Image from Anthropologie via Wild And Precious
You might have unpleasant memories of being summoned to the blackboard, in front of the entire class, to solve some math problem you were hopelessly unprepared to answer. Relax … there’s no test to pass at the end of this post. And besides, as you can see here, writing on the chalkboard is a lot of fun these days.
Since James Pillans, headmaster of the Royal High School in Edinburgh, put up the first blackboard to teach geography sometime in the early 1800s, chalkboards have moved from the classroom to living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, playrooms — and we’ve even seen them in a few mudrooms. And the folks at Anthropologie took the idea to its ultimate conclusion a couple of years ago, displaying bedding in imagined all-chalkboard bedrooms, as seen above.
So, to get you started outlining your own projects, here are a few lessons we’ve learned about the many surprising uses for chalkboards.
What is chalkboard? The chalkboard, or blackboard as it was called originally in the U.K., is a smooth, thin sheet of black or dark green slate framed with wood used to write on. By the early 19th century, chalkboards had become an indispensable tool in classrooms. The blackboard enabled teachers to give written instructions to an entire class once, and perhaps opened the classroom to greater collaboration than ever before.
What are some of the cool properties of chalkboard? The highest grade chalkboards are made of a rougher version of porcelain enameled steel and can withstand 10 to 20 years in intensive use.
What are chalkboards used for? Chalkboards are present in many classrooms today where kids are still being challenged to prove they’ve been paying attention to what is being taught. Many restaurants and bars have been schooled in their use, too, posting their menus and beverage list on them for customers to peruse.
How can you use chalkboards? Ever considered making a DIY chalkboard wreath, or leaving a chalkboard greeting for your holiday guests? Crafty gift tags are also super easy to make with a little cardboard and chalkboard spray paint.
And for extra credit, you can explore other ideas for chalkboards that studious DIYers have come up with.