Saturday Morning Workshop: How To Build A Chalkboard

How many times have you forgotten an appointment and kicked yourself for not remembering?


A few hours






This oak-framed chalkboard is a fun project that will help you stay organized and on top of things.

Tools Required

  • Clamps
  • Jigsaw
  • Miter saw
  • Router
  • Table saw

Materials Required

  • 1/4x4 board
  • 1x6 Board
  • 3/16 chalkboard
  • Painter's tape
  • Wood glue

Cutting List

Chalkboard Cutting List

Tech Art

Chalkboard Tech Art

Project step-by-step (12)

Step 1

Mill the parts

Crosscut the parts to length and then rip them to width, according to the Cutting List.

Step 2

Lay out the top rail (C)

Chalkboard 2

Follow Figure 1 to get the shape of the arc on the top rail (C). Mark 45-degree angles from where the arc ends.

Step 3

Cut the top rail

Chalkboard 3

Cut the miters first. With the rail clamped to your bench, cut the outer curve and sand it smooth.

Step 4

Cut the inside curve

Chalkboard 4

Make a curve 2-1/8 in. from the outer curve. Cut the inside curve and sand smooth.

Step 5

Assemble the frame

Chalkboard 5

Glue and clamp the frame together, being careful that the joints don’t slide out of position. Let the glue dry. Drill one pilot hole through each joint and drive in the screws.

Step 6

Rabbet the back

Chalkboard 6

Clamp the frame to your bench. Run the router clockwise on the interior of the back of the frame to create a 3/16-in.-deep x 3/8-in.-wide rabbet. Square the rabbet corners using a chisel.

Step 7

Cut the chalkboard (G)

Chalkboard 7

Cut the chalkboard to fit all but the arc of the rabbet. Set the chalkboard in the rabbet and lay it on your bench, rabbet side down. Trace the arc, getting as deep into the rabbet as possible. Clamp the chalkboard to your bench and cut the arc.

Step 8

Make the tray sides (F)

Chalkboard 8

Follow Figure 3 to get the curve for the tray sides. Cut the curve with a jigsaw, and then sand smooth. Use the first tray side as a template to make the other side.

Step 9

Assemble the tray

Chalkboard 9

Glue the tray bottom (E) to the tray front (D). Clamp with painter’s tape, making sure the assembly is square, and let the glue dry. Glue on the tray sides (F) so that they’re flush with the tray’s bottom and back edge. Clamp them with painter’s tape.

Step 10

Attach the tray

Chalkboard 10

Glue the assembled tray to the frame, flush with the bottom and centered side-to-side. Clamp, wipe off any excess glue with a damp rag and let dry.

Step 11

Finish the frame

Chalkboard 11

Sand the frame, easing the sharp corners, and then apply finish. We used wipe-on, oil-based polyurethane to make the oak grain “pop.”

Step 12

Install the chalkboard

Chalkboard 12

Flip the assembly over and apply glue in the rabbet. Set the chalkboard in the rabbet and clamp until dry.

Chalkboard Lede