To begin, I drew several different shapes that I liked as patterns. I've included a PDF file of my favorite cheese marker shapes. I cut the patterns out of cardstock.
I rolled out a slab of clay to a thickness of about 1/8", and traced around the patterns. While the clay was drying, I turned the markers over every few hours so they would dry as evenly as possible.
Next, a bit of sanding and they were ready for a sealer. I used two coats of PPA from USArtQuest, letting each coat dry thoroughly before added the next. I made my own chalk paint by mixing baking soda into acrylic paint. The proportions depend on how "chalky" you want the paint. I added enough baking soda to make a fairly thick substance. I started added a small amount of baking soda, and added more small amounts until I was satisfied with the consistency.
You could use any color paint, but I chose black. Here's the sanded, sealed, chalk-painted marker before I conditioned it.
To condition the marker, rub the entire surface with a piece of chalk. Then, dust off the excess. Now you're ready for your next wine and cheese party!! Here's one of my finished markers.