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“First Day of School Picture” DIY Chalkboard (re-usable each year!!)

Being part of Michaels Makers has been a lot of fun.  I mean, truly.  A gift card, a theme, and the freedom to make whatever I want?  Yes please.  And I have been trying to keep it to things that I would make anyway, even if I didn’t have the card to spend.  You know, so it would be something realistic that all of you could make too.


This month’s theme?  Back to school.  And today’s project is something that I’ve been wanting to do for a couple of years.  I know there are really cute signs out there that you can print off and have your child hold.  But I have been wanting to make a chalkboard sign that I can use year to year, and not worry about it getting ripped or lost.


So, I made this “1st Day of School Picture” re-usable Chalkboard in a nice pale aqua color….so I can use it with each child, on their first day of school every year.  So, we had a little “pretend” 1st day of School this morning.  And I’m not gonna lie, the kids were a little confused by it, because, “moooom!!…school doesn’t start until MONDAY!!”  Yeah, yeah, yeah — I know! :) 





But I love that I can now see the growth from year to year, and not wonder how old a child was in a particular picture. 


Also, I’m realizing lately that my babies will never EVER be children again.  They’ll be adults for a looooong time but these years of sweet innocence are fleeting.  So, I can’t help but treasure each milestone.  And the first day of school is the perfect day to document.  (I love looking at old pictures of myself on my first day of school over the years and gawking at my fashion choices.  And marveling that I ever grew into those huge teeth and quirky hair.  I’m assuming my kids will love doing the same!)




If you’re anything like me, you have a stash of old frames that you aren’t using but are holding onto, “just in case”.  And if so, this is the perfect time to dig through those and find one to transform. 


All you need is an old frame, some chalkboard paint, maybe a little paint for the frame…..and that’s it! :)




Now, you’re ready to document the first day of each year.  And hey, you could even take a “last day of school” picture at the end of the year.  Or even let your kiddos use this as a chalkboard while they do homework or play around with it using colored chalk, etc.


Now excuse me while I blink my eyes a few times, because I’m concerned that I’m not seeing straight.  My first two babies somehow grew a foot over the summer and I’m kind of in denial that they’re growing so fast.  And my oldest, Elliana, is now a 2nd grader?  Weird.




Wanna make one too?


Okay, begin by taking the backing off and the glass out of your frame.  Then paint the frame with whatever color paint you’d like.  Spray paint and acrylic craft paints work great for this.  But I used an aqua colored “Chalk” paint.  (And no, it’s not chalkboard paint that you can draw on…’s called chalk paint and is called that because it dries with a nice matte finish, kind of like chalk.  It also covers flaws really well and doesn’t require sanding beforehand.  It’s really cool stuff, in case you’ve never tried it!) Apply 2 coats if needed.



 After the paint is completely dry, use sand paper to rough it up a bit, added a distressed look.  (Or leave it alone. It’s up to you.)  Wipe with a wet rag to remove all the dust and then let dry.



Apply a coat of varnish to seal in your paint and to keep the paint from chipping or rubbing off.  Because remember?  We’re using this for years to come! :)



Then, flip the backing of your frame over to the side that would show through the front of the frame once it’s in place.  Apply 2 coats of chalkboard paint, letting them dry completely between each layer. (Mine took about an hour to dry.) Then let your paint cure for 24 hours before doing anything to it.




After the 24 hours, rub a piece of chalk on its side, over the entire surface of the paint.  Then wipe it clean with a dry cloth.  This will just help prepare the surface and will help the future chalk drawings erase a little better.




Then write whatever you’d like on your chalkboard……and get ready for that first day of school!!!







Ashley Johnston

Administrator at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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