Friday, February 3, 2012

Guest Post: DIY Chalkboard Table

Today I'm featuring a project done by my friend, Omaira Alam. She's a teacher, mother and a very talented DIY'er.  Omaira made this adorable chalkboard table for her son and she's sharing step by step how she did it! A perfect weekend project:


In my never-ending search for the perfect play/craft/work station for my almost-three-year-old son, I came across an end table off Freecycle. Originally, I had planned to use it as just that – an end table, but after seeking how large it was especially after hauling it into my little Hyundai Accent, I realized that I would need to rethink its use in our moderate-sized family room.

While browsing through a number of design blogs – a favorite pastime during some much-needed ‘me’ time – I came across one that showed how an adventurous mummy turned their plain desk into a chalkboard table for the kids. 

Inspiration struck! My son is an avid crafter and artist and this would be perfect for him to use for all sorts of things. Of even greater benefit was the shape of the legs, the really beautiful pine wood stain, and a nice little storage drawer for supplies. I still wondered how it would look with a black top. So, browsing through youtube and a few more blogs, I decided to buy some chalkboard paint (a little expensive) and experiment. 


The previous owner had already sanded the top of the table because of some scratches, so it was ready to re-stain or paint. 

Prepping the table requires sanding as well as covering up what you do not want painted. For sanding you can use a professional sanding tool, or just opt for 120-grit sandpaper – a useful tool in the DIY pantry. 

Garbage bags and painters’ tape work well for the cover up. Enlist any munchkins lying around to assist. 

Once the sanding is done, prime with black primer. I used a spray paint primer and then sanded again. The idea is that repeated sanding allows for a smoother finish. I primed a second time, and sanded again.

I used a foam roller to put on my first coat of chalkboard paint. Be sure to mix the paint in the can beforehand and throughout the process. Follow the instructions on the can! Once it was dry, I sanded again. You want as smooth as possible coverage.

Another coat, another sanding. I did a couple more coats till I was satisfied with the coverage and the smoothness of the table.

Most websites said to condition the chalkboard table. What this requires is that you take a piece of chalk and cover the table with it. Lay the chalk on its side and rub it all over the table. This also lets you see if there are any rough patches that need additional sanding.

Once the conditioning is completed, wipe down the table with a damp, clean cloth. 

Your table is ready to go! I really love how black on the table accentuates the wood colour. To me it ended up being a classy child’s table and I am really happy with the final result.

The entire project took a day to complete.


End result: A nice sophisticated learning area for a preschooler that can grow with the child. This would also work great as a telephone table, or a night table where you can leave love notes for one another or messages for your children when they wake up. 

One word of caution: Get dustless chalk!


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