Introduction: Chalkboard Table

Picture of Chalkboard Table

I can't tell you how many times I've been sitting at the dining room table and have been struck with a 'brilliant' idea and haven't had anywhere to write it down. This table, in fact, was one such idea. I thought to myself, wouldn't it be great if the table were a chalkboard and I could sketch out my ideas right there as they came to me, rather than having to get up and find my notebook? And then I thought that I could also use it to label various food dishes on the table for the benefit of the vegetarian in the household. And why stop there? I could also easily resolve issues pertaining to seating arrangements with a few simple strokes. I could save money on place mats and table settings. I could draw funny pictures of cats being eaten by octopi. And in my mind, it was decided then and there that this table was going to - no - needed, to be made.

Step 1: Go Get Stuff

Picture of Go Get Stuff

You will need:

- 3' x 5' x 3/4" board
- (x2) 3' sections of 1x2 
- Wood or craft glue
- Some sort of large weight
- Chalkboard paint
- (x2) black Ikea trestle
- Brushes, rollers, trays and drop clothes
- (x2) 6' aluminum extrusions ( PN#8427A67)
- Power drill and 1/4 and 5/32 drill bits
- (x12) Wood screws and screw driver
- Chalkboard chalk
- (optional) Chalkboard eraser

Step 2: Glue

Picture of Glue

Glue your two 1x2 wood bars parallel and on edge such that they are running length-wise to table.

Place a board over top the two bars, weight them down and let the glue dry.

Step 3: Paint

Picture of Paint

Paint the table surface with chalkboard paint. You can cover the top with your fine roller and the edges with your brush. Apply a thin and even coat and then let it dry as directed.

Place a second coat and let dry again.

It should look pretty good at this point.

(tip: to save the roller while the table dries, cover it in saran wrap to keep the paint on it from drying.)

Step 4: Prepare Chalk Holders

Picture of Prepare Chalk Holders

Cut the aluminum extrusion to the size of the table using your hacksaw. The easiest way to measure this is to simply line it up with table and make a mark where it extends past the edge.

Measure an inch in from each edge of the aluminum extrusion and make a mark. Next make marks at one foot intervals between each of these two holes.

Drill 1/4" holes a foot apart.

Step 5: Fasten Chalk Holders

Picture of Fasten Chalk Holders

Hold the aluminum extrusion up to the edge of the table. Make sure it is lined up where you want to install it and then drill 5/32" pilot holes to correspond with the center of each hole in the aluminum extrusion.

Once you have drilled all the pilot holes, attach the piece of aluminum with your screws.

Step 6: Chalk

Picture of Chalk

Put some blackboard chalk in the chalk holder and you should be good to go.


mediocre-diy (author)2017-01-04

this is a definite for when i get my own place

LindaF1 (author)2014-09-02

Now THAT is a kool idea!!!

Justin Lam (author)2012-05-25

This is definitely next on my list of home projects! It would work great on my study desk. My only concern is the smudging of chalk and dust problems... Does the chalk spread everywhere when the table is in use?

HollyMann (author)2012-04-09

I love this idea! I already have chalkboard paint. I love how you added chalk holders also - an awesome finishing touch!

Pfarmkid (author)2011-10-17

where did you buy your chalkboard paint

randofo (author)Pfarmkid2011-10-17

Home Depot

beauwalker23 (author)2010-03-15

 Could you make an instructiables on how to creat a ".gif"? How you make your photos flow.

 What you're looking for is called an "animated gif", and they're considered to be (no offence, randofo) a fairly tacky website design aspect. It's pretty 1990's.

dhanveetech (author)jeffconnelly2011-08-12

I dontno......
For joke....
Put it in a balloon.
Then blow, blow ,blow, POP

ilpug (author)dhanveetech2011-10-11

meh, i couldnt care less if people think they are tacky- i like them!

destructopop (author)2011-06-21

I not only WANT to make this... I almost feel like it's IMPORTANT I make this. And soon. We're wasting so much time NOT drawing on our chalk-board table! Time to remedy this.

sd2kool4u (author)2011-04-05

i did this to my whole wall about 2yrs ago

jensenr30 (author)2011-03-10

This is awesome!

what it is hoe (author)2010-07-08

if you're worried about lead....don't be. they sell acrylic latex chalkboard paint at a few stores if you look around with absolutely no led in it. great tutorial also! my girlfriend and i have been looking everywhere for a table to buy and now im just going to make this one instead

I don't think people are worried about lead paint considering it has been outlawed in the united states for over 30 years and most companies manufacture a single product to keep costs down.

temuuhe (author)2010-03-14

I want to paint my existing table with chalk board paint, do I need to sand my table to get the old paint off? or should it be fine if I just paint it over.

Thanks! and a great post!

Scurvymcdiggle (author)temuuhe2011-02-25

you really dont need to get all of the old paint off. just knock it down and make sure its level. DONT FORGET. use a respirator!

randofo (author)temuuhe2010-03-15

If you want to make something that is going to last a while, you might want to consider using a chemical paint stripper and some steel wool to really removed the finish. Or, if you don't particularly care, just slap a coat of paint over it. I try to avoid sanding painted finishes as you never know for certain what exactly is in the paint (and it also doesn't typically remove it as well).

infomind (author)2011-02-21

Love it!!! ^_^ I am definitely going to make my self one, or two... Or ten!! Make everything with chalk paint!! My walls, my entire house!!! MUhahahahaha!!!!!!!!

Anywho thanks for the instruc-table ^_^

Bigev (author)2010-03-11


But I have no room for a table... Stoopid vagrant college life...


I just don't know on what...

Nabil (author)Bigev2010-03-13

a Headboard for when u dream with cool ideas! 

DIYDragon (author)Nabil2011-01-29

This sounds awesome.

jessandstavro (author)Bigev2011-01-11

I made a chalkboard t-shirt using the same paint. 4 or 5 coats did it, in a big, taped-off square on the chest.

randofo (author)Bigev2010-03-13

Oh! Put it on your curtains!

(and please don't blame me if this goes horribly wrong)

they actually sell chalkboard fabric. you could use that to make curtains.
also known as chalk cloth. you could make curtains from that.

Bigev (author)randofo2010-03-13

Nah, too insubstantial.

Zaphod Beeblebrox (author)Bigev2010-03-17

EVERY INCH OF WALL IN YOUR oh wait u said colledge. colledge=dorm,dorm=rent,rent = no paint

DIYDragon (author)2011-01-29

Cute idea. I thought about painting up a wall in my office like this just to scribble notes on and stuff!

lindaloo80 (author)2010-11-09

I haven't read through all 109 posts, but to the question of whiteboard and markers, Crayola now makes a white board crayon. They are a little more expensive than markers, but we use them all the time in our preschool since preschoolers can never remember to put tops back on markers! A tiny amount of goo gone followed by window cleaner cleans them up nicely.

nutsandbolts_64 (author)2010-11-02

Now who has enough audacity to make a whiteboard table...

seandogue (author)2010-10-18

How durable is that coating?

randofo (author)seandogue2010-10-18

The chalkboard paint itself has been holding up pretty well. I should have primed the table first to seal it as it has gathered a handful of small stains from having spilled food on it. I was considering throwing down another coat of paint to try and cover this up, but aside from that, no complaints in terms of durability.

seandogue (author)randofo2010-10-18

Thanks. I like the idea. but I was/am concerned about durability. I'm pretty rough on things...maybe with four or five coats ;-) and good point about priming. I always prime in multiple coats and then give it a quick polishing with a high value 220+ sandpaper before applying any finish coat.

robbtoberfest (author)2010-07-04

I made the little fold-up table in my sail boat into a chalkboard table. I use it for maps or whatever and keeping the children entertained.

caitlinsdad (author)2010-03-01

I can't tell you how many times I've been sitting at the chalkboard dining room table and have been hacking and wheezing at the chalkboard dust, not to mention the dusty sleeves I get from putting my elbows on the table and those tiny pieces of chalk that end up on the floor that feel like missing pieces of lego that you step on in the middle of the night...

Hmmm, don't know what is better that or a whiteboard with volatile ink markers or maybe I should break out the grease pencils on the glass tabletop...

Nice job.  If you used primer on the MDF with a light sanding afterwards, you might save on using so much chalkboard paint for a better finish.

Ninzerbean (author)caitlinsdad2010-03-02

 I painted my kitchen wall once upon a time with chalkboard paint and I didn't like the quality of the chalk and found dustless chalk! The colors are vibrant and there is no dust, they are expensive but worth it.

As always, you have excellent solutions. I need a new counter, and was wondering if you have any ideas how I could make a chalk board one that I could also put hot dishes on.  any ideas/

Have cork mats for when ever you need to put something down, may take a little bit to get used to but once you do it's worth it because you don't damage or scar anything.

Chalkboard countertops for chalky type temporary messages and ideas, and cork mats for thumb tacking brochures, menus, etc. as well? You seem to have every message aspect covered here!

Excellent idea.  thanks :0)

alivia (author)porcupinemamma2010-04-19

slate-- but it is expensive.

I think you could cover a wooden (painted with the chalkboard paint)  countertop with tempered glass, you wouldn't be able to draw new designs unless you were willing to pick up the glass each time, but in the mean time you could use the glass as a white board and draw on that with markers for a 3D look. As far as hot dishes, those don't matter as much as scraping the paint will hurt the look but it is really very durable.

Hi Nizerbean :0) Really miss you! I wonder if I used an actual chalk board  for the counter top, if that would work.  It would be so much fun for my grandchildren (and me too -wink wink)

 P - I am not the one to ask but IMO I think a real one would make you crazy from the noise, the painted one is somehow softer and doesn't make that terrible noise.

Kryptonite (author)Ninzerbean2010-03-03

You've answered my prayers.

Ninzerbean (author)Kryptonite2010-03-05

 And look for cheap pastels, they act like chalk but with luscious colors, but don't get them mixed up with your food. They used to be a bit toxic and I don't know if that has changed.

smurfsahoy (author)Ninzerbean2010-03-13

This will work, but only very well with light colored pastels.  Darker/more saturated pastels have a bare minimum of binding agent (chalk, clay, etc.) and are mostly pigment, which means more toxicity and more difficulty erasing.  Unless you have used and erased darker pastels successfully, of course.

Ninzerbean (author)smurfsahoy2010-03-13

I just picked them up cheap at garage sales, I had a slew of them, I didn't draw this and I can't remember the artist's name (he is famous) but it was done on chalk board with pastels.

randofo (author)caitlinsdad2010-03-01

I thought about priming it, but decided it probably wasn't necessary. In retrospect, that would have been a good idea.

hjfast (author)2010-05-25

A few years ago I made a giant whiteboard table. Melamine, commonly used for cheap shower walls, can be purchased at hardware stores for ~$10 per 4'x8' sheet. I had abandoned a poker table project, so I still had a ~4x8 oval table. The stuff is super easy to clean off (if you don't leave the marker on too long). An added benefit is that it is cheap! Likely cheaper than the chalkboard paint. When I get a chance I will try to put an instructable together.

Hey... your spell check doesn't recognize "instructable"

About This Instructable




Bio: My name is Randy and I founded the Instructables Design Studio. I'm also the author of the books 'Simple Bots,' and '62 Projects to ... More »
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