August 5, 2017

1st Day of School Sign

With Nicole starting school soon I started thinking about all those First Day of School photos we could take. I really liked the idea of doing a chalk board photo, but my calligraphy is about what you’d expect of someone who spends most of her time typing. And is dyslexic. There are places where one can buy a faux sign (like etsy), but then I’d need to keep buying a new one every year, and if the seller I was buying from decided to close up shop I might be not be able to find someone who could duplicate their work. A slightly different font choice, layout or color would drive me absolutely batty. I need things to match, it’s a compulsion. Besides, I’m pretty handy with the graphics program. I should make my own!

I started with this tutorial which included the chalk background.

In my experience, a true white (#FFFFFF) color text was a little too white, and made it obvious the chalk board was fake. Another tutorial recommended #CCCCCC for the color of the text, but that ended up being too gray. A good compromise was #E3E3E3.

Once I had the image designed I was on the hunt for a wide wood (or faux wood) picture frame where I could remove the glass. I settled on this one from target after holding up a few next to an actual chalk board to see how well the wood grain would good with the chalk board texture. I bought three since they were on sale, and I will one day have three kids in school simultaneously.

I printed the image on heavy card stalk. The card stalk had a nice grain texture which helped with the realism of the chalk board. The heavier the cardstalk, the stiffer the paper and the less likely it is to bow without the glass to keep it pressed flat.

Finally, I removed the stand from the back, and taped over the hooks so they wouldn’t catch on Nicole’s clothes when she held up the sign.

I am very happy with how the sign turned out. Best of all, since I used my own graphics program it will be a snap to go in and change the grade level, or the career aspirations every year. I like it when I make things easy for my future self.

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