DIY Menu Chalkboard {free printable template included!}

Make your own chalkboard menu to hang on the wall with a few simple supplies. 

diy menu chalkboard

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"Mom! What's for dinner?" 

I hear it from the moment they finish breakfast. As soon as they get home from school. Pretty much all the way until they are sitting down for dinner and staring at their food. 

I used to try and goof around with them and say, "food" when they asked but that only invited more questions. 

"What kind of food?" And on and on.

Then there are the times when even when they ask and I answer seriously they still ask again and again because they don't listen or retain what I've said. Or I've told one kid and a different one asks. I think any mom can agree with me that repeating the same answer over and over, whether to one kid or to all the kids get super old, super fast. 

menu board (12).jpg

Enter a chalkboard menu. Now I can simply point when I'm asked what's for dinner. Granted this only works for the kids that can read at this point but information tends to have a trickle down effect in this house. Once the big boys know something they will share it with others. Sometimes this is good, like when they talk about Bible stories. But I have a feeling there are going to be some instances of information trickling down that we would rather wait for a later time. 

But back to the menu! I had some leftover boards from a string art project I did with my MOPS group and decided to put it to good use. A few supplies and you can have your own menu board!

I used a board that's 8x14 and 1/2 inch thick, but you can choose a size that fits your space. I wanted to mount mine on a narrow wall so I needed to make sure the board wouldn't get in the way of the cupboards or shelves. 

chalkboard step by step
chalkboard step by step

First up is chalkboard paint. Make sure the paint you get is actual chalkboard paint and not simply chalk paint. You want it to turn the surface into a chalkboard. I used this Handmade Modern paint that I picked up at Target for a different project last year. This stuff goes far and I've used it for multiple projects with no end in sight for the bottle. 

Paint the whole board, including the sides, with a foam brush. I used a regular brush at first but it left lines from the bristles everywhere so I switched to foam. Significantly smoother!

Let the paint dry for at least two hours (or according to the paint directions) before adding another coat. I did two coats to make sure it was covered. 

diy chalkboard instructions

I thought about freehand drawing the letters on the board but I decided to trace it instead. I wanted to make sure all the spacing would work and this is the easiest way to get it all done. I'm giving you the printable file I used for free just by clicking here. Print it out and make any necessary cuts to fit your board. I taped mine together to keep the spacing just right for my board. 

diy chalkboard instructions

You are also going to need graphite paper and a tracing stylus. I found these at Michael's but there are lots of options on Amazon. They make these tools in various sizes but I prefer using the smallest tip so I can outline the words and have the thinnest line on my project. The nice part about graphite paper is you can erase it if you screw up or the paint you want is too light to cover up. Recently I painted a canvas and after tracing I erased the letters one at a time so I could still tell where the outline was but it didn't show up under the light colored paint. So helpful!

diy chalkboard instructions
diy chalkboard instructions

I made a short video to show you how it works. Don't mind my dirty nails from all the chalkboard paint or the jabbering kids in the background ;)

After all your letters are traced you get to paint!

diy chalkboard instructions

I used simple acrylics for my board but I'm wishing I had the right color paint pens. I've used them for other projects and I've always been pleased with the results. But acrylic paint and a fine point paint brush will work just as great. In true Katie fashion I got so wrapped up in painting that I didn't take any pictures of the actual process while painting letters. Super fail. Sorry guys. 

After I finished and let the letters dry I sprayed a few coats of this clear coat on the board. Without the clear coat the acrylic paint would have washed away when I cleaned the chalk off. Not exactly what I want to happen! When the spray coat dried I added an extra layer of chalkboard paint with the foam brush in all the areas I'd be writing. 

diy chalkboard instructions

I freehand painted the extra details between the heading and the menu. I looked up doodles and found one I liked. To make this doodle paint thin lines across the board at varying angles. Once the lines are painted add small dots of paint on both sides of the lines at varying intervals. 

The kids are quick to remind me now when I haven't filled out the menu and they also like knowing what's available for leftover night. I currently have it resting upright on the counter but I'm looking for ways to mount it to the wall because I definitely don't need anything else on my counter!


How do you keep track of your weekly menu plan?