0 degrees (normal position). Measure 1/4 inch from bottom of each side, and cut on your line. Now you have matching bevels on three sides.

Now you have four boards that are roughly 5x5 inches. The grooved side is the bottom.

Step 5: Cut bottom angle
Step 5: Set the miter saw to 30 degrees again. Turn your boards over and measure 3-1/2 inches from the top. This cut will be opposite all the others which is why you are cutting from the back.

When you turn them over, you will see that the last cut is an inverted angle, and you'll now have eight pieces like this. Don't throw away the grooved part, it will be your stand and pen holder.

Step 6: Glue stand onto back
Step 6:  This is where the phrase "Do as I say and not as I do" comes into play.  This is the part that should come next - even though it was by doing it differently and running into problems that made me realize this.  So at this point, glue the board and stand together, making sure the bottom lines up smoothly and the groove of the stand is facing up. I put a light pressure clamp on it. (The dark Masonite is there only as background - the boards were too similar in color to the work table and was hard to see.)

Step 7: Prime all sides
Step 7:  Prime all sides.  Do this whether you are going to use chalk paint or dry erase paint. I like BIN because it can be sanded very smooth and it dries quickly. After that, how you finish is up to you.

Step 8:  Finishing.  You can paint it all one color, or let your artistic  skills loose.  Originally, I wanted to do some op art designs on it, but didn't like the way I was doing it and how long it took.  You can Mod Podge onto it, which is what I ended up doing.  I thought it would be quick and easy.  I was wrong, of course.   I followed the basic Mod Podge instructions using paper napkins  from Modge Podge Rocks.

The only tips I can give you on finishing is what NOT to do.

1.  Don't paint chalk paint before Mod Podge-ing.
Mistake #1:  After priming, I taped off the area I wanted to paint with chalk board paint, and painted the rest of the board with white.  I patted myself on the back as I taped off the white area so I could paint the chalk board paint last because I thought the tape residue might mess up the chalk board.  Then I waited a couple of days, conditioned the chalk board paint.  That's when I realized I would have to tape over the chalk board part when applying the Mod Podge.  And yes, that did mess up the conditioned chalk board.  So now I have to wait until all the Mod Podge is done, and redo the chalk board.  Fun.

2.  Don't paint over stickers
Mistake #2:  I wanted to paint white polka dots over a black base.  When figuring how many coats of  white it would take to cover the black, I hit upon the idea to put dot stickers on the white paint, paint the black over it, and then peel off the dots.  You guessed it, the dots wouldn't peel off.

Mistake #3:  The instructions for Mod Podge paper napkins say to wait until the Mod Podge is tacky before applying the napkin.  They speak the truth.  If the Mod Podge is still fresh, the napkin puckers up when you roll the brayer across it.  Also,  if the brayer gets any Mod Podge on it, it will pucker, and or, rip the napkin.  I did find that  if  the napkin did pucker, I could pat it with a damp finger and it would settle into the Mod Podge.  I first tried to wrap the napkins around the beveled edges but it didn't work well.  Same with the groove on the front.  It was too hard to smooth the tissue thin napkins.  Best to work on the flat areas if you are a beginner like me.  I'm all ears and email if anyone has tips on how to work with the napkins.

4.  Don't put stand on after Mod Podged paper
Mistake #4:  Not only was the glue visible, but it loosened the Mod Podge.  It did dry again, but it wrinkled the paper.  Better to glue raw wood together.

I just finished the dry erase place card boards today, so I'm not ready to write on them yet. Reviews online are not encouraging, but I wanted to try it because dry erase pens are easier to keep up with than chalk and they don't break into little bitty pieces when you drop them.  The chalk board place cards turned out great.

Table Saw, Miter Box, and Router Version

If you are only going to make four place cards, setting up all these may not be worth it to you.  As it was, I had a lot of scraps in the two to five foot range, so this greatly sped up the process and made each piece the same.  I'm really unhappy with imperfection, so this was good for me.

Step 1:  Set table saw at 5-1/8 inch
Step 1: I set the fence on the table saw at 5-1/8 inch so it would just cut off the tongue.

Step 2: Clamp wood stop to miter saw
Step 2: I wanted each piece to be exactly 5 inches, so clamped a block to the fence of the miter saw to act as a stop so it would cut in the right place every time.

Step 3: Choose a router bit for the edge depending on how you plan on finishing the edge. I am going to paint these, so wanted some curves on these. Router the three straight sides; leave the grooved side alone. That is the bottom side.

Step 4: (This is basically as Step 5 above) Set the miter saw at 30 degree angle. Turn the piece over and measure 3-1/2 inches from the top. Clamp a block to the fence of the miter saw so it makes the right cut every time.

I'm linking to these parties:
Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest #263
Catch as Catch Can at My Repurposed Life #76
Made U Look at Made in a Day #178
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home #263
Thrifty Things Friday at The Thrifty Groove #78
Fabulously Creative Friday at Jennifer Rizzo #119
Be Inspired at Common Ground #240
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home #121
Pin Me at Diana Rambles #187
That DIY Party at The DIY Showoff #104



  1. You certainly know your way around a wood shop!

    1. Thank you but I still feel like a beginner, though I'm learning more all the time. I used to love helping my father-in-law in his shop, but we never had a good work area here until a few years ago. Hubby used the shed as his shop, but I refused to work out there.

  2. Those are so cute - but not in my future! No mitre saws or routers in my garage! If I am lucky there might still be the Skill saw

    1. LOL, I'd much rather use a table saw and miter saw than a skill saw.

  3. Brilliant idea! Love them! xoxo Jen

  4. Thank you. I've really had a lot of fun making them.

  5. Oh my goodness, these are just too cute! You did such a great job making them. Thanks for sharing at TTF!

  6. Very cute! I love that you shared the "what not to do" part. Most of my projects end up having a lot of those parts. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one that happens to.

    1. Thanks! I bet everyone has those parts when they do something the first time. I couldn't believe the planters went together with so few problems, other than me kicking over a jug of red colorant and splattering - but that's a story for another time.

  7. I love the decoupage print you use and the sticker dots idea was awesome. I going to remember that for dots idea for my card-making. I love this idea so i going to pin it for others it


Your comments make my day, and I look forward to visiting your blog too. I can't comment on Google Plus or Discus though.