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What a great way to turn your tabletop into a chalkboard!

My friends over at the Unclutterer had a great idea on their blog today. The basic idea is to use inexpensive matte-finish oil cloth, plus chalk, to decorate your table for Thanksgiving. You can write right on your tablecloth, to put names where guests are to sit, to label dishes, or to keep the kids from getting bored by letting them play tic-tac-toe, etc.

Image courtesy of Unclutterer

Image courtesy of Unclutterer

But I’m thinking, wouldn’t this be a great thing to do every day in our homeschool? We do our schoolwork right at our dining room table. My husband prefers “normal” wall decorations, rather than maps and school-ish charts. So I don’t have a white board on my wall. I have a tiny one in my crate, but I often wish for something bigger. In our last house, we had a window that was perfect to write on with white-board markers, but that just doesn’t work here.

So I’m thinking that this tablecloth idea would be fabulous for illustrating math problems, learning spelling words, diagramming sentences or making chore lists. I could cover it up for a pretty family dinner with my normal cloth tablecloths.

So, Mom, how does one go about buying “oil cloth”? I’ve never done that one before. Does it come “hemmed” like in the picture above? Is this something that a non-crafty mom like me could pull off?

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  1. What fun! I don’t know how to go about it but hopefully you’ll get some pointers.

  2. A little different: we use a laminated map of the world on our dining room table. I keep it out when we eat for the kids to become familiar with the geography. They tease that they’re eating on the Atlantic or spilled applesauce on Texas. We can write on it with dry erase markers and can flip it over to write on the blank side.

  3. Anne Elliott says

    That’s a good idea, Laura. It’s probably a little less messy to use dry-erase markers rather than chalk, too.

  4. Not crazy about the bottle on the table! Do you have a JoAnn Fabrics in Austin or Rochester? You can get oil cloth there. You buy it by the yard. Measure your table first. Not sure about the hem.

  5. Well, in most households, yes. In ours, no one would notice a little chalk dust amongst all the other stuff plastered to the table. We pretty much have to sandblast the table clean after every meal, snack and art project : )

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