Tuesday, May 8, 2012

DIY Chalkboard Table Top and Chalkboard Backed Chairs

I posted a while back on a table I thrifted last year. The table was just $40, kind of old fashioned but solid and sturdy (unlike our last dining table set that fell apart after 2 years). They just don't make things like they used to... at least not furniture. I knew it would be the perfect table to refinish and I figured at $40 if I messed it up (quite possible) then it we be ok...

I waited until after we did our recent kitchen remodel (hopefully another post soon that's soon to come) before getting a jump start on the project. I knew I wanted to go the chalkboard route. I may have taken it a bit far... But its not often I refinish a dining table so I decided in addition to the chalkboard table top, to also do chalk backed chairs. Kind of like "director" style chairs. This way we can write names on the backs of the chairs, funny quotes, time out chair...things of that nature.
And after many hours of sanding and painting:
The whole process was kind of humorous to be honest. At first I was going to just tackle it sanding by hand. Then one day my husband came home with an electric sander for me (yes for me to use, not him, clearly  no interest in helping but I am happy to have his support)...

Turns out it was a "finishing sander" which still did the job on the table top but the rest of dining set was kind of sanding nightmare. It was like the never ending sanding project and at one point I gave up, then I went back at it the next night and so on.

Even now after its completed I have this "I didn't sand it enough" guilt but I just wasn't sure when enough was enough. One night at about 11pm after much sanding I thought "this table cost $40 and if I sand any more then that's just crazy." And the sanding stopped. But of course before the painting could start there was a whole lot of vacuuming and cleaning to get rid of all the dust, fun times!

Being the cheap person I am, I decided to just use up an old can of white latex paint instead of buying new paint at the hardware store. So the only supplies I purchased were a small can of chalkboard paint, a small can of polyurethane and sandpaper.

Since I didn't have a primer, I had to do two coats of white. As you can see, the table legs and chairs have a lot of detail in the woodwork so the painting actually took a lot longer than I thought it would, but it didn't bother me as much as the sanding... After two coats of the white I distressed it with sandpaper, just rubbing off areas that would normally naturally look worn on an old table. Then I did the final glaze on the white, 2 coats of the polyurethane - allowing it to dry thoroughly in between coats.

Finally, to finish up I painted two coats of the chalkboard paint on the table top and the backs of the chairs. After the chalkboard paint was thoroughly dry I cured it by rubbing chalk on it, and finally (finally) my table was finished. All for under $70. And alot of elbow grease.

Whether its a chair with a guest name on it, a time out chair (my personal favorite), a good girl/boy reward chair, homework chair, treat chair, you name it, I think there is a lot of fun to be had. As for the table top? I'm looking forward to making lists and playing games. My husband is excited to solve math equations with our little one. Good times ahead.
I ummed and ahhed about posting this project for a while. Mostly because this is so different from my usual crafts. And of course because I wanted to take decent pictures and my indoor photography is limited to weekends. Working full time there is just no time for taking pictures indoors during the week so sat or sun mornings it is. I managed to snap a few pics (quickly) last weekend.

I eventually decided to edit my pictures with the cinema scope effect. I'm kind of addicted to it right now...

As much as I felt like I was losing it with the sanding, I'm actually looking forward to my next furniture refinishing project. I'm looking for no-sanding involved projects... I just picked up and old school telephone table at goodwill for $7.50...


  1. Oh, my gosh! Vanessa! This is my dream table. SO fantastic. It turned out so well! I kind of want to re-paint our table (it was a hand-me-down, so it's not like we spent any money on it), and now you're getting the wheels turning…


  2. great and inspiring idea vanessa. thx, sascha

  3. WOO HOO! That's super, Vanessa!
    Now you've inspired me to play around with this idea a bit- oh no! I hate sanding and dusting :))
    Monica x

  4. I love it! I pinned this on Pinterest.

    Helpful Hint:
    Next time use Liquid Deglosser (you can get it at Home Depot or Lowes) and don't bother sanding. I did this with an old desk, and got excellent results (but I did have to prime. I would trade priming for sanding any day of the week ... if you are going to put paint over a varnished piece of furniture you have to prime, otherwise you'll get stains).

  5. So how is it holding up to the rigors of kitchen life? Because I'm thinking of chalking my kitchen table, but we do so much on it and I'm afraid it will chip or rub off or just not be as nice looking as I imagine...

  6. love it. You have inspired me. Thankyou!

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