Chalkboard Buying Guide for 2020
Sunday, 29 December 2019
A comprehensive guide to chalkboards from Majisign!
What are chalkboards?
Chalkboards are display products that allow for advertising to be written or drawn in chalk. They are often rectangular in shape and black in appearance. High-quality chalkboards allow for the chalk to be removed easily, so a new message can be drawn. They are most popular in the hospitality industry and make useful displays in domestic kitchens or as home decorations.
Which chalkboards are best for me?
Majisign manufactures chalkboards, meaning that it can create the best chalkboard for you. They can be used indoors or outdoors and can be provided plain or with a printed design. They can be used as a kitchen chalkboard, in restaurants or in kids' rooms (with suitable child-safe chalk).
Typically, large rectangular chalkboards are best when the message needs to be read at a distance. They are ideal for pubs, bars, clubs, cafes, and events.
Small forms, such as A5 size, can be perfect for counter or bar tops. Irregular shapes can also look fantastic. Hearts, ovals or product outlines such as wine & beer bottles, cakes & muffins, books, and scales can look fabulous.
Majisign’s chalkboards are offered in stock regular sizes, although can manufacture any shape and size that you need. They can also be decorated with rope hangers, a variety of frames or pre-drilled for mounting. A popular option is for the chalkboard to be mounted into a wooden base so that it is free-standing. These are often called “Table Talkers” or “Tombstones”.
Chalkboards are especially useful in retail, hospitality and any point of sale - for further reading: "How to raise the bar at point of sale on the Morning Advertiser's website.
Why chalkboards make a great utility or decoration
Decorative in nature, chalkboards can be smart or rustic in appearance, blending in with your current décor. They’re reusable and can be customized to meet your needs.
Chalkboards make a great alternative to electronic displays and screens. Hand-written messages are always compelling. They suit the home environment and craft businesses that produce their own products. It's easy to rewrite messages or start new drawings and they're cheap to buy.
Chalkboards can be displayed in many ways. They are most often:
- Framed and hung on a wall
- Mounted in a wooden block so they’re free-standing
- Included as part of a pavement sign, such as an A-Board.
- Placed on a suitable wooden easel or artist easel
Below, an ornate framed chalkboard that includes print.
Small chalkboards mounted in hardwood to display Brewshed's beer. The logo is printed directly onto the chalkboard. The logo on the wooden block is laser engraved.
Chalkboards can be mounted into A-Board pavement signs, too!
A chalkboard can be presented on an easel and is ideal if you need a freestanding sign.
How to clean chalkboards?
Chalkboards require periodic cleaning, especially when needing to write a new message or draw a new design. How you go about this depends on if chalk or chalk-pen has been used.
Majisign recommends using Mr. Muscle kitchen cleaners, especially if chalk-pen ink has been used. If you have been using traditional chalk or gypsum, it is best to remove using a damp microfiber cloth. To totally remove chalk, general dirt and spillages, use a degreasing product.
If your chalkboard has a printed design, use a soft dusting cloth or feather duster.
What shapes are best for chalkboards?
The most popular shape for a chalkboard is rectangular since many people want to frame their chalkboards. Framing is a simple and effective option, especially if upcycling an existing mirror frame or using an ISO-sized picture frame. Sometimes, irregular shapes are best, depending on the application.
In retail, a silhouette can help people understand more easily and be assistive. For example, animal cut-out chalkboards are prevalent at the butchers or farm shop meat counter. Likewise, local pubs use beer and wine bottles to help promote specific promotions.
Sometimes irregular shapes are best for chalkboards, especially when needing to fit a board into a specific space on a wall. For example, Majisign can make a chalkboard to fit above a bar or between existing wall features.
Majisign manufactures its own chalkboards. This means that you can ask for any shape or size and they’ll make the board exactly to your needs.
Your chalkboard will be finished in their durable chalkboard finish which outlasts generic blackboard paints. If you need holes drilling or hooks to be included, they’ll do that for you, too!
Above, tiny chalkboards are useful to label jars! Note that these are magnetic chalkboards so they can be removed and repositioned easily.
How do I hang a chalkboard?
Chalkboards can be hung from a wall much like a general picture. They are reasonably lightweight since they are often made from MDF.
Chalkboards often need to be removed from the wall, since this is the safest way to rewrite a message. Whilst it’s possible to climb a ladder or use a suitable footing, you must always be safe. We generally recommend using d-rings, since these can loop over screw-like fixings and remain flush to the wall.
Chalkboards can be screwed to the wall. Regular picture hanging brackets can be used as an alternative, as long as they can support the total shear weight.
Ultimately, you need to know two things; the weight of the board and the wall type. Majisign can recommend the most appropriate fitting type.
A popular alternative to hanging a chalkboard is to use it with an easel stand. The easel stand is a sturdy tripod, that includes a horizontal holder. The stand can be unfolded, catches applied, then the chalkboard can rest at an angle. This solution is useful when needing to present information in the middle of open spaces, at entrances or on stages.
For smaller chalkboards, wooden block holders can be used to anchor your chalkboard on a counter, bar or table-top. These wooden blocks are a simple solution to holding small chalkboards.
Below, a cafe in Bury St. Edmunds has hung 3 slatted boards together to display their drinks, ice cream and food menus.
What size chalkboards are best?
Majisign’s most popular chalkboards are sized from A0 to A5. It is also possible to create much larger boards of several meters in size, depending on your application. When considering which size to have, consider if you’d like to frame the chalkboard. If so, take the width of the frame into account!
Generally, for domestic use, A3 to A1 sizes work well. For hospitality and retail sites, smaller sizes are best for at-table, countertop or bar-top messages. A5 table talker can look great.
Majisign's A-Boards are categorised into 3 sizes: large, medium and small as well as using standard ISO sizes (A0, A1, A2, A3, A4, A5 and A6). The image below compares these sizes to a person that is 6ft (182cm) tall so that you can visualise how big you may want your chalkboard sign to be:
Are chalkboards more sustainable than dry-wipe boards?
All of majisign’s chalkboards use FSC woods of known origin, from renewable sources.
We prefer to manufacture our products in wood, simply because it’s a versatile, natural product. In practical terms, we find that blackboards remain useful for longer as we use durable coatings. Often whiteboards become troublesome when they can no longer resist the inks and cleaning becomes less effective. Whilst chalkboards a more resilient, it can be much easier to recoat them after years of use.
What kind of chalk do I need for my chalkboard?
If you are intending to draw or write on your chalkboard, you can choose from several different “chalks”. But chalk isn’t always made from chalk! Maybe we should call it “blackboard chalk”.
Traditionally, cheap gypsum-based chalks yield good results and are usually the cheapest form of chalk available. It can be quite dusty to use and makes cleaning a little messy. Most drawing and writing chalk sticks are chemically very similar.
Vibrant chalk pastels can be eye-catching. They are mixed with clay and can be more durable than regular chalk.
Finally, chalk pens can be purchased. These contain a specialized ink that is applied through a traditional felt nib.
Our recommendation would be to use the medium that feels most comfortable. If you’re just starting out, consider using chalk pens. Chalkboard pens have a felt nib that can feel more natural to use. If you use an artist, they will have their own preference – and can potentially paint your design!
Below, a close-up of white printing on a chalkboard
How do I make a great design on my chalkboard?
Let’s assume that great design means something that is used to inform or sell to people reading it. The goal of a great design is to influence people; directing them accordingly or persuading them to buy something from you. All great designs need a message!
Great designs also share a few good concepts; ideally, be readable at a distance. Use contrast (which is why a chalkboard is a great option), use the available space and include a call to action. You need to work out what typography is useful to you.
Chalkboards are often used to sell hand-made goods or promote special offers – they do this with simple, hand-written typefaces. A combination of print and handwriting can work well, as well as fully-design prints.
You may already have the talent to draw or write just what you need. If you don’t, there are ways to make a great impression and get the design you need. It’s entirely possible to print a design directly on to the chalkboard, even in colour.
Majisign offers this service and it’s helped many customers. The process is like designing any poster, except that they are able to print directly to the chalkboard! It can make a stunning impression. Their design service is free when purchasing any of their products.
Below- 2 examples of chalkboards with lovely designs. We especially love the hand-written toy box chalkboard!
How should I display my chalkboard?
There are many ways to display a chalkboard;
A large chalkboard can be lent against a wall, outside of shop or fixed to a wall. Easels are convenient since they are mobile and display the chalkboard at a good height for people to read at. Framed chalkboards can look great and are hung much like a mirror or picture.
Smaller chalkboards can be displayed using small wooden holders. The wooden block can hold the chalkboard at an angle or upright.
Many of Majisign's products use a chalkboard; for example, A-Boards and wine bottle holders. A-Board pavement sign.
Can Majisign help me design my own chalkboard?
Yes! Majisign manufactures chalkboards at their own factory in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. Their design team is able to work with you to create your ideal design. Design services are free once you’ve decided which products you need. Below is an example of the Cafe A-Board, which can be supplied with a plain chalkboard face or it can include your own design.
What is “ghosting” on a chalkboard?
Some blackboards and chalkboards suffer from “ghosting”. Ghosting occurs when old chalk or chalkpen ink absorbs into the black of the board, making it impossible to remove. Often the colour of the old application can be removed, leaving a different shade of black behind. Majisign’s superior chalkboard coatings are resistant to ghosting.
Why are chalkboards black?
Blackboards are black for the purposes of gaining the maximum amount of contrast possible, so they are easier to read. Historically blackboards were the colour of natural slate, followed by green enamel.
What is the best chalkboard paint?
Majisign doesn't make blackboard paint, although we probably should! Our customers love our chalkboard coating, that comes with every board we make. They tell us that it is long-lasting and is easy to clean.
Is it possible to print my logo on my chalkboard?
Absolutely! Majisign can print directly to the chalkboard surface. Simply buy any chalkboard product and upload or email your artwork. Our design team shall make any changes required for printing and send you back an example ( “a proof”). We won’t print until you’re happy with the design.
Can you print in colour onto a chalkboard?
Yes – just tell us what you’d like to see. Using a large flatbed printer, Majisign’s print team can apply any design that you wish directly onto the chalkboard. This method means that you can still use a chalkboard with chalk! It’s also possible to print on both sides or to leave one entirely blank. Below is one of our table talkers - cut in a custom-made shape with colour printing applied
Who should I contact to make my chalkboard?
If you can see what you’d like from the products on our website, you’re welcome to buy directly. If you have any questions beforehand, simply contact us!
Why are Majisign’s chalkboards great?
Each chalkboard is handmade in the UK. We manufacture each board from timber, cutting each board from FSC sheet materials.
We hand-spray each chalkboard for the perfect finish. Our carpenters can adapt it for your use by drilling holes or attaching fixings. Our dispatch team wrap and box it, then send it to you using our preferred courier.
Majisign can cut your chalkboard into any shape so it is custom made. CNC machines precisely cut the board to the design that you need and is hand-sanded for the perfect finish.
We’re able to manufacture and deliver chalkboards quickly – and at high volume if required.
We include free delivery for all chalkboards over £25! For large volumes or multi-site deliveries please contact us.
How do I order a chalkboard?
Head over to our chalkboard sections on our website or contact us today and place an order over the phone!
Useful links and references
Superprof: Tips on how to draw with chalk and pastels