How to Make a Chalkboard Serving Tray

Next time you entertain, step up your hosting game with this incredibly simple yet impressive DIY chalkboard serving tray. Easily customize the dimensions and overall look of your tray by choosing the size, stain color, and handle hardware that suit your personal style — whether modern, rustic, classic, or industrial. Start now and your tray will be ready for the table in just a few hours!

DIY chalkboard serving tray.

Things You\’ll Need

  • 3/4-inch thick wood board (desired size — I used 11 ¼x 20)

  • Fine grit sand paper or sanding block

  • Non-toxic wood stain or finish

  • Painter's tape

  • Paint primer (spray recommended)

  • Chalkboard paint (spray recommended)

  • Drawer/cabinet pulls (front mounting recommended)

  • 5/8-inch screws

  • Felt pads (optional or recommended if using back mounting hardware)

Materials for DIY chalkboard serving tray.

Step 1: Sand & Stain

Smooth the surface, corners, and edges of the plank with fine grit (180 – 220) sandpaper. Then, stain/finish the wood with a non-toxic product.

Staining wood for DIY chalkboard serving tray.

Step 2: Tape Edges & Sides

Mask the edges and sides of the board with painter's tape.

Applying masking tape around edges and sides of wood. Applying masking tape around edges and sides of wood.

Step 3: Prime & Paint

Once the edges and sides are masked, take the board to a well ventilated area because it's time to prime and paint! Following the manufacturer instructions, coat the surface with paint primer and allow to dry. Then, coat with two or more thin layers of chalkboard paint. We recommend spray products for even coverage and easy of use.

Paint primer and chalkboard paint for DIY chalkboard serving tray.

Wait until the paint is completely dry.

DIY chalkboard serving tray, primed and painted prior to removing masking tape.

Step 4: Remove Tape

Now comes the most satisfying step of all (at least it is for me!) — removing the masking tape. Carefully and slowly peel it off to ensure crisp lines between the stained wood edging and chalkboard surface.

Removing masking tape from primed and painted wood board.

Step 5: Attach Hardware

We recommend using front-mounted cabinet/drawer pulls so that that no mounting hardware will protrude from the underside of the tray. However, if you find the absolute perfect handles for your tray and they happen to be rear mounted, you can still use them with a few extra materials and steps (see Tip box below Step 6).

Front-mounting cabinet pulls for DIY chalkboard serving tray.

Measure and mark the desired placement of your handles.

Marking placement of front-mounting cabinet pulls for DIY chalkboard serving tray. Marking placement of front-mounting cabinet pulls for DIY chalkboard serving tray.

Step 6: Attach Handles

Attach the hardware using 5/8-inch screws.

Attaching front-mounting cabinet pulls for DIY chalkboard serving tray.

Ta-da! Your tray is good to go.

DIY chalkboard serving tray. DIY chalkboard serving tray.

Happy hosting!

DIY chalkboard serving tray.


Have rear-mounting hardware that you fear may damage tabletops whenever you set down your tray? Here are a couple of options: 1) pick up some adhesive felt pads to stick on top of the hardware to protect your furniture surfaces from being damaged 2) using wood glue, attach two 1/4 – 3/4 inch strips of wood, the same width as your tray, onto the bottom of the tray (one on each side edge) to keep the tray elevated and away from the surface of your furniture.

The inspiration for this project comes from Shanty 2 Chic.

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