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 (mcmaster.com PN#8427A67)
- Power drill and 1/4 and 5/32 drill bits
- (x12) Wood screws and screw driver
- Chalkboard chalk
- (optional) Chalkboard eraser
LindaF112 months ago

Now THAT is a kool idea!!!

Justin Lam3 years ago
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?
HollyMann3 years ago
I love this idea! I already have chalkboard paint. I love how you added chalk holders also - an awesome finishing touch!
Pfarmkid3 years ago
where did you buy your chalkboard paint
randofo (author)  Pfarmkid3 years ago
Home Depot
 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.
I dontno......
For joke....
Put it in a balloon.
Then blow, blow ,blow, POP
meh, i couldnt care less if people think they are tacky- i like them!
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.
sd2kool4u4 years ago
i did this to my whole wall about 2yrs ago
jensenr304 years ago
This is awesome!
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.
temuuhe5 years ago
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!
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)  temuuhe5 years ago
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).
infomind4 years ago
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 ^_^
Bigev5 years ago

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


I just don't know on what...
Nabil Bigev5 years ago
a Headboard for when u dream with cool ideas! 
DIYDragon Nabil4 years ago
This sounds awesome.
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)  Bigev5 years ago
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 randofo5 years ago
Nah, too insubstantial.
EVERY INCH OF WALL IN YOUR oh wait u said colledge. colledge=dorm,dorm=rent,rent = no paint
DIYDragon4 years ago
Cute idea. I thought about painting up a wall in my office like this just to scribble notes on and stuff!
lindaloo804 years ago
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.
Now who has enough audacity to make a whiteboard table...
seandogue4 years ago
How durable is that coating?
randofo (author)  seandogue4 years ago
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.
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.
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.
caitlinsdad5 years ago
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.
 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)
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.
You've answered my prayers.
 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.
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.
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)  caitlinsdad5 years ago
I thought about priming it, but decided it probably wasn't necessary. In retrospect, that would have been a good idea.
hjfast5 years ago
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"
landru5 years ago
what "bricks-&-mortar" store sells "chalkboard paint"? I've never heard of that before. if you got it online I'll accept a url as a substitute for the info I'm requesting ;-)
JoAnne's Craft stores sell it in colors
istorm27 landru5 years ago
I've seen it at Home Depot, Lowes, and True Value hardware.
randofo (author)  landru5 years ago
Home Depot
Bigev randofo5 years ago
Really! Cool...
xanxor Bigev5 years ago
make it yourself for cheap!
2 tablespoons of non-sanded grout
1 cup of paint (ANY COLOR!!!)
8bit xanxor5 years ago
I have to see this. Make an instructable!

Really though? That works? How do you know? 
xanxor 8bit5 years ago
Wal-Mart carries it.
   Rustoleum (and other trademarked brands) make it; any hardware store can order it. You might try a teacher's supply store.

   I would suggest an undercoat to help provide a smooth surface. Paint the wood with a plain white, let dry, and wet sand with a block to smooth out the drips and grain. Repeat if it doesn't feel smooth to the touch. Then paint with the chalkboard paint.
   If you want to renew the surface, you will have to sand down the top surface; the remnant chalk dust will not hold on to the new coat.
Hmm, I much love the concept of a writable table, but I am not much of a fan of chalkboards, the feeling gives me the willies. If I were to attempt this, my first thought goes to whiteboards. However, they smear very easily. It seems that non-digital, non-permanent, non-smeary, non-squeaky writing solutions are rather difficult to come by. An etch a sketch table would fulfill all of these requirements, however if you were alone at the time, it would be very difficult to clear up, and you cannot erase specific spaces.

Thus, the only logical conclusion would be to build a massive lite brite.
randofo (author)  duct tape apprentice5 years ago
Got you covered!

A giant lite brite coffee table would be AWESOME. You could entertain your guests by giving them colorful pegs and letting them redecorate!
I love the idea, but do you get chalkboard dust everywhere in you dining room. Do you get chalkboard dust all over your sleeves and stuff? Or do you get that horrible nails on the chalkboard sound when you're doing stuff at the table?

susie5 years ago
The Chalkboard Paint Salesman at my local hardware store suggested priming the painted surface by rubbing the chalk on its side all over the board, then erasing that, before actually writing on it. Otherwise when you start writing it is hard to erase. I'm not sure what effect that has but I can see why somehow.
baker12345 years ago
great idea
i have a pine table could i just paint over the top
JMan55 years ago
I have seen this idea used in a traveling car show. The entire cargo van was painted with chalkboard paint, and a bucket of chalk was provided. Tons of fun!!!
I've seen a pickup that encouraged writing on it in Sharpie (then, I presume, covering in a clearcoat), but this sounds like so much more fun.

Ah, the toys of those who can afford it...
mole15 years ago
This is a great idea!
We needed a big chalkboard for teaching and found that an any dark 'eggshell finish' paint works very well.  Dustless yellow chalk shows up just fine on royal blue.
randofo (author)  mole15 years ago
That's good to know. Martha Stewart has a "recipe" for making other colors of chalkboard paint, but this is even easier.
mole1 randofo5 years ago

The easiest way to be sure a paint will work  for a chalkboard is to take some paint chips home and try writing on  them with your chalk.   You may find some combinations that you like much better than black or 'school chalkboard green'.

temuuhe5 years ago
thank you very much!
This is awesome i would love to make this table and put it in my room, but i dont know what my measurements would be. I just want a little small table to go in front of my table so i can eat on i my room and draw ordo homework on. Probably 1/4th the size of the tabe you did but i really dont know.
randofo (author)  Sayomi1235135 years ago
One thing you could do is find a table of about the right size of what you are thinking and paint it.  Making this a smaller table would be tricky because this is basically sitting on two saw horses (or trestles in fancy Ikea speak) and it would throw off the balance if you make it too small. Of course, if you are feeling inspired, you could make a real table, proper leg posts and all.

MediumKing5 years ago
Awesome idea, but almost all of the chalkboard paint I've seen has been lead based.  Might not be the best idea for a table you're planning on eating off of. 
 lol... no, not for eating.  strictly drawing, writing and coloring. things to do for a child and myself when ideas pop up + save on paper
first, nice tutorial.  second, if people really like this idea, but would like to able to eat of it then use glass.  i think it looks just as cool and cleans up a little better.  I wanted a desk that i could write on so i built it with 1/4 in glass and i write on it with dry erase markers.  works like a charm.
actually, lead paint is not a good idea at all ;(

This reminded me of a person I knew who turned all the walls in their kitchen into one huge chalkboard.  This is probably more practical.

zalbo5 years ago
love your guide an i´m really tempted to do it since i have a dark green chalkboard wall that i painted 2 years ago that has been hours of fun for both kids and adults.

BUT i have a question about grease stains have you noticed any problems with that or is it just my brand of paint?
randofo (author)  zalbo5 years ago
I haven't noticed any grease stains yet. I will definitely keep an eye out though.
zalbo randofo5 years ago
i might elaborate on why i asked  one night my son draw some bulls eye cirlces on the chalkboard and started throwing  one of these sticky rubber toys shaped like a brain wich left some sort of grease stain that is why i was wondering.

i immaggine sine the toy is a chemical compund of horror ( i threw it away) most likely that is why it stained and maybe "natural" grease wont stain that way but im not to keen to try it :)
professor75 years ago
I've used white marlite (bathroom panneling) as a "chalkboard" with good success.  You need to use whiteboard (dry erase) markers and be sure to get some whiteboard cleaning solution.  You could use this surface for a dining room table if necessary.  It occurs to me that an old door would be a good base for this project...just use construction adhesive to attach the marlite.  Round the corners with a jigsaw if desired.  The folding legs are  great,  You could stand it against a wall somewhere out of the way, or use it in a vertical or horizontal position.
Great idea.  Would love to have one at my house
BobbyCage5 years ago
that's pretty neat. never heard of chalkboard paint but I think I'll get some and try this on an old table I have sitting around
thepelton5 years ago
My Father was a Doctor, so every call that came in was potentially a patient.  Mom used some matte black paint on the wall next to the phone, and put a chalk tray there so that important numbers could be written down for calling back.
kevinhannan5 years ago
 That is Uber-Cool!

I think you should make yourself a pair of Chalkboard Pants for thoughts-on-the-go!
Haha, a few months ago, I was thinking about making a chalkboard watch—there would be no numbers on the chalkboard face, and there would be a tiny little piece of mini-chalk to draw the time on—but I didn't want to buy a whole pail of chalkboard paint just for a watch.  Of course it's just a novelty watch, but who knows; maybe it could be the next useless fad.
tim_n5 years ago
A great idea - perhaps add some plastic/rubber caps to the ends so small kids don't bash their brains out or people don't catch their clothes on 'em
fordeling tim_n5 years ago
heh when my dad didn't have time to do that he would tape balls of socks to the corners of things.
random memory from when i was the same height as his desk :)
Salsa7665 years ago
 Hey, great instructable. How do you make those animated pictures.
 I pm'd randolfo and he kindly sent me this link: http://creativetechs.com/tipsblog/build-animated-gifs-in-photoshop/ 

Search .gif
stupoop5 years ago
 this is an awesome idea... but I still would consider using a glass table + dry erase instead.
I use a glass table painted white on the back, it provides a nice white writing surface, and cleans easily with non-toxic dry erase.

This chalkboard idea is messy, hard to clean, will stop working eventually as the pores in the surface fill in with food residue and oils, and chalk dust is not safe to breathe. Chalkboards work well on walls because the chalk dust falls down, here, it will accumulate.

Chalk dust is really toxic and should not be breathed in. It also wreaks havoc with computers.
I taught at a university in Russia for a while, and they had chalkboards made of frosted/sandblasted glass that was painted blue on the back. Doing that sort of thing would solve both the sanitation issues and look amazing.

Great Instructable, this is a really neat idea and I hope to make one.
butterbean5 years ago
Very helpful for mommas with small ones who like to draw on the table!  Saves on paper.
This would be great for entertaining the kids while they wait for dinner to be served!
Kryptonite5 years ago
Next time my brother complains about me taking the last fork, I'm drawing one for him on the table.

Tgwizman5 years ago
This is a great Idea, but will the chalk just go right on it or do you have to put some sort of a plastic film on it?
Should go straight on, that's what the blackboard paint does.
iwannabeer5 years ago
I can't wait to get on this! 

A while ago, I saw a posting like this on lifehacker. They showed a martha stewart thing to make a chalkboard calendar. Mixing in a bit of white gives different colors. 

Also, a guide to make your own chalkboard paint:
Use flat-finish latex paint
1) 1 cup of paint+2 tablespoons of unsanded tile grout
2) Paint
3) Sand with 150-grit sandpaper
4) Condition by rubbing everything with chalk and clean it off.
Jayefuu5 years ago
Hi Randy. Love your table! Just wished I'd held off publishing my whiteboard/blackboard wiper for 6 months then I could have entered it into your competition. If you like it, please make one, I'd love a photo of it with your blackboard. :)
altman5755 years ago
What kind of board did you use?  I looks like MDF in your pic.
randofo (author)  altman5755 years ago
Yup. MDF.
wee_man5 years ago
Wow.  How scratch resistant is the table.  Could be very cool as a workbench in a shed.
knektek5 years ago
next step: make a chalkboard room, chalkfloorboard, and even a chalkboard bed!

No that was just a joke..... .... ... .. . .. ... .... .....    .
jongscx knektek5 years ago
Actually, the chalk-wall is what I've seen the paint being sold for...

So we teach the kids that they can write on the wall... that makes just as much sense as the Lego Gummy candy.
 I have no problem with clean walls, but what's wrong with writing on walls? When a family moves out, they can just take pictures of the walls to keep the memories, and then paint them blank again. 

It's actually really fun to paint a wall when you know you're allowed!

Although the Lego part... I agree.
SixTwelve5 years ago
I keep dry-erase markers on my windowsill for pretty much the same reason. If I'm drifting off to sleep, but have an 'a-ha' moment, I can write it down without waking up. That way I won't wake myself up more puzzling it out, or worrying that I'll never think of it again.  
 i write a text on my phone and save it. its so nice to know that other people do this too!
Fzdowg5 years ago
This is pretty sweet, I met a musician who spray painted his van with chalkboard paint.
DarkSelenia5 years ago
I made a chalkboard desk for my son years ago, he loves it :)

BTW, Martha Stuart has on her pages instructions how to make chalkboard paint yourself in whatever color you want.
hishealer5 years ago

I went to a restaurant here in Alabama that uses white paper for tablecloths and provides crayons for even the adult diners.  We go back just for the fun of lines-and-boxes and dirty doodles while waiting on our calamari.  I can just imagine the fun of this at home!  But it would probably end up getting covered in FFXI notes and failed Maat strategies...

solo.card5 years ago
6 months ago, I was similarly inspired to make a chalk-board (coffee) table.

Rather than use an old piece of wood though, I sanded down the surface of a cheap IKEA LACK table, and simply painted on top of it, fantastic finish and makes a great party piece.

If you are in the UK, Wilkinsons sell this paint for about £5 / tin.
Awesome :)

I've been trying to make a desk that 'takes' dry-erase markers, experimenting with different plastics, glass, etc.  Maybe I should just make a chalkboard desk...

How much does the paint cost?
randofo (author)  T3h_Muffinator5 years ago
They sell dry erase paint too.


The chalkboard paint cost about $20.
jtp1395 years ago
ooh i love chalkboard paint! nice job!
Lindie5 years ago
I love it!  I wonder if sons ever make them for their mothers, desk size,  when they stop in to visit.  hmmmmmmm :-)
winkman5 years ago
that is a really good idea :) especially the aluminium lip :)
l8nite5 years ago
this is a beyond cool idea !!  When my kids were younger we had a white formica coffee table that we all used to draw on (especially me) it worked great and even "permenent" marker would come off with some elbow grease.

 I can see your idea being adapted to fit over an existing table and would be really great for kids parties... gotta love it !
Phade5 years ago
Great Idea!
Although I would make it a whiteboard because I don't like the feel and sound of chalk.
CameronSS5 years ago
There's a house I've been to south of here that has a massive slate slab for a kitchen counter. It's not as "polished" as this, but it's about an inch thick. :-P

Nice work!
kelseymh5 years ago
Those cute animated GIFs can only mean one thing -- you've been watching way too many Mythbusters episodes!  And thank you for the McMaster-Carr plug!
randofo (author)  kelseymh5 years ago
Now that you mention it, I must have subconsciously internalized that somehow. Mainly, I was flipping through photos in my library and noticed they were sequential enough to be converted into animations.

No problem. McMaster-Carr is great. They have everything under the sun and you usually get next day shipping at no extra cost. It's the same reason I started ordering from Jameco more than Digikey (although, it's because Jameco is local to the Bay Area - viewer's results may vary).
I used to drive past Jameco almost every day when we lived in San Mateo (they're right off 101 in Belmont).  Not so much now that we've moved up to Davis :-/

And McMaster-Carr -- as an undergrad, I rode my Vespa through Santa Fe Springs, right past their facility, on my way to Army Reserve drills.  Little did I know how much I'd use them in a future life...