DIY Chalkboard Serving Tray
If you are a hostess that loves unique pieces that are functional AND speak to your style, then this DIY chalkboard serving tray project is for you. Get creative with this super easy, low-cost project that can be done over a weekend. All it takes are a few tools and materials to create that one-of-a-kind serving tray that your guests will envy. The instructions below will make 4 chalkboard serving trays for approximately $80. That’s just $20 apiece! I gave these as Christmas gifts to my family this year and they were a big hit!
Materials and Tools
Make a trip to the local hardware store for materials and tools:
- One 2″ x 12″ 8-ft. board (Have hardware store cut board into four 2-foot pieces if you don’t have a saw)
- One can of chalkboard spray paint
- One small can of wood stain (I used American Walnut from Varathane one-coat stain)
- One package of 2″ painter’s tape
- Eight 5.75″ door pulls (Change these up for different looks, but I recommend staying with pulls that you can screw in instead of taking the risk of using pulls that have to be glued)
- Sixteen 1/2″ rubber feet – optional (I recommend the screw-in variety as shown in the last picture instead of the stick-on ones in the picture to the left)
- One package of sandpaper – optional
Really, just one tool is needed – a drill for making the pilot holes for the handles and feet. Sanding is recommended and a small sander really comes in handy. The woodburning tool is optional but nice for adding a personalized touch if giving the tray as a gift.
- Drill with assorted bits for drilling pilot holes for the handles and feet.
- Sander – optional (I recommend sanding the board to create a smooth surface for the chalkboard paint. Sanding by hand is an option if you don’t already have an electric sander)
- Woodburning tool – optional (I did not use the woodburning tool as intended because I didn’t have enough time to master that skill before giving the chalkboard serving trays as gifts)
I recommend sanding the trays smooth, at least on the chalkboard side. Rounding the edges is also a nice touch so that corners and edges are not sharp.
Make sure to sand in a well-ventilated area and use appropriate protection such as a mask. I set up a little station in the backyard to ensure good ventilation and reduce cleanup. Sawdust goes everywhere and is the devil to sweep up. If doing this indoors I highly recommend using a shop vac to clean up.
Stain does just what is says – stain! Make sure to do this in a well-ventilated area and wear old clothes. I wore latex gloves as well to avoid staining my hands. Although you see a brush in the photo, I recommend applying the stain with an old rag (I cut up a discarded polo shirt). The coverage is better and less stain is used. Make sure to wipe off any excess stain before it dries.
I used a one-coat stain that boasts a one-hour drying time. I let mine sit over-night before spray painting.
Chalkboard Spray Paint
Once the trays are stained and completely dry, it’s time to spray on the chalkboard paint.
Use the painter’s tape to mask off the side of the tray to be painted. On top of the tray, place the tape along the edge of the tray to create a border that leaves enough room for the handles. If you use a different size/style handle, make sure to adjust the area masked-off to accommodate the chosen handle.
Be sure to mask off the top and the edges because spray paint goes everywhere! Here’s a demonstration of chalkboard spray paint for those unfamiliar with spraypainting techniques.
Measure where the handles should be placed. I used a piece of masking tape and a sharpie to mark the holes for drilling. Then measure and mark where the feet should be placed (optional). I advise using feet for two reasons – it will eliminate scratching and will compensate for wood that is slightly warped. Place the feet about a half-inch from the edge of the tray.
Drill all the pilot holes for the handles and the feet before attaching handles or feet. Once all the holes have been drilled, attach the feet first. Then, attach the handles.