DIY Chalkboard Menu - what's cookin?

Hi! It's Tuesday, which for me is the worst day of the week - next weekend is still far away and last weekend is way behind us.  I always do my best to muddle through to hump day.

Anyway, up today is a fun little project I recently tackled.  It's practical and cute and (for me) cost just $1.50!  A DIY menu board for my kitchen.  Here's the finished product right up front:

I absolutely needed this.  Because I work outside the home and because I am the one who picks up the kids from school and is in charge of our meals, I have to be organized with the meal planning in order to make healthy, homemade meals for my family.  This means a coordinated grocery store trip/meal plan for the week.  What I had been doing for years is to write out the menu for the week on a yellow post-it and put that on the fridge.  It always bugged me, but I never did anything about it.  Until now. 

Jamie recently posted about her Pottery Barn knock-off mail bin, which she removed from a larger organizational system that she grabbed at Home Goods.  As soon as I saw that big board with chalkboard, I knew I wanted it.  I asked if she had plans for it and she said nope - it was all mine. Yippie!  [We do this all.the.time ... like with my old mirror We give each other our cast-offs.  Fun!]  Here's the board before I got started:

The first thing I did was spray a fresh coat of chalkboard paint onto the chalkboard part.  The chalkboard that came on the board was really rough and I knew it was going to be an issue to write on.  I knew I was going to paint and prime over the frame so I didn't bother taping it off. Next, I puttied the holes where the mail bin used to be and sanded them nice and smooth.

When I sanded, I started to dig the distressed finish ... and for a few minutes I was considering just hanging a very distressed, vintagey looking menu board on the wall.  Like this:

But I went back to my beloved white paint and decided to stay the course.  It was time to prime.  I used my favorite Zinsser primer and then did 2 coats of Dover White (who's surprised?).  Looking good!

There was a pretty big space under the chalkboard.  I decided to put it to work. First, I added a cup pull that I had in my stash and turned it upside-down to act as a chalk holder.  Cute!

Then, I picked up some mini clothespins at Wal-Mart (8 for $1.50 or something) and glued them on the board with the glue gun.  I figure these can hold recipes or clippings or even coupons.  I painted them one of the grey paint samples from the den/kitchen - I think March Wind (Sherwin Williams).

Finally, I decided to write "menu" on the board, which I think is kind of fun.  I used black paint I had on hand and lightly brushed/dabbed the paint on for a more rustic and distressed look. I was inspired by this piece from Z.Gallerie ...

And here is mine:

I did a screen shot of the Z Gallerie chalkboard and enlarged it so that I could use the "menu du jour" as a template.  I free-handed it and took my time and it looks OK ... I wish it were a little more polished but maybe it's charming?   And here's the whole she-bang once again!

What do you think?  How do you keep tabs of what's cookin' each night?  I'll share my meal planning tips in a future post.  Now who's hungry? 

See you swoon,


  1. Love that transformation!! I'm all about the menu board, noone has to ask, "what's for dinner?" Can't wait to hear your meal planning tips! xo

  2. I love it! Where in your kitchen did you hang it? I would love your meal planning tips too. I go through phases where I'm really good about planning out meals, but I'd love to be more consistent with it.

  3. That is so cute!!! And what a great friend you have; I need to find someone like that to swap stuff with! :) I made a menu board several years ago just with an old cookie sheet, but now my kitchen is so small I have no where to put it. So for now i just plan out my meals in my phone's calendar. It's nice because at 5 my phone beeps at me to start dinner. But I miss being able to actually see the meals all planned out on the wall. Plus menu boards are just so cute. Can't wait to have a bigger kitchen again and then I'd like to make another one.

  4. I adore that!!! Only $1.50?? Oh my goodness! I would've been tempted to leave it unpainted too--what a cool look that was, but I like your finished version a lot better. How are you so good at painting letters/words? I'm horrible at it hahaha. Looks amazing! I keep track of mine on my computer now since I'm doing that series on recipes from other blogs :).

  5. Adorable! I love using the handle as a cup! Brilliant!

  6. Thanks guys! I'm happy with it and it is really useful in the kitchen. I'll definitely share some meal planning tips in a future post. Happy Hump Day!