Back to School

This is the first year in a while most schools in Maryland are starting AFTER labor day, which, seems really shocking to me! Happy First Day of school for many of you and your littles! Hope it was grand (for you both)!

My niece begins her first day of FOURTH grade today. Fourth. How did this happen? When did this happen?! This kid is so smart and talented, I can’t wait to see what she does this year!

I had been contemplating asking my sister if she or my niece wanted a “First Day” sign when she asked me to do one (we tend to share the same brain sometimes). A chance to break out my years-old chalkboard paint? YES. Done. Let’s do it!

I knew there were a couple things I had to incorporate, like the color green which is Zoe’s favorite color. I added some curly brackets for some flair (one of my favorite things), but kept it rather simple and my sister gave me the freedom to sketch and try some different things out. This morning as I was driving into work I got a cute text message from my sister: my niece proudly holding her sign, ready to take fourth grade by storm. (So much so that she dragged my sister out of the house 15 minutes early!)


Photo Credit: Michelle C



  • 12″x12″ Wooden Board
    • I got mine from Michael’s for like $3 – Birch Plywood
  • 12″x12″ Scrapbook Paper
    • It’s the exact same size which makes life SO MUCH EASIER
  • Chalkboard Paint
  • A piece of chalk (any color)
  • Paint pens (oil based)
    • I used Sharpie, Liquidex and Craft Smart – Anything that won’t wash away with oil
  • Chalk Pen (I used Marvy)
  • Someone to hold the sign


I sanded and painted the front size with two coats of chalkboard paint, letting it dry overnight.

I sketched out a few ideas on notebook paper to figure out what I wanted to do, make sure I had a plan in mind. Next I sketched out some guidelines on the scrapbook paper and used it as a guide in spacing out the words and other lines of the design.

I flipped over the scrapbook paper and colored it in with chalk and then used it to trace a chalk sketch on the board.


Ugh, how blurry! You get the idea though, it reminds me of a rubbing like you would do on old carvings or tombstones (that’s not weird, I swear).


I then went over the chalk with the paint pens: green is Liquidex, silver is Craft Smart, and the white is the oil-based Sharpie. To make it a little more “lettery” or “calligraphied”, I used faux calligraphy tips to make it stand out. The problem was, the top was smushed, so it came out a little funky, but, it still turned out ok.

I started to put the school in, but changed my mind as I was inking the sketch.


I washed the board, making sure it was clean before I used the chalk marker to write her grade.

PLOT TWIST: This girl was definitely NOT going into the third grade… luckily, it was a chalk pen so I was able to clean it at my parents house and redo it!


img_7226And there you have it! I gave them the chalk pen so that they can modify it each year.

Next up is Ellie-bean (as seen on the right)!

Hope you enjoyed it! I had a ton of fun making this one! Have you made one? Post below!

Lots of love,


(Gotta get a new tag…)

For more of my lettering and calligraphy, check out my Instagram: @heyheyheatherk!


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