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DIY Chalkboard menu tutorial

Have you ever felt overwhelmed in the afternoon, with the after school craziness? The kids are hungry (and ornery) and it seems like snacks just aren’t cutting it and they start asking that dreaded question. The one that EVERY child asks (sometimes multiple times). The one that has been in the back of your mind since you ate lunch…”what’s for dinner?”

I do. I feel it every day. Sometimes I even anticipate that it is coming before the kids even get home. I have noticed, that when I know ahead of time what is for dinner, the whole process runs more smoothly. Having a menu board helps me to plan ahead. Having the weekly menu written and posted, makes it available for family members to see. That way, they don’t have to continually ask, therefore easing the stress level slightly. I know this may not solve ALL the after school craziness, but if I can eliminate some of it, how much better will life be?!

This large chalkboard menu measures approx 17″W x 25″H and hangs on the wall. The days of the week and the word menu is painted on so they will not wash off when you change the weekly menu. The chalkboard is framed with a white antiqued wood frame.

I am now going to walk you through how to make your own chalkboard menu!

Supplies & tools needed:

  • masonite board found at any hardware store cut to 16.5″ x 24.5″ (inches)
  • 1×2’s cut to 17″ and 23.5″ (inches)
  • Chalk paint
  • white paint
  • gray stain
  • vinyl stencil
  • sponge brush
  • mini paint roller and tray
  • chalk marker
  • table saw or skill saw
  • miter saw
  • palm sander or sand paper
  • old towel
  • bradnailer and nails
  • wood glue (optional)

Step one: cutting the wood

Begin by cutting your masonite board to 16.5″ x 24.5″ using either a table saw or a skill saw after you’ve measured and drawn your desired size.

Next you’ll want to cut your 1×2 into 2 pieces measuring 17″and 2 more measuring 23.5″. I find it easier to cut both pieces at the same time so that they measure the exact same length and your frame will fit together better.

Step two: painting the wood

Now that your wood is all cut, it’s time to paint it! Using a sponge brush, begin to paint your 1×2’s white. Paint 2-3 good coats using the quick-dry painting method. Paint all sides so that when it comes to frame assembly, it’s easier.

After your 1×2’s have been painted, set them aside and paint your masonite board. You are going to use the paint roller and the chalkboard paint. Paint 2-3 coats. You want to make sure the surface is coated well, everywhere. Be aware that you are going to open your chalkboard paint and wonder why the paint is not black. Don’t worry, the paint will dry black. It’s actually kind of neat to see the difference and watch it change!

Step three: antiquing the frame

Once the 1×2’s have dried and you have painted your chalkboard, you are going to antique the wood frame. Using sand paper, sanding block or a palm sander, sand the wood down until you get the worn antique look you are going for. The more you sand the more paint that gets removed. The more paint that gets removed, the more the wood is exposed to absorb the stain.

After you have the frame pieces sanded and some paint removed, begin to apply the gray stain. Use an old towel and spread the stain all over the wood pieces. Next use another old towel, that doesn’t have stain on it to wipe off any excess stain on the wood. The harder you wipe the more the stain is removed. Set them aside to dry.

Step four: painting your menu graphic on the chalkboard using a vinyl stencil and white paint

Remove the backing off your vinyl stencil and center it on the chalkboard. Using a sponge paint brush and white paint, dab the white paint on, filling in the spaces of your stencil. You don’t want to do it very thick. keep it thin. Let that first coat dry and repeat, dabbing the white paint on to fill in the stencil and spots that didn’t get covered with paint. Repeat this step a few times until you have the stencil completely filled in and you don’t see any of the chalkboard showing through.

When you have the stencil all painted and filled in, removed the vinyl stencil. Pay attention that you do not pull up any paint. I like to remove the stencil before the paint dries completely so that it has less chance of pulling up the paint.

Step five: assembling the frame

Using the bradnailer, you are going to nail your frame together. Begin by getting one of the side pieces of the 1×2 (23.5″) and one of the top pieces of the 1×2 (17″). Stand the longer side piece on end and line up the shorter top piece on top of the side piece. Line up the edges and make a nice smooth corner. Shoot two nails through the “top” piece into the “side” piece to secure them together.

Now repeat this step for the other long side piece (23.5″). Line it up under the shorter top piece you just nailed to the other side piece. Again, shoot two nails through the “top” piece and into the side piece. You now should have the two side pieces connected to the top piece.

Great! Now you just need to attach the “bottom” piece to complete the frame. You are going to flip the frame over and repeat those two steps you just did to secure the “bottom” piece to the frame.

Step six: attaching the frame to the chalkbaord

The last thing you need to do now, is attach the beautiful frame you just made to the front of your chalkboard menu. Using the brad nailer again, you are going to nail the frame to the front of the chalkboard. Lay the frame face down and center the chalkboard, face down, over the frame. Make sure it is centered to the frame and begin to nail into place. Use 2-3 nails in each side of the frame.

Great! Now that you have the chalkboard secured to the frame you are ready to use your chalkboard menu!! Happy cooking and crafting!!

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