I have had an idea about making my own menu board for the kitchen since I started menu planning a year or so ago. Menu planning saves us time and money. If I know what we are eating for the week, I might as well write it out on a cute menu board. It will be more useful once my kids can actually read it, but for now Tim (maybe) reads it, and it is a nice addition to our rustic retro kitchen.

 Here are the supplies Tim and I used for this project.
Let me give you a run down on the supplies!

For the backing -the part that’d be painted with the chalk paint to create the writing surface- I wanted to use something we had on hand. It needed to be smooth and flat. We had some left over beadboard panels that were perfect. You could purchase a sheet of mdf or plywood, or try cardboard.

The wood lath we had from helping Tim’s brother gut a house. The outside frame is made up of full-width pieces, and the horizontal pieces used to frame the boxes were cut length-ways in half. Tim lightly used the white spray paint to give it a nice weathered look. This is another time when you can adapt something you have or purchase a material that is right for you. You could buy trim pieces and paint or stain them to match your decor.

We used the spray paint version of chalkboard paint, but you could also get a can to roll or brush on. There are also recipes online to make your own in any color you’d like.  I’m partial to the classic black look.

The tools we used are pretty interchangeable.  If you don’t have nail gun with brad nails, small finishing nails and a hammer would work just fine. I was hoping to use wood glue to adhere the lath to the backing, but since the wood was reclaimed, it was warped and didn’t sit flat enough on the mdf. Instead of a miter saw, you could use any other type of saw available to you.

The chalk pen I bought when I got my vinyl chalkboard calendar. I love it! So does Ivy, so I have to keep it up high on my desk. It is wet erase, which makes it a little tricky when using the chalkboard paint because scrubbing with a wet cloth can rub some the of the paint off, or at least rough it up a bit.  Regular chalk would work just as well, it’s just harder to write pretty with.  

I got my white stickers from the scrapbooking section at WalMart.  They are foam, and I wasn’t sure how they’d look; but I love that they standout and create a three dimensional effect.

To make a chalkboard menu for your own kitchen, here are the basic steps:
  1. Decide how large you want your menu board to be, and cut your backing piece to size.
  2. Paint the mdf (plywood, etc) with the chalkboard paint to create a writing surface. Give it two coats, allowing the first coat to dry before applying the second.
  3. Select pieces to frame your writing surface and cut them to size.  We attached the two vertical pieces first and measured the distance between them for the horizontal pieces to create a rectangle.
  4. In order to create equal-sized boxes for the days of the week, you’ll have to first make some decisions. Decide how many boxes you want.  We did six: Monday – Friday and one box for Saturday and Sunday because we don’t eat at home much those days. Maybe you just want five for Monday – Friday, or maybe you want each day of the week to get its own box. So first, decide how many boxes.
  5. Now for the math.  Measure the height of the inside of your rectangle frame and the width of the  horizontal wood pieces. Let’s say your writing surface is 47 inches, your frame pieces are 1 inch wide, and you want 6 boxes, meaning you’ll need 5 horizontal pieces.  At 1 inch wide they’ll take up 5 inches of your writing surface, leaving you with 42 inches to work with.  Take the height of your remaining work surface (42) and divide it by the number boxes (6).  Each box will be 7 inches tall.  Lay out your horizontal pieces every seven inches and attach to your writing surface. 
  6. Use white stickers to label boxes with the days of the week accordingly.
  7. Hang and fill in your weekly menu! Tim nailed a sawtooth hanger thing on the back so we could hang it on the wall.

I wrote a post about menu planning that will hopefully give you some perspective on why I do it and why I wanted a menu board in my kitchen. Find it here!
When I was getting ready to take the pic of it hanging in the kitchen, I just wrote in six of my favorite meals, homemade beef stroganoff being at the top of the list. It is fun to make and delicious to eat. Let me know what some of your family’s favorite meals are by leaving a comment below! I like to add in some new foods to our rotation.
p.s. – Would you rather purchase a menu board than make one? Contact me to get your own or one to give as gift!