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 three small children + one obese cat and wife to The Hubs. She enjoys making pretty things out of random bits, filling her home with guests, and elevenses. She is not afraid to lead a one-woman crusade against the rampant misuse of the apostrophe.

  • lizkearneykramer

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

    • Jenn

      Thanks, sweet Liz. :)