DIY: Choo-Choo Chalkboard

Once in a while I find the time to be creative and my latest project involved, you guessed it, TRAINS! Because what else do we love in this house? 

I saw this Choo Choo Chalkboard posted on the Thomas and Friends Facebook page a couple weeks ago, and I had to make one for my son’s bedroom! 

I know what some people are saying when they look at this… why would you glue a wooden train and all those tracks together? Yes, normally they are expensive, fortunately we have an excess of tracks and Thomas wooden trains.  And yes, this could cause a meltdown because what three-year-old understands that they cannot play with the train anymore. Tread carefully when deciding if this is a good idea for your little engineer. If you know that a train on the wall could potentially be confusing and the cause of many tantrums with your preschooler, you may want to rethink this project.  

Here are the steps if you do make this awesome Choo Choo Chalkboard sign! 

To start, you’ll need to find a wooden plaque circle.  The actual circle shape was tricky for us to find so I went with an oval plaque that I found at Michael’s craft stores.  The wooden plaque was the most expensive purchase but if you have a 40% coupon it ends up not being too bad! 

You’ll also need chalkboard paint. I bought a small bottle since this is a small project. It cost about $1-2. 

A few other things you will need on hand are paintbrushes, twine or wire, small nails, a hammer, chalk and a glue gun with lots of glue.  You’ll also need some curved wooden train tracks (the amount of tracks will depend on the shape and size of your wooden plaque, and I’ll explain that further down) and a wooden train. It doesn’t have to be Thomas, it can be any wooden train or any character. 

First, you’ll want to paint your wooden plaque. Just one side.  I only did one coat of paint. 

Second, once the paint has full dried, you’ll need to condition the chalkboard with chalk.  Rub the whole board with a good layer of chalk, and then wipe it clean. 

Once you’ve conditioned the board, you’ll move on to the next step which involves the hot glue gun. So, now’s the time to plug it in and get it warm. 

Before you glue anything, plan out your tracks!! You’ll want to make sure you have enough and that it will fit around the edge of your plaque.  It took a few trials for me to find the right curved tracks to go around this. 

So, here’s something I learned the hard way. I thought I’d be smart and get glue on the whole track set and then drop my plaque on it. Nope. Didn’t work. Hot glue is messy and dries fast. The glue was hard before I could even get around the whole circle.  I ended up dropping a HUGE glob of glue on my chalkboard … oops.

However, gluing piece by piece gets tricky because trying to fit that last piece of track in can be challenging.  So go slow and carefully, and make sure you line the tracks up perfectly. 

Once it’s all on, it should start to look like this! 

Let the tracks dry and set for a little bit before you move on to the next step.  

For the next part, you’ll need something to hang the sign from. So, wire or twine would work. This is a heavy piece so you will want something that can handle the weight. I have it on twine and it’s staying pretty good. 

You’ll also need small nails and a hammer.  There is really no rhyme or reason behind how you place the nails. You’ll want to keep it under the tracks though, so the nail doesn’t puncture the chalk board! 

Once you have put the twine/wire in place, you’ll be ready to glue on that train! Where you put the train is entirely up to you! Just make sure you glue it on good! 

Voila! There you have it! A Choo Choo Chalkboard!  You can choose to personalize this further by adding on wooden letters that spell out your child’s name – which I did end up doing. Or you can add more trains… if you can get away with that. We have not had too many issues with Thomas being glued on the chalkboard- only once has he cried out for Thomas (during nap, when his room was not as dark and he could see that little blue engine hanging on the wall)! Overall though he understands that Thomas is hanging out on the chalkboard. 

I hope you enjoyed this Choo Choo Chalkboard and if you decide to make it, have fun! It’s a really easy, but super cute project! 

 

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