I'm constantly amazed at how adept my nephews are with iPads, iPhones – you name it. The devices follow them wherever they go. But sometimes, technology needs a time-out for more analog activities. This month, we're making chalkboard tablets (they have the best battery life around!). And, as a bonus: Craft a nifty "sleeve" to keep it safe and sound. Not only is it a fun nod to all the "cozies" available for tech toys out there; it's also a smart way to keep the chalkboard paint in tip-top condition.
Chalk Board Tablets
- Black chalkboard paint
- White acrylic craft paint
- Foam brushes
- Painter's tape
- Cut your plywood to 8-by-10 inches. You can ask the hardware store to handle this, or do it yourself with a table saw.
- Sand the front, back and sides of the plywood with sandpaper.
- Next, create a 1-inch border all around the front of the plywood by marking four straight lines with your ruler and pencil. Place painter's tape on top of the border you just made, so you can safely paint the chalkboard center.
- Paint an even layer of chalkboard paint in the middle of the plywood. Follow your manufacturer's directions for prep, drying time and curing. Let dry.
- For the border, use painter's tape to create a straight line or freehand paint the area. Let dry.
- Paint the back of your tablet the same color you painted the border. Once that's dry, paint a small icon or use a sticker for a logo. On the front, draw a small "start" button on the bottom border
Chalkboard Tablet Sleeve
Now that your chalkboard is ready to hit the road, you need something to protect it. No problem! You can make a simple sleeve in no time. Much like the sleeves made for today's popular tablets, your sleeve adds color and personality to your device. We used a piece of neon vinyl from Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak to make our bright sleeve.
- Sturdy fabric (canvas, synthetics, vinyl)
- Drill punch
| 1. Cut a 9-by22-inch piece of fabric for your tablet. Fold the piece together, wrong sides facing, so that it measures 9-by-11-inches when folded.
| 2. Next, start at the top of your fabric and mark 1 inch down the entire length of the fabric with your marker. Make sure your marks aren't too close to the edge of the fabric pieces. Repeat this for the other side, lining up your marks as you go.
3. Punch a hole at each marker position. Press firmly so that the drill punch goes through both pieces of your fabric.
| 4. When the holes have all been punched, add a brad to each hole. If your fabric is wiggling around on you as you work, alternate brads – a lot like lacing a tennis shoe – as you work your way down the piece.
| 5. Your sleeve is all set! Your tablet should be able to removed easily from the sleeve.