By Jeromina Juan
Kids and kids at heart will delight in decorating this calorie-free, three-tier, cake-shaped chalkboard. It’s both a craft and a toy, and that makes for a very sweet deal. What’s best: It’s a piece of cake to make!
You can have your little ones join you in the fun process of crafting this toy. When you do, please opt for regular cans of primer and non-toxic chalkboard paint, and apply them with a paint brush. Kids will be filled with satisfaction from completing a craft that they can play with for endless hours thereafter – that takes the cake!


Nested hat boxes: large, medium, and small; lids removed
Heavy-duty glue, see note below
Can of non-toxic primer with paint brush if you are crafting with kids, OR primer spray paint
Can of non-toxic chalkboard paint with paint brush if you are crafting with kids, OR chalkboard spray paint
Paper towel
Heavy book
or weight
Chalkboard eraser

Note: Choose a heavy duty quality glue that can be easily wiped off immediately after application, such as Weldbond, Gorilla Glue, or epoxy. Do not use a hot glue gun – it would be difficult to wipe off any excess as it sets quickly and dries with dimension.


Prepare the work area with a drop sheet or newspapers. If you are taking the speedy route (as I have taken) and are opting to use spray paint, ensure all surroundings are covered and protected from spray. Please remember to ventilate all rooms, if spray painting indoors, and do not expose children to fumes.
Step 1: Place your large hat box on your work surface, bottom facing up. Apply glue to rim of medium hat box and place, centered, on top of large hat box, bottom facing up, pressing firmly. Remove any excess glue with paper towel.
Step 2: Repeat stacking by applying glue to rim of small hat box and placing, centered, on top of medium hat box, bottom facing up, pressing firmly. Remove any excess glue with paper towel.
Step 3: Place a heavy book or weight on top of the stack. Let glue dry and set for at least half an hour.
Step 4: Prop the boxes on a piece of cardboard on cans, or similar. This will act as a rotating stand while you paint. Apply primer. Let dry as per label instructions.
Step 5: Paint the boxes with chalkboard paint. Rotate the cardboard to easily paint all around boxes. Apply two coats of chalkboard paint. Let dry as per label instructions.
Step 6: Break in the chalkboard finish by applying chalk all over the surface and erasing it.
Step 7: If you are using brand new chalk, prevent any scratches on the surface of your chalkboard by rubbing the ends of the chalk on paper first. This will blunt the edges of the chalk and help to preserve the finish of your new toy. Your cake chalkboard is ready to be decorated!

About the Author:
Jeromina Juan is the author of the blog Paper, Plate, and Plane, where she shares a slew of out-of-the-box crafting and entertaining ideas, and recollects her few-and-far-between globe-trotting experiences.



  • Cathe Holden

    This is one fantastic project. I adore it!!! For kids and wanna-be cake decorators!
    Plaid makes colored chalkboard paint that may work well on this project, too:

  • Diane Gilleland

    I had no idea there was colored chalkboard paint now. Thanks for sharing the link!

  • Karen

    I <3 This! Now I know what I am going to give my niece for her first birthday when she lives in Montana and I can’t bake for her since I live in NJ.
    Thank you!!!!!

  • Daniell

    Thank you for this fabulous tutorial! What a fabulous idea for little ones to design their own cake – or for ‘child at heart’ cake decorators like me! ha ha

  • Lyndsay Rae

    Where do you get hat boxes from?

  • Jeromina

    Hi Lindsay,
    Some dollar stores carry nested gift boxes. You can also find lots of packaging companies online that sell them. I got mine at Creative Bag, which is a Canadian company that has two branches in Toronto and an online shop. Happy shopping!

  • Delores Williams

    Thanks so much for the tutorial! Im going to use this idea in my home ec classroom! Im going to try to find the hat boxes at the thrift store! Thanks again!

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