With a FREE BULB TEMPLATE!
I have chalkboard painted cabinets, as you may already know, and I like to decorate them for appropriate events, like my son’s birthday party. With the holidays approaching, I started thinking about how I can decorate them this year. Last year, I did large snowflakes. And the year before that. And I think the year before that. (Saying I’m obsessed with snowflakes is an understatement.) So I wanted something different for at least some of the cabinets.
Also, as my daughter gets older, she wants to get in on the decorating more and more. I needed an easy activity she could help with, that involved chalk, and wasn’t another series of snowflakes. I also wanted something versatile, so if she wanted to do more, she could do it on paper.
You can do this project on chalkboards/cabinets like I did, or you can do it on regular old paper. I think it’s really cute as a Christmas card, too! Get the kids involved and save a lot of money on Christmas cards… WIN!
- paper or chalkboard
- chalk (left over sidewalk chalk works great)
- marker (for paper) or chalk paint pen
- paper towel
I freehanded a bulb stencil. To do that, I used the edge of a La Croix box. (Love that stuff!) I drew a kind of half-teardrop along the edge, folded it over, and cut. I now have a symmetrical, large, sturdy stencil template I can use. If you don’t trust yourself to freehand it, I provided an ornament stencil PDF you can download. It has both a large bulb (roughly 5″ wide) and a small bulb (roughly 3″ wide). For reference, I used the large size for all of the images in this post. I will probably go back and use the small size on a skinny cabinet I have to the side of my above-stove cabinets. To use the downloaded stencil, cut it out, then trace it onto some sturdy cardstock or cardboard.
First, draw the sockets. So that the glow covers the socket, you need to draw them first. I had my bulb handy so I could roughly see how far apart the sockets needed to be, but I didn’t trace anything yet. On the chalkboard, I used a chalk paint pen so that my cord and sockets would hold up to some rubbing. On paper, I used a regular old black Sharpie (the white paper) and a metallic Sharpie on the darker paper.
Then, put the bulb stencil against the socket. Heavily trace around the template with your chosen color of chalk. To get a bright glow effect, you’ll need a lot of chalk on the paper.
I recommend tracing all of the bulbs before smudging the chalk. That way, you can see how close all the bulbs are and adjust your smudging accordingly.
Next, determine how you want to smudge. There are two ways to smudge. You can smudge both inwards and outwards. That will look like the bulb on the white piece of paper (the Christmas card). It gives a soft glow, more of a warm look. Otherwise, you can smudge just outwards. It gives a sharper, more distinct glow. I did this on both the chalkboard cabinets and the blue paper.
Fold the paper towel over a few times so you have a nice and firm piece that is easy to control. If you are smudging in and out, brush the paper towel back and forth across the traced line with light pressure. If you are smudging out only, start on the chalk line and smudge away from the line. Depending on the color of chalk, color of paper, and quality of chalk, you may need to trace and smudge a few times. You can trace the stencil or just trace the existing outline. It’s up to you and your confidence in freehanding.
Don’t change the paper towel too often. It grabs the chalk at first, so there is less to smudge on the paper. A good chalky piece of paper towel is a good thing! However, make sure you change it between colors. Also, if it get too chalky that it starts looking sloppy, feel free to refold it and use a clean section.
When you are done with all of the bulbs, blow away any excess chalk dust – don’t wipe! If you are using a chalkboard and leaned against it with chalky fingers (guilty!), use a barely damp cloth to clean up your fingerprints.
What colors are you going to use for your glowing bulbs? Let us know below!