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The Easiest DIY Back-to-School Photo Accessory

Celebrate the start of your little one’s school year with this colorful, creative keepsake.

This story is sponsored by Krylon®, the spray paint brand that can easily restore, refresh, recolor, and revive any project.

Back-to-school photos are a right of passage for kids as they move from pre-K to kindergarten to first grade and beyond. And while as a parent you cherish those pictures because they capture your child’s growth from one year to the next, too often those photographs end up looking bland.

To celebrate the excitement and joy of your child’s first day of school, you want a photograph that feels personal — details that make it clear this is not the plastic comb and “say cheese” picture taken against a black backdrop en masse in your child’s school gymnasium.

With this project, you’ll create an unforgettable way to commemorate your child’s first day of classes. You’ll build your own customized chalkboard frame for your child to hold while you snap a pic, bringing warmth and whimsy to a photo you’ll keep forever. Even better, this chalkboard can be re-used year after year for photos — or any time your kid wants to play teacher.

All you need to do this project are some basic supplies plus Krylon® Chalky Finish Paint and Krylon® Chalkboard Paint. Let’s get started

What You’ll Need:

  • 2-by-4-foot sheet of plywood
  • Old picture frame
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Electric wood cutter
  • Goggles
  • Sander/sandpaper
  • Krylon® Chalky Finish Paint in Waterfall
  • Krylon® Chalkboard Paint in Black
  • Hot glue gun
  • Chalk
  • Self-adhesive stickers and embellishments
  • Scissors

Step One: Create the Frame and Chalkboard Insert

Sand off the finish of the old picture frame, then apply a coat of Krylon® Chalky Finish Paint in Waterfall, using steady, even strokes.

Lay your 2-by-4-foot sheet of plywood on a flat surface. Using a ruler and pencil, mark a rectangle that, when cut, will fit inside the picture frame. Cut out the square with your electric wood cutter.

Step Two: Create the Chalkboard Surface

Grab a can of Krylon® Chalky Finish Paint, shake well, and spray one side of the rectangle, holding the canister about a foot away from the surface and using steady, even motions as you go. Allow the chalkboard surface to dry for 24 hours.

Step Three: Create a Chalkboard

After 24 hours, take a stick of chalk and cover the entire surface of the chalkboard. Immediately erase the chalk — this process allows the chalkboard paint to set properly, and it is now ready for use.

Step Four: Complete the Frame

Use a hot glue gun to secure the chalkboard surface to the frame.

Now that the frame is complete, you’ll want to make it your own. Decorate the frame with self-adhesive embellishments in colors that pop and shapes that reflect a back-to-school theme. Go with pencil and crayon shapes, numerals and letters, apples, stars, sneakers, and anything else that captures your child’s hobbies.

Or, make your frame decorations by drawing fun shapes on a sheet of plywood, cutting them out with a woodcutter, and spray painting them with Krylon® Fusion All-In-One™ in vibrant colors such as Gloss Jungle Green or Satin Lagoon Blue. Secure the colorful accents to the frame using superglue.

Finally, complete the project by having your child write their name on the chalkboard, as well as the grade they’ll be entering and the date.  Because the surface is erasable, you can update with new info each year, or for each kid.