If you like to write lists or inspiring words of wisdom, a chalkboard is fun to display on a shelf or hang in the bedroom or kitchen. The fabric frame can be multicoloured, as shown here, or made in varying shades to tone with the décor of your room. This project is great for using up small pieces of leftover fabric, and it’s a good way of practicing your rag rugging skills for larger projects later on!
You will need
Wooden photo frame
Sewing machine and thread
Any colors—use a good mixture of different colors across the whole frame.
Using a gauge
1. Cut your fabric into long strips using fabric scissors or a rotary cutter.
2. Hold a number of fabric strips together with the ends aligning (see box, below right). If any of the strips have a flatter end, hold that at the top. It does not matter if the strips are different lengths. Place the strips against the gauge, with the tops aligning with the groove.
3. Wind the strips around and along the gauge until you reach the ends of the strips. Shorter strips can be secured into the gauge by wrapping the longer strips over them. Overlap the edges of your strips slightly as you wind so that you cross the groove at the top of the gauge vertically. Crossing the groove diagonally creates slightly longer pieces and gives you less space on the gauge. Try not to pull the fabric too tightly as any material containing elastic will stretch, creating shorter pieces.
4. Use fabric scissors to cut along the gauge’s groove. This will produce similar length, short pieces of material ideal for shaggy rag rugging. Discard any cut pieces that were too short to fit fully around the gauge.
Shaggy rag rugging
1. Hold the latch hook in your main hand. Even though the latch hook has a handle, it is usually easier to hold it further down, nearer the hook, as this gives you more control.
2. Pick up one of the short strips of fabric in your other hand. Hold the top of the strip between your index and middle fingers and the bottom of the strip between your fourth finger and thumb. The part of the strip between your fingers should be taut. This is the part you will be hooking onto on the underside of the burlap.
3. Hold the strip of fabric under the burlap in the location where you would like to begin. Insert the hook into your chosen hole from the top of the burlap through to the underside. The latch should be underneath the burlap and still be open at this stage. Hook onto the taut part of the fabric strip.
4. Let go of the top of the strip and pull one end of the strip up through the hole. It is important that you are still holding onto the other end of the fabric strip underneath the burlap or you will pull the entire strip through to the top.
5. Adjust the strip with your fingers so that about half of it is up through the burlap and half is still below.
6. Insert your hook into the next hole (in whichever direction you fancy—up, down, left, right, or diagonal) from the top of the burlap to the underside again. Hook onto the strip.
7. Pull the other end of the strip up through the burlap so that the two ends are pointing upward. There should be one strand of burlap between the two ends of the strip.
8. Repeat steps 3–8 to continue this method. Your first four strips should be close together to tighten the burlap and secure everything in place. For these first strips, I recommend you rag rug the end of the new strip into a hole that already has one end of a strip in. After the first four pieces, you can miss out one to three holes between one strip and the next.
Making your chalkboard frame
1. Take the backing board and any glass out of the photo frame. Place the empty frame face down on the burlap, leaving at least 9 cm between the frame and the edge of the burlap.
2. Draw closely around the inner and outer edges of the frame using a marker pen. This forms the area you will be rag rugging.
3. Measure out and draw 1¼ (3-cm) deep tabs onto each inside and outside edge of the drawn frame (these tabs will eventually wrap around the frame and hold the rag rugging in place).
4. Use the sewing machine to hem along all the lines using one row of placeholder hemming stitch. Cut off any loose threads.
5. Cut your fabric into short strips for shaggy rag rugging using the gauge. Shaggy rag rug inside the hemmed frame (but not in the tabs). Keep rag rugging until no burlap can be seen from the front. You do not need to rag rug as tightly as normal, as the pieces will become secured against the frame.
6. Trim off any excess burlap from inside and outside the rag rugged frame using everyday scissors. Be careful not to cut off the inner or outer tabs you hemmed earlier.
7. Place the burlap shaggy side down and line up the frame with the rag rugging. Fold the burlap tabs over the frame and secure in place using the staple gun. When securing the inside tabs, make sure they are stapled to the part of the frame where the backing board will sit. The thickness of the burlap will compensate for the thickness lost by removing the glass.
8. To make the chalkboard, place the backing board from the frame face up on old newspaper. Paint the front of the backing board with one coat of chalkboard paint. Let it dry for an hour, then apply another coat.
9. When the paint is completely dry, put the chalkboard into the frame and secure it in place with the metal tabs on the back of the frame. If any of the shaggy pieces of fabric are obstructing the chalkboard too much, trim them to a slightly shorter length.