chalkboard birthday poster {diy}

Liam's First Birthday Party-3

This poster was a big hit at Liam’s birthday party! I wouldn’t have done it if it weren’t for the excellent idea of Heather from Tiny Sneakers.ย Thanks girl!

So, here it is:

Birthday Chalkboard

First, I found a random chalkboard background online. I used this one:

Chalkboard-background

Then, in my basic ‘preview’ editing program on my mac (downloading the fonts and using the annotate option), I designed the poster! I used a collection of the chalkboard fonts that I was fond of:

  1. chalk hand-lettering
  2. jb cursive
  3. kg skinny latte
  4. mtf heart doodle
  5. return to sender
  6. road movie
  7. sketch block
  8. walt disney
  9. bergamot ornaments

Note: Once you save in Preview on Mac you can’t undo what you’ve done to your chalkboard, so make sure you love it before you save!

Chalkboard Fonts

Next, head over to your favorite printing store (I used Staples because it was closest to me) and print out an Engineer Print in whatever size you want! It’s black and white already and I bought my 24″ x 36″ print for $3! If I had gotten the jpeg printed as a photo poster the price would have started at $30.

Last but not least, my husband assembled a few 2″x4″‘s to make the cute poster stand for the yard, but feel free to hang it on a wall, a tree or whatever you have on hand.

Happy designing!

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93 Responses to chalkboard birthday poster {diy}

  1. Definitely using this for a party I am planning, love this Caroline!

  2. Carol says:

    I love this! I am making one for my little ones joint birthday party this fall! Thanks for sharing how you made it!

  3. Rachel Gurk says:

    How cool! Are you going to frame it and hang it in his room? This would be so fun with the ABCs too for a kids room! Love it! Thanks for sharing!

  4. I agree with Rachel! You should keep that for sure. So cute and fun! It looks awesome. I thought you wrote it out yourself! So fun!

  5. Love it!! It turned out great! I love the stand you displayed it on too- much better than painter’s tape on the wall haha.

  6. katie says:

    Super cute birthday poster! I love the chalkboard printables right now!

  7. This is super cute!! So, wait, you can edit using “Preview” on Mac?

    • caroline says:

      Yeah!!! Just download the fonts into your fonts folder, then go to ‘annotate’ and add text boxes and edit which font you want and everything! ๐Ÿ˜€ So easy and FREE!

  8. This is SO cute, Caroline! I’m going to steal all your ideas for when I have a baby one day. Thanks for all your baby pioneering. ๐Ÿ˜€

  9. Kayla says:

    Hey there!

    This is adorable!! I’m making one right now and was wondering what font you used to make the little line in between his name and all his stats? Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Katie says:

    Awesome, awesome, awesome ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Christine says:

    Wow! I was going to do this by hand … And then I saw your post. I’m a Mac person. Do you remember where you got the chalk background? And did you buy the fonts? Looks great!!!

    • caroline says:

      Just click on the blank chalkboard back ground, zoom in by clicking the photo, then right click and save the background to your computer. Then, you just install whatever fonts from the links I listed and use them on your computer…all for free! Enjoy!

  12. Lisseth says:

    Love this! I’m trying to do this for my son’s first birthday. I’m Having an issue with the font looking “light” is there a setting on Preview I’m not seeing? The font just looks to “faded”

    • caroline says:

      Oh weird. Try saving it and see if the saved draft looks faded or not. I sometimes have that issue with Preview. If that doesn’t work, let me know and we’ll try to work through it together! ๐Ÿ˜€ When does your son turn one?

  13. Jacqueline says:

    Hello,
    I downloaded the chalkboard background to my desktop and when I open it in preview I can not annotate. I see the option there but when I hover all the options are grayed out meaning I can not use that function. Is there something else that I have to do first? Thank you!

    • caroline says:

      Hmm…that’s strange. When you click the ‘annotate’ button at the top of preview, do you see the bar that comes up at the bottom? Are those the options that are grey? You should see a little square with dots on the corners with Aa in the middle. That’s what you use to create a text box. To change the font that’s in the box, you click the Aa button on the right. Does that help any? Let me know and we’ll work through it together. ๐Ÿ˜€

  14. danielle says:

    Hi Caroline,
    Thank you for sharing, I am trying to create, however am brand new to a mac, and feeling so lost. Its so different from windows which I was working with for years. Could you email me a step by step, dummy-downed version of your instructions? I’m sorry to ask, if you could help me, that would be wonderful!!! THANK YOU!!

    • caroline says:

      Hey Danielle! It takes some getting used to, but I think you’ll get the hang of it in no time. I’ll email you with some more detailed instructions.

  15. Kelsie says:

    I made one and printed it at staples but they said it looks very pixelated. Is there a way to save it so that it comes out clear?

    • caroline says:

      Just make sure it’s in the highest resolution possible when saving it in preview. Meaning, keep it at 1280 x 1600 pixels that it is when you copy the background from this post. Don’t save it as a smaller size. I hope that helps! ๐Ÿ˜€

  16. isha says:

    HI! i need to do this STAT! Do you have any idea how to create this on a PC? i dont know whats equivalent to this “preview” you all speak of ๐Ÿ™ Helppp

    thanks!

  17. isha says:

    Hi again! so i was able to creat one using Picmonkey! and i saved it under 1280 x 1600 jpg but i cant get it to save under PDF! and when i upload it as it is at staples.com i get a small portion of my picture as if it were super zoomed in.. ๐Ÿ™ any assistance you can provide would be great! Thanks!

    • caroline says:

      There are some .jpg to .pdf converters online that you can use to get it in the PDF version to upload to staples. I’m not sure why it’s zooming your photograph. Is there anyway to select what portion of your photo that you want printed? Let me know if I can help in any other way!

      • isha abuamer says:

        Thank you!
        I tried downloading a converter but I got a bad one and it messed up my computer so now I’m traumatized haha. I sent it to ny friend who will convert it for me ๐Ÿ™‚ ps staples won’t give me trouble since I’m uploading as an engineer print rather that a $30 poster? I have bad luck with staples haha

  18. Courtney says:

    Hi Caroline!

    I absolutely love this but I am a tech challenged individual. Would you mind sending step-by-step instructions to my email address? I would SO appreciate it!

    Courtney

  19. Joline says:

    I’d love to have the step by step instructions for a PC using Gimp. Thanks in advance, you do Ah-mazing stuff here!!!
    Joline

  20. Keri says:

    I love this! I am a new Mac user. Could you send me the step by step instructions that are mentioned in previous comments? I must do this for my son’s birthday. Thank you.

    • caroline says:

      Here are some more detailed instructions, Keri:

      First you right click the photo on my website of the blank chalkboard.

      Save the photo on your computer.

      Open that photo in preview by double clicking.

      Once in preview, you’ll add text (see this video) using the annotate buttons.

      If there’s a font that you don’t have, but would like to download and include on your chalkboard, simply go to that font’s webpage that I listed on the post, download the font. Move the font to your ‘fonts’ folder (if you can’t find it, search your computer with the little eye glass icon at the very top right of your desktop for fonts). Once they’re in the fonts folder they’ll show up in the ‘Aa’ section of the Annotate menu bar. If they don’t show up right away, you may have to save your chalkboard, quick preview and open it again.

      Once your board is complete, upload it to Staple’s website or take it via USB to the store and get it printed as an engineer print.

      Good luck and if you have any other questions, feel free to ask! ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Liliana Lyke says:

    Hi, I love this idea and am wanting to do it for my daughter’s party next weekend but how did you get the lettering on the chalkboard background? I see the option to buy the download for 30 dollars.. is that what you did? Please help!

    • caroline says:

      I definitely didn’t buy any fonts. I only downloaded the free fonts that are good for commercial licensing. If you’re seeing that one of them now costs money, just stick with the free ones. There are tons out there. Go to Fontsquirrel.com to search for more fonts.

      Here are some more detailed instructions on how to make the poster on a Mac:

      First you right click the photo on my website of the blank chalkboard.

      Save the photo on your computer.

      Open that photo in preview by double clicking.

      Once in preview, youโ€™ll add text (see this video) using the annotate buttons.

      If thereโ€™s a font that you donโ€™t have, but would like to download and include on your chalkboard, simply go to that fontโ€™s webpage that I listed on the post, download the font. Move the font to your โ€˜fontsโ€™ folder (if you canโ€™t find it, search your computer with the little eye glass icon at the very top right of your desktop for fonts). Once theyโ€™re in the fonts folder theyโ€™ll show up in the โ€˜Aaโ€™ section of the Annotate menu bar. If they donโ€™t show up right away, you may have to save your chalkboard, quick preview and open it again.

      Once your board is complete, upload it to Stapleโ€™s website or take it via USB to the store and get it printed as an engineer print.

      Good luck and if you have any other questions, feel free to ask! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  23. karen says:

    Hi!
    thank you for sharing this great DIY project! i’m working on my son’t first birthday board (Thanks to you), but i am a bit confused as to the size of the fonts, did you changed them? if so what size did you use?
    if it helps can you email me as well lol.

    thank you!!!

    karen

    • caroline says:

      Hi Karen, I apologize for the delay in response. We were in the midst of moving and life got a little nuts. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, you will need to change the font sizes to fit as desired. Just play around with it and it’ll be your own custom creation!

      Happy 1st birthday to your little guy!

  24. Laura Huffman says:

    I wpuld.lobe to be able to do this. When I did it before I did it all by hand.
    I like this much better. Can you please email me directions for PC
    I read thru all the comments and most are for MAC. Thanks so very much

    • caroline says:

      Hi Laura, I’m not exactly sure how to specifically do it on a PC since I don’t have one available to test on. However, you’ll just need to download a free editing software like GIMP to put the wording on the chalkboard background. Otherwise, you’ll follow the other directions that I gave for a mac. I hope that helps and let me know if you have any other questions.

  25. DESIREE says:

    You’re amazing for posting this you just saved me so much money and i feel even better knowing i did it myself. Thank you !! ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Marina says:

    Hi! What an amazing post! I designed my daughter’s first birthday poster for this upcoming weekend using the “Pages” application on my mac and your recommended fonts. Your poster and etsy were my inspiration. Then, I printed at Staples on Engineering paper and it looks AMAZING!!! Thank you for your inspiration and easy to follow instructions. Woohoo for easy DIY!

    • caroline says:

      I’m so happy to hear that it turned out wonderfully! Such a great way to make a party pop for very little money. ๐Ÿ˜€ Happy 1st birthday to your daughter!

  27. Kimberly says:

    Caroline,
    First off, thank you for the wonderful idea! I followed your instructions and almost completed mine yesterday & saved so that I could finish today. However, now when I open the chalkboard I cannot make changes (e.g. color changes to the existing font. Am I doing something wrong? Also, do you know if I can use this same background for a birthday card?
    Thanks!
    Kimberly

    • caroline says:

      Hi Kimberly, I’m so glad you gave it a go! If you’re using preview to edit the photo you can’t go back and change anything after you save it. I’ll have to mention that in the post. Hopefully it won’t be too difficult to go back and redo what you’ve done. Also, I’m sure you could use the same background for a birthday card. That would be so nice! ๐Ÿ˜€ Happy Designing!

  28. Tiffany Taylor says:

    Hi,

    This is such a cute idea and I see that you have answered so many questions already, but wondered if anyone else had problems when downloading the fonts. My computer keeps having me download an “installer”, which appears to be spam. Some sort of “cleaning” software. I am afraid it’s a virus and I also can’t seem to get the fonts you used. Any suggestions? Thanks so much!

    • caroline says:

      Hi Tiffany, I’m sorry you’re having trouble. Are you using a mac or pc?

      • Tiffany Taylor says:

        I am using a Mac.

        • caroline says:

          I’ve done some research and can’t seem to find anything about an installer that is required when saving these files. Have you restarted your computer in a while? Else, you can search for free fonts and try another website to download the font files from. Let me know if I can help in any other way!

  29. Mercedes says:

    Hi Caroline,

    I was going to do this fre hand but this is so much easier since I’m not crafty at all! I did my fonts in color, can I still use the engineer print? Thanks again for your awesome idea!

    • caroline says:

      Hi Mercedes, I’m so glad to hear you got crafty with the chalkboard poster. Unfortunately, the engineer print is strictly in black and white. You could always pay more for a regular print of your poster, but I’m betting it would cost significantly more. Happy Crafting and thanks for your question!

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  31. Robin Allen says:

    Caroline,

    I have been wanting to make this chalkboard since before baby was born. It’s almost time as his first birthday is fast approaching. Will you kindly send me the step by step guide for Mac users too. I am a new Mac user and I am not catching on that easy.

    Thanks for your creativity!

    • caroline says:

      Hi Robin, I hope this helps some. Here are the more detailed Mac instructions:

      First you right click the photo on my website of the blank chalkboard.

      Save the photo on your computer.

      Open that photo in preview by double clicking.

      Once in preview, youโ€™ll add text (see this video) using the annotate buttons.

      If thereโ€™s a font that you donโ€™t have, but would like to download and include on your chalkboard, simply go to that fontโ€™s webpage that I listed on the post, download the font. Move the font to your โ€˜fontsโ€™ folder (if you canโ€™t find it, search your computer with the little eye glass icon at the very top right of your desktop for fonts). Once theyโ€™re in the fonts folder theyโ€™ll show up in the โ€˜Aaโ€™ section of the Annotate menu bar. If they donโ€™t show up right away, you may have to save your chalkboard, quick preview and open it again.

      Once your board is complete, upload it to Stapleโ€™s website or take it via USB to the store and get it printed as an engineer print.

      Good luck and if you have any other questions, feel free to ask! ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. Adeline says:

    Thanks for the tutorial!!! It worked really well and was very easy!!! My friends loved the sign that I will be using during my wedding. It saved me a lot of money!!!

  33. Erin Brennan says:

    i still can’t figure out how to get the new font into preview…?!?! I can’t find it…I download the font I wanted and it’s in my
    font book but I can’t find the new don’t in preview when informants try to add text…

    • caroline says:

      Weird. I know if you have the new OS it’s a little different in preview, but I had no trouble adding the new font to my font book and it showing up in preview. Have you tried restarting your computer after putting the new font in the font book?

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  36. Karen says:

    This was SUCH a helpful tutorial! Unfortunately, Staples informed me that they’re no longer doing engineer prints that have a lot of black. Apparently it was damaging their machines? (Or maybe the ink is just too expensive.) I just thought I’d share. I think I’ll get it printed at Costco instead as a poster; should be around $7.

    • caroline says:

      Hi Karen, I’m sad to hear that Staples said that. I just had another one printed on May 31st, 2014 at Staples will no issues. I got the largest size available and it was just $6. I’m glad to hear that there are other options though, like at Costco! ๐Ÿ˜€ Great tip!

    • Karen says:

      I suspect that it’s a store-by-store decision. It’s not a big deal; the Costco option will work. I noticed that the largest I could print without cropping at Costco is 16×20. That’ll do. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Another tip I wanted to share was that you can go to File > Duplicate, and then click save. That preserves the original file so it can be edited as long as the program is still open.

      Your tutorial was outstanding and made this project so easy. Thanks for sharing all your sources and being a great inspiration!

  37. Cathy says:

    How do you know on the symbols fonts which symbol is which button on the keyboard?

    • caroline says:

      If you go to the origin of the fonts, where you downloaded them (font squirrel, da font, etc.) they should have a listing of what characters are what symbol. ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. Rhonda says:

    What program did you use? Did you use Publisher?

  39. chau says:

    THANK YOU for this wonderful tutorial!! I had NO IDEA that you could do ALL this in Preview!! You’re amazing, and I just saved myself at least $30 from getting someone else to make it for me! (It did take all day though :0)) I ended up doing mine in color, so I’ll do the costco route as they’re always the cheaper option!

    • caroline says:

      Aww, yay! You’re welcome! It’s such a fun little project. I used the template again for Liam’s second birthday and it was much easier and faster the second time around. I just edited the one I did for his first birthday! ๐Ÿ˜€ Easy peasy. I’m so glad it turned out great!

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  41. Kelli says:

    Ideas on how/where to get a Mickey Mouse head outline, so I can still enter font in the middle of the head?

    • caroline says:

      Hmm…I know there are a ton of black outlined Mickey Mouse heads on google images, but I couldn’t find a white one. I’m not even sure how to change the white to black and to separate it from the white background to a clear background. Sorry I’m not much help. Good luck finding it!

  42. Chau says:

    How did you edit your first one? I thought doing it in Preview made it so you couldn’t change things once you saved it?
    Thanks!!

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  44. For some reason this won’t let me type onto the photo when I saved it as a jpg on my Mac ๐Ÿ™ Driving me nuts! lol

    • caroline says:

      Weird. If you have Yosemite installed on your computer, in preview there should be a button that looks like a lunch box that is the ‘Show Markup Toolbar’. Under that button is a ‘T’ and that allows you to add text to the jpeg. I hope that helps!

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  48. Kristine says:

    Hi —

    I am wondering if in the ‘preview’ program on the mac you need to set it to the size you want it to be when printed? Or can you just create it as you like and then choose the size when you are ready to print? I just am not sure if the resolution etc matters when you go to print if its a smaller size when creating–

    Thanks!
    Kristine

    • Kristine says:

      I actually read through the posts and saw that I don’t need to resize, but when I download it says custom as far as resolution and then I dont see the option of having it the resolution you recommended. I can do 1024X768, 1280X1024, 1280X720 or 1920X1080. Which one would you recommend. Thanks!!

  49. Kristine says:

    When I download from you i think it comes as 819X1024

    • caroline says:

      You’re correct. That chalk background is 819×1024. It’s always worked fine for me when printing, but you can always make it bigger before you add text so the text isn’t grainy in printing. Let me know if I can help any more! Have fun!

  50. Thanks again for this Caroline – we used it for our daughter’s first birthday last year and just finished up another one for her second! Such a neat idea and so fun to design!! The font information and background download you gave were perfect, so were the printing instructions – thank you!

  51. Sidney says:

    Hi Caroline!
    Let me start by saying this is YEAR THREE that we are using your amazing tutorial for tips for our chalkboard banners! I was just curious as to if you knew how to get a Minnie mouse head onto one using GIMP by any chance? I have searched and searched and have yet to find anything with any assistance.

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