Chalkboard Photography 101: Making Them, Faking Them & Free Fonts

first birthday chalkboard photoshootChalkboards are a tremendously popular photo prop these days. In fact, I’d submit they are bordering on trendy.

Chalkboards allow us to cheat the old adage that a picture can say a thousand words—allowing us to sneak a few actual words in the picture. There are lots of uses for chalkboards, but the most popular these days are to use them for major milestones including birth announcements for newborn photos, growth progress charts, birthdays, engagements, weddings and anniversaries. To see a few samples, check out our Pinterest board on chalkboards. (And don’t forget to follow KKP Photography!)

How To Make A Chalkboard

Of course, it is not necessary to build your own chalkboard. They are readily available and fairly cheap at places like Target and Michael’s. Etsy also has plenty of creatives that will help you pull off the art and design part of the process. There are even some boards out there that are half way done, where you just have to fill in the answers. For an example, check out the birthday photo on the top of this post. The mom bought it mostly done and just filled in the answers. This is great, as she is expecting another baby later this year and can reuse the board for both children across the years.

If you are planning on going on your own, it’s worth it to peruse Etsy and Pinterest for inspiration. If you’d like to build a chalkboard, you can do it pretty easily—and for cheap. We made a huge sandwich board for about $30. We documented it in our DIY Chalkboard Sandwich Board blog and video below:

How To Fake A Chalkboard

This year, we’ve used two methods to “cheat” the chalkboard look. First, we did some event photos for Park Tavern that were photobooth style. For those, we got some simple frames and black cardstock from a local office supply store, and a white paint pen. Then it was just a matter of drawing on the paper and placing them in the frames since we managed to get paper and frames the same size. Assuming you have a printer that could print white, you could even print on this paper.

Chalkboard fake using paper and pen

Another fake is to draw on the photo itself in photoshop. This one is a bit more advanced, and one of the reasons you may choose to use a professional for a specific photoshoot. But the results create a very unique look. In our latest example, we planned for this shot and created some variety in the writing using vintage Scrabble letters too. 

birth announcement chalkboard fake

Fabulous & Free Chalkboard Fonts

Now, if you are going to fake a chalkboard look, you will likely spend your first three hours looking at Pinterest for inspiration and then another two hours on Dafont searching for free fonts you like. To save you time, we compiled a list of free fonts that you can use. Importantly, all of these fonts can be used for business or commercial use freely.

Since it is pretty usual to use two to three fonts for a chalkboard to provide depth, when selecting these fonts, we recommend using fonts that complement each other, such a block style font and a script style font. For reference, all the fonts below are drawn at the same pixel height, with the exception of chalk line outline, which needed to lose about 20% of the pixels to fit on the chalkboard.

Free Chalkboard Fonts

Links to the fonts (listed as they appear top to bottom):

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