Home Magazine

DIY: Chalkboard Tray for Any Occasion

By Linsibrownson @CleverSpark

Finished Chalkboard Tray

Serve breakfast in bed, use it as a memo board or have a cheese-and-wine party. The options are endless with your new chalkboard tray.

When people think of a DIY project, usually they think of a weekend-long sanding-painting-priming festival. Even though projects are fun, the thought of spending three days working your touchous off isn’t always appealing. Afterall, it is summer and there is a lot of fun to be had outdoors.

Thankfully, this week’s DIY is of the one-day variety. Not only can this adorable chalkboard tray be used for a cozy breakfast in bed, but it also doubles as a Hors d’oeuvre or cheese tray. Simply lay out your spread and use chalk to label the offerings. There will be no more games of “guess the dip” at your next party!

I also discovered that by hanging the tray on the wall you have an instant chalkboard. You can tie a string around a piece of chalk and hang it from the handle or simply lay the chalk on the inner rim of the tray. Voilà! Instant message center for your kitchen or office.

The project took me less than a day and the only real splurge was buying the can of paint. I have a few other projects in mind so I imagine I’ll be using it up pretty soon.

The supplies needed for this project are:

  1. Chalkboard Paint (Valspar was my choice)
  2. Acrylic Brushes
  3. Tray
  4. Masking or Painter’s Tape


The supplies needed are very easy to find and the chalkboard paint washes up with soap and water.

The tray I used was one we purchased at TJ Maxx in 2003 when we moved into our first apartment. Its just a little cheap wooden tray that sat on our ottoman to hold drinks and the like. When we bought our house in 2005 I put it away in our pantry and it hasn’t seen the light of day since. I always like to reuse things when I can, so I thought that this was the perfect opportunity to give my old tray a new lease on life.

After dusting off my tray, I used painter’s tape to mask off the edges so I would have a clean line. You could even do stripes of tape across the board to create a broken pattern for the chalkboard. It would leave less area for writing but it would be very visually appealing.

There are various types of chalkboard paint but I chose to use “paint” paint rather than spray paint. I felt that the thicker consistency would leave a smoother texture and give me more control on how it was applied. Since the cleanup was so effortless (soap and water) I wasn’t worried about making a giant mess of things.

Valspar Chalkboard Paint

A little goes a long way! I could probably make 100 more chalkboard trays with this small can of paint.

After each coat I recommend letting it dry completely. This will help you avoid bubbles and keep the surface as smooth and even as possible. The paint dries quickly and I got about  four good coats done in a matter of hours.

Cue artistic photo of drying paint:

Drying Chalkboard Paint

I did this project outdoors to speed up the drying time. It also made for some nice light reflections.

The final product turned out great. No bubbles, smooth surface, and perfect for chalking to your heart’s delight. Spills seem to wipe up easily too, so don’t be afraid of using it to actually serve food. I would just be sure to put the food on a plate and not directly on the chalkboard itself to keep from marring the tray. Some foods leave behind oils and I wouldn’t want that messing up your nice new paint job.

I found some other great DIY chalkboard tray ideas and thought I would share. They range from simple and utilitarian to fancy and frilly. Whichever form you choose, you’re sure to be happy with your new bit of creative happiness.

Happy Crafting!


Fancy Chalkboard Tray From The Red Chair via Saffron Marigold

Have family and friends coming to visit this summer? For just a few dollars, you can make a sweet chalkboard tray to welcome them with a personalized message. Click image to redirect to The Red Chair.

Cheese and Cracker Chalkboard Tray

Whether it's cheese and crackers or a ice cream sundae bar, this chalkboard tray give your party a boutique feel for a lot less cash. Click the image to redirect to At First Blush.

Cookies and Milk Chalkboard Tray

What better way to greet your little one when they return home from school. This small chalkboard try lets you leave a special note to go along with the quintessential afternoon snack. Click image to redirect to Hobnail and Brass.


Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog