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Guest book alternative
Guest book alternative

A picture is worth a thousand words. We’ve all heard it and if you’ve ever taken an art class you know it’s true. In that the case, why not use those “thousand words” to make art! To be specific, use the words to make a centerpiece, or guestbook alternative.

Hopefully your handwriting is better than this!
Third Row Designs

The steps are simple. Choose a plain unfinished wood frame from your favorite craft store. You’ll need a frame with at least a 2 inch width and at least a 1/4 inch depth. Next select chalkboard paint; if you shop at JoAnn’s they sell it in several colors. Brown was used for this project, but green, blue, or traditional black would also be nice. To apply the paint use a sponge brush. They work well and only set you back about 39 cents. Important: read the application instructions on the paint. It’s not rocket science, but it does help to know how many coats are recommended and how long you have to wait between applying them. It’s also a good idea to lightly sand the surface of the frames. The paint will adhere easier and your finished product will be smoother. If, however, you like a more rustic look then forgo the sanding.

Once the frame or frames are done and dry (there were 3 frames used for the demonstration), it’s time to get creative! Slide a snapshot of the family or a colorful fall leaf photo into the frame, put it on a side table and tell your friends and family to sign away when they arrive. Now, since the main function of a guestbook, is for the written record of who attended your function, take a quick photo of the frame before you erase it. If you’d like to just preserve it to hang somewhere spray with a polyurethane sealer, found in the spray paint aisle at your favorite craft store. Another permanent solution would be to use a white paint pen in lieu of chalk.

If using as a centerpiece have your guests write their names or something they’re thankful for on the frames. Transfer them to the table, set tea lights (in metal or glass holders) in the opening of the frames and place natural or faux decorations around to complete the look. If you have a fall floral arrangement place it in the center with a frame on either side and simple tea lights in the openings. For just a little extra something, place river rocks and leaves around the arrangement and frames.

A great thing about this chalkboard project is that it’s reusable for other functions and just to play with. If you choose to hang it up with family photos, change the quotes or notes every week or month. This is also a great way to have your little ones practice their letters or grammar.