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Two years ago, when I first became aware of the chalkboard craze, I found a beautiful vintage frame at a garage sale, bought some cheap bead-board, and created a large framed chalkboard. It looked so beautiful hung above the blue couch I reupholstered in my college room! After I left the University, I knew the framed chalkboard had not yet seen its last days of usefulness… I would use it for a wedding seating chart!
Originally, I had planned on asking my friend to write out every name in a white ink pen (she has very cute handwriting, unlike mine)…. Yikes! Talk about daunting… Although she graciously offered to do it, the more I thought about it and the repercussions of making a mistake or calculating the spacing off, I realized I would need to figure out another way.
While perusing pinterest looking at other chalkboard seating charts, I came across one for sale on etsy that looked printed. I clicked on it and realized it was a pdf for sale with a chalkboard background. Hmmm…. it was then that I recalled that a lady at Mr. Fancee’s home church told me about a deal at Staple’s where you can buy huge black and white ‘engineer prints’ for under $7. 🙂 So I set out to design my own printable chalkboard seating chart in Microsoft Word. (One of my favorite places to design because of my ridiculous collection of fonts!) In the end it turned out incredible, without any stress involved. We got so many nice compliments on it, and it was seriously so simple! Below is a tutorial for how to create your own (faux) chalkboard seating chart.
If anyone is interested in using the template I created for our chalkboard seating chart, I’ve provided a download link below. First, please download and install the necessary fonts to preserve the formatting.
- Chalk Hand Lettering Shaded
- Senandung Malam (3D Regular)
- Bergamont Ornaments
- Handwriting Draft
- Handy George
DIY Chalkboard Seating Chart (in Word!)
1. Compile your Guest List
Make sure you have them sorted alphabetically and know which tables you have them placed at. You can do this right in the Word Document, or in Excel and just paste in a ‘text only’ version.
2. Configure your Document
Open up Word and set the document size to a ratio that works with your chosen frame. (You can do this under page layout / size / more paper sizes / custom size) For instance, my frame was 2′ by 4′ so I set my document at 9″ x 18″. Ultimately all that matters is the ratio because Staples will scale it to your desired size.
3. Insert Chalkboard Background
I downloaded this free printable. After you download and save, insert the photo into your Word doc and Stretch it to the edges of the document. Next, right click and set the image wrap to ‘behind text.’
4. Add Text
Start entering in the wording as you would like it to appear. Use text boxes for the introductory wording on top. Then, in page layout / columns select the number of columns you will need for your chart. I did three.
Make sure to use the ruler on the top and left side of the document to position the columns how you like them.
4. Download Free Chalkboard Fonts
You can really use any font you want for this project, but some especially help with the chalkboard effect. This site provides a very helpful collection of chalkboard fonts, background, ornaments, and tips.
Also, I used a banner from the Graphics Fairy. It took some manipulating… (I’m sure there is a better/easier way to do this) I edited it in Picassa and used the duo-tone processing (I think it’s in creative kit) to make the banner lines white and the background some other color. Then, after putting it in Word, I used the ‘set transparent color’ tool (under picture tools / format / color ) to create a transparent background leaving only the white banner.
Here is mine after Picassa editing: (you can copy and paste it into your document and use the method above for transparency)
(click image for higher resolution)
Here it is again with the wording inside.
(click image for higher resolution)
5. Format and Number
Once you have all of the fonts set as you like them, add periods after the names and then their table number. I don’t have a great trick for aligning them all. I just did my best and eyeballed it.
6. Save as a PDF and Print
Save the document as a pdf so none of your formatting is lost in the printing process. Then take it on a flash drive to Staples and ask for an engineer print in your needed dimensions. When you get your print back, attach it to the cardboard backing of the frame (or in my case, duck tape it to the beadboard) and attach the frame.
Now you have a beautiful and personalized chalkboard seating chart with no handwriting woes! Best of luck 🙂
Below is a ‘pinnable’ version. Feel free to share or comment! Also, if you are interested in using my template, you can download it here.