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How to Make a Birthday Chalkboard Photo Prop on the Cheap

Learn how to make a birthday chalkboard photo prop and jazz up any celebration! It’s perfect for smash cake sessions for a first birthday, graduations, and more!

How to Make a Birthday Chalkboard Photo Prop.


How to Make a Birthday Chalkboard Photo Prop on the Cheap

My littlest man just turned one, so you know what that means…I went and made another birthday chalkboard poster!

Here’s the first birthday chalkboard poster I made (both the black and white and colored versions) when my oldest turned one and we displayed it at his dinosaur first birthday party:

First Birthday Chalkboard Poster.


Here are a couple other birthday chalkboard posters I made for my oldest niece: an Alice in Wonderland one as well as a a zoo-themed one:

Alice in Wonderland First Birthday Chalkboard Poster.

Zoo-Themed Birthday Chalkboard Poster.


Yep, my love for digital chalkboards continues, and today I’m back with another installment in my All Things Chalkboard series.

This time I’m sharing all the details on how to create the cutest birthday chalkboard photo prop for any bash.

And it’s on the cheap, too!


Birthday Chalkboard Photo Prop Supplies

Here’s what I used for this birthday chalkboard photo prop:

That’s it!


Create Your Birthday Chalkboard Poster Design OR Purchase One

Get Your DIY On!

I make all of my chalkboard posters in Photoshop Elements, which is the much-cheaper-but-just-as-powerful version of the full non-Elements Photoshop program.

And you’re in luck because I’ve already shared all the nitty gritty details on how to make a birthday chalkboard poster, so make sure you check that out if you’re thinking of making your own design.

Trust me, it is NOT difficult at all, even for a Photoshop novice.


It’s just about adding a bunch of layers of text, fun dingbats, and/or other embellishments.

Nothing fancy or too technical and you can easily teach yourself in no time.

How to Make a Birthday Chalkboard Poster.


Plus, I’ve even got a collection of some cool free dingbat fonts that go great with birthday chalkboard posters as well as a roundup of awesome FREE chalkboard fonts that are perfect for birthday posters that you can check out too!

The Best Free Fonts for Birthday Chalkboard Posters.


And if you’d like a little more help with using layers in Photoshop, check out how I made our custom illustrated family portrait for more details!

Make Your Own Illustrated Family Portrait.


Purchase a Pre-Made Birthday Chalkboard Poster Design!

If you don’t feel like going the DIY route, no problem!

Just check out Etsy or Amazon.

You can find TONS of options for sale that either create the whole poster design for you, or at least give you a foundation for you to add in the details.

Some sellers offer digital files that you can download and then print (just make sure you purchase one that is large enough for printing and displaying at your desired size), while others offer printing services too.


My Birthday Chalkboard Poster Design

Below is my final design for Brayden’s first birthday chalkboard. It’s much simpler than the other posters I’ve made for my older son and niece.

Hey, that’s what you get when you’re the second child and your Momma whips up something just days before you turn one instead of tweaking it for months like she did for your older brother.

Ha! Firstborns get all the good stuff. :)

Notice just some of the layers on the right and how long that scroll bar is…told ya that it’s all about layering!

A little tip: I would suggest adding a little box or border to your design before printing.

Since my frame didn’t already have a mat (and I didn’t feel like buying or DIYing one), I added a simple white skinny box using the Line tool.

This really jazzed up the design once it was displayed in the frame…and I’m kicking myself for not doing it to the other posters I’ve made!

How to Make a Birthday Chalkboard Photo Prop in Photoshop.


Print Design as a Poster Print or Board

You can of course use a frame of any size, and I had an old large 16″ x 20″ one laying around that previously housed one of our wedding pics.

However, since we moved last year, that picture has been collecting dust in our guest room’s closet, so I decided this would be the perfect way to reuse the frame.

Therefore, I ordered a poster print from Costco in the corresponding size for only $6.99.

Yes, that’s it!

Costco also sells poster boards that are, well, hard boards instead of flimsy paper.

This would be nice if you didn’t have a frame to pop a print into and could therefore just use the board as your display.

For a 16″ x 20″ like I used, Costco sells them for only $14.99. Not too bad either!

Once my design was finished, I made sure it was sized as a 16″ x 20″ then saved it as a .JPEG with a max Image Quality of 12 as it was already set to a resolution of 300 PPI (this is the minimum resolution you want to use with anything you’re printing).

I then uploaded it to Costco’s online photo center.

You can use any office supply store or photo service that offers photo prints, but I prefer Costco since they’re the cheapest that I’ve found.

Like half the price of everyone else.

The 16″ x 20″ poster print only cost $6.99, and after tax, it came out to only $7.62. Woot!

Costco Poster print sizes and prices.


Brayden’s Birthday Chalkboard Photo Prop

I picked up the poster print from my local Costco the following day then popped it into the frame.

And here it is!

This birthday chalkboard photo prop that we displayed for Brayden’s big day was the cutest little addition! It turned out SO nice.

I also had a 5×7 made to add to Brayden’s baby book. Memories… :)

First Birthday Chalkboard Photo Prop.


We had a simple little shindig for Brayden here at home with just the grandparents (sorry, but again, welcome to life as the second born), so we plopped him and his chalkboard in the backyard for his smash cake session.

Momma here was the photographer. *pats self on the back*

This was the easiest, cutest, and most affordable piece of {personalized} birthday decor ever.

It really made my little man’s first birthday extra special…and it didn’t hurt that it was placed next to an absolutely adorable model. :)

First Birthday Chalkboard Photo Prop and smash cake.


Another Display Option: For my oldest son’s first birthday, I printed his birthday chalkboard out from Staples as a black and white engineering print (this was back when color posters were still WAY expensive).

I then attached it to a piece of foam board with some spray adhesive and added a decorative border with some cute washi tape.

First Birthday Chalkboard Poster.


Other Chalkboard Designs I’ve Created

Here are some other birthday chalkboards I’ve created for my oldest son, Rowan, as well as for my niece, Elena:

And if you think chalkboards are only for birthdays, think again!

Here are some other non-birthday ones I’ve shared:

How to Make a Birthday Chalkboard Photo Prop.


All Things Chalkboard!

Don’t miss my All Things Chalkboard series where I cover, well, all things related to creating digital birthday (or other) chalkboards: fabulous fonts of all kinds, using Photoshop or Preview on a Mac, making a festive birthday banner, and more!

All Things Chalkboard Series at Where The Smiles Have Been.


Thanks so much for stopping by!

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