Thursday, 18 August 2011

Homemade chalk board table

I really enjoy making things for Freddy (20 months) rather than just buying them and undoubtedly my most successful item to date is our chalk board table.  It's probably also one of the easiest things to make so I thought I would share it.

In the morning Freddy often goes straight to this table and immediately scribbles with chalk whilst telling me the colours as he uses them, but better still he loves to take a small damp sponge and clean the table afterward (then draw, then clean, then draw, then clean etc).

The great thing about having this drawing surface on a table rather than a wall is that there is much less risk of the walls / other things being 'decorated' and the table can be taken outside when the weather is nice.

Here's how I did it:
  1. Take a small cheap table that you want to convert to a chalk board table.  I used everybody's favourite the LACK coffee table from IKEA which cost me 4.50 €.  It is the perfect height for toddlers (and very cheap).
  2. Take some coarse grade sandpaper (really coarse) and completely take the shine off the surface of the table.  Keep going until you can see the plywood starting to appear from beneath the paint; the more rough it is the better.  The first time I did this I didn't sand the table at all and the entire chalk board surface came off in one go when I cleaned it for the first time.
  3. Paint the top of the table with chalk board paint.  You can use a paint brush but I think a simple sponge roller works much better and gives a better finish.
  4. Allow to dry for 24 hours and then apply another coat.  
  5. Continue this process at least 3 times to get a nice thick and tough finish.
  6. Place a pot of chalks on the table.
  7. Cut a cleaning sponge in half and leave it in a small container or on a saucer deep enough to hold a little water and leave it nearby ready to be used to clean the table.

This is the chalk board paint that I used.  It cost £6.99 from Baker Ross (my favourite supplier of children's art and craft materials in the UK).

I should also say that the chalk I use is Giotto dust free colourerd chalk and I paid £3.40 for 100 pieces!  The chalk holder pot is just a small white ceramic plant pot on which I painted the word 'chalk' with black acrylic paint.

Oh and can you see the Button Chicken on the shelf in the background?  The silver padded box contains lots of things to open and close such as bottles and boxes (I'll do a post on this as Freddy really likes it).

And here is the table in our little classroom.  In this picture you can see the plants that Freddy waters each day, a beautiful painting by Freddy's uncle and a little bit of our shelving.  There are lots more things to show you in future posts.   You can also see my violin which Freddy has started showing an interest in and our 'painting washing line'.


  1. I love that you have an art and practical life activity combined in the table! Thanks for giving the directions for making the table. And your classroom is lovely! Thanks so much for linking up with Montessori Monday! I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page:

  2. Thanks Deb, and thanks for lining up on your facebook page. I get so many lovely visitors from your site.


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