DIY Chalkboard Sign for Back-to-School


The girl started kindergarten yesterday, which both was and wasn’t a big deal. She’s been in all-day preschool since she was almost 2, and she’s at the same school she was last year. She knows all her classmates already, and the routine is different, but not all that much. We actually get to school later than we used to because she has breakfast at home.

But, it’s kindergarten, and that’s still important. It’s a milestone, the first of many in her academic career, the first sign that this parenting thing is going to be over a lot faster than we know. I mean, she’ll be six in three weeks. How did that happen?

So, I wanted to make a little fuss over this big first day, with first-day pictures. I decided to make it a little more fun by crafting a DIY chalkboard sign for her to hold. Make a sweet DIY chalkboard sign for your hcild to hold in first day pictures!

If you already have a little chalkboard you could just write on it and you’re done, but I didn’t, so I made one from scratch out of a canvas.

Also, if you have chalkboard paint in an appropriate color this will go faster for you. I didn’t, so I had to paint the canvas and then apply the chalkboard coating. It’s still not a hard project, it just requires drying time.

What You’ll Need diy chalkboard materials

  • 11×17 or similar sized canvas
  • chalkboard paint or paint and chalkboard coating (I used Liquitex Basics Acrylic in Mars Black and DecoArt Americana Chalkboard Coating)
  • large paintbrush
  • for the apples: a piece of craft foam, an apple shape, scissors, a plastic bottle cap, glue, red paint (I used Liquitex Basics in Cadmium Red Deep Hue) and a small paintbrush
  • chalk

What You’ll Do preparing chalkboard sign

Paint the canvas with chalkboard paint or regular paint according to package directions. I let my regular paint dry a couple of hours before adding two coats of chalkboard coating as specified on the label, with an hour between coats and 24 hours drying time.

Cover the surface with chalk to temper the surface so you can write on it with chalk. Wipe clean.

For the apples, I printed out a template from the book Petit Collage, but you can find apples anywhere or use a cookie cutter in that shape if you have one. I cut the shape out of craft foam and glued a plastic bottle cap to one side to give me something to hold onto. I them stamped the apple into each corner of the board and touched up with a paintbrush. chalkboard sign for back to school

Add lettering with chalk. I have to admit I am horrible at hand lettering, so I used the cheater’s method of chalkboard lettering explained at Indie Craft Parade. As is so often true on the Internet, it was not as quick, easy or beautiful as that tutorial makes it look, but it was immensely better than if I’d just written the words myself.

My “let’s just take a few pictures before school” turned into a full-on photo shoot, with multiple locations and goofiness. first day of shcool photo shoot

Fine by me.

And we didn’t take the sign, but we did do the must-have picture with the rock that is a school tradition. the new school rock

Do you do anything special for the first day of school? I’d love to hear about it!

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