Resturant chalkboard kids menus - How? Any thoughts?

I have a friend that owns a restaurant. I gave them the idea to use chalkboards for kids menus and they liked it. Only problem is now, is that I can’t figure out how to do it. Red Robin has this for their kids menus but I can’t figure out how to get a white non-removable strip on it.

I’ve tried chalkboard paint on draftboard, jpplus chalkboard acrylic and actual chalkboards but each one has it’s own drawback. Paint bleeds past the engraved sections. I could leave it bare, but then if they get wet, the wood will expand.

My latest idea is to do a white paint under the chalkboard paint and try to etch the chalkboard paint off. Not too sure that this will actually work though.

Anyone have any thoughts or anything?

Do you want kids to write on them or for them to have a permanent etching of the kids menu. It looks like they have chalkboard tape / labels (can be replaced if damaged)? Maybe just buy small slates and etch on that. It can get wet and the etching stays. You can find a post about slate etching and the requirement for your GF. These were on Amazon. Does that help?


I’m looking for something that will stay permanently and will be hard to chip off. It’ll have to be able to get wet for cleaning but allow kids to color on it with chalk.

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Mask it?

Weed the masking while the paint is wet?

It won’t scale well.

Paper and crayons are a staple with kid’s menus for a reason, I bet.


Masking it is one thought. I’m waiting for the paint to dry before I can test any more. Watching paint dry sucks. :smiley:

Small slates would be very cool. Etch on the menu and give them chalk. Just have to find the slate. You could make frames for them if you are worried about sharp edges. Paint and wood will just get ruined.

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Thin slate is fragile. I doubt you’d want slate flakes in the food.

I’m going to hit up hobby lobby at lunch and get a slate chalkboard there and see how that works. For $5 it can’t hurt to try.

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Slate is really not going to react well to being dropped. Thankfully you’re only talking about putting a heavy rock material in the hands of children, so of course that won’t happen.


It won’t be dropped. It will be bounced off the head of their little sister. Either way, it will be fun for a few moments.


Yup. And thankfully, I won’t be responsible for that. :smiley:

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chalk is VERY messy. and chalk fingers in food would be a mess.

I would just say no to that project, if it was my restaurant.

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It might also be a health code violation, depending on where you are?

yes that is a good point too.

that just gives me the heebie jeebies. and they aren’t covered under the ACA :slight_smile:

Thin slate on plywood would be pretty stable . If you used Oak Plywood and 4" slates any dropping would likely hit on the plywood part and not break the slate and you could make the part outside the slate very decorative,

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OK so slate might be dangerous as everyone pointed out for various reasons…make a clipboard that holds paper and a pen/pencil (but watch they don’t stab each other) with the menu engraved on it in wood? Good luck with whatever you come up with and I hope you post your results!


Well, how about dry-erase boards and crayons or markers?

I’ve seen packs of dry-erase crayons (fairly cheap), and there is dry-erase paint or small dry-erase boards that can be purchased. I wonder if there is a cleanable surface that works similar to dry erase that can be sanitized?

Good luck with your project! Please let us know if you find something that works well for you.

Thanks. The owners specifically wanted chalkboard. The slate is thick enough that it’s not going to break. As for the chalk, it washes off easily and is actually considered safe for consumption. It’s actually in things like tums. (I wouldn’t want to try and eat a whole stick of it, but that is on the parents if a kid tries.)

I’ll post a pic once we finish the designs.