Friday, June 15, 2012

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Easy Craft: DIY Compact Menu Board

Ever since I saw The Ultimate Menu Board pinned on Pinterest several months ago,  I had my heart set on making one of my own because we spend far too much money on take-out when I do not plan our meals out for the week in advance.  Unfortunately, along with my tiny little kitchen comes tiny little wall space.  The only place I really had to hang a menu board was on the side of one of our kitchen cabinets.  When I measured the space, I had to accept the fact that a large photo frame would not fit there.  So, I looked around A.C. Moore for alternatives and came up with this small wooden cutting board and little wooden basket.  Both can be hung separately from each other, and for those with a really narrow space, they can be hung one above the other.

Before you start this project, you'll need to decide what colors you would like to use.  I went with a blue that would match the color of several Le Creuset pieces I have.  I would say choosing the patterned scrapbook paper was the most difficult part because you need to find two that will compliment each other, but have one that is bold and eye-catching and one that is plain enough to to write upon.

(Click any photo to enlarge)

Unfinished wooden paddle-style cutting board
Wooden cut-out handle basket
7 spring clothespins
2 sheets of coordinating scrapbook paper (1 bold print, 1 lighter small print or solid)
coordinating thin permanent marker
acrylic paint for base color
small paint brush
Mod Podge
sponge applicator
cut business or index cards that are blank on one side (or use custom printed Moo MiniCards like I did)
hot glue gun and glue sticks
laminator and laminating pouches (optional)

Step 1.  Paint your unfinished cutting board and basket.  Allow to dry one hour and then add a second coat. (I only put one coat on the inside and the bottom of the basket and left the back of the cutting board unpainted.)

Step 2.  While your paint is drying, cut out a piece of bold printed scrapbook paper to cover the rectangular part of your cutting board.  Then trim off enough to leave approximately a half inch space around it where the cutting board will show.  (I also cut off the top two corners to mirror the shape of the paddle.)

Step 3.  With the lighter scrapbook paper, cut out 7 strips of paper to fit on the sides of the 7 clothespins.  You can do this by carefully tracing the clothespins on the wrong side of the paper with a pencil and then cutting the shapes out with scissors.

Step 4.  Using a thin permanent marker, write the days of the week on the 7 strips of paper.

Step 5.  Using Mod Podge and the sponge applicator, glue the bold print paper you had previously cut out onto the front of the cutting board.  (Make sure the paint is completely dry before doing so.)  Then add a layer of Mod Podge over the entire front and sides of the cutting board to seal it.  Put the cutting board aside to dry.

Step 6.  Using Mod Podge, glue each day of the week onto the flat side of a clothespin, making sure the "jaws" of the clothespins are pointing to the right.  Then add a second layer of Mod Podge to the side of the clothespin and its surrounding edges to seal it.  (There is no need to put Mod Podge on the entire clothespin. If you get some on the spring, you will still be able to open the clothespin after the glue dries.)

Step 7.  Cut a rectangle out of the bold print paper to cover the front body of your wooden basket.  Then trim off enough to leave about 1" of wood showing.  Cut out another rectangle out of the lighter scrapbook paper to layer on top of the bold print rectangle.  Then trim off enough to leave approximately 1/2" to 1" of bold print paper showing.

Step 8.  Using Mod Podge, glue the larger bold print rectangle to the front of the basket (after the paint has dried completely), making sure it is centered.

Step 9.  With the a thin permanent marker, write a message on the lighter colored rectangle you had previously cut out.  I wrote "What's For Dinner?", but you can write something else (i.e. Karen's Kitchen, What's Cookin'?, Recipes, etc . . . ).

Step 10.  Using Mod Podge, glue the smaller rectangle on top of the larger bold print rectangle.  Then add a layer of Mod Podge over the entire front of the wooden basket to seal it.

Step 11.  Lay the clothespins onto the left hand side of the cutting board, spacing them out evenly with enough space in between to accommodate the height of the meal cards.  Then use your hot glue gun and glue sticks to attach the clothespins to the cutting board.

Step 12.  While the Mod Podge is drying on the cutting board and basket, use a thin permanent marker to write the names of various meals you might like to serve for dinner on your cards.  I used Moo MiniCards that have my own food photos printed on the back and "What's on the menu tonight?" printed on the front.  You can also use blank index cards or repurpose old business cards that are blank on the back.  Simply cut the business cards in half lengthwise.  Be sure to have plenty of blank cards handy so you can add more meal options in the future.

Step 13.  I chose to laminate my cards because I wanted them to hold up against being handled for many years.  You can see how easy it was to laminate them here.

Here is the result of our project . . . 

So far, our menu board is working out nicely.  Our children are not asking me what we will be having for dinner quite as often.  Did you notice that I also made cards that say "Take Out" and "Eating Out"?  For some reason, I feel less guilt about getting take-out when it is planned in advance.  Also, I want you to know that I rolled a brown paper bag to put at the bottom of the wooden basket because it was too deep for the cards I chose to use for this project.

As always, if you end up trying this project, I would love to hear about how it went.  You could also share a photo of your project on the 3G2S Facebook wall.

I was given complimentary Moo MiniCards because I'm a Klout influencer. I was under no obligation to receive the sample or talk about this company. I get no additional benefits for talking about the product or company.  I also received a GBC Laminator Kit to use in this project that was reviewed in a separate article.