Garage Sale Easel Re-Do


hile we’re on the topic of garage sales, one of my favorite finds is an easel I found last year for Bun. Originally unfinished and having only a dry-erase board (dry-erase markers are not my medium of choice for 2 year-olds–you?), I saw not what it was, but what it could be with a little stain and chalkboard paint.

That sounds like some kind of life–or at least decorating–motto: “I saw not what it was, but what it could be…”


This was one of the easiest refinishing/refurbishing/whatever projects I’ve ever done. And, just in case you find yourself in receipt of a less-than-perfect easel for a youngster of your own, here’s how I made it prettier and more functional.

(If your easel is not solid wood but plastic, you could still refinish it. Spray paint would probably be your best option).


See that $5 price tag? Sweet.

See that $5 price tag? Sweet.



easelredo3 copy

How To

Supplies Needed:

  • Stain (I used Minwax Wood Stain in Dark Walnut)
  • Spray Polycrylic
  • Old cloth or paint brush for stain
  • Sandpaper
  • Board of plywood in desired size (Lowe’s sells 2′ x 2′ boards, which was the same size as the white board already on the easel)
  • Chalkboard paint (I used Rustoleum’s chalkboard paint in Coffee)
  • Screws, bolts, and wing-nuts in necessary length/widths for your particular piece (I used 4 regular wood screws, 3 bolts, and 3 wing nuts).
  • A square rod, cut to desired length (This is for making a tray for chalk pieces to rest in. Not necessary, but helpful. Until your baby starts to eat the chalk. Then the chalk goes into a kitchen drawer and your chalk tray is rendered useless).


1.) I lightly sanded the wooden legs and then wiped with a damp cloth.

2.) Using an old rag, I applied a small amount of stain to the wood. Use multiple light coats, depending on how well the wood takes the stain. I only used one light coat because it adhered so well the first time.

3.) After it dried, I sprayed on a couple coats of the polycrylic to seal.

4.) Then, I sanded the plywood and wiped it clean. I also rubbed a bit of wood putty over the screws to make for a smoother finish.

5.) Then, I painted the plywood with chalkboard paint. I used 2 coats. (PS, per the instructions on the can, you need to “season” the chalkboard before regular use. Basically, you coat it with chalk and then wipe it off).

6.) I attached chalkboard to easel with screws. I pre-drilled the holes–using a drill bit slightly smaller than the screws–to avoid splitting the wood.

7.) Then, I stained the square rod. You could also paint it with chalkboard paint. Whatevs.

8.) Finally, I attached the rod using the bolts and wing-nuts. Again, I pre-drilled the holes.

The rod-turned-chalk-tray that is rendered useless by chalk-eating babies.

The rod-turned-chalk-tray that is rendered useless by chalk-eating babies.

(I decided to leave on the white board for a time when dry erase markers don’t require careful supervision).

Voila! An easel chalkboard fit for teaching Bun her ABCs, shapes, and chalk-using etiquette (no eating, throwing, giving to the baby, etc).

What’s been your favorite garage sale find?

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About Jenn

Jenn is the mommy of two small children, one obese cat and wife to the Hubs. She enjoys making pretty things out of random bits, painting furniture, filling her home with guests. She is not afraid to lead a one-woman crusade against the rampant overuse of the apostrophe.

  • lizkearneykramer

    Ah! So cute Miss Jenn! Great re-do, hope you are doing well!

    • Jenn

      Thanks, sweet Liz. :)