Do you want to make your dining table more festive for the holidays? Chalkboard table runners are easy to make, inexpensive and fun.
No, you don’t have to paint your table with chalkboard paint, nor do you have to spend a lot of money buying table decor. This is actually an easy, inexpensive and fun project – that you might likely use again for years to come.
In fact, you can get a long chalkboard decal for only about $15-20. One piece can extend the entire length of a 6-foot long table, and then all you need is chalk or liquid chalk markers.
This can be a great way to entertain kids at the table while keeping them engaged with other guests. Even if you don’t have children at Thanksgiving dinner, a writeable surface can be very entertaining for adults as well. You could even make a game out of it, have a contest or simply use the writing surface to display name tags for seating or the evening’s menu.
First, let’s talk cheap table runners.
This will work best if you have a long rectangular table. (By the way, this idea could also be used on bars or coffee tables as well.) It can be as easy as buying a sheet of chalkboard contact paper at your local craft store or online for less than $10. In fact, Amazon sells a few varieties of this product that measures 6 feet long by 1 1/2 feet wide for about $8.
As your dining room table is likely wider than 18 inches, you have a few options here. You can lay a table runner directly down the center of the table where guests can reach it from either side – or you can get a few sheets and cover a wider section of the table (or the entire thing).
Of course, you don’t have to remove the adhesive backing of the contact paper. You can leave it intact and simply tape the ends of the paper to the table surface so it is quick and easy to remove. What’s also cool is that the paper can be erased and re-used for future parties or events. When you look at it this way, chalkboard paper is a really cheap (and functional!) party decoration.
And what about chalkboard placemats?
You can actually use the contact paper mentioned about and cut it into placemat-sized sections. This is probably the cheapest option, but if you want something a little more durable, I suggest using vinyl chalkboard squares. When purchased in packs, each “mat” will cost between $2 and $4 each, depending on how large you want them.
For example, Wallies sells peel-and-stick chalkboard sheets that are designed for sticking on walls or other vertical surfaces. They can actually work as perfectly-sized chalkboard placemats as well. A set of 4 runs about 9 bucks, which is not a bad deal, especially if you plan on using them again as placemats. Keep in mind that you can also use these peel-and-stick mats on your fridge, walls, doors, cabinets, etc… They make great grocery lists, to do lists, family memo boards and more.
Here’s more ideas for creating a more finished table runner with a border, using them for serving areas, how to cure your chalk mat and more…