Indulge Your Child's Creativity While Kid-Proofing Your Kitchen Table With Chalkboard Paint

Posted on: 17 March 2015

Ah, kids--you love them, they light up your life, but they can do a number on the furniture. Budding artists armed with crayons and spilled spaghetti sauce can leave stains, just as utensil accidents can lead to scratches and chips. If you love your kitchen furniture but want to preserve it from damage, it may be time to think outside the box. By creating a chalkboard tabletop, you'll provide little ones with a unique way to scribble to their heart's content. Read on to learn how in this helpful guide.

Find a Suitable Table

The most important step in this project is to find a suitable table that can be modified with ease. Stay away from anything metal or laminate, as the surface doesn't accept paint well and it may chip or peel. The best choice is a simple wooden table with a flat, square top. These are quite affordable from any furniture store, so you won't need to break your budget to get the right look.

Quick note: Stay away from metal, stone, porcelain, and polyurethane-coated wood--these are notoriously difficult to work with and will make your project far more difficult, if not impossible. Polyurethane is extremely difficult to remove because of its thickness, and the other materials will all repel most primers and paint.

Sand Down the Surface

Once you have your table, it's important to sand down the surface really well. Unless you've built the table yourself with extremely rough or repurposed wood, start sanding with a fine-grade sandpaper. As you go, work your way down to even finer sizes. Once you can run your hand across the table and feel no catches, hooks, or rough spots, use a broom or a hand brush to ensure that any wood shavings are completely removed.

Quick note: If your table comes painted or with a varnish coating, this must be removed fully before you proceed. If this is the case, start with coarser sandpaper to scrape the coating away more easily. A dremel tool or electric sander can be immensely helpful in this situation!

Choose Your Chalkboard Paint

For most homes, regular dark green or black chalkboard paint will suit this project fine. If dark colors just don't fit into your home, don't be afraid to branch out--this type of spray paint also comes in a variety of other colors, too. Do keep in mind that, because most chalk colors are pastel in nature, extremely light colors aren't likely to play well with light-colored chalk. Aim for a nice middle ground--sky blue, grass green, and lilac are all nice choices.

Quick note: Chalkboard paint comes in two formats--in a spray can and in a jug or container. Both are easy to use, but spray can paint tends to sit more evenly after it dries. If you do choose to use the brush-on paint, apply it with a small foam roller for best results. 

Coat the Table in White Primer

Start the painting process by coating the tabletop in white primer. Any house primer should be effective for this, so feel free to use leftover paint from an old home renovation project--the only "must" here is that the paint must be a primer and not a regular latex or oil-based paint. Check the container for the word primer if you aren't sure.

Once the primer has been applied, allow it to dry for at least 24 hours before proceeding to the next step.

Quick note: As mentioned before, use foam rollers instead of brushes whenever possible--this will give smoother results.

Apply the Chalkboard Paint

If you're using spray paint, you'll want to coat everything in a four-foot radius of the table--including the legs and feet--with drop cloth. This will ensure that chalkboard paint doesn't splatter and create more of a mess than you started with.  If the weather is warm and sunny, it may be easier to move the table out onto the grass completely. This will ensure that you only need to protect the table legs and sides instead of your whole kitchen.

Spray or foam-roller the chalkboard paint on evenly, applying a single coat. Allow this to dry for four hours, and then apply a second coat to even everything out. Let this stand and dry for at least two days before putting it into use for best results.

Quick note: The second-best reason to do this is that it's easy to refresh if it becomes worn-down. If the paint wears away or chips, all you need to do is re-spray it and it looks brand-new!

An Extra Bonus Step

This step isn't necessary, but it's a great way to store chalk when not in use. Head to your local furniture store and check out the RV section--look for an under-table drawer kit. While these are designed for RV use, they'll apply to the underside of a wooden kitchen table just as easily.

Once installed, you'll have a slide-out drawer that can be used to store craft supplies, chalk, pencils, calculators and other goodies.

This project is easy enough that just about any family should be able to complete it without issue. That being said, it is exceptionally important that you choose the right type of table before moving forward. Applying paint to other surface materials will often result in little more than wasted money, so go with wood or paintable surfaces whenever possible. For questions about finding the perfect table for this chalkboard paint project, go to websites or visit your local furniture store today.