Chalkboard Menu

My family is rolling into town for the holidays in less than 24 hours. My to-do list is a mile long, I am contemplating giving up sleep to get it all done.

So it why on earth was I standing on a ladder drawing on our new chalkboard wall at 10pm? It was because I had a vision. I wanted a Christmas dinner chalkboard menu, and dammit I was gonna have one.

I had already planned out the menu, I just needed to decide how it was going to look on the wall. I decide to start small. While I love the amazing chalkboards on Pinterest, those are all done by chalkboard artists, and frankly the last time I touched chalk was writing lines on the blackboard in grade school. So I decided to set the bar low, and make a simple menu.

I laid out my type in illustrator on a canvas the same size as my wall.

Then I taped off the spacing on my wall, so I would know where each line of text was supposed to go, and so that the last line of dessert did not dip below the height of the table, so that everyone could see the menu. Once that was done, I started drawing.

“Menu” drawn, and all my tape marks for the rest of the text

I had the computer open beside me and I kept referencing my layout and tried to draw the “Menu” all pretty. Its not perfect, but I have absolutely horrid hand writing. For the actual menu I just wrote in my normal uppercase printing.

Chalkboard Menu Done

I don’t think it turned out that bad. I am by no means a chalkboard artist, but at least its legible. (Although El Granto thinks my “P” ‘s look like D’s. And that people will think we’re having “Dave Potatoes” for dinner…

Dining Room & Menu

Now all I need to do is clean the house, set the table, and cook all the food…

Chalkboard Wall

Our entryway, dining room and kitchen are all one great big open concept room. As soon as you walk in the front door you can see straight to the back of my kitchen. Its nice because the storefront window allows in a lot of natural light, and the open concept high ceiling space makes everything look a lot bigger than it actually is. Since moving into the house we have done very little to the main floor. The main reason being that anything we did would either cost a lot, or impact the whole main floor (i.e. we have one 60 foot long wall that runs from the front door to the back door, going through every room on the main floor except the powder room. So you cant just paint the kitchen or the dining room, you literally are painting the whole first floor.)

We have big plans for the space, we want to create a coffee bar in the dining room, replace the sink, faucet and countertop in the kitchen (and backsplash if I get my way). We just made a new dining table and bench. I have some art projects in the design stage, and a lot of projects for the livingroom.

In the interim I wanted to get the dining room ready for my holiday guests and for Christmas dinner. There is a chimney wall that juts out in the kitchen (see it behind the table in this shot).

See the small wall that juts out right behind the middle of the table?

I decided to give it a bit of a focal point, and paint it with black chalkboard paint. That way I can feature a menu board for dinner parties etc.

To start out I sanded down the wall to remove any imperfections and to make it as smooth as possible. Then I coated in one coat of primer.

Wall Primed

I sanded the primer than applied one coat of chalkboard paint. I started to get a bit worried at this point as it didn’t cover well at all…

One coat of Paint
Detail shot of one coat of the chalkboard paint

After a second coat it was started to look much better, but it still needed at least one more coat. I sanded at this point to try to make it as smooth as possible (chalkboards work best when they super smooth!)

So after sanding and a third coat of chalkboard paint I was starting to get the result I was looking for.

Several coats of chalkboard paint

After this I gave it one more sand and what I thought would be the final (4th) coat. However after it dried it was even rougher than before. Eep!  So once again I sanded and sanded and sanded some more then I painted a coat sideways instead of up and down. After that, I sanded and painted two more coats. Yes that’s right, if you’ve been counting you’ll know that we’re up to seven coats of paint. At this point I still wasn’t convinced it was smooth enough, but gave up because I had had enough of this project…and i deemed it “good enough”. Having never worked with chalkboard paint before I am not sure if I was just being anal retentive, or if you can actually get a perfectly smooth effect on a wall.

Once it had dried for three days, we covered the whole wall in a coat of chalk (rub the side of a piece of chalk over the whole wall.) Consider this like seasoning a cast iron pan. Then rub off with a dry cloth, and you can use your chalkboard wall. Just don’t wipe it with a wet cloth for at least a week.

Chalk Rubbed on Wall
Detail of Chalk
Chalkboard Done!

Check back tomorrow to see how I designed my Holiday Chalkboard Menu!

***UPDATE*** Here’s the Menu

Chalkboard Menu Done



Rust-oleum Chalkboard Paint in Black – Canadian Tire
CIL Primer – Home Depot

Tools Used:

Paint brush, tray & roller

Difficulty Level (on a scale of 1-5):

Two out of five

Total Cost: $20