Making a Menu Chalkboard

Recently I created a menu chalkboard for a catering business opening their first brick and mortar restaurant. I took a lot of pictures while I worked because I'm on Instagram, and all the cool kids on Instagram post stories. I think it's easy for them. I think their lives are made of beautiful, hilarious, poignant, perfectly focused Instagram stories. Alas, I'm not actually a cool kid, so I constantly struggle to think of good story ideas, but I've learned that if I take pictures of all my projects while I'm doing them, I don't have to dream up ways to make my ordinary life look more sparkly.

Plus, art-in-progress posts are good blog material, yeah?

So, here goes! (You can click the small images to see them bigger.)

The previous restaurant owners had left their chalkboard menu behind, so that's what I started with.


I was hoping against hope that the painted parts would come off with water, but they required scrubbing. I was eventually able to remove most of what was on the board with Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, but all the scrubbing took off some of the chalkboard finish as well.

Time to refurbish. This was my first time repainting a chalkboard this big so I was a little nervous, but I rolled on two coats of Rust-Oleum flat black chalkboard paint, and all was well.

While the board dried, I designed the menu, digitally cutting and pasting the menu they'd sent me into a new chalkboard-friendly layout, changing the font, and hand-tracing their logo.

As you may know from my illustrated "Ten Things About Me" story, my studio is nothing if not fancy, so I literally taped the board to the wall to do the lettering. But first, as always, I had to season the new board.

Then, using all my state-of-the-art equipment (ancient projector on an even more ancient sewing machine, held steady by a pair of sporty green ankle weights), I projected the digital image onto my board, and got to work.

It took all of an afternoon to do the lettering, and it was made a little more complicated by the fact that my clients wanted all the menu items to be in chalk (vs. chalk marker), which means I had to be careful where I rested my hands while I worked.

In the end, though, I was really  happy with how it came out.