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DIY Back to School Chalkboard Sign

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Why does the first day of school come in September?  For the past week I have been drowning in end of year financial mumbo, and as I take minimal breaks to scroll through some social media app I am liking adorable back to school photos, one right after the other, all with the personalized chalkboard photo prop.  WELL, on the first day of school for my 3 year old Duke – During my scrolling, it never once dawned on me that I should probably get a cute Back to School chalkboard sign for my sweet little Duke.   

Duke was beyond excited to go back to school!  He was ready to “see his teachers and his friends!”.  Of course, the night before at bedtime I am trying to get him to pick out his clothes for THE FIRST DAY!  Showing him all kinds of cute shorts, collared shirt options… Come on Duke, for the first day?  He agreed.. at the time.  

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For years I tormented my poor mother and sister because during my school days; I was NOT a morning person.  Some mornings, even looking in my direction was a dangerous act.  We joke now, but Rach knows all too well that I wasn’t to be spoken to until after 8 AM! Obviously when I became a mother myself, the universe needed to put me on the other side!  As a result, Duke is a very grumpy young man in the mornings!  So naturally, my thought was, if I had him help to pick out clothes the night before he wouldn’t fight me in the morning.  Looking back, I should have known better..   

That morning Duke was ecstatic to be going to school, ready to get dressed and put his shoes on, but he was most certainly going to wear a dinosaur t-shirt.  Therefore, the cute outfit we picked out the night before was practically thrown out the window.  Honestly, I adore his independence and the certainty he has about his little self, and while I’ll try briefly to convince him otherwise, I’d let him walk out the door in whatever he desired [aka demanded].  As I went to take his picture to send to his father, I realized something was missing.. 

…Finally, the reason we are here!  The Back to School chalkboard sign – I just simply missed the memo.  This did not hit me whatsoever until that very morning.  So, I quickly looked up templates to purchase but after looking at the price, I knew I could probably just make it myself. 

Like most perfect moms, in the middle of coffee sips and trying to get a kid feed, dressed, and out the door, I came up with a plan!

My plan was first met with the obstacle of no ink in the printer.. so, I started thinking I would have to write the sign.  I was just going to have to write it out that’s all that to it……. But then I started thinking about how awful my handwriting is and I know I could make this better!  My first solution was to lay it out on the computer and then trace it on a piece of paper!  I seriously pulled out colored pencils like yesssss girl, that’s easy, you have time for that – totally not time consuming!  Finally, I opened Publisher and just started to try and lay something out.   

I started making text boxes on the page and just filling them out! His name, class, grade, date, and teachers.  Then, I started playing with the layout and the colors – I googled ‘flag banner’ and pulled one image that I liked and pulled most of the coordinating colors from there.   If you don’t like the flags, there are a ton others on google, many with stars, apples, etc!

chalkboard

Once I had the general format, I started thinking about how I could make it look like an actual chalkboard and started playing with different fonts –  this is really where I took it a bit farther!  I just couldn’t accept not having the cute chalkboard fonts and that’s when I went out to google and started searching for FREE fonts!  Using these fonts, I pulled three that I liked and it started finally coming together!  If you haven’t before, consider looking at fontspace.com.  The site makes it so very easy to search for a font and download it and then it just automatically shows up in your font list! This was key in getting the chalkboard style down! 

I still hadn’t quite sorted out how I was going to transfer this onto a paper until I looked over and saw my one-year-old beating on my iPad.  My little genius just solved my problem!  

When Duke got home from school, I quickly asked him what do you love? What is your favorite color? What do you want to be when you grow up – his nanny and I laughed at his last answer!  I typed his responses into the document and voila! His back-to-school picture may have been taken after he got home from school and his ‘sign’ may have just been a pdf pulled up on my iPad, but we got it team! Not quite ‘mom-of-the-year’ but an A for effort!  

Now don’t get me wrong, this took about 1 hours’ time the day of, so if you need it now, or just don’t want to spend the time on it – fill out the below and you will receive an instant download of a free printable chalkboard file! The editable file you’ll receive via email is slightly different than mine because I reformatted it to be accessible via Canva.  Canva is super user-friendly and allows me to share the digital document with you, without you having to download additional fonts!  If you’d like to create your own in Publisher, refer to the below for my how-to create an easy Back to School chalkboard sign!  

Easy Chalkboard 'Back to School' Sign

Build Time 1 hr
Units 1

Equipment

  • Computer
  • iPad or Printer

materials
  

  • Publisher
  • Internet
  • Google

Instructions
 

  • Open Publisher and set up your document with the information you want 
  • Use Google to find a banner and go to fontspace.com to search chalkboard fonts.  I used Chalkboy Free Trial, White Chalk, and Chalk Board. 
  • Change your background color to an off-black/charcoal color and change the text colors to coordinate to your liking.  
  • Lastly, change the font and text sizes to fit your layout!
  • Optional: Convert to a PDF file and open on an iPad for your pictures!
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