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DIY: Birthday Chalkboard Tutorial

When planning Baby Girl's first birthday I just knew I wanted to include a birthday chalkboard as part of her decorations. It's a great way to reflect on the first year and capture information that is relevant at that moment in time. The chalkboards are a unique display for people who attend the party to read your baby's vital stats and even better, they look great in photos.



Leading up to the party I had been practicing making little chalkboard signs by hand using black card, chalkboard markers and a frame. They turned out OK but the perfectionist in me knew that I wouldn't be happy with every detail if I tried to print it all myself with my markers.

With this in mind I decided to produce a digital version and get it printed. Creating the chalkboard digitally opens up a lot more possibility with different fonts, designs and drawings. I am someone who has never been able to get the grasp of photoshop but had such a desire to edit and create images so when I recently discovered picmonkey (thanks to one of my blogging gurus You Baby Me Mummy who offers some great blogging advice) I was so happy. Its a free web based tool that is super easy to navigate.

Let me  put in a little disclaimer here. This tutorial is meant to be from one novice to another. This is the way that I did it. There could well be shortcuts or easier ways to do things and it would absolutely be easier to do through photoshop for those who have their head around it. This did take some time to do. I could have saved my time and brought a premade PDF from Etsy but then it wouldn't have been exactly as I wanted it. I will also mention that this is using a web based tool so please SAVE SAVE SAVE as you go. I got to the end of my first design which took about 1.5 hours and right at the last minute the website crashed and I lost everything. I had to start again completely from scratch. If you are a novice like me, you will be super proud of yourself once you've actually done it and all the work was totally worth it.


DIY Birthday Chalkboard

Step 1: Google chalkboard background and download one you like

Step 2: Google chalkboard fonts and download the ones you like - Here are some that I would recommend: chalkline outline, apple berry, chalk hand lettering faded dem, DJB monkey scratches, KG ten thousand reasons, clementine sketch, fine blackboard and then download something like KG flavour and flames collection. These are picture fonts. Each letter has a different image like banners and chalkboard pictures.

Step 3: Visit www.picmonky.com - click on the DESIGN icon and select the 8x10 option

Step 4: To upload your chalkboard background click on the butterfly icon which is the overlay option, select 'your own' and upload your chalkboard file.

Step 5: Stretch the chalkboard image so it completely covers your working area and then click on the icon which combines all image elements. This will just pin your background down and make it easier to move the other elements around your design.


Step 6: Now its time to create the layout of your chalkboard. Use the KG flavour and flames font if you want a banner, select a banner and stretch it out until your happy with the size. Add an image or two with the picture fonts. Play with fonts and use full stops and dashes to make dotted lines and split up the chalkboard, also include any boxes you would like. If you want to make a cross use dashes to make two lines the same size and then flip one of the lines and position it to make a cross.

Step 7: Choose the colours you want the layout to be. I personally think it looks great if they are all consistent so once you choose the colour you like on the pallet, the note of the number and use this for your other elements.

Step 8: Once you are completely happy with the layout combine the elements. Once you do this you will be unable to change the layout again. SAVE.

Step 9: Now it's time to add your fonts. Play around with what you like and choose different fonts and colours for different sections and words. Add your child's name and the words 'First Birthday'. Some ideas of what you might also like to include about your baby: I love, my favourite foods, I can (e.g. walk, talk, sit, crawl), pounds, inches, number of teeth, I can say, nicknames, favourite toys, favourite books, nicknames, a message to your baby. Do a section at a time and SAVE after each bit.


Congratulations, you have completed your design!


Step 10: Decide how you want to present your chalkboard. You can do something as simple as printing it A4 and getting a nice frame for it,  or go as grand as A1 which will be a big great piece that will truly stand out and look fantastic in photos.

Step 11: Source a printer and organise in advanced notice for it to be printed. There will be many options for you - paper, cardboard and poster printing. I printed mine on A3 card, I wanted A1 but I left it until the day before the party to get it done and it would have taken 24 hours.

And voila, there you have it. Your chalkboard will be a fab addition to the decorations, your party guests will love reading all the details and they'll all ask you where you got it from. They won't believe you made it yourself.

I could have gone in to much more detail but I wanted to keep the instructions as concise as possible  so I made the assumption that you could work out the basics in picmonkey. I would be happy to help with any questions that you have so please get in touch if you need more info.

Good luck and have fun creating!

Kat x

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15 comments

  1. Love this so much and I am definitely going to be using this for LBO's 1'st Birthday! It's a lot easier than I was imagining (still time consuming getting it *just* right) because I was thinking of using chalk to get all those cool fonts and I knew I'd never be able to get it perfect, lol! You have amazing style - her party looks so cute, I love those balloons!!

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    1. It's definitely time consuming but so worth it! Good luck. Show me your creation when you're done x

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  2. This is brilliant and you have made it look and sound so easy to do, it is definitely something I am going to have a go at x

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    1. Good luck! Make sure you share your creation x

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  3. A fantastic idea! I love this so much! :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Elizabeth. Glad you like it x

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  4. Thanks for the mention :) So glad that Picmonkey is useful for you x

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    1. You're welcome. It's so useful. I also use it for basic designs for my business x

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  5. I love this and definitely want to do one for Zach's first birthday!! xx

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    1. Good luck! Please do share your design when you've done it x

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  6. I love this! I'm bookmarking it for sure. We hand wrote one for my mums 50th and it was so stressful (i'm left handed so it smudged so much). I'd definitely prefer to do it online. x

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    1. Ahhh I could only imagine. That's why I didn't even attempt doing it by hand. Online is definitely the easier option x

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  7. I'm off to try picmonkey! Thanks for the inspiration:-)

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    1. Hope you liked picmonkey? Warning! You can get lost in it for hours x

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  8. Aww, good ol' Aby! She's amazing huh?! This is such a lovely idea and not at all what I was expecting - certainly no picmonkey haha! Great post and tutorial. Thanks for linking up to #TheList

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