Have you seen the chalkboard birthday signs that seem to be everywhere? They are a great keepsake to celebrate someone on their special day, or as a photo prop for milestones for monthly baby pictures, even as first day of school signs! The ideas are endless, but what if you don’t have the neatest handwriting (like me)? I’m going to show you how I make my birthday chalkboard signs and share how I make it look like I have nice handwriting!
I’ve only made a couple of these so far, but they’ve turned out great and I’ve learned some new things each time that I’m going to share with you to save you some frustration. These signs might look like a big project, and while they might take a little time (and a lot of writing!) they are actually very easy.
Note: I’ve blocked any personal or identifiable information to protect privacy.
The first one I made was for my sister in law’s best friends 40th birthday. I did my usual search on Pinterest for inspiration (follow my Chalkboard Inspiration Board to find inspiration for your own chalkboard sign) and got some ideas for categories and styles. For this sign I was highlighting the year of birth, 1977, as well as the birthday girl. So I did some research to find popular songs, big news, as well as celebrities that were also born in 1977.
The second one I did was for my best friends 30th Birthday. She had more of an idea of what she wanted it to look like so I didn’t have to do all the research for this one. I just recreated the design she sent me.
Continue reading for the steps to creating your own keepsake chalkboard sign.
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To create my template I used Powerpoint, although you could use Canva, or Picmonkey, or whatever your preferred graphics editor is. Set your page size for the same dimensions as the canvas you are using. Next start placing your elements, decide how you want the dividers to look, and where they should go. Then start entering all your information for the sign and start formatting how it will look.
For someone like me who has a huge amount of fonts, choosing which to use for a project usually takes the longest. If you are looking for some great free fonts make sure you check out Creative Fabrica, they have a large selection, and all their freebies come with a commercial use license. To read more on where to get free fonts read my blog post here.
Once your design is ready save the file as a .pdf and then open it in Adobe. Make sure you do one last check for spelling errors before printing! Open the print menu and change your settings to poster with cut marks. This will enlarge your design over 4 pages (depending on the size of your canvas). After printing, cut the excess off, line up your pages with the cut lines, and tape together.
Next you’re going to flip your design over, and color over the back with chalk. You don’t need to cover the whole sheet, but you do need to make sure there is chalk wherever you have something you want to transfer. Flip your paper back over and place it over your canvas where you would like the design to go. I usually use masking tape on the back to prevent it from sliding around.
Now comes the fun part! Take a pencil (or a pen without the tip out, a pen lid, you get the idea) Start tracing over your entire design. You don’t need to press down very hard. I usually stop after the first couple of lines and lift the paper to see how it’s transferring. If your design isn’t showing up as well as you would like you might want to go over it again with more pressure, or carry on if you can see your design. After you’ve traced everything, remove the paper and check out your work!
The next step is to starting adding some color. Retrace your entire design again, this time with your markers and pens. Some things you might want to do a second coat on, or just to straighten out lines, but otherwise your almost done!
Note: For the smaller print I used white gel pen which worked great. But I tried to use some green, purple, and pink gel pens on both signs, but it didn’t dry as nicely as the white, and smeared with my hand a bit. I had to do a lot of touch ups because of that so beware with your pen choices and test them first to see how well they dry. For the thicker fonts I used different paint markers (I like these Painter’s paint markers best right now.)
Lastly you just need to wipe away any of the remaining chalk dust. For stubborn bits I use a cotton swab dipped in water (once your paint is dry!) You’re all done! Now step back and take a look at your chalkboard sign!