If you like it then you’d better put a label on it! – Tutorial

Since moving to our new place in Orlando, we’ve had to get a bit…creative when it comes to our kitchen.  It’s a rather small space and the pantry cabinets are tall and deep.  I knew right away we’d need to pick up some more cabinet shelves from Bed Bath & Beyond.  And then, when we were at Lowe’s, I picked up these cute dark turquoise woven baskets to attempt some semblance of organization.  All they needed now, were some nifty labels.

I saw some inspiration through Pinterest (like this one and this one) that led me to create some chalkboard labels.  After some chopping, drilling, sanding, spraying, securing, and writing, here’s my finished product:

DIY Chalkboard Labels for Pantry Organization | The Thinking Closet

I love the look of them, as well as the fact that they’re re-usable.  Need to change the contents?  No problem.  Just wipe off the old label and chalk on the new one!  Below is a tutorial on how I created mine.


  • Wood ovals or rectangles.  Alternatively: enough 1/8″ x 4″ x 24″ craft wood ($1.65 each at a store discount of 50% off) from which to cut your labels.  I bought two and had leftover wood.
  • Krylon Chalkboard Spray Paint.  Sold at most craft stores.  I got mine at Jo-Ann’s for $4.19 (40% off using a coupon).
  • Fishing line, thread, or twine.
  • Dust-free chalk or a chalk marker.  $1.29 at Jo-Ann’s

1. Purchase and prep the wood for your project.  I was looking for pre-cut wooden ovals or rectangles, but I just couldn’t justify buying them for $0.99 each (Hobby Lobby).  So, I just picked up two slabs of craft wood (1/8″ x 4″ x 24″) for $1.65 each on sale.  Then, I marked the wood at a size that would work best with my baskets (4″ x 2″) and got a quick tutorial from my hubby on how to use his miter saw.  With safety goggles on and ear plugs in, I cut 15 wooden rectangles to serve as my labels, sanding the edges of each to smooth out any rough spots.

Prepped wooden labels.

Transforming the craft wood into labels.

2.  Drill two holes on either side of the label.  I used a smaller drill bit and was able to drill through three rectangles at a time using a clamp on our workbench.  A quick re-sanding around the holes and the pieces were ready for their paint!

DIY Chalkboard Labels for Pantry Organization | The Thinking Closet

3.  Give the labels a few coats of the Krylon Chalkboard Spray Paint.  Make sure to follow the instructions on your can in terms of shaking and spraying several thin coats.  I covered mine in 4 coats.

Krylon Chalkboard Paint - several coats on the wooden labels.

A few coats of Chalkboard Paint later….

4.  Thread some fishing line or twine through the holes and through the basket.  My basket didn’t have a lot of space in the weave, so I used a needle made for mending sail-cloth to punch it through.  The string was purchased by my husband in Mongolia, so I don’t know its exact type, but it is a very thin black twine.  I tied the two ends of the twine together on the back to secure the label.  Almost there….

DIY Chalkboard Labels for Pantry Organization | The Thinking Closet

5.  Use some dust-free chalk or a chalk marker to complete your label.  I used chalk, but I’d recommend a marker.  I think it will be easier to re-write on the labels if you don’t have to press so firmly on the wood.

DIY Chalkboard Label Tutorial by The Thinking Closet

If You Like it Then You’d Better Put a Label On It

6.  Most importantly, grab a glass of peach iced tea, stand back, and admire your hard work!

DIY Chalkboard Labels for Pantry Organization | The Thinking Closet

I decided to keep the chalkboard theme going downstairs with our Tupperware storage by purchasing some Martha Stewart Home Office™ with Avery™ Chalkboard Labels; Flourish, 2-1/2″ x 3-3/4″, 12/Pack.  They were $5.99 a pack on Quill.com and were super-easy to write on.  I even tested erasing one, as well as removing it from the Tupperware (as they claim to be removable) and both worked great.  The lighting downstairs is far from natural, but here are a few pics:

Basement storage organization using chalkboard labels via The Thinking Closet

The Martha Stewart Chalkboard Labels in action.

Basement storage organization using chalkboard labels via The Thinking Closet

It took about five minutes to label the whole shebang!

Fun fact: they also sell chalkboard contact paper at Jo-Ann’s.  I mustered up all of the self-control within me and put it back on the shelf…at least until I have an actual project in mind.  Here it is on Amazon.com (affiliate link).

Your Turn:

Do you have an organization system for your pantry?  Or an idea for how to use some chalkboard labels?  Do share!

Lovely comments so far...

  1. I’m going to hire you to come to 319 and organize us!!

  2. That’d be a fun project to do together…maybe even little bit by little bit each visit!

    • Absolutely!! You’ve really helped me in the past so I know you’re good at organization! You’d have to come for a longer stay, though, because it’s not something to take up time during a short visit! :-)

  3. I’ve always been interested in doing something with chalkboard paint, and using it for labels is a fun idea! Your pantry looks great. May have to steal your shelves idea, since my pantry is quite tall too. Also, my housemate, Alicia, has gotten me into chalkboards now. I bought a big cute one (with a white frame) from T.J. Max for an affordable price. Will put it up on my wall soon and maybe I’ll send you a pic!

  4. These are so cute! What a great way to organize a small space. We also have very little storage space… maybe it’s an Orlando thing, haha. BTW, My husband has the same birthday as you :) (I noticed the countdown at the bottom of your blog… I’m not stalking you, haha)

  5. love this idea! I could use this for my beauty products in the bathroom too

  6. floridaysmom says:

    I am WAY overdo to redo may pantries and organize with labels. Thanks for the inspiration and tips.

  7. What a cute project! I love it so much that I decided to feature it in our roundup of crafty organization ideas! Check it out here: http://www.favecraftsblog.com/crafty-organization-ideas/

    Have a great day!

  8. Joetta@McKissack.net says:

    My daughter-in-law had a good idea for the backside of a kitchen cabinet that was plain. It was over an island, but only had doors on one side. She painted the plain side with chalkboard paint. It gave her a rather large area to write notes or draw holiday themes.

  9. Chalkboard labels are the best! And I love that you handmade the ones for the baskets, how fun! Thanks for sharing this at The CSI Project!

    • I’m sort of obsessed with anything chalkboard these days. The handmade ones are still holding on strong on those teal baskets. They’ve really made a world of difference for our cabinet organization.

  10. Love the homemade chalkboard labels! And thanks for the tip about using a chalk marker too… I will look for one next time I hit Michaels. Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier!

  11. Awesome tutorial, I really need to do this.

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      It really helped us feel like we were moved in to our new kitchen…and made organization SO much easier. Before that, it really was mass chaos in those cabinets. Several months later, we’re still loving the system! So it’s well worth the time and effort. Have fun with it, Kelly!

  12. Great idea! Thanks for linking up to the “Get Your DIY On” link up party!

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Thanks, April! I so appreciate you stopping by to check out all 3 of my projects. Wow, you are a rockstar! And I HEART the “Get Your DIY On” linky party. The themes are always right up my alley.

  13. A friend from work (daycare) painted a wall in her home with chalkboard paint and has guests sign it when they visit. She keep a basket of colored chalk nearby sitting by the wall.

  14. I had a picture in our camper that I could not figure out how it was fastened to the wall. Since I did not like the picture, I painted it with chalkboard paint. Now I can use for grocery list, honey do list or bible verses. I think the chalkboard contact paper would have been good for this project if I had only known, (sigh)


  1. [...] I have taken the initiative to create a bit more structure in our lives…from the food inside our cabinets, to our exercising, and now…to our [...]

  2. [...] Chalkboard Labels from The Thinking Closet [...]

  3. [...] with a black matte finish paint.  I used Krylon Chalkboard Spray Paint that I already had from my Wooden Chalkboard Label project.  I gave mine four coats, allowing the coats to dry at least 10 minutes in [...]

  4. [...] labels!  I had some Martha Stewart Home Office™ with Avery™ Chalkboard Labels on hand from a previous project, so I slapped a few of those on my drawers and labeled them with a white chalkboard marker to [...]

  5. [...] to give all of my frames a light coating in the Krylon Chalkboard spray paint I had on hand from my chalkboard labels.  Note: if you run out of spray paint, black acrylic paint applied in a thin coat using a foam [...]

Your comments make my day!