Counter Top Swatch Upcycle: Chalkboard Tags

counter top samplesI’ve had a string of counter top swatches hanging in my storage room at school for what seems like forever. I want to say I was given these (or picked them up from a home store – don’t remember how I got them) about 20 years ago. I’ve only used a couple of them over the years, but could never part with them because I was certain there was a project they’d be perfect for ….I just couldn’t seem to figure out what it was. Well, I finally did!

When I was preparing for back to school this year, I was making some little pots to hold my “leader of the day” sticks. I wanted to put a tag on each of the pots to distinguish between my morning and afternoon classes, and it suddenly dawned on me that the samples I’d been hoarding (I mean saving) for all these years would be perfect.

Counter Top Swatch Upcycle:

This has got to be the simplest project in the history of upcyles! Here’s what you need:

  • formica/arborite counter top swatches (smooth finish)
  • black chalkboard spray paint
  • spray paint (optional)
  1. Lay the swatches down in a “spray safe zone”. (You don’t want dust floating around or off spray ruining anything. I do all of my spray painting in my DIY spray tent which was made from a garage sale garment storage bag.)
  2. Paint one side of the swatch.
  3. Let them dry and then flip them over and spray the other side. (I used chalkboard paint on both sides, but of course, you could leave the original formica colour as is and just paint the back with your chalkboard paint, or use a colour of your choice to paint the reverse side.)

Marvy Garden MarkerAfter the swatches are dry, you can use chalk or something more permanent to write on your chalkboard tag. Depending on the project and how much the label will be handled, I often use my White Marvy Garden Marker for projects in which I want a “chalk look”, but the durability of paint/marker. These garden markers come in different sizes and colours, but I generally use the 6mm white marker. It goes on like paint, but has a chalk kind of look.  (I bought my Marvy at Michael’s, but I found something similar on Amazon called the Bistro Chalk Marker.)

You could also use acrylic paint to decorate the edges of your tag(s) with dots or swirls. The uses for these durable chalkboard tags are endless:  lunch bags, backpacks, basket tags, gift tags, etc. I honestly have at least 60 of these hanging on a string in my classroom storage area. I’m so glad I hang on to them! I’m going to bring them all home to paint.

If you’d like to find some counter top samples for yourself, I would suggest contacting home stores. They often have new lines of product and are getting rid of their old samples. If they don’t have anything available at that time, they might be willing to hang on to old samples for you. If you find a little “mom and pop” type store, they might even call you when they have some. Companies are constantly providing their retail outlets with new product/colour samples, so even after all these years, I think you should be able to get your hands on some.

I’m so excited about this simple project. I’m sure you’ll be seeing these chalkboard tags in many of my upcoming projects!