The first day of school is an exciting time for kids of all ages. It's important to preserve those memories because they are very fleeting. I created this First Day of School Sign to use from Kindergarten through Senior year of high school. Who knows I may even trot it out when my son goes off to college!
I love making things. There is a certain sense of satisfaction to putting in the time and having something pretty to show for it at the end. Given how special our relationships are with our kids, it's fun to customize something for them specially. This sign can be customized in many different ways, from colors of vinyl used to size to how you decorate the schoolhouse to the color of chalkboard markers you use each year. You can experiment with it and have fun making it your own!
DIY First Day of School
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This is a medium complexity sign to make. While with some signs you can use scissors, this is MUCH easier to make using a Cricut machine (I have the Cricut Maker and I LOVE it). Simply put, a Cricut machine is an automated device that cuts out designs or patterns that you create on the Cricut Design Space app (which is very similar to Adobe Illustrator). You can use all sorts of materials – from paper to leather to wood to material to many others – to make whatever you can dream up. I have to say, it's really cool and fun!
I created both an SVG file and a PDF file (which are fancy terms for the patterns) for the design. You can get both templates for free in my Resource Library or by clicking below:
Materials Needed to Make the First Day of School Sign
- Cricut Premium Vinyl Sampler or Cricut Primary Vinyl Sampler both provide great colors for this project.
- Black Cricut Premium Vinyl
- Picture frame – project as shown uses this 11″ X 14″ frame
- Chalkboard contact paper allows for re-usable signage each year!
- Cricut machine, or scissors
- Cricut tweezers (only come as part of a toolset) or other craft tweezers – highly recommend using these as the letters are small and these make them much easier to place
- Chalkboard Markers – the base of the sign is chalkboard material and these chalkboard markers work great!
STEP 1: Uploading the SVG File
Download the SVG file from the Resource Library and upload it into Cricut Design Space. The file will look like this:
STEP 2: Cutting the Sign
Next, choose your desired colors of vinyl and cut per the Cricut machine prompts. When you are finished you should have the following pieces:
PLEASE NOTE: If you don't have a Cricut machine and want to cut the pieces out by hand, you can use the PDF file (also available in the Resource Library) as a guide.
STEP 3: Assembling the Frame
Take apart the picture frame, carefully removing all pieces behind the backing.
Roll out the chalkboard material so you have a piece big enough to cover the glass.
Using the glass as a guide, mark where to cut the chalkboard paper to fit the glass from the frame. Cut the chalkboard paper to size.
Line up the cut-to-size chalkboard paper with the edge of the glass. Slowly begin attaching it to the glass, pulling the backing paper away as you roll it out onto the glass. Carefully smooth the paper as you go to remove any air pockets that may form. When finished you should have a fully covered glass ready to go back in the picture frame.
Reassemble the picture frame with the chalkboard covered glass facing out. This will be the base for the sign.
STEP 4: Adding Letters and Pictures to the Sign
Cut the letters for the “First Day of School” section at the top of the sign. Cut the letters into small squares so you can space them evenly prior to sticking them to the sign. Do not yet remove the vinyl backing. I attached both ends of the crayon (in blue) at the top, keeping them even using an extra piece of chipboard I had. You can also use a ruler to do this. I then spaced out the blocks of letters to see how they would need to fit.
Begin placing the letters, checking the spacing and keeping all letters even.
HELPFUL HINT: This is where the Cricut Tweezers or craft tweezers come in handy. The tweezers allow for much easier placement and handling of the small letters. HIGHLY recommend using them!
Finish placing all letters on the top of the sign.
Next, figure out where you want to put the schoolhouse. Using the ruler or chipboard, make sure it's straight and even with the bottom of the sign.
Now place all remaining pieces of schoolhouse decoration on the schoolhouse. Next, using the bottom of the schoolhouse as a guide, place the bottom blue rectangle on the sign keeping it even with the bottom of the schoolhouse. Place the “Year” letters above it with the backing on (so you can make sure of placement prior to attaching). Attach the other blue rectangle above the “Year” letters. Finally, attach the “Grade” letters above the top box and attach the “Year” letters above the bottom box.
Your sign is now complete. The final product will look like this:
STEP 5: Using the Sign
I recommend using Chalkboard Markers on this sign as they provide bright and bold writing.
Where do I Get the SVG and PDF Files?
You can download the SVG and PDF files for this specific project by clicking below:
All of my free guides, how-tos, and more can also be found in my Resource Library. You can gain access to that library by clicking below: