I decided my new little nephew needed a fun work space for crafts, art, and doodling. While planning out my designs I decided this would be a perfect time to test out the chalkboard paint I have seen around. Then the idea hit me to make a work area that can be both a table and a chalkboard at the same time!
It started out with a simple design and got progressively more complicated (as I tend to do with all projects). I am happy with the results and I hope my nephew enjoys using it.
The basic design is a single board held up by hinges and chain. I also added a shelf that can be handy to hold chalk when upright, and adds stability when down in table-mode.
I had to do a bit of problem solving here and there so there are probably some easier ways to do things. I am pretty proud of some of my improvisations you will see throughout the instructable.
Time: ~1-2 days
-(1)16x72in pine board
-(1)2.5x72in pine board
-(2) 2in L-brackets
-(2) large eye-hooks
-(2) 3in door hinges
-(1) slide-bolt lock
-Toggle-bolt screws (optional)
-Clear-coat finish polyurethane (optional)
-About 6 ft of chain
-Cork-board cork (optional)
-A friend to help (optional, but preferred)
-Assortment of washers, screws, nuts and bolts come in handy too
Step 1: Prepping Your Lumber!
Getting the wood splinter-free and water-resistant probably took the longest.
I recommend taking the time to fill in gaps, holes and cuts with a putty filler and sand it down smooth. It didn't take me long to remember how many splinters one can get from un-sanded wood.
Since I don't own a router, I simply took the sander and rolled it along all the edges to eliminate sharp edges and splinters, this table is going to be used by a 2-yr old after all.
Since this wood is going to have to withstand being abused with finger-paints, watercolor, and probably some amount of glitter; I ended up sealing it with 3 coats of clear-coat wood finish. It took a few days since I let the layers dry 24hrs before adding another coating, but I recommend doing it to ensure a long life of your table.
I did all of this to the large board as well as the skinny one (sorry for a lack of pictures, I trust your imagination)
Step 2: Easy Part: Making the Chalk Board Side
Making the chalkboard side is easy
For an extra design touch I taped off the edges to give it a nice frame around the board.
Then simply painted it with the nifty, canned chalkboard paint. Three layers seemed thick enough to stand a lot of abuse since it's pretty thick paint to begin with.
Step 3: Assembling the Table
I decided to get as many things assembled and ready before it came time to hang on the wall.
I lined up the small shelf board along the inside edge of the larger board and secured it in place with the L-brackets. This secured it well enough for me to be able to drill holes and screw the boards together from the back to get a solid hold.
That was easy, give yourself a pat on the back!
I also drilled holes through what will be the front end of the table (opposite of the shelf). I then fit a bolt through and used it to hold the chain to the end of the table. it works best to use a washer if you don't have a screw big enough to cover the chain. I however was too lazy to go to the store for 5¢ washers. So I made some fashionable, make-shift washers out of some bottle caps (I encourage copying this technique to impress friends and family).
I screwed on the hinges after finding where they will line up with the studs in the wall (its important to know where your studs are!).
Finally, I glued some cork-board onto the underside of the shelf. I found that the hinge overhangs a little bit, and this helps close the gap created when the table is in the down position. It also allows the board to have a softer impact on the wall.
Step 4: Installing Your Creation on the Wall
This is where it becomes handy to have a friend or someone around to help hold the board to the wall while you screw it in. Alternatively, you could hold it up using saw horses or some books depending on the height you need.
I marked off and drilled the holes for hinge before I lifted the board up to the wall. The 3in hinges were wider than the wall studs so I used some heavy-duty toggle bolts to make sure the hinges don't pull out of the dry wall.
I then installed the eye-bolts into a stud on either side of the board. I had then almost level to the height of the board when its in the up position. I'm sure there is a perfect placement for the eye-bolts for the most strength, but so far I haven't had any problems.
I hooked the chain to the wall by opening and re-closing a link, and there you go! Now its on the wall.
Now for the final, and probably over-complicated step.....
Step 5: Locking the Board to the Wall
After trying a few ideas on getting the board to stay up on the wall in the chalkboard position, I decided on using a slide-lock bolt setup. (I had tried using a clip to hook onto the eye hooks, but the board leaned away from the wall too much). This is where creativity my come in handy in coming up with a better system than I did.
The problem with the slide-lock is that it was too wide to sit on top of the board. I'll try to describe what I did as best as I can, but I think pictures will make more sense.
To bend one side of it, I screwed it down to a block of wood and used a hammer to gently tap it to a nice 90º angle. Unfortunately the locking mechanism still stuck out over the board, so I stabilized it with some left over corkboard cork.
I wanted to make sure the screws weren't going to scratch up the wall, so I made little rubber drops with a hot glue gun.
Finally, I had to compensate for the distance away from the wall from the hinges, so I pushed the receiving end of the lock away from the wall with some cork.
It was a lot of work but it works like a charm!
Step 6: Finshed!
Now you can enjoy drawing out plans on a chalkboard, then quickly converting it to a handy work space!
Good luck and enjoy!