The start of school might be old news for some of you since it seems like school in NYC starts super late, but for us, school starts in 2 weeks! And I'm excited! I have my first school-aged child to buy shiny pencils and notebooks for, and the sweetest new kindergarten teacher to send him off to everyday. And although my kindergartener is my FAVORITE person, he is also full of crazy energy, so the term “bless your heart” is all I can think of when I think of sending him along with 20+ other kiddos like him to fill up her classroom in a couple of weeks. As a result, I have been trying to come up with a fun first-week gift to give her to welcome and thank her (really, REALLY…thank you, angel teacher) for being our teacher, and I think I've found it! I decided to make these fun stenciled alphabet boxes that double as a vase AND a tissue box, perfect for adding a little sass to her desk in school-decor style!
To make them, we used the new Lily and Val stencils from FolkArt to make them one of a kind! These stencils are inspirational hand-lettered designs made with the simplicity of chalk by chalkboard artist Valerie McKeehan. They are made out of laser-cut mylar and come in 4 gorgeous designs, making them so unique and fun to work with, and giving you the ability to look like a chalkboard artist without having to have a bunch of fancy hand lettering skills! Here's what we did:
1. One of the most unique parts about the Lily and Val stencils is that it is a 2-step stenciling process. This means that you paint one stencil, let it dry and then lay the second part of the stencil on top and paint it to complete the design. This gives a realistic hand-drawn effect that is gorgeous! So, the first step is to paint the box with the first layer of the stencil. These stencils come with little marks that you can make with a pencil so that when you align the second layer, you will be sure to get it exact. I covered the box with the first layer of stencils in a variety of colors. Then, I let the paint dry completely before starting the next layer.
2. Once the paint is completely dry (starting the second layer before it is dry will result in smudging), line up the marks you made with the stencil and paint the second layer. (Stenciling tip: When I visited Plaid Crafts HQ in June, I learned from the experts that the way to get the best stenciling result is to have the minimum amount of paint on your sponge or brush. So, after you put paint on your brush it is a good idea to blot it on a piece of paper until there is very little on your brush. This will give you great texture on your project and will prevent the paint from going outside of the stencil!) Let the second stencil layer dry completely.
Also, if you are going for a more distinctly chalkboard-style look, you can also partner these stencils with FolkArt Liquid Erasable Chalk! This is a durable, smudge-proof and long lasting alternative to chalk that washes away with a damp sponge, leaving no shadow, but still gives the appearance of handcrafted chalk art when you use it! Plus, it applies easily with a foam spouncer! To work with this product, simply follow the directions above, but use the FolkArt Liquid Erasable Chalk in place of FolkArt Multi-Surface Paint for a fun chalkboard look!
3. If you are using the box as a vase, we placed a glass jar under the tissue box and added flowers! Or, if you are going to use the vase as a tissue box cover, add tissue box and you're done!
Isn't it great that this can be so versatile? I love a gift that is sure to be perfect in one way or another, and with this one, you can't lose!
Isn't this a fun way to give the teachers in your life a little thoughtful boost for this new school year? So cute. Plus, with all of the different Lily and Val stencils and FolkArt paint products, there are so many fun variations of this gift that you could create, from different styles of letters to different designs and colors!