blackboard kids table

In the process of moving I have sold most of the kids tables that we had hanging out.  And of course, thanks to the magic of freecycle, replaced them.  Well, in truth, I replaced the first and then when I start counting tables and chairs, knew I had to do some purging.  I really loved our little table/chair sets but I wanted to keep the most practical and most versatile.  The art desk we scores off freecycle is insanely cute, but less practical.  So I sold off most of them.

For me, selling off the old tables was the impetus to start transforming the newest table.  I took this table because I saw a lot of potential in it, but in reality it sat in the back of the car for about a week.  And it has never been inside the house.  This table started off with good bones, but in need of a lot of love.  So much so that I started the love before taking “before” pictures.  AK!

So these pictures were taken with 2 of the legs off (and already in the painting stages) and D (cropped out) holding up the other side.  Such a good man!  But see that top?  It was covered in paint, marker, something sticky (yuck), pen, you name it.   But regardless of the exterior, this new table is a really solid table and the chairs are nice wooden chairs.  Perfect for my little daredevils!  I thought this time I would go a little color crazy.


I took off the legs and Emily and I spray painted them in odd colors in odd patterns, going for a randomness kind of thing.  I kind of underestimated the amount of spray paint I had left.   I like the way the legs look, but they are likely not staying that way.  I am now seeing this table with bright solid colored legs.  Using paint I already own I am thinking one each in red, bright blue, bright yellow and orange.  I did try a “fun” leg on the table and it just wanted doing it for me.

While I debate the legs,  I gave the bottom of the table a coat of crisp white paint.  Then I turned it back over and start on the top.

For anyone about to paint a table top with chalkboard paint, here was my process.

  1. Heat the oven to 400
  2. sand the table (I used a 320 grit), and wipe clean
  3. Get the clothes out of the dryer
  4. Prepare the salmon (brush teryaiki sauce on and squeeze a fresh orange over it, so delicious) and put in oven
  5. Put on first coat of blackboard paint with a brush, step back and be not thrilled.  Seriously, this is the worst step.  That first coat will look so bad that you will rethink the entire game plan.  Forge on.  Trust me, it will be ok, just never photograph this stage, it is too depressing!
  6. Return to the house, depressed, wash brush and check on salmon
  7. Fold some clothes, turn oven off, leaving salmon in the oven
  8. Return to the garage and put a coat of paint on with a foam roller and wonder where you are going to put the table tonight since you are painting it in husband spot in the garage.  Ponder asking him to park outside, but decide against that since it means leaving the table with wet paint exposed to the kids.  But breathe a sigh of relief, the blackboard paint already looks SO much better!
  9. Let this coat dry completely because sand paper is next.
  10. Take salmon out of oven to cool.  Smell it because it smalls amazing!
  11. Sand lightly in spots where you see that you need it.  Remember this is a freecycle table, so the previous owner had used it.  A lot. This step is critical because even though you sanded it in advance, you don’t always see what you miss until a few coats are one.  Give it a coat with the foam roller, and then after a few minutes (blackboard paint dries really fast), do a thick coat with a fabric roller.  The fabric roller is best for latex paint, which this is, but the foam is better for the initial coats.  At least that is my opinion.
  12. Realize you forgot to tape off the sides, but it is ok, you can paint them with a tiny brush later.  Shrug and move on.  Let the paint dry a bit.
  13. using your small roller, give the sides 2 quick coats and let dry.
  14. Stand back, admire your work and smile!
  15. Search all over the garage for a place for the table to completely dry and cure, and realize you are stuck standing it on one end and leaning it against the wall.  Sigh, shrug and do it, you can always touch up the paint after you move.

While it was drying I debate the legs and finally painted them solid colors and really, it looks much better.  I went with one purple, one yellow, one blue and one aqua.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the way it turned out.  The white is so crisp and clean and the blackboard paint is so dark and gorgeous and I love it!  So one morning, during a pre-heat/humidity/haze play session, I put the table back together.


I LOVE the way it looks!  The white is so crisp and clean and the chalkboard paint looks fabulous!

I think the colored legs bring in the element of fun I wanted.

This is likely one of my favorite freecycle finds to date.  The table is a great height for the kids.  it is perfect for resting smoothie cups while playing and easy to run over to and take a drink (as demonstrated by Sidney).  FYI today’s smoothie – oranges, carrots, mango, kiwi, papaya and strawberry and so yummy!

But this freecycle ad was for more than just a table – it came with 2 wooden chairs.  So I pulled them out of the garage to see how they fit with the table.  My goal here was to see the height of the chairs relative to the kids, and start to get inspiration for how to refinish the chairs.  They are desperate for a new coat of paint.  The kids, however, had other plans and the chairs did not stay at the table long enough for a picture.  Emily did test one out and deemed it perfect.  I think they might be a bit short, but we have a taller kids size wooden chair that Emily can use.

So far, these chairs have been mute.  Usually furniture I refinish give me tips and clues about how it wants to look.  This table was screaming for chalkboard paint.  It was screaming so loud that at first I could not hear the legs asking for solid colors.  The chairs have not said a word to me yet…  but they have traveled the driveway.  The twins took them on a little tour of the driveway.

So the chairs (currently pale blue and pale green) are staying that way for now.  the table looks fabulous, but once we move, I will touch it up with another coats of blackboard paint, following by curing etc, and then the kids can use it to their hearts content.  I love this one and cannot wait for them to love it too!


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