TableTalk: The Best Idea I’ve Had This Year

Dinner with my family is important to me. I fight for it.

Some days it’s the only time all five us are together.

It’s our family devotion time, when we connect and communicate.

And so…….

we decided to make our table [the center of our home], a practical, fun place where everyone wants to be by painting the top of it with chalkboard paint:

How to turn your dining {or any other} table into a work of art:

Questions for your table:

  • What do you love doing together?
  • What was the best part of your day?
  • What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • What are you thankful for?
  • What do you dream about?

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do?

A: 1. Play football together  2: Play my flute for you

3: Family hike, fishing, dates 4: Play at the park together

We can’t keep our kids out of the kitchen, from around the table! It’s the place to be.
My hubby’s drawing of the scripture we’re learning:

We have a few guidelines: chalk down when food is on the table. If you draw it, you must [help] clean it up. And reality check? It will probably never look this clean again. Plus: our youngest has been doing so much better during devotion-time because she’s able to doodle. I like to think she’s listening. We’ve had our table for ten years or so and the top looks a lot better painted!

What’s on our table right now:
Of course, you don’t have to paint your table to make dinner fun, but your family will enjoy it if you do!
No matter what, make every day matter.


  1. 2


    Holy cow, what a great idea! I covet our family dinner time and love ideas about how to make it even more special. I also love the idea of using the dinner table as time for family devotions. We love the storybook Bible, too. 😉 Thanks!

    • 4.1


      Same here! I think I might have to find a way to incorporate this for my grandkids! Oh, and I pinned it, too; others should know about this great idea.

  2. 9


    I LOVE the table! How cute?! I may have to copy you!!!

    Also, I’d love to e-mail you about something I have in the works, but silly me, I can’t figure out how to e-mail you. You can drop me a line at the e-mail listed if you like! Thanks in advance!

  3. 11


    We have a yard sale table that has been painted several times…I think I’m totally gonna do this…why not? And my kids would love it…thanks for sharing! We have table talk anways and my hubby reads a bible story to our kids, why not make it fun and interactive. :)

  4. 12

    Misty says

    I can’t get the “A new 25 day Advent Tabletop Devotional I can’t wait to start (one devotion for each day leading up to Christmas)” link to work. Don’t know if it’s on my end or yours but thought I would let you know just in case. Thanks for another wonderful idea! love you!

    • 14.1

      kristen says

      It’s actually not hard to’s a challenging to keep it clean because my kids REALLY enjoy drawing on it! I have a sponge we use to wipe it down with water. There’s still chalk residue so we spray it with dilluted Fabuloso-it’s what I always use to clean anyway. (it’s an inexpensive cleaner-purple liquid) that smells amazing.

  5. 15


    You completely read my mind! I told my husband just yesterday that this is exactly what I wanted to do with ours. He looked at me like I was a little crazy, but when I show him the pictures of yours…..

  6. 16

    Amanda says

    Shannon (commentor 16) and I are thinking alike this morning. HOW do you wipe it down and keep it clean after eating, drawing, etc. on it?

    I LOVE this idea!!

  7. 18


    We have a chalkboard wall, but I LOVE this idea for your table. Makes me want to reverse time and make my kids little again! Guess its an idea to tuck away for grandkids!

  8. 22


    Kristen, I love this! It’s kind of one of those “duh” moments for me actually… We normally attempt devotions just before bed, and the kiddos are squirmy from exhaustion and fighting sleep. Dinner-time would work so much better!! {Why didn’t I think of that?!} And the table would certainly be a HUGE plus as well!! :)

  9. 23

    Anna says

    I read where you described how to clean it….so….
    Do you recommend for someone who is obsessive?? In other words, will I be freaking out about chalk dust all day?!
    I really love this, and want to make sure before I give myself a heart attack:)

    • 23.1

      kristen says

      I am obsessive. It’s a *challenge* for me to let it be. But I’d rather be intentional….so it’s good for me. Plus, it can be clean and you can hide the chalk (ahem). I had mine all clean the other day for guests and it was so funny, because they were most excited about writing on it! Bottom line: It’s been very good for us. I’m glad we did it.

  10. 30

    Roxie says

    What a really nice idea. I have not seen this any where else on line. I am sure your family will get many years of pleasure from this. Thanks for sharing.

  11. 33

    Anita says

    when our boys were young devotion time always went better when they had crayons and paper – usually age appropriate pictures to colour about the Bible stories we were learning. Gotta move some part of the body…

  12. 34


    I absolutely love this idea! We have teens who love to draw and doodle and I think we’d end up getting a lot of use out of this!

    I also love your idea of writing a verse on it! This would be a great way to help our family memorize more Scripture! This is definitely going on my list of must-do projects!

  13. 36


    I have been wanting to do that for a few months now. My hand me down dining table is just begging for it! I’m glad I can now show my husband that someone else did it- so I must not be crazy! I think I know what I’m doing this weekend. I’ve even had the chalkboard paint for a while, just hadn’t gotten the nerve.

  14. 38


    this is so much fun! i took my toddlers to Macaroni Grill for the first time last week and they were enthralled with coloring on the table. So much so, it’s been a nightmare making sure they don’t do it at home! No we can all have a happy medium 😀

  15. 39

    Deb says

    I am a total clean freak and even thinking about painting wood is out of the question with my dh, but do you get chalk all over your sleeves and does the chalk make that squeaky noise? That would send me to the moon,

    I soooo admire your creativity, spontaneity, and submissiveness to God’s promptings. I am truly in awe of all that your family/blog have accomplished and how your blog has ‘evolved’ from just an interesting mommy blog to having eternal purpose. You are my hero! God bless you and your ministry!

      • 41.1.2

        Rebekah Caudill says

        Then unsubscribe to this blog! Every parent has the right to raise their kids the way they choose. A blog is basically authoring your life on a computer and if others are encouraged by it then that is just a bonus. My advice is to find a blog that suits your views and leave this awesome mother ALONE!

  16. 42


    Wow!! What an awesome idea! We just bought our table so I don’t know if I’m ready to paint it but I will find a way do this! Maybe butcher paper? Just roll it over the table like a certain Italian restaurant does. Thanks for the inspiration!
    p.s. I LOVE all the “religious crap” you decided to throw in there 😉

  17. 44

    Emily says

    Very cool idea. A friend of mine did that to her fridge!

    Also, it’s funny how many people are coming to YOUR personal blog and complaining about YOUR content! Like you’re obligated to present a neutral front for their viewing pleasure! Irrational much?

  18. 45


    We had a chalk table in the play room but no way I’d do it at the dinner table. Chalk is SO messy and SO gross. I definitely wouldn’t want it around my food.

  19. 46


    I’ve been thinking about doing this on my crafting side table in my office for when I host group crafting days. It would allow us all to keep our lists, and draw fun stuff, but it can be cleaned up after everyone leaves. I love it!

  20. 48

    Bethan says

    Question – does it not put your teeth on edge, if plates scrape on the chalkboard surface? Just thinking about it makes my spine tingle in a non-pleasant way… does it have the same texture as a regular chalk board?

    B x

  21. 51


    Love this idea! Don’t think I’d be able to talk my man into doing this to our table tho. I’ve got my eyes set on another table he may agree too! Love your devotions involving the doodling. Great way to keep attention. :)

  22. 54

    Kristi says

    This is such an excellent idea, we used our Friday and Saturday creating our very own chalkboard table! The hardest part is getting my girls to wait 3 days to write on it. Thank you for sharing all your great ideas, on practical things and God things. I appreciate it!!

  23. 55

    Mandy says

    Hi there how do you clean the food off it?? with a wet cloth? it won’t harm the chalk paint, or get oil stains on it?? haha i have messy eaters!

  24. 56


    Stumbled onto your site. LOVE this idea and pinned it for later reference. Your whole site looks awesome and I’m your newest follower.



  25. 58

    miranda says

    my toddler and i are very sensory sensitive…. how does the chalkboard paint do with the nails on a chalkboard sound? im worried that even regular chalk will make us cringe

  26. 61

    Suzan says

    For my daughter’s after prom party, I covered my dinner table with butcher paper and they had a great time with markers. Sadly, I believe it may have been the acetone in the markers that went through in places and dissolved the varnish…anyway, my problem may be solved…turn it into a chalkboard table. It could also be a fun way to label appetizers at a ”grownup”party!

  27. 63

    kelly says

    WOW WOW WOW!!!! I totally love this idea! i just painted our farm house style table jet black soooo guess what!! i am going to sand the top down and do the chalkboard on top! thank you for the best idea ever!! and btw- we will be doing the same thing you are. devotion time sharing the word of God!

  28. 64

    Dianna says

    I love this idea! Doubt I can talk Hubby into agreeing to turn our new dinner table into this… but I have an old table I am refinishing to use as my Daughter’s desk for homeschooling… thinking this is perfect for the top as she would so rather work with chalk than boring pencil and paper!

  29. 65

    Heather says

    God LOVES me. He proved it again today with this post!! Thanx for being such a blessing to me today!! Guess what my next big project is gonna be? =)

  30. 68

    amanda says

    “Blah blah blah, ‘religious crap’.” Ridiculous- you people are essentially coming into the blog author’s home (her blog) and whining about what she chooses to do in it.

    The table is a wonderful idea. I’m probably not going to write or illustrate scripture on my table or have family devotional time at all, but I’m certainly not going to begrudge this family doing so.

  31. 69

    Leah says

    I love this do much I painted the top of my table but I have run into one problem. My kids are so excited about drawing that they press down too hard and scratch the paint off. I don’t know how to fix it and stop it from scratching off. Help please .

  32. 72

    Mel says

    If you don’t want to paint a whole table, JoAnn Fabrics sells chalkboard fabric, but it is only around 30-36 inches wide. About $4.99/yard.

    • 72.1

      jen B says

      Thanks for the info! I am going to get some of this first and attach it to my table to see it I can handle the chalk!!

  33. 73


    I just stumbled upon your site, and saw this table idea. LOVE, LOVE it. I think my 3 boys could use small chalkboards or modify to make it work in our home. Thanks for sharing :)

  34. 74

    ewood120 says

    i love this idea!instead of using a big dining table I used a small table in my kids bedrooms and they have so much fun with it!

  35. 78

    Emily says

    I don’t know if this has already been mentioned but an easy way to clean it is to dampen a rag with coke or Pepsi.

  36. 79


    Kristen, this is the BEST idea I have seen in a long time! I LOVE it! :) I would SO do this, except the feeling of chalk on my hands totally grosses me out! LOL. Not sure why but that dry, dusty feeling just gets to me. But definitely going to find a way to adapt this!!

    • 79.1

      Jasmine says

      This. Is. Awesome!! My table is so old and ugly…Goodbye plastic table cloths. Hello chalkboard fun!

      Chalk pens might work for folks who don’t like the dust of regular chalk. And I think the squeaky chalkboard noise some are worried about is because old school chalk boards are made of some kind of metal. I think wood might be less apt to squeak(?)

  37. 80

    Laura says

    I found this website by accident late last night. Our family sits down for dinner together almost every single night (with a few exceptions each month due to schedule). That time is super important to us and always has been. I saw your table idea and was obsessed. I’m not unhappy with my tabletop, but with three kids…well, YOU know what it starts to look like. Why NOT paint it with chalkboard paint and make dinnertime more FUN? And since its just the top, you can throw a tablecloth on it if you need to impress someone at a fancy shmancy dinner party (although even they might prefer the chalkboard table…). I’m sanding TODAY. Our table will be ready for chalk by tomorrow. LOL!!! I love this website. Keep it up!!

  38. 81

    Laura says

    DONE! We totally painted our tabletop with espresso tinted chalkboard paint. And we really, REALLY like it! Thanks for the great idea.

  39. 82

    bemo says

    While I like the idea of a chalkboard table top, it breaks my heart to see beautiful wood like that painted! Use a table that is already painted beyond stripping, or another kind of surface. Wood grain is too pretty to cover.

  40. 84

    ~Amanda says

    Gotta say, I LOVE this idea! I have a table that is destined for chalkboard paint! Our dinner table cannot be painted – it belongs to the house we live in, but our OLD dining table… 😀

    Thanks for the fantastic idea!

  41. 86


    I love it that you “fight” for your family mealtime! I so agree that it is a great way and time for families to connect. I am so convinced of this that I write and speak about this topic! I’m now an empty nester, but because of 27 years of family meals, all our kids love to come back home when they can for a dinner. If our out-of-town son and family come, everyone shows up for all the meals they can–even breakfast! It’s the centerpiece of our family time!

    The chalkboard table top–what a cute idea. I just sneeze thinking about it though!

  42. 87


    This idea is awesome! I recently did it to our kitchen table and I’m sharing it on my new blog. I believe in giving credit where credit is due so I will post a link to your site. :)

  43. 89

    Melissa O says

    This is fantastic! While I was out, my daughter spilled nail polish remover on the tablecloth and didn’t realize it would pull the finish from the table underneith. This is the solution to my dilemma! Now she might think she did me a favor. 😉

  44. 90


    Thank you for your essays here. I am a husband and father of a toddler, and meal times together are so important. I thought you would enjoy this poem by Joy Harjo, ‘Perhaps the World Ends Here’, about what happens at the dinner table. Enjoy:

    ‘Perhaps the World Ends Here’ by Joy Harjo

    “The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.

    The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.

    We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.

    It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.

    At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.

    Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.

    This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.

    Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.

    We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.

    At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.

    Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.”

  45. 91

    Rebekah says

    As soon as my table top is ruined, I’ll be doing this! Until then, I think I’ll make placemats instead. Thanks for the brilliant idea!

  46. 93


    Love this. Want to do it to an old table and have it double as office and extra seating Curious how does it clean? Do you wash with water to get it back to black or does it look dusty regardless? Thanks for sharingi

  47. 95


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  49. 103

    Judy says

    I guarantee your daughter is listening. I’m just like her–can’t really “focus” on hearing something unless I’m moving. I’m glad you’ve found a way to help her do both!

  50. 104


    Oh my gosh, I am screaming in my head like a giddy, overexcited grade school girl! Kristen, this is seriously The. Best. Dinner. Table. EVER!!! So can’t wait to try it!

  51. 105


    I love your creative ideas. Before my boys flew the nest, We would have our evening meal all together in the kitchen. And like you said sometimes it would be the only time we were all in the same place where we could chat about various subject. When friends or family visit we usually sit at the table for our chats. I had planned on cleaning last night but came across your blog and found myself reading one article after another.You blog is like a good book that you can’t put down. Your an excellent mother and a true inspiration to parenting. Thank you for all the posts that you have shared.
    They have been inspiring, informative and enjoyable to read.

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  55. 110

    Denaye says

    Just curious, I read through all the comments spanning the last three years, and not one person mentioned chalkboard markers! Has anyone tried those? They aren’t as cheap as chalk, but you avoid the dust issue… I’m considering this for my New Year’s project!!! We painted our old, hand me down table black last summer, but the paint is already chipping. Time for a new do!!!

  56. 111


    Thank you so much for this entire post! The table is awesome and brilliant. And the tip about keeping everything on a lazy susan is genius. I’m mostly excited about the encouragement to start devotionals at the table all year long. We had a pretty good run at Advent and lighting the candles and reading about Jesus and singing a carol, and I think this could carry over to every night. Thank you for your concrete ideas.

  57. 112

    Brooke says

    Hi! I was thinking of doing this, then I found your post! Does the chalkboard paint wear down with constant cleaning? Cleaning food off specifically. Thanks!

  58. 113

    Jansen says

    I love this so much! I’m really curious as to how it has held up to nicks and scratches from the kids?!?

  59. 114


    Love the idea and I have actually already thought of this BUT when I presented it to the one who was going to take on the project, she thought it was impractical since we would be eating on it, too. Chalk dust being her concern, I guess. So, how has that worked out for you?

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