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How to Make a Reversible First Day of School Sign with Chalkboard Paint

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How to make back to school photo signs.

How to make reversible first day of school signs that flip for the last day of school. These can be made easily with chalkboard paint, a piece of wood, and the Cricut Air 2. 

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We start school here in September and G has his first year of elementary school. It’s crazy how time flies! I wanted to make a sign for photos for school this year- something they can use each year and preferably something that was reversible so it would work for the last day of school too. I love how these came out. I made one for his brother who is in preschool too.

Supplies Supplies listed below may include affiliate links to the products.


I took some square wood panels that I got at the craft store from the canvas/painting section. These were the perfect size for what I wanted. I painted each side with chalk paint- the first coat on each side was horizontal and the second coat was vertical.


1st Day of School Sign Supplies


Once dried, I flipped the board and did the other side.


Painted chalkboard signs.


Prep your chalkboard with chalk. This just involves rubbing chalk all over the surface. I recommend using a chalk color that will look nice against the paint color you chose. In the video I used a cloth to hold my chalk because (shudder) I can’t even with rubbing chalk across a surface. 


Don't forget to prep 1st day of school chalkboard signs.


Method 1: Using Permanent Vinyl 

Now you can print your base words on permanent adhesive vinyl and use transfer paper to add it to your boards. I used the “first day of school” images for the front and the “last day of school” images for the back.


651 Vinyl to use on the Back to School Chalkboard Signs.

It was really hard to weed… I’m not sure if it was my font choices or what, but ugh. And all the dots! Phew. I think it’s doable if you really work at it and take your time, but my patience was running low so I decided to try method 2 for the other sides.

But I do love how it came out! I’m a little concerned that the lettering or smaller pieces may come off… normally I’d seal with mod podge, but in this case that would make the chalkboard area unusable, defeating the purpose.

DIY Chalkboard sign using 651 vinyl.


Method 2: Using Indoor Vinyl as a Stencil to Paint

After getting frustrated with weeding the permanent vinyl, I decided to try reverse weeding and using the vinyl as a stencil. I found this easier. I did use permanent vinyl initially to do this, but I think indoor vinyl would be a better option.


Removable or permanent vinyl can be used as a stencil for a 1st day of school chalkboard sign.

Once you’ve weeded it all, you use transfer paper to apply it to your 12×12 board.

Transfer paper used to place the vinyl onto the First Day of School chalkboard sign.


DIY stencil using permanent or removable vinyl for a First Day of School Chalkboard Sign

Then you can use the vinyl as a stencil, applying a coat or two of paint.

Stenciling lettering for a 1st Day of School Chalkboard Sign.



Once the paint dries, just peel off the vinyl. This is where the removable vinyl would probably be a better option. I felt like the permanent vinyl wasn’t gentle on the paint when I removed it. It didn’t do a ton of damage, but it might have been easier and less worrisome with indoor vinyl.

I think both methods achieved pretty much the same look so go with what seems easiest to you!

Video Tutorial


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Yes, I know I photoshopped the words in when I should have written them with chalk, but I’m an asthmatic lefty who is better at photoshop than writing neatly so…. photoshop it is! Haha.

DIY Back to School Sign: Reversible for the Last Day of School too!


How to Make Reversible First and Last Day of School Chalkboard Signs!


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Thanks for Reading! -DIYDanielle
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