Do y’all remember my bestie Mallory? Well…she’s having her first little one, a baby girl! Over the weekend, her sisters hosted a wonderful baby shower for her, which was also a reveal party. I’ve never actually been to one in person, and let me tell you, they are way more suspenseful and exciting than Facebook makes it seem. It was a blast.
Side note, it’s a very intense feeling, watching girls you’ve known your whole life become mamas. I’d write more, but this ain’t HelloGiggles and no one cares about my swollen heart, so we’ll move on before the tears come.
Anywho – Mal’s sisters asked me if I could create a chalkboard sign for the shower. This is a project I’ve not attempted before, but apparently I’m the resident crafty friend, so I gave it a shot.
It was surprisingly easier than I thought! And kind of fun, to be honest. It didn’t involve hot glue, so I immediately preferred it over every other craft I’m currently working on. No burned fingers are a win in my book. I thought I’d put together a brief step-by-step guide of how to make a chalkboard sign like the above.
DIY Chalkboard Sign Tutorial
- A chalkboard
- Transfer paper
- Pen or mechanical pencil
- Chalk markers
- Chalk pencils or traditional chalk
- Scotch tape
- A design for the chalkboard
1 – Create Your Design
The first step I took was to create the design I wanted to appear on the chalkboard. While I do love me some Photoshop action, I wanted to take the easy route, so I used Canva.
If you haven’t tried it yet, sign up for a free account. It’s a great place to make invites, social media graphics, even resumes. Most items are free to use as well, though you can buy some elements like fancy design backgrounds. The basis for the design I chose was already created for me; I just updated the fonts and the content. Then I saved as a high quality PDF for printing.
2 – Print Your Design as a Poster
I printed the design to fit the measurements of the chalkboard. I used the “print as poster” settings in Adobe to do this. The design came out on four sheets of paper with bleed lines, which I trimmed. I taped the four pieces together so I had one large poster.
3 – Align Poster and Transfer Paper
I then lined the poster up on the chalkboard so it was centered as much as possible, then taped it into place. Reference the photo labeled “1” above.
Next, I placed the transfer paper under the poster print-out.
TIP: A tip here because I got lucky and bought the right kind: white transfer paper transfers onto dark surfaces, such as chalkboards; gray transfer paper transfers onto light surfaces, such as a white canvas. To make a chalkboard, you want the white kind.
Align the paper so that the chalky, transfer side is facing the chalkboard. Tape it in place under the poster. You can see this in the photo labeled “2” above.
4 – Begin Tracing
Once you have your transfer paper in place, you will begin transferring the design from the poster onto the chalkboard. To do this, simply trace (with a pen or mechanical pencil) the outline of each element of your design on top of the poster. The pressure from your pen will push the white film of the transfer paper into the chalkboard. If you want to check your work, carefully lift the transfer paper and take a peek at the chalkboard. Make sure you are pressing hard enough to transfer the design; you shouldn’t have to push much harder than normal writing.
Keep tracing until the entire design is transferred onto the chalkboard. Before you remove the poster and transfer paper, review in sections to make sure you didn’t forget to trace an element! Then remove the paper and the poster. The traced version can be seen in the photo labeled “3” above.
TIP: Transfer paper can be reused! Don’t throw it away!
5 – Color
Now you will need to color or fill-in the stenciled design. Before I filled in elements like the banner, I went over everything with a chalk marker. The white chalk marker leaves a more outlined finish so the design pops against the black background, and chalk pens typically don’t smear. Once they dry, you need soap and water to remove them. You can see what everything looked like outlined in chalk pen but pre-color in the photo labeled “4” above.
TIP: It’s very difficult to color something without putting your wrist in something else! I turned the chalkboard a lot while I was coloring it to make sure I didn’t mess anything up.
Once everything was outlined with the chalk marker, I let it dry for about 10 minutes. Then I rubbed white chalk over the entire chalkboard and erased it. I did this to make the background of the chalkboard look more authentic, but you could skip this step.
Finally, I colored in the ribbon, the deer, Mallory’s name, and a few other design elements with chalk pencils. You could use regular chalk if you’ve got a steady hand. My design was too tiny in some places and I needed a sharp point. Both pencils and traditional chalk smear, so be careful you don’t plant your wrist in something you just colored.
That’s it! Once done, I put the chalkboard carefully away. To take it to the shower, I placed it on a plate rack on the floor of my truck where it couldn’t rock back and forth or tip over. It survived the trip without smearing!
Pretty nifty, right? I could see myself creating chalkboard signs for all sorts of parties, events, and showers. I just wish I knew this trick when I got married – I used to freehand everything!