Back to School Pictures: The Quick and Easy Way


It is officially back to school time in the District, Maryland, and Virginia. While getting uniforms, backpacks, and lunch boxes ready to go, don’t forget about back to school pictures. Or the very first day of school ever pictures.

There is no need for loads of free time or to be oozing in artistic talent to have Instagram worthy back to school pictures. Whether you are a Pinterest Fail or Pinterest Perfect type of person, there are gobs of easy ways to stage quick, easy, and cute back to school pictures.

back to school pictures with reusable chalkboard sign
Photo by Stacey Bowne.

Felt Letter Boards

Plain felt letter boards come in all sizes and colors. This felt letter board has 26 different background color options.  Whether you want a classic black and white look or your school colors, Prime shipping is available from Amazon to get it to you in a flash. Target, Marshall’s, Michael’s, etc. also sell letter boards.

letter board back to school sign
Simple and easy, the felt letter board can be reused to commemorate any occasion. Photo by Blair Percle.

Chalkboard Signs

Chalkboard signs seem to be ubiquitous with back to school pictures.  There are so many ways to do a chalkboard sign for back to school that we are going to break them into three categories:  Custom Chalkboards, DIY Plain Chalkboards, and Faux Chalkboard Signs (Printable Digital Files).  If you order a blank chalkboard or one that needs to be filled in, do not forget to get erasable chalkboard markers so that the wording will show up in your pictures – and you can use the board again.  Of course, chalk works too.

1. Custom Chalkboards 

If you have the budget and time (order now!), there are some genuinely adorable hand-painted chalkboards available on Etsy, like this one.  Some of our favorite reusable back to school chalkboards, where the artist has made a template and you fill in the grade, year, etc. are here, here, here, here, and here.  Target and craft stores also carry a variety of affordable reusable chalkboard back to school signs with cute templates.

Hand painted reusable custom chalkboards for back to school pictures
Etsy has tons of options for hand-painted reusable custom chalkboards for back to school pictures. The talented Jamie Straatmann made these. You can find her on Facebook.

2. DIY Plain Chalkboards 

If you are really feeling creative, use a plain chalkboard, like these larger and smaller chalkboards, and let your creative juices flow. (The smaller chalkboard is 8.5”x10.5” and just $3.37!)  This apple-shaped chalkboard is perfect for back to school pictures.

back to school pictures chalkboard sign
These DIY chalkboards are quick, easy, affordable, and adorable. Photo (and chalkboards!) by Melanie Boudreaux.

3. Faux Chalkboard Signs (Including Printing Digital Files)

Another option is the faux chalkboard sign, aka a piece of paper that looks like a chalkboard back to school sign.  Your child can hold the printed sign, or consider putting the sign in a frame for a more polished look.  If you have a color printer, there are tons of options on Etsy for faux chalkboard signs that are available for download.  They generally come in two varieties, customized files where provide the Etsy seller details for your sign and signs available for instant download.  This customized digital file can be available in two hours.  For others, you purchase and download a template.  Then you can do the editing, meaning you can use this one time purchase for multiple children year after year.

No printer?  No problem.  You can also order printed faux chalkboard signs.  This set of back to school signs includes a first day and last day of school sign for all grades from preschool to college.  The signs are not dated or personalized, which makes them perfect for sharing with siblings and friends.

Felt Pennants 

Felt pennants seem to be all the rage this year. The Beaufort Bonnet Company sells blue, pink, and red pennants that have grades pre-school to fifth grade written on them with white letters.

Another option is making your own pennant. Multicolor (or white) blank felt pennants are available with two-day shipping. The only other supplies you need are felt (or any other material you would like) for the letters, scissors, and glue. (Fabric glue is recommended.)  Or, try this felt with a sticky adhesive back for the letters.

Short on time or cutting out felt letters is not for you?  Then try this Etsy shop, which sells customizable back to school pennants that can be printed.  You can also cut these out and glue them to a dowel rod.

Go to Target, Michael’s, or Any Dollar Store! 

The Target dollar section and back to school section are full of budget-friendly back to school items.  I got fairly large pencils and apples, likely meant for teacher bulletin boards, in the Target dollar section last week.  Any store that sells craft or school supplies likely will have a selection of affordable props that you can use for back to school pictures.

Apple prop for back to school pictures
You never know what seasonal gems you will find in the Target dollar section.

Do you have any cute picture ideas or fun traditions you do on the first day of school? Please share them in the comments!

Disclaimer: This post does contain Amazon Affiliate links. If you choose to purchase through these links, it won’t change your price, but a teeny tiny portion of the sale would go to support our site and we would be so grateful!

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Angelle Smith Baugh
Born and raised on the bayou in South Louisiana, Angelle moved to DC for undergrad at Georgetown. After working on the Hill and Disney's government relations office, Angelle traded-in her Mickey Mouse ears for law school at GW. An election law and white-collar defense attorney at Covington & Burling, Angelle's other full-time job is mom to twin toddlers Emma and Evan (2016). She and her husband Jordan live on Capitol Hill/H Street, where the twins excitedly yell "choo choo" every time they see the streetcar. In her spare time, Angelle scours the internet for coordinating smocked clothing for her twins and dreaming about the international family travel she will do once Emma and Evan learn to sleep or watch feature-length movies on a plane. All posts are her own views.