Toddler Chalkboard Easel

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My daughter's favorite thing. A just my height toddler chalkboard that also works with a roll of craft or freezer paper to become a easel.

It is that time of the year.  Time to think about gifts.  This year, I challenge you to handmake at least one gift for someone you love.  By putting your time into a gift, you not only give a treasured present, but your loved will feel even more loved knowing you made with your hands their gift.

And if you just so happened to know a toddler that needs a chalkboard (under 4 is recommended), this might be that gift.  Also shown, Clara's Table and the Four Dollar Stackable Chairs.

And with the addition of a cheapo wood dowel and some good ole freezer paper, this little guy turns into an art easel too!

Complete with a little tray.  Is this the one?  If not, expect lots more smaller, giftable projects in the next month or so.

Dimensions are shown above. Warning, this is a little easel. If you are looking for a larger easel, go here for those plans.


Shopping List

1×4, 24 inches
2″ screws
3/4″ screws
wood glue
1/4″ hardboard scrap (I used the backside of scrap paneling)
chalkboard paint
finishing supplies

Cut List

2 – 1×2 @ 20″ (Tops and Bottom of Frame)
2 – 1×2 @ 36″ (Frame Legs)
1 – Chalkboard (made my own out of hardboard paneling and chalkboard paint) @ 23″ x 19″
2 – 1×2 @ 23″ (Back)
2 – 1×2 @ 31″ (Back)
1 – 1×4 @ 23″ (Tray)
1 – 1×2 @ 23″ (Tray Back)
2 – 1×2 @ 15″ (Tray Sides)
1 – 1×2 @ 24 1/2″ (Tray Front)
3/4″ wood dowel @ 28″ (Paper Holder)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
Power Sander
Drill Bit Set


Step 1

Build the Chalkboard Frame

Simply glue and screw the chalkboard frame together. Check for square. Then paint and paint the chalkboard too.

Step 2


With the frame and the chalkboard painted, screw the chalkboard to the frame. Use the 3/4″ screws.

Step 3


Now build the back as shown above. Adjust for square.

Step 4

Back Edge of Tray

Screw the back edge of the tray to the tray bottom with 2″ screws and glue.

Step 5

Step 6

Tray Front

Attach the tray front as shown above.

Step 7

Dowel Holes

Mark the tray sides as shown above and drill 3/4″ pilot holes. Thread the dowel through. I cut my dowel with 1 1/2″ on each end so that the dowel wouldn’t easily slip throug

Step 8


Now simply assemble everything, and use a level to get that tray on straight with the floor.


michelle (not verified)

Fri, 11/12/2010 - 04:13

Love this. I may have just found my first project and a holiday gift for my kiddos!! I'll have to see how big the big one is, though.
But in the meantime, does anyone have any ideas about the modifications that would be necessary to make this flat-folding for storage? I'm thinking a hinge at the top of each back leg where it hits the front frame and some washer/bolt combination where the tray attaches to the back legs. Also, then some type of peg/ledge/stop on the front legs to rest the tray on?

Maranda (not verified)

Fri, 11/12/2010 - 04:42

I wonder if that could be made double sided. I have two toddlers that would absolutely love this. I've been wanting to get them an easel anyway. What a perfect gift for Christmas!

michelle (not verified)

Fri, 11/12/2010 - 06:09

Thanks - I figured you had thought it through. And, actually, I guess FOLDING is really my goal - not necessarily completely flat, just more compact than the "in-use" position. Thanks for the input!

Rachael (not verified)

Fri, 11/12/2010 - 07:26

I'm completely new to building stuff, can anyone give me an estimate of how much this would cost to do?? Thanks everyone! <3!

Laurel Kramer (not verified)

Fri, 11/12/2010 - 08:14

I was so hoping you would come up with a child's easel plan for Christmas. Thanks a bunch.

Carolyn (not verified)

Fri, 11/12/2010 - 08:59

This is soooo cute! I need to make it right away for my 3 year old granddaughter. She will love it! Where do you buy a roll of freezer paper? Thank you Ana for all your wonderful plans! You are the GREATEST!

leigh7911 (not verified)

Fri, 11/12/2010 - 09:47

This easel is absolutely awesome, and I'll probably give it a whirl once I trust my kiddo to not be strapped in at the table under very strict supervision when she wants to color. ;) However, what I'm really excited for is that COUCH and to see what else there is in store. Thanks, Ana. :)

Val Payne (not verified)

Fri, 11/12/2010 - 11:27

Oh man, I just bought an art easel for my almost 4 year old. I see a return in my future........ about when will the larger easel plans be posted?

Laci Waner (not verified)

Fri, 11/12/2010 - 12:40

Have I told you lately how much I LOVE you and your site!! I am building/making almost all of our Christmas gifts this year (thanks to your site..and my fam members are gonna love their gifts!!), and this is PERFECT for my nephew! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Tombi (not verified)

Fri, 11/12/2010 - 22:50

Hi Anna,

Thank you for the plans there are such an inspiration.
Could you please add the plans for the day bed or sofa that shows behind Clara's table & chalk board.

Your response will be highly appreciated.

Thank you ( Tombi )

Lora (not verified)

Thu, 11/18/2010 - 13:51

I got the wood in KY at Lowe's and the chalk board paint at Walmart and The total cost is about 15.50 without paint for to finish it. Good luck!!

Jami Lynn (not verified)

Thu, 12/09/2010 - 11:51

I love this, and it's compact size! I was wondering if there would be an easy way to make it a little taller? My daughter is 4 and I'd like it to last a little while :)

AbsoluteAspiring (not verified)

Tue, 08/09/2011 - 21:08

What kind of chalkboard paint do you use?

Guest (not verified)

Wed, 01/18/2012 - 00:58

Anyway to make this two sides and put a whiteboard on one side?!


Sun, 07/22/2012 - 14:24

This is my first project from your site. I can't wait to finish and post my brags. Quick question about the pocket holes in the 1x2 x 20" support. The plans show the pocket holes on the bottom, would it work to put the pocket holes on the face since it will be covered by the chalk board? My first attempt at putting the pocket holes on the 3/4" side placed the hole to close to the side. Any advice Ana or other more experienced builders on placement in the Kreg to get the holes centered.