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Last Updated on January 9, 2022 by Katherine
Charcuterie boards are a popular item for entertaining these days and some of the best arrangements typically include a chalkboard tray. The best part about these trays is you can help your guests easily identify what cheese, meats or other food are on the tray by labeling each with some chalk!
Charcuterie has gained popularity recently to display meats and cheeses (and you can totally try other foods on these boards too!). I see it often where I live as I live in a wine-growing region of Canada (Okanagan Valley, to be specific) and wine is typically the alcoholic drink you would choose to go with your charcuterie arrangement. If you’d like to know more about the history of this type of food serving, I highly recommend reading Why is Charcuterie so Popular – Origin & History from the Eat Cured Meat blog.
Today we are going to make a chalkboard tray that will be perfect for your next gathering to display a variety of delicious cheeses and meats for your guests (or whatever you’d like to show off). The stain I’ve chosen will lend itself well to anyone who likes a rustic style in their home. Ready to get started? Let’s go!
What You Will Need:
- Unfinished wooden tray (or a tray-sized slab of wood);
- Wood stain (I used Valspar Gel Stain in Dark Walnut)
- Paint brush;
- Cloth (for wiping off excess stain);
- Drop cloth (or you can use a large garbage bag);
- Chalkboard Paint (I chose Rust-oleum Specialty Chalk Board); and,
You can find most of these items at your local hardware store or big box stores like Walmart. I found my wooden tray at my local dollar store. If you use a wooden slab for your tray, you can add handles by snagging a few cupboard pulls at your local hardware store. As usual, I have a lot of these items hanging around because of my crafting habit, but you can probably buy everything for around $20.
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Prep Your Tray
I recommend running a coarse sandpaper over your tray, as it will help the stain soak into your wood better. Also, if you like a slightly more rustic look, you can’t go wrong with making your wooden tray a bit more rough around the edges!
Staining Your Tray
After sanding for a bit (you don’t need to go nuts), you can break out your wood stain. Begin by applying the stain in even strokes on your tray. I recommend you paint in the same direction for the best results.
Use your cloth to wipe away excess stain after letting it soak for a minute or two.
If needed, apply more coats until your tray has the look you want. Then you’ll want to let your tray dry for at least six hours. Read the instructions on your wood stain for specific drying times.
Chalkboard Paint time
Once your stain is dry, prep the area you want to paint with your blackboard paint by making a border with painter’s tape. If you are thinking about sealing at least the wooden part of your tray, I recommend doing that before you add the chalkboard paint. No glossy finishes, though. They can make it hard for the chalkboard paint to stick onto your tray!
Because my paint was the spray on, I taped over the whole edge of my tray just to prevent any stray spray. You can find paint on types of blackboard paint, so if that’s what you have, you can get away with just a line of tape.
The type of tray I have can rest flat when it’s upright or upside down, so I applied my chalkboard paint to the bottom of the tray. Then you’ll want to let the chalkboard paint dry, according to the instructions on your paint, in my case, about 24 hours for a full dry.
“Seasoning” Your Chalkboard
Once the chalkboard paint has fully dried, you’re going to need to “season” your board. This is quite easy to do and will help erase future chalk marks. If you don’t season your chalkboard, the lines you draw on it will not erase properly.
All you need to do is to cover all the blackboard paint with chalk and erase! Your blackboard tray is now ready for your use!
If you are attaching handles (i.e.: drawer pulls), now would be the perfect time to do that and finish up.
I love how this tray turned out, and I honestly cannot wait to use it. I originally planned to paint the chalkboard inside the tray, but when I had it turned upside down to paint the underside, inspiration hit me and I painted the bottom instead to have a raised tray!
The only thing I’d be careful of is placing your food right on the chalkboard. Because you cannot seal your work (not without losing the ability to write and erase your chalk marks), I’m uncertain there’s a food safe option. I recommend using a napkin or something similar to rest your food on, just to be on the safe side.
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That’s all for now. Stay crafty, my friends!!