Month of Makeovers Day 2: Start with a clean slate!

Two weeks ago I scored a stack of antique roofing slates from a renovation down the street. The roofers had shoveled the slates right onto the ground . . . from three stories up. Most of them were smashed. (The slates, that is. Maybe the roofers were smashed, too, who knows? Imagine it: thousands of pieces of fragile, hand-cut stone  survive 110 freezing New England winters and then a couple guys take turns throwing them on the ground. Luray pulling her curly hair out>)  I picked through the trash piles a bit and pulled out a few that, amazingly, had made it down intact.

Hmmm, what to do with them? (That’s right, rescue good stuff first, then figure out how you’re going to use it. Junking 101, boys and girls. There will be a test next week.)

How about dressy little chalkboards?  I selected some likely-looking slates from the stack


and started them off with a bubble bath.


Just kidding about the yellow ducky. I used a real scrub brush. And promptly broke the first slate because I scrubbed it while it was propped against the side of the sink.  Too much pressure for that skinny slate! The second one was laid flat in the sink for its beauty treatment. No breaks. Yay!

Okay, we got ourselves the proverbial clean slate here! Now it’s decision time. Since I’m using Annie Sloan’s chalk paint, I could paint the entire slate for a completely nontraditional chalkboard. Or I could paint just a rectangle in the center, for a reverse-chalkboard effect. Or I can go with a colorful border. I decide to play it safe and go with the color border. After all, there are 19 other slates to experiment on.

yellow tape

Frog Tape, which I’ve never used before, helps mark off the edges. I wonder if it’ll work on the uneven surface of the slate? I trim the tape with an X-Acto knife, very carefully to avoid scoring the soft stone.

Paint time! I choose Barcelona Orange, a hot color that’ll look awesome in my laundry room. It takes three coats to get an opaque finish on the dark stone.

orange paint

I decide to skip the wax finish. I’d rather see the paint age and chip off a bit over time, just like the slate. So once the paint is dry, off comes the tape. Nice straight edges—the Frog Tape worked! I’m adding this stuff to my bag of Favorite Tools. Then I rummage through my sewing stash for a leather bootlace. A weaver’s knot through each nailing hole and I’m done!


Nineteen more to go!

See the entire list of projects for our Month of Makeovers HERE.