Wow, hard to believe summer is coming to an end! Does it seem like time flies faster every year? Well, if you’re excited about the school year starting, I have another reason for you to get even more excited! Here is a tutorial on how to make your very own “First Day of School” Chalkboard featuring Silhouette’s chalkboard vinyl material. This was the first time I used this type of vinyl and it is such a neat and easy-to-use specialty material!

You Will Need:

Step One: Create the Header to Your Design in Silhouette Studio®

  1. Open a new file with the page size of 12in x 12in. TIP: Give yourself a 1in margin all around if you choose to frame this chalkboard.
  2. Using the Text tool, type “my first day of” in the font of your choice. Weld the text if necessary. Center the text to the page and place it near the top of your design file.
  3. Drop in Design ID #72809, keep the most bottom banner, and delete the others. You may need to ungroup the set to separate the banners. If you like the look of another banner, feel free to use it! Lots of options to make this chalkboard your very own! That’s the beauty of Silhouette projects!
  4. Resize the banner so that it’s wide enough to write your child’s school grade.

Step Two: Create the Fun Facts to Your Design in Silhouette Studio®

  1. Add “age” text and a dotted circle underneath and center-align both pieces to each other. I made my circle with a 2.75in diameter with 7.75pt thickness. The dotted style is the second option in the drop-down list.
  2. Let’s modify the dotted circle so that Silhouette cuts an outline of the dots. Otherwise, if left as-is, Silhouette will simply puncture a hole in the middle of each dot. To see what I am describing, click on the Send tab within the Send panel. This allows you to preview the cut lines. TIP: I recommend doing this every time before you send your projects to cut! #yourewelcome

    • Open the Trace Panel and then select your Trace Area.
    • Click and drag a box around the dotted circle.
    • Under Trace Preview, select Outline.
    • Under Trace Style, select Trace Outer Edge.
    • Click on the original dotted circle, delete it, and what is left is an outline of your dotted circle.
  3. Create a Rounded Rectangle with 1.00pt thickness. My rectangle is 7.5in wide by 3.6in tall.
  4. Next, create an internal offset of the rounded rectangle with a 0.075in distance and round corners.
  5. Within the Rounded Rectangle, add the words “when I grow up, I want to be a”
  6. Copy the pieces of steps 1 and 2. Drop them in the bottom right area of the 12in x 12in design. Change the text from “age” to “date” and moved it below the dotted circle.
  7.  Then, copy the pieces of steps 3-5 and make the following modifications:
    • Change text to “I am excited to learn” (or feel free to make your own prompt!)
    • Resize inside rounded rectangle to 2.35in tall (keep the same width)
    • Resize outside rounded rectangle to 2.50in tall (again, keep the same width)
  8. Lastly, copy the text box from step 7 and revise the text to “my teacher is” as well as reduce your text size.

Hooray! Do a happy dance! You have finished your chalkboard design!

Step Three: Send to Silhouette

  1. Feed chalkboard vinyl directly into Silhouette machine as there’s no need for the cutting mat.
  2. Send to Silhouette with proper cut settings. TIP: I recommend choosing Double Cut to ensure a clean cut.
  3. Weed out the actual words and shapes. We are using the negative space for this project.
  4. Apply transfer tape on top of the chalkboard vinyl. TIP: It’s easiest to unroll the transfer tape as from one edge to the other.
  5. Remove the backing on the chalkboard vinyl. So now you just have transfer tape layer plus chalkboard vinyl layer.
  6. Next, carefully apply 12in x 12in white cardstock to the chalkboard vinyl. TIP: Re-read that…apply cardstock to vinyl. To do this, place your vinyl face down so that the back of your vinyl (sticky side) is facing up. Align one edge of your cardstock paper to one edge of your chalkboard vinyl and smooth your hand across so that the two layers become one.
  7. Carefully remove the transfer tape layer. NOTE: Small and skinny pieces may need to be manually readjusted. This is no fault of the product; it’s simply because there is not enough surface area for it to stick.
  8. Insert your finished piece into a 12in x 12in frame with the glass removed or placed behind the sign.
  9. And now for the most fun part of this project! Ask your child to answer the chalkboard prompts and fill-in their answers using the chalk marker!

What I love about this project is that it’s reusable! With a damp cloth, you can wipe away the chalk writing and jot down new answers each year. Kids say the darndest things so I can’t wait to see what mine will say. Gosh, I hope nothing too embarrassing to write down!

You can also change the top line to “my last day of” and capture your child’s favorite memories from the school year. So many possibilities, my crafty friends!

What prompts will you put on your sign?