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First Birthday Chalkboard Poster: Classic Alice in Wonderland

I can’t believe it, but my little niece just turned ONE!  {*sniffle*}  The baby stage just flies by….my little man is almost 18-months-old, and now my little Elena is one.  Where does the time go?!  {*sigh….*}  When my son turned one over the summer, I created a first birthday chalkboard poster for him that we displayed at his dinosaur party, and everyone loved it!

I asked my sister-in-law if she would like me to make a poster for my niece, and she took me up on my offer.  The theme for her birthday bash was Alice in Wonderland (the classic story version, though….not the Disney or Johnny Depp tales).  Here’s what I came up with!

Classic Alice in Wonderland Birthday Chalkboard

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Full Birthday Chalkboard Tutorial: It’s HERE!

Hey you guys… full tutorial for how to make a birthday chalkboard poster is finally here!  Whoop Whoop!!  Find out all the juicy details and learn how to make your own!

How to Make a Birthday Chalkboard Poster | Where The Smiles Have Been


Elena’s Classic Alice in Wonderland First Birthday Chalkboard Poster

I created this poster with the help of my longtime {digital} love, Photoshop Elements:

Classic Alice in Wonderland Birthday Chalkboard


Chalkboard Background: I first opened up a high resolution chalkboard background (you can check out my tutorial for making a chalkboard poster on a Mac for a full explanation on how to find one).

How To Make Your Own Chalkboard Poster on a Mac


LOTS of Fonts: Then I simply added layers (and layers!) of text.  I have HUNDREDS (maybe thousands, actually….only slightly joking) of different fonts that I’ve downloaded, mostly for free, so I would suggest making sure you have a bunch of fun, quirky, unusual, spunky, playful, etc. fonts downloaded as well….they really jazz up a design!

I’ve put together a list of my favorite fonts to use on chalkboards, and then a second list with 50 MORE fabulous and free chalkboard fonts!  Oh, and I’ve also got a list of awesome dingbat fonts to use with chalkboards, too (more info on these below).  Check them out for great inspiration!

Free Chalkboard Fonts 50 MORE Fabulous and Free Chalkboard Fonts Awesome Free Dingbat Fonts for Chalkboards

And if you want, you can even turn your own handwriting into a font for FREE!



Alice in Wonderland Font: The main font that I used in this design was called….wait for it….Alice in Wonderland!  Haha, crazy, I know!  I used this font for the main banners and Favorites section.  Everything else was just a hodge podge of fonts.  Once I had all my info added, I then changed up the colors, sizes, orientation, and/or text effects and moved them to their final locations.

Dingbat Fonts: All of the images (aside from the four Alice sketches) were actually dingbat fonts.  I LOVE using dingbat fonts, especially with chalkboard posters.  They are such an easy way to get doodles, embellishments, ribbons, frames, etc. into your design.  Check out some awesome dingbat fonts that I love to use (oh, and they’re all free!).

Alice in Wonderland PS Brushes: The four Alice in Wonderland images were Photoshop brushes that I found for free online, and they’re the actual sketches from the original story…how neat is that?!  At first I wasn’t really sure how I was going to incorporate them into the design since they are supposed to be a dark sketch on a light background.  But with a chalkboard, the background is obviously the darkest color….when I tried out the images in any of the four colors on the poster, they just looked inverted and ghostly….not what I was hoping for.

So I improvised and created mini white backgrounds for the images (with a dingbat font, of course).  Now it looks like they’re framed pictures….and they coordinate PERFECTLY with Elena’s matching growth chart (more to come on that in the next few weeks!).

Now that my design was complete it was time to print it out and frame it!  But first I needed to transform my thrift store frame….


The Thrift Store Frame

It is one of my missions in life to never pay full price or a huge sum of money for a frame.  I always try and purchase them at thrift stores or close-out stores first….you can find some great quality items for a fraction of the price!  I used a ton of these great finds for my son’s nursery.  Sure, they may need a little (or a lot of) TLC, but that’s part of the fun too.  I’ll only snag a frame at a big-box store if I can get an amazing deal on it, like I did with this 80% off clearance gem from Target!

So, for Elena’s chalkboard poster, I knew I wanted it to be printed as at least an 8″ x 10″ and be housed in a cute (preferably pink) frame.  That way it would not only match the decor for her party, but will also coordinate with the Classic Alice in Wonderland growth chart ruler I’m also making for her (like I mentioned, stay tuned for that!), and be able to hang in her room (which is also Classic Alice-themed) long after the birthday shindig.

I headed out to my local Salvation Army thrift store in search of a hidden treasure.  I had great luck with them for my upcycled Happy Halloween sign, so I was hoping lightning would strike twice {fingers crossed}.

Much to my pleasure, they had this great frame for only $4….FOUR BUCKS.  Sure, it was a little rough around the edges (literally) and needed a paint job, but the price was right and it was the perfect size….plus I loved the white detailing around the inner edge.

Classic Alice in Wonderland Birthday Chalkboard


Deconstructing the Frame

You can see in the pic above that the frame had a paper backing to it.  To remove it, I used a razor blade and sliced the paper away along the inner edge of the frame.  I was praying wondering if I’d find $100,000 or at least a hidden treasure map tucked away inside, but no such luck….nuts!

Classic Alice in Wonderland Birthday Chalkboard

Inside, the matting was being held in place by staples all around the edge.  To free it, I grabbed a flat-tip screwdriver and bent each staple upwards so the matting and glass could now be removed.

Classic Alice in Wonderland Birthday Chalkboard

Once the matting was pried away from the staples, it was easily removed along with the glass.

Classic Alice in Wonderland Birthday Chalkboard


Sanding the Frame

Now that my frame was riding solo, I grabbed some fine sand paper and ran it over the entire surface.  This was to remove who knows how many years of grime and dirt that has accumulated on the surface, as well as to buff out any small scratches and nicks.  It only took a few minutes to sand it by hand, then I washed it off with some soap and water for a final cleaning.

Classic Alice in Wonderland Birthday Chalkboard


Priming the Frame

I then sprayed the front, back, and all edges with some flat white paint and primer.  I wanted the cute little inner detail to remain white (albeit a brighter shade than the original) and the white would also help to conceal the original turquoise, freshen up the back, and allow for the upcoming pink paint to really pop.

Classic Alice in Wonderland Birthday Chalkboard

Speaking of the pink paint….


Painting the Frame

After a couple coats of the white had dried, I taped off the back, inside, and inner detailing with some painter’s tape, then hit the frame up with some berry pink spray paint.  It’s such a cheery, happy color, don’t ya think?  I applied a couple coats, and once they were completely dry, I removed the painter’s tape then brushed on two coats of polycrylic to protect the surface.

Classic Alice in Wonderland Birthday Chalkboard


Cutting the Mat for the Frame

At my local Michaels store, I grabbed a 12″ x 12″ sheet of glittery silver cardstock to cut the new matting out of.  I just measured the entire inner dimensions of the frame and made a box that size in Silhouette Studio, then added another box that was just shy of 8″ x 10″ and centered the two.   Then I loaded up the cardstock on my cutting mat and cut both boxes out with my Silhouette Cameo….and voila!  Instant sparkly mat that is perfect for a little girl!

Classic Alice in Wonderland Birthday Chalkboard


The Completed Classic Alice in Wonderland First Birthday Chalkboard Poster & Frame

I then printed out the file on some 8.5″ x 11″ glossy photo paper and taped it to the back of the new sparkly mat.  Then I reassembled all the components into the frame and hot glued some white felt to the back since the original paper had been permanently removed….it just gave the frame a cleaner look.

And here’s Elena’s final birthday chalkboard poster in its super sparkly silver mat and pretty-in-pink frame:

Classic Alice in Wonderland Birthday Chalkboard

Classic Alice in Wonderland Birthday Chalkboard


Check out this cake!!

Classic Alice in Wonderland Birthday Chalkboard


And how adorable is that little pink smash cake?!

Classic Alice in Wonderland Birthday Chalkboard


Classic Alice in Wonderland Birthday Chalkboard

At Elena’s party, everyone loved this, including Elena’s momma….and everyone knows when Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy, so I was relieved she approved of my creation (I emailed her lots of drafts along the way with “What do you think about this??”, so it wasn’t a total surprise). :)  I hope Elena looks back at this when she’s older and smiles too.  I’m so glad I was able to do this for her and create a little keepsake to document her first year of life.  We love you LeeLee!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Where The Smiles Have Been





Tuesday 8th of December 2015

What font did you use for Elena?


Wednesday 30th of September 2015

Hi there from Siberia. I just wanna say THANK YOU VERY MUCH for your inspiring blog. Wish you the best.


Wednesday 7th of October 2015

Daria, thank YOU so much for taking the time to write such a sweet note! That was so very kind and I truly appreciate it. I'm so happy to hear you've enjoyed what you've found in these parts. That made my day! I wish you nothing but the best as well! :)


Monday 20th of April 2015

Hi Christine! I recently discovered your blog and I love all the projects you do! I've probably spent 10 hours on your blog within the last 48 hours haha. I was just curious what font the dot lines you have separating the different topics was from? And also what font the ladybug came from? I'm making a chalkboard poster (thanks to your blog lol) for my daughter's first birthday and the theme is ladybugs. Thanks in advance!


Tuesday 21st of April 2015

Hey there, Natalie! I'm so happy to hear you've enjoyed what you found here! :) That makes my day, for real!

For your questions about the fonts used, I opened up my Photoshop file again to double check them for you: -The dotted lines are Bergamot Ornaments -The ladybug is Pea Lauren Doodles

Good luck with your daughter's poster! Let me know if you have any other questions, and I'd love to see the final poster once you complete it! :)


Wednesday 28th of January 2015

Have you posted the full tutorial for this yet? I would LOVE to learn how to do this, just downloaded the photoshop elements trial. Thank you!



Saturday 31st of January 2015

Thanks for getting in touch with me on Facebook too, Brittney. ;) Hopefully I'll have the first birthday chalkboard poster tutorial finished in February....all the screen shots and details are taking me a while. I'll get one posted soon though! :)