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Wednesday 6 March 2013

Chalkboard Speech Bubble DIY

Last month we celebrated Ava's 6th birthday with a rainbow coloured party. One of my favourite things from the party was the spotty photo booth back drop that I made.

While the photo booth on it's own was pretty great I figured it would be more fun if the kids had props to use in the photos and maybe even something to say. Chalkboard speech bubbles were the perfect fit. Simple and not too distracting in the photos, but still fun and completely customisable.

Chalkboard speech bubble photo booth props

Due to time constraints I had originally hoped to just pick up some pre-made props on a trip to Paper Source to pick up party supplies. I was so sure that I had seen chalkboard speech bubbles there in the past but it seems it was in my imagination! Never mind. What they did carry, however, was everything I needed to make my own.

Here's a look at how I made the blackboard speech bubbles and how you can make your very own too. They're quick and easy to make - even the night before the party like I did!

What you'll need
Thick cardboard
Vinyl chalk board panels (I used Wallies Peel & Stick Chalkboard)
Stick to hold (I used tongue depressor sticks)
Masking tape
Craft knife
Cutting board

Here's how you do it

Start by working out the shape that you'd like to make your speech bubbles. I decided to go with a rectangular shape with rounded corners simply because it was easier to cut out with my craft knife that a completely round shape. If I'd had more time I would have made one of them an oval shape instead.
Either draw your speech bubble shape directly onto the cardboard or, if you're drawing skills aren't that great you can do what I did and just print one from the standard shapes in Photoshop and trace around it. A quick Google Image search will bring up tonnes that you can enlarge and trace as well.

Once I had my shape traced onto my cardboard I cut it out with a craft knife.

With the cardboard shape cut out you're ready to add the vinyl chalk board panel. Peel the backing off the vinyl panel and lay it face down on a hard surface. Position the cardboard shape carefully over the top and press down once your happy with the position. Make sure you position the cardboard on the vinyl panel with at least 1cm space around the edges. You'll need to fold the excess vinyl over the edges to hold it securely. The vinyl panel is re-positionable so if you don't get it quite right the first time you'll be able to move it.

Position the cardboard shape directly onto the vinyl panel and  cut it out

Cut out the vinyl panel using the cardboard shape as your template. Make sure you leave at least 1cm excess around the sides.

Once you have cut out the vinyl panel shape you can start folding the edges over to secure it in place. This is where working with straight edges rather than an oval shape comes in handy again. The rounded corners on my shape were a little tricky to get smooth. I made lots of little snips into the vinyl and folded them down one at a time, smoothing as I went.

Fold the excess vinyl over to secure in place

As the vinyl panel is re-positionable you may find that it doesn't stick to your cardboard quite as securely as you like. I used making tape on the back of the speech bubbles to hold the vinyl down as it lifted in certain places.

Secure the stick in place with masking tape on the back of the cardboard. I used tongue depressors but you could use anything else you have on hand. You could even leave the stick off and just hold the speech bubble by the bottom if you prefer.

And now you're done!

Finished chalk board speech bubbles

All that's left to do is add your message. I found that the standard school chalk that came with the chalkboard panels scratched up the vinyl a little as I wrote/drew with it. Liquid chalk markers work much better as they don't scratch the vinyl, the colour is more vibrant and the message can't accidentally be rubbed off as it only comes off with water.

Now that you have your chalkboard speech bubbles get out there and take some fun photos!


Photo fun

Speech bubbles are fun 


  1. This is such a cool idea! Did the chalk wash off well enough to reuse these another time?

    1. Thanks! The liquid chalk marker washed off completely with a damp cloth and we've been able to use them again.


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