Kids will love this portable, foldable chalkboard heart. It’s the perfect Valentine for young artists on the go.
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The other day I was playing with making my own sidewalk chalk. Because we’re nearing Valentine’s Day, I couldn’t help but make heart-shaped chalk.
While I made and played with my homemade chalk outside in the cold, it dawned on me…
Wouldn’t it be great to make a Valentine’s Day chalkboard? Something that kids could use inside and draw and erase, and play with over and over again.
Making a Cloth Chalkboard
After a bit of planning, I decided to make a cloth chalkboard. I figured a cloth chalkboard would be much more portable. It’s something that kids could bring with them from place to place without taking up a lot of space.
I remembered having seen some foldable Valentines online. They were paper hearts that folded into what looked like a cute little envelope.
I decided to adapt that idea to make a foldable heart chalkboard made of chalkboard fabric. When you fold it up, you can even store some chalk and a small eraser inside.
To make the cloth chalkboard, I used the same method that I used to make sandwich wraps. This time, though, instead of a square, it’s slightly trickier to sew because it’s in a heart shape for Valentine’s Day.
Make a heart-shaped pattern.
First, you’ll want to make a pattern. I made my pattern by cutting a heart shape out of wrapping paper. I used wrapping paper because it was larger than the “normal,” letter-sized paper.
To cut a symmetrical heart shape from paper, fold the paper in half vertically. Then cut half of a heart shape with the center being along the edge.
I adjusted the size by folding it over several pieces of chalk. I wanted to make a size that would fold just as I was envisioning. It ended up being just under a foot (12 inches/30cm) at the widest and tallest points.
It is difficult to sew sharp v-shapes, especially when using a stiff fabric like chalkboard fabric. When designing the heart shape, making softer shapes will make your sewing easier later on.
Cut two hearts out of fabric.
Once you’ve cut your pattern to the right size, cut two fabric hearts from that pattern. Cut one heart from the chalkboard fabric and the other out of whatever fabric you want on the outside/back of the chalkboard.
Sew together the 2 fabric hearts.
To sew it up, there are two ways of doing it.
The Serger Method
If you have a serger (overlock sewing machine), use it! The easiest method is probably to put the two cloth hearts together, right sides out, and serge around the outside border of them.
I will warn you…It is tricky to sew together the fabric at the top center v-point. If you make that v-shape less pronounced, it makes for much easier sewing in that area. I made mine too sharp and ended up touching up that area with a finishing seam on my regular sewing machine.
Using a Regular Sewing Machine
If you don’t have a serger, you can still make this pretty easily with a regular sewing machine. To get finished edges, we’ll be sewing it differently.
Place the two heart fabrics together, right sides facing each other. Sew around the edges, leaving a small space to flip your heart right-side-out afterward.
I would recommend leaving the open space along one of the straight sides of the heart, rather than at the top where it’s curvy. That makes it easier to close the seam up later on.
Once you flip the fabric right side out, sew up the open space in the seam. To give a nice, finished look, sew all the way around the edge of the entire project, very near the edge. If you fold the edges of the fabric under at the open part, they’ll get caught into that seam, and you’ll close it up quite easily and attractively. If you do it correctly, it won’t look different from the rest of the seam.
I started to make a second chalkboard using this method, to make sure that it would work out well. I was in a hurry to take my photos and didn’t finish it with the seam running all the way around the outside. You can still get an idea of how the chalkboards look when made using the different methods above.
Making your closure
Just like with the sewn sandwich wraps, you can make the closure with either an elastic band or some plastic snaps. I had bought a lot of plastic snaps for other projects a while back and found those to be the quickest, easiest way for me. Plus, they look pretty cute, don’t you think?
To calculate where I needed to add the snap, I just folded up my chalkboard heart and marked where I thought the ideal place would be for my snap and placed it there.
Once your snap is in place, you are all set. You can wrap up some pieces of chalk, the little heart eraser, and snap it all together for your favorite little Valentine. I hope they love it!
Sewing tips and tricks
When working with the chalkboard fabric, be careful with where you use pins. Puncturing the fabric can leave a permanent mark. I suggest using clothespins to keep everything together and avoid that problem.
Also, depending upon the chalkboard fabric you use, an iron may melt it. Chalkboard fabrics tend to be a synthetic plastic-based fabric. So, rather than ironing it, it may be best to smooth everything out with your hands as best as you can. It tends to hold its shape pretty well anyway.
Make a heart-shaped Chalkboard eraser
To finish off the project, I decided to make a little heart eraser using craft foam and felt.
To make a heart-shaped eraser, cut a small heart out of felt. Cut another heart, just slightly larger than the felt heart, from craft foam. Glue them together, and your eraser is ready to use!
If you’re worried about losing the eraser, consider gluing one end of some cording between the felt and craft foam. Sew the other end into the seam of the chalkboard. That way the eraser will stay connected to the chalkboard and won’t get lost.
How to fold the chalkboard heart closed
1. Fold both sides of the chalkboard heart over the chalk and eraser in the center.
2. Fold the top part of the heart over the center portion.
3. Fold the bottom point up over the center and snap it together.
Heart-Shaped Foldable Chalkboard
- Sewing Machine
- 1 piece chalkboard fabric
- 1 piece decorative fabric for outside/back
Prepare the fabric
- Make a pattern by cutting out a heart shape from wrapping or tissue paper. Make the paper pattern just slightly larger than the size you want your finished chalkboard to be. (If you want to be able to fold the chalkboard over some chalk to hold it inside, practice with the chalk you plan on using. Adjust the size of the heart as needed.)
- Cut two fabric hearts using the paper pattern as a guide. One should be cut from a chalkboard fabric. Cut the other from a fabric that you want to use on the other side/outside of the chalkboard.
Using a serger
- Place the fabric hearts together with the right sides facing out (wrong sides together). Using an overlock machine (serger), sew around the edges all the way around the heart.
Using a regular sewing machine
- Place the fabric hearts together right sides together (wrong sides facing out). Sew around the edges of the hearts, leaving an open area around 3 inches long on one of the straight edges of the hearts.
- Reach in through the open space and pull the hearts right side out.
- Fold down the edges of the open space, and sew across them to close up the gap. To finish the edges of the chalkboard, sew all the way around the heart a few millimeters from the edges.
Folding the chalkboard
- To fold the chalkboard into an envelope shape, fold it in thirds, folding in either side over the center. (You can place chalk pieces in the center to hold them in place.)
- Fold the top of the heart down over the center.
- Fold up the bottom v over the rest of the folded heart.
Adding a closure
- With the heart-shaped chalkboard folded into an envelope, plan where you want your closure to be. You can use plastic snaps on both the bottom point and the center top. If you prefer to close it with an elastic band, sew a loop of elastic to the bottom point of the heart. The loop should be just large enough to fit over the folded chalkboard to keep it shut.