Friday, April 25, 2014

Create Your Own Guestbook Wall!

I've never seen or heard of anything like this whole guestbook wall before. It all started when I was staring at this wall in our living room trying to figure out what to do with it and the idea came. I debated for weeks if it was a silly idea or not...I mean really, who has a giant guestbook wall in their living room? 

create your own guestbook wall

I eventually decided that we should just go for it. We cherish people, and each person who enters our home is unique and significant and we want to remember that they were here. Now, every time I walk past this wall or sit on the couch and gaze over I can't help but smile as I think of great memories and the precious people in our lives.

chalkboard wall for guests to write their name

To create this wall I used the remaining chalkboard paint from our coffee bar project. I taped off the side walls and put two coats of paint on using a brush to cut in and a small foam roller for the rest. You then need to wait at least 2-3 days before doing anything else to the wall. 

Next, I conditioned the center area so that I could trace the word "guestbook" at the top (I'll talk more about conditioning in a minute.) Just like I did with this project, I used a projector to then trace the image that I wanted. However this time I used chalk markers which went a lot faster!

tracing letters on wall using a projector

This is what the rest of the wall looked like before I conditioned the sides.

a guestbook wall

The whole point of conditioning the wall is to put a small chalk dust layer on the wall so that as things are written on the wall they will also erase off later. (The jury is still out on if I should have just skipped the conditioning, but I'll mention some of my current thoughts on that at the end of this post.)

I rubbed white chalk all along the wall.

And then it looked like this.

Next, I took the eraser and began erasing all of the chalk until it looked like this.

As you can see there is still quite a bit of chalk on the wall. Finally I took some dry paper towel and went over the wall once more. In the picture below you can see the difference between the left side that I used the paper towel on and the right side that I hadn't used the paper towel on yet.

Here are my thoughts on conditioning...
 (Please note that I am not an expert on this topic.)
  • I personally don't like the dusty look on the chalkboard. On our coffee bar I "conditioned" the board but then proceeded to use a damp cloth to wipe off the chalk before I added the words on it. At the time I didn't quite understand the whole purpose of conditioning and didn't realize that I was missing the point by using a damp cloth to wipe off the chalk. However, now over a year later this isn't a board that we have erased and changed so I've never seen what would happen if I did.
home coffee bar
  • With the guestbook I wasn't sure if this was something that we would keep as an ongoing thing or something that we would take a picture of at the end of each year and then erase and start over with the new year. I wanted to be able to use this wall more like a chalkboard. So I conditioned it properly and decided that the chalk dust look was necessary.
  • We decided to use chalkboard markers for guests to sign the wall (less messy & fun to use) and while they are suppose to be erasable there have already been a few areas where not everything has come off when someone wanted to make a change...even though I did condition the wall.
  • With little fingers touching this wall, fingerprints are really noticeable when the chalk dust layer gets rubbed off.
  • When areas are erased I have to go back and condition small sections otherwise there is a noticeable difference in the colors which might not bother you at all...or it just might make you go crazy...
  • I think it is important to mention that these are the only two times that I've worked with chalkboard paint so I don't have any experience with having an on-going chalk board wall that gets written on and erased frequently (please feel free to add any advice or experience you have had with chalkboard walls in the comment section.)

My conclusion...

This would be a complete personal preference but if I was starting over with this wall I probably would not condition it. Simply because of the maintenance and look that comes with conditioning and the fact that these names might stay up there a long time anyway. Not to mention that since the marker isn't coming off that great even with the conditioning it just seems like a hassle to have it that way given all of the thoughts above.

All conditioning aside...everyone is leaving their mark on our home and I think it adds so much character, warmth, and love.

Do you have a chalkboard wall or a guestbook in your home?

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  1. I love your home!! I want to copy everything you do!!! Love, love the guestbook wall.:-)

  2. I know what you mean about the conditioning. I use chalkboard markers too and they don't always come off cleanly. Depends how committed you are - you could always wash the wall, start over with clean black and chalkboard markers - and wash it/re paint it every year or two for a fresh start... Though painting is a bit of a commitment!

    1. Krista,

      Thanks for the feedback! I think if I did it again I wouldn't even bother conditioning it since the only way I can get the chalkboard marker off is by using a magic eraser anyway. Next time... :-)


  3. I love your guest wall. You are truly an inspration :) I stumbled accross your blog and have loved it ever since. I followed one of your ideas where you said to "plan" the wall my husband just finished putting everything on the wall last night and it looks amazing. It was for my "craft cave" Also, my friend has a similar wall in her house..Everytime someone comes into the house that is new, they have to trace there hand and put it on the wall & design it the way they want & put there name and date in it. It is actually so fun and it reminds me of your idea also :) Love, Love your blog!

    1. Thanks so much and what a fun wall your friend must have! :-)


  4. Love your blog! I'm not sure what pinterest rabbit hole got me here, but thanks. You are putting the adoption bug back in my ear too. We'd desperately love one more baby, but have aged out of the adoption options where we live. (Yep, despite having a 2 and 4 year old at home, I'm apparently too old to be a mom.) Keep on keeping on - what a lovely life.

  5. This is adorable, Sarah! Such a great idea!


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