How to make your own chalkboard menu

My three (or four depending if we are getting technical and counting contractions) least favorite words in the English language are….

….what’s for dinner.

I should know that it’s coming.

I should be prepared.

I should anticipate and plan and think ahead and have a stocked refrigerator and something cooking on the stove.

And yet, every night around 5:00 when the little birds in the nest start chirping and asking what we are having for dinner….

….I look around surprised.

Are they talking to me?

Here's how to make your own chalkboard menu for your home

I know what you’re saying to the computer right now.

I’ve said it to myself more times that you can count.

It’s 2016 KariAnne.  You are grown.  You have children.  GET IT TOGETHER.

So here’s my attempt to get on track with dinner.

(total aside:  of course it involves decorating)

It’s a DIY chalkboard menu.

And here’s how I made it.

Use a piece of plywood for the back

1.  Start with a plywood board

This one was leftover from another project and measures 6 inches wide by 54 inches long.

You could make yours shorter or longer depending on the wood you have lying around.

Use 1" x 2" boards to frame it

2.  Create a frame

The wood was then framed out with 1 inch by 2 inch boards.

We nailed them together, but you could glue them or even make it without the frame.

We didn’t even cut right angles, just stacked them next to each other.

Draw white lines on the board

3.  Create lines

Take the length of your board and divide by seven.

Each of my squares was about 7.75 inches long.

Mark measurements with chalk.

Then draw across board with a white paint pen.

Print out lettering for each space

4.  Print out font

I just picked a fun font and printed out the days of the week on my computer.

This font is called Mellanie.

I printed the letters sized to 100.

Trace the letters onto the board

5.  Trace letters

Cut out days of the week and trace them onto the chalkboard.

Use white carbon paper.

It makes it so much easier and be sure and press hard when you trace.

Paint over the traced letters

6.  Trace letters with a paint pen

When you are done with the carbon paper, your letters should look like this.

Trace the letters with a paint pen

And here’s the finished letters traced with a white paint pen.

Continue with all the days of the week

Continue with all the days of the week until your chalkboard looks like this.

You could stain the frame or paint it before you attached it to the board.

Then it’s time to plan the menu.

Want to see what’s on our menu this week?

Use a chalkboard marker to add your items

What's on the menu this week?



That’s about as far as we got.

Just kidding.

We had more than just cookies.

I just couldn’t bring myself to write gas station pizza on the menu board. 🙂

PPS  We have chicken and vegetables planned for tonight so it should all even out.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Carol Hoffmann Carol Hoffmann

    Oh, it's so nice to hear someone else say what's for dinner at 5:00 and wonder if they are talking to you. Why is it so hard to plan ahead. We do eat dinner every night, don't we?! I so enjoy reading your stories! Keep them coming!!!

  2. Image for Lynn Lynn

    I burst out laughing when you said, "Are they talking to me?" Because this is me every day! I only have one four year-old who doesn't ask for dinner yet. He more often says, "No! I don't want dinner," which is great news for me, until my mother gives me that disapproving look. I get in trouble when my mother asks me what I have planned for him (at 5:30 pm) and my answer is a shrug. "I hadn't thought that far ahead yet." She gets SO exasperated. Okay, so look, I work full time. But I work From Home!! You would THINK it would be easy to have something prepped by the time I go pick him up from pre-school. But no. I don't really like to cook, and he won't eat it anyway! So what's the point? But boy, can my mother send me some Bad-Mommy daggers. I'm all about lists and I, too, used to do a chalkboard menu. Perhaps it's time I reinstate it. :) Because if the plan is right there in front of me and I don't have to think or shop, maybe (maybe) I'll get everything together at 4:45 and we'll end up with a nutritious meal. Thanks for another entertaining post!

  3. Image for Jennie Jennie

    What chalk markers have you found that work well and erase well? Sometimes they give me fits on my DIY stuff and it drives me crazy when I have to repaint.

    1. Image for kathy kathy

      Jennie, I use the Bistro chalkboard markers and the best thing I have found for erasing them is Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. ...kathy

  4. Image for Angela Angela

    Karianne, you are so funny! I just love reading your blog! I was thinking this morning, so where is her blog today? And a few minutes later, there it was! :-)

  5. Image for June Gerstner June Gerstner

    The kids are grown, out of the house, have kids of their own, and I still hear it (from my husband of course)! My question is this, "Why can't someone else figure it out once in a while?" It would certainly be a pleasure to hear something like, "I hope you don't mind, but I made ---- for dinner tonight. I took it from the freezer!" It's not that I can't do it, but rather that after all these years, I've run out of ideas. So to you young moms out there, I can only say "Get used to it!"

  6. Image for Ruth Anne Ruth Anne

    What a great combo of darling decor and useful practicality! One of these menu chalkboards would fit perfectly on my narrow pantry door. Gotta run to the basement and check my husband's lumber stash and get started!

  7. Image for Gee Gee

    Haha! We always look so surprised at that question. There was a time when I had my act together . I sat down, made a weekly menu, and shopped accordingly. Ha!! Where did those organized days go! Thanks for the giggles !!!

  8. Image for Mindy Mindy

    Oh that dreaded dinner question! Deciding what to cook is often more work (mentally) than doing the actual cooking. I love the chalkboard menu - a cute decoration and planning tool.

  9. Image for Lorie Lorie

    And I thought I was the only one who played this game every night! The bane of my life. Maybe a cute menu board would help...with cookies on it.

  10. Image for Sherrie Pfeiffer Sherrie Pfeiffer

    So funny! But who knew there was such a thing as white carbon paper? And more importantly, when are they going to start selling it at the gas station????? Life should be so easy. On the flip side, I just got a new cook book called Eat Slow, Run Fast, and it's really amazing. No joke! It's by Olympians and chefs, and I am loving it. Just passing along a tip for your menu board. Ciao!

  11. Image for Pat Pat

    I Love the chalkboard idea and also love a great kitchen....I just don't happen to love to cook and I think cookies on the menu is a perfect in each hand makes a balanced diet! ☺♥

  12. Image for Pamela Pamela

    Very cute menu. I used to dread those words also, especially when they were the first words you hear after walking through the door at the end of a work day. Great story!!

  13. Image for Carol Carol

    My husband and I are both retired, so we no longer "work". Except I was still cleaning, do laundry, cooking, etc. So I decided I should also retire from one of my at-home-jobs. Which was COOKING! It has worked fairly well for me except after 6+ years, my husband will still ask what's for supper!! I just tell him to check the refrigerator or we can go out. Maybe I should use the chalkboard idea for him and just write refrigerator for each day of the week!! Love your posts!!

  14. Image for Michelle Michelle

    You crack me up! True story, I pride myself on being a great cook. I'm a recipe follower but I can make amazing meals (in my own mind) just by careful planning and following recipes. But when the kids were little and in daycare I was told by their teacher that they said their favorite things that I make are fish sticks and scrambled eggs. Really???? No more inflated kitchen ego. Nope. That just took all the air out of my culinary balloon.

  15. Image for Susan Susan

    Love the's super-cute and super-useful for families...but to be perfectly honest, it's those cookies that really caught my eye! I no longer have little ones to feed, so if I want to eat delicious gooey chocolate chip cookies still warm from the oven for dinner, I can without feeling guilty...although, my hips do seem to carry that sort of guilt with them for a very long time...hehe! Now, if you'll excuse me, I must make a trip to the grocery store for some chocolate chips! ;)

  16. Image for Dewena Dewena

    What a beautiful job you did! And I can definitely see that it would be superior to my scrawled notes on a steno pad. The only problem if I did write my proposed menus on that snazzy board? I'd probably be expected to actually cook them. No fudging would be allowed, husband's pointer finger would be constantly tapping the menu for the day.

  17. Image for Kris Kris

    Very nice! But it would take the fun out of making my voice sound like the Wicked Witch of the West saying, "Poison, my pretties ... ". Yes, my sense of humor is sick and wrong.

  18. Image for Patricia Potter Patricia Potter

    My kids are grown and moved away now however, I still plan menus for myself. It helps with the grocery list. I will be retiring the end of next year Karianne and would love to get with you so you can help me start a blog. It would be nice to share whatever with whoever would read it and if not then it will give me structure for my day. Patricia (NC Coast)

  19. Image for Cindy diy beautify Cindy diy beautify

    Hahaha, snort :) It is SO refreshing to know that i'm not the only one with this struggle :) Good luck with actually writing on your menu and then shopping for the food and planning the meals...that's where my efforts always go south! Love the project :)

  20. Image for Charley Charley

    After 49 married years, I still dread hearing those words! I have spirts of enthusiasm when I have gathered several recipes from blogs, facebook, etc. Then I shop and have all the ingredients & so it goes for A WHILE.

  21. Image for Rosalie McCreary Rosalie McCreary

    When my four kids were about 12, 10 , 8 and 6, I'd had enough of what's for dinner and the whining and faces of frowns when I put the healthy food on the table... I went on strike¡!!!! Seriously!!!! Both of us parents worked.....but the strike left my beloved with breakfast and dinner. I shopped for groceries and he and the kids cooked. After a few weeks everyone was singing a different tune! Mom please make us some.....and life was beautiful! The menu board is a great idea. Get the kids involved when they have time. Ownership is a wonderful teacher!!!

  22. Image for Loryl Fisher Loryl Fisher

    You always give me a little giggle but today when you wrote "are they talking to me?" I almost spit out my coffee with a snort!! My husband of 36 years, been retired 2 years, still asks me every morning "what should we have for dinner?" I used to want to scream but now I just say"whatever you're cooking". Teehee By the way he is a FABULOUS cook!!

  23. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    Haha, well decorating is so much more fun than cooking. Love your menu board. I had a small chalkboard when the kids were still home that I'd write the night's menu on...I got tired of that question too. And cookies! Can I come to your house for supper? Hugs, Cecilia

  24. Image for Angie M Angie M

    LOL! Those are absolutely my least favorite words as well. Like you I know it's coming. I figure I have all day to figure it out, yet everyday I'm shocked when dinner time rolls around and I have no idea what to cook. Love the chalkboard. I bet I'd use it for one or two weeks and forget all about it. Ugh... It's after 5:00 here, what's for dinner?

  25. Image for jennifer farnes jennifer farnes i, too, went from having the children (6) ask what was for dinner and me mostly having it together because times have changed so much. now that those little birdies have flown the coop, the hub doesn't ask what's for dinner...he just wonders when we're going to eat. and i usually ask him, what would you like for dinner? he gives me this blank it was thee hardest question in the entire world and then says this: if you'll give me a list of all the things you've ever cooked, i can choose. yeah. what's so hard about just saying: stir fry, pasta or whatever. he thinks things need to have a name, but usually the rice with the curry thing sounds fine would totally work for me. sigh. i wonder how many meals i have actually cooked for him in the 45 years we've been married. and he can't think of a single thing for dinner. where did you get the melanie inquiring mind would like to know. thanks so much. the menu board is thee cutest.

  26. Image for Ann C Ann C

    My partner usually asks when are we going to eat. I either just plan it and make it or tell him. You come up with what and I will fix it. We are retired but eating out often is affecting my waistline. The menu board is a great idea. But I wouldn't be in the mood of whatever was listed, I'm sure.

  27. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    What?!!! White carbon paper?!! You have changed my life. And my favorite saying that I found at market was...wait for it..."why do they want dinner every single night?" You need that in your kitchen with your next project. Thanks for the inspiration --so very cute--Loved this!

  28. Image for Karen Del Tatto Karen Del Tatto

    Great idea! My sister-in-law would LOVE something like this! She always prints off beautiful menus for holidays. This would make every day a holiday with her own family. :-) Thanks for sharing.

  29. Image for Kristin Thomas Kristin Thomas

    I remember asking my mom the "what's for dinner" question when I'd get home from school. She would take a deep breath, sigh, then respond, "I don't know". I'd think to myself, "It's 3:00 in the afternoon and you've had nothing to do all day. How do you not know what's for dinner?" Now that I'm a mom, I get it. It's not MAKING dinner, it's DECIDING what to make, and doing so in time for the meat to defrost. Planning ahead is the key and your cute menu board (almost) makes that planning fun!

    1. Image for KariAnne KariAnne

      Yes! I used regular chalkboard paint that you can find at home improvements stores. A couple of coats should do the trick. Happy Day to you! xo KariAnne

  30. Image for Theresa Theresa

    I was going to paint a wall with chalk paint but, I love this idea better. Awesome DIY. Thanks for sharing at the #InspirationSpotlight Pinned & sharing

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