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This year I intend to keep that philosophy alive in my classroom during my students’ daily playtime. When the children play inside of the classroom, the noise level rises and it takes my blood pressure up with it. I am not a fan of loud noises and inside play time is often my least favorite part of the day as a result. My students don’t even get THAT loud, but it’s loud enough to case me stress. I intend to display this sign somewhere prominent in the classroom to remind me of the importance of play in child development and to help me keep my cool during those wound-up moments of play.
Now that you know the story of why I NEED this sign in my classroom, here is the step-by-step tutorial of HOW I created my chalkboard-inspired sign.
I created this project by applying acrylic paint to canvas. I love the chalkboard look, but I wanted to have something permanent in my classroom that couldn’t be erased on accident. I used craft smart paint from Michaels in the following colors: white, black, bright yellow, ocean breeze, apple tart and bright pink. I also created stencils by cutting clear contact paper letters on a Cricut using the Opposites Attract cartridge. The canvas was a 18×24″ Artists Loft product. I also used ArtMinds foam brushes, scissors and small paper plates (as my painting palette) on this project.
The first step was painting the canvas. I started by covering the entire canvas with black paint. It took 2 coats of black paint to have it sink into all of the nooks and crannies of the canvas weave.
Once the layer of black paint had dried, I wanted to give the canvas a little depth. I created the effect of white chalk dust on the painting by mixing a little white paint into a fresh dollop of black paint. I left the outside edges completely black and added a slightly grey border a few inches from the edge. The closer I moved to the center, the more white I added to to my mixing palette. A little bit of white paint goes a long way and I wanted the difference to be subtle, so I added the white paint sparingly. I kept blending, and blending, and blending.
After I had a nice grey starburst effect, I took the sponge brush and randomly smeared the wet paint in every direction because I didn’t want it to look too “perfect.”
While I waited for the grey paint to dry, I got to work creating my stencils. I used a Cricut cutter and the Opposites Attract cartridge to cut out a stencil of each word for my sign. The words “Keep Calm And Let Them” were cut to be 4″ tall. The word “Play” is 7″. The words were cut into Contact paper (you know how much I love the stuff) so the stencil would temporarily adhere to the canvas and not move while I painted the letters.
Once the words were cut out, I arranged the stencils on my painted canvas.
Then I carefully peeled each stencil and adhered them to the canvas.
I did this on a very HOT and HUMID day and moisture in the air was working against me. It took some patience and gentle pressure to get a good seal on each piece. You can see a few of the places it tried to curl in the photo.
I squired a little white paint onto one of my trusty paper plates and used a foam brush to dab each letter. I avoided making brush strokes because I didn’t want any paint to bleed under the Contact paper.
I added a pop of bright colors when I painted the word PLAY.
I am officially obsessed with these colors!
After the painting was complete, all that remained was peeling the Contact paper and waiting for the big reveal!
I was so nervous that the paint had bled under the Contact paper, I swear I held my breath as I slowly peeled the first stencil from the canvas. Thankfully, each letter was painted beautifully.
When I was done, I had a pile of sticky painted contact paper.
Even the garbage from this project was pretty!
My completed masterpiece! I can’t wait to hang this in my classroom.
I created my chalkboard-inspired canvas as a fun back-to-school project in collaboration with Michaels #create2educate sweepstakes! Share your own classroom projects for back to school on Instagram with hashtags #create2educate and #sweepstakes for your chance to win a $50 Michaels gift card!
Complete information about the #create2educate sweepstakes can be found here.
You’ll also want to become a follower of @Kindercraze and @MichaelsStores on Instagram!
Alright everybody, I’m off to go get sweaty at school so I can get my classroom ready for this cute new sign!
LOL. Relating to the noise sensitivity too. My favourite Keep Calm is ‘Keep Calm and pretend its on the lesson plan.
Mrs Stowe’s Kinder Cottage
I love that Keep Calm expression too! You can’t possibly succeed without being flexible in the younger grades!
Maria….I love, love, love this!! Your instructions are so clear I think even I could follow them! I know how important play is for Kindergarteners. When and how do you fit it into your schedule?
Hi Terri. I’m so glad you found the tutorial easy to follow. My kids usually play for 15 minutes a day. We only go outside when the weather is nice because it takes too long to bundle them up in warm clothes during Michigan winters. It is TOUGH to fit everything in. Fortunately, my principal whole-heartedly believes in the value of play as well.
Maria, thank you for this tutorial- and THANK YOU FOR THE SAYING! I love that. What a great reminder. Love it.
Kindergarten: Holding Hands and Sticking Together
You’re welcome Carollyn! Sometimes we all need a reminder that kids just need to PLAY.
It turned out GREAT! Now, just go ahead and make me one, too! =)
First Grade Blue SKies
I will gladly exchange you one Keep Calm sign for one chevron table 🙂
I teach middle school but have a kindergartener of my own. Sometimes, it is really difficult to remember that these hulking 8th graders who have their first chin whiskers were once 5. I may need to make this JUST to remind myself! =D
This is adorable! Thanks for the step by step directions on how to make it.
Fun in ECSE
That turned out awesome! So adorable!
Adventures in Room 204
Very nice! Love the canvas and the colors that you used are beautiful to say the least. Nice pop of color.
Enchanted Kinder Garden
I love it, Maria! It turned out gorgeous and the sentiment behind it is a very important one. Whenever I am consulting to an early childhood classroom, it is common for a teacher to be apologetic about the noise level when kids are playing. I always tell them I think it is the MOST delightful sound. It is exactly what I want to hear…wild, unabandoned play. It does a soul good. Anything less would make me raise an eyebrown. Your sign is perfect!
Thank you Wendy! I agree that there is a definite joy in listening to children play. So glad you like the sign!