Tuesday, November 18, 2014

To cure, or not to cure, that is the question!

To cure, or not to cure, that is the question. For years I've been telling you all to cure their Chalkcloth (TM), but I don't always do it myself. Why, you ask?  Well, for one, I like the solid black nature of the unused Chalkcloth (TM). Especially when I use a chalk pen marker (found at your local craft shops and in the party section of Target). When I use a chalk pen I'm not going to erase it too often. I only use a chalk pen when I'm doing a menu on one of my chalk cloth runners or placemats. Or, for my super cute project tutorial I have planned for tomorrow.
My favorite chalk marker!
Some chalk pens can leave a ghost line behind, so I normally cure the Chalkcloth (TM) after I use a pen for a project. So, I'll use it black the first time, use a damp cloth to get the pen off and then I'll cure the chalk cloth. After that I'll use regular chalk or the pen again. Test your pen on a hidden bit of chalk cloth to test is first. Let it dry and see if it clean off nicely before use.
The curing process!
To cure your new Chalkcloth (TM) simply lay a piece of chalk on its side on the chalk cloth surface and rub all over, side to side, then wipe clean. I like to us a barely damp cloth to do the clean up. Now, do this one more time, rubbing your chalk up and down this time. Wipe it clean one last time and the Chalkcloth (TM) is now ready for use. 
Chalk can get sharp so rotate your chalk as you work.
Now, you need to know that the chalk will become sharp as you rub it up and down the cloth. These sharp edges will scratch the surface of your material or project. This is normal and there just isn't any way around it. You are turning fabric into a chalk board, which is by nature, a dusty and scratchy surface that is slate gray.
Before and after!

OK, what if you choose not to never cure your Chalkcloth (TM)? Well, in that case you'll see  cover ghost lines that are left behind by the chalk pens and regular chalk. Meaning, you'll be able to see what you wrote the last time and the time before that. Eventually, it will be come scratched up when you use chalk cloth and it will become grey as you wipe it clean. Every time I've tried to keep a chalk cloth item black, I've ended up caving in and curing the surface. It just looks better in the end, all slate grey and dusty!
To care for your Chalkcloth (TM) just use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe down your projects when you're done. Chalk will build up on your towel so rinse and repeat until your happy with the result. The more chalk dust you get off the blacker your Chalkcloth (TM) will be.
Ghost lines and smearing are normal if you don't give your chalk cloth a good cleaning every once and a while. For example this is my homeschool chalkboard that I made back in 2009! As you can see this has gotten a lot of use with U. S. History lately. When all else fails and you have too many ghost lines like I do, just do the curing process all over again! 

So grab some Chalkcloth (TM), some chalk and have a blast! Click here for a ton of tutorials and tips for Chalkcloth (TM).

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