How to Make a Reusable First-Day-of-School Sign

Commemorate important milestones in your child's life with these easy-to-make chalkboard back-to-school signs.

Two Kids Holding Signs

First Day of School Sign Cover2

Mark each year of a new school year with a reusable first day of school sign.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

A first-day-of-school sign with your kids' photo is a great idea whether you're just looking to post them on social media or years from now you want to make it easy to remember who was in which grade in what year. Instead of making a new sign each year, make this reusable sign now and you'll have it for years to come. It'll be one less thing to do during the next busy back-to-school season.

Wood Board, Paint, Pens and Ruler

First Day of School Sign Supplies

Only a few supplies are need to make a reusable sign for the first day of school.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Tools and Materials

  • wood plaque
  • chalkboard paint
  • paint pens
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • chalk


Painting Onto Board

Paint the Board with Chalkboard Paint First Day of School Sign

Paint two coats of chalkboard paint onto the wood board.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Cover the wood plaque with chalkboard paint. You will need at least two coats of paint. Let it dry thoroughly.


Black Wood Plaque and Paper

Make a Template for First Day of School Sign

Make a template before you paint it onto your board.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

You can freehand your design. However, it’s easier to plan it out beforehand to avoid mistakes. Use a piece of paper roughly the same size as the wood plaque. Draw a grid with the pencil on the wood board and the paper to help you line up the words and design.


Black Wood Plaque and Pink Paint Pen

Paint on a Design On Your First Day of School Sign

Use a paint pen to add designs to your sign.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

When you have your design planned out, transfer it to the board. This is where the grid comes in handy. Use the paint pens to create your design.


Black Sign with Pink Writing

Embellish First Day of School Sign

Add more embellishments to your sign.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

After you get the main area filled, embellish with more designs. Try adding swirls and other freehand doodles. Gently erase the grid lines with a pencil when you are done.

Say "Cheese"

Two Kids Holding Signs

Remember the First Day of School Cover1

The first day of school is swiftly approaching, remember each year with this easy to make sign.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Use chalk or a liquid chalk pen to add the current grade on the bottom half of the sign. Next year, wipe off the old grade and add the new. If you have several kids and don’t have the time to make individual signs, keep the name area blank and use chalk to add the different names between shots. However you decided to personalize it, a reusable first day of school sign is the perfect way to get school started on the right foot.

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