November 13, 2012

Making Chalkboard Art on PicMonkey

(In the spirit of full disclosure ('cause I'm a former Girl Scout and all that) - I am now an affiliate partner with PicMonkey and this post contains an affiliate link to their site. If you buy a product through them, I will receive a small commission. Not enough to buy a pony, but maybe enough to keep my thrift store habit going. And, of course, I only recommend products I use and LOVE myself.)

I've had a lot of questions about my chalkboard inspired header.

The Cliff Notes version would be:
  • I created it in Photoshop.
  • Used a blackboard digital paper as the background.
  • Used different fonts to create the wording and the leafy items.
  • Added the typewriter by taking an existing photo that I had of my typewriter, used the magic extractor feature in Photoshop to remove the background, used the Pencil Sketch effect on the photo to make it look like a line drawing and then converted it to black and white while increasing the contrast so it popped a little.
Since not a lot of my followers have Photoshop, I have decided not to do a tutorial on making it in that program. And let's face it, if you do have Photoshop, then you probably already know how to do something similar.

I did decide to do a tutorial on how you can do something similar in PicMonkey though, since that seems to be a program that a lot of bloggers gravitated to after Picnik closed its doors.

PicMonkey Blackboard Art Tutorial

What you need to start off with is an image that looks like a blackboard. You can download a free blackboard background image at Foolish Fire or buy one at Two Peas In A Bucket. I bought mine from Two Peas, because for $4.00 you got two different chalkboard colors (black and green) plus six other papers that I may use for something else.

These come as jpeg files just like your normal photos do, so you are just basically writing text on top of your chalkboard image just like you can write text on top of a photo. Just remember where you save the jpeg.

Go to and click on Edit A Photo. A box will pop up with your computer files on it, so just pick the chalkboard image that you had saved previously.

When your chalkboard image is showing in PicMonkey, you need to click on the P icon which signifies Text.

It will give you different font styles that you can pick from. In this instance, I used Quentin Caps for the word Announcing. I picked a white color as the color I wanted my type to be in. Although it isn't showing on the screen, I changed the fade from 0% to 8%, just to lighten the harshness of the text. Chalk isn't super duper bright on a chalkboard.

I moved the word Announcing up a little and then worked on the word PicMonkey, choosing the font Lobster Two for it.

And then on to the words Chalkboard and Art. I chose the Sketch Block font for that.

Then on to the fun stuff.

To add festive shapes to the chalkboard, you click on the bubbles, hearts and stars icon which signifies Overlays. There are lots of shapes to choose from, but in this instance I chose one of the stars and placed it where I wanted it to appear.

I then placed some viney items on the top, from the Floral section of the Overlays. I used the same item on the right hand side and just flipped it (one of the arrows is pointing to the flip tools).

And yuck, at this point I decided that I did not like the stars anymore.

So I replaced them with more viney things.  Much better.

I clicked on the nuclear icon that signifies Basic Edits and cropped down my chalkboard to get rid of the excess.

I saved it by clicking on the Save button

and chose to change from the Pierce size

to the Roger size, which saved a little on kb size. I have been trying to reduce page load time (the time it takes my blog to load up onto your screen) with my blog and the smaller the kb the better.

And you're done.

The problem I see with PicMonkey is that it has preloaded fonts and according to their Help section, it does not appear that you can use any other fonts than those. In both Picasa and Photoshop, you can go to any of the cool Freebie font sites and pick and choose some pretty nifty fonts.

Here are some of my favorites for chalkboards:

All fonts were downloaded from, except for Monterey BT from A-Z Fonts and Great Vibes from Font Squirrel

The links to some of my favorite FREE font sites are:

A-Z fonts
Font Squirrel

Beware - font sites are addictive. You will soon be redesigning your Coke can's logo in your sleep.

Oh, and dingbats!!! Not calling you a dingbat, but there are things called dingbats that I am sort of addicted to. Love them. You will type a letter in a dingbat font and a graphic pops up. For instance the little leaf type thing in my header is a capital letter S in the Bergamot font, which is a dingbat.

Sure, PicMonkey has something similar in their Overlay section, but there are some pretty fun dingbats out there on the web and they are pretty much a requirement in authentic chalkboard looks.

Gwenn Moss has a nice post about making real live chalkboards, not of the only-on-the-computer-screen variety. And she made a chalkboard with a typewriter on it for her office. Great minds think alike! She has lots of little tips including using hairspray after you're done. On the chalkboard, not your head, your hair is just fine.

Enjoy creating your chalkboards, either on the computer or on an actual blackboard.

Edited to add - I could not for the life of me figure out how to remove the background from a photo in PicMonkey, so that I could put a typewriter or something similar on the blackboard. I could make the background white, but not totally make it disappear. I'm not sure it is possible in this program, but if I figure it out, I'll let you know.

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  1. What a great post, Pam! I love Pic Monkey and appreciate all these fun tips! Pinning!

  2. I barely have Picassa figured out, I hope I can get the hang of picmonkey. Super cool header, my home photos are so last year!

  3. Fun, fun :) I have played a bit in picmonkey...but didn't know about the chalkboard...can't wait to try it!! By the way...your blog is looking GREAT!!

  4. Thanks for the source for the chalkboard background, Pam! PicMonkey is so user friendly, isn't it? My photo shop skills are sadly lacking- I need a one on one tutorial.
    :-) Sue

  5. Pam, this is wonderful. Thank you. I knew dingbats had to be a good thing:} Olive

  6. Love this look... your new header is fabulous!

  7. love this and thank you but... I did not know that you could use other fonts in Picasa now you are going to have to share how to do
    hugs, Cherry

  8. What a great post!! My header needs help - I am hoping this post will give the tools I need to make it look better! Thanks you!

  9. That is a great tutorial...although I was lost after the command to "open Picmonkey" I DO know how to watermark now and I am so proud of myself I could just do flips...well...THAT wouldn't be pretty, would it? xo Diana

  10. You aren't kidding. You could spend hours on these sites playing around with this and that and not even realize how much time has passed. Very dangerous. Great post.

    @ 3Beeze Homestead

  11. Love this!! And you are a peach to put together such a great tutorial. Thanks so much for the inspiration, Pam!

  12. Pam, I love your header that you created, and I noticed how your social media buttons match, too! Thanks for sharing how to do the chalkboards in PicMonkey!

  13. Great tutorial, Pam. Picmonkey has totally become my favorite "free" photo editing replacement to picnik. All my faculty want to jazz up their online courses with snazzy banners and this is the tool that I sent them too.

  14. Loved this post Linda. I have photoshop but I almost always use Pic Monkey instead since I only know the pure basics of photoshop. I really should try using it more so I can learn to do more with it. Like picking things out of photos like you did with your typewriter. Would love to see a tut on that is you have the mind to takle it. I for one would be very excited. LOL. wink, wink

  15. What a fun post! I love your new header!

  16. That is really cool. Thanks for the great tutorial.

  17. I love this!! I'll be keeping this one close by for future fun.

  18. I have photoshop but don't know how to use it. If love to learn how to remove the background from an image!

  19. I'd love to know how to remove the background from an image in photoshop. I have it but don't know how to use it.

  20. Hi Pam, in the area where you have listed out the fonts, there is one that looks like it's titled 'of' with little flourishes around the word. Is that the actual name of the font? Seems to be a difficult one to find due to its vague name. thanks for letting me know if that is actually the name of that font.

  21. Oh silly me, it's Bergamot Ornaments of course. Thanks for all the helpful information!

  22. Quick question...can you print this once it's created? If so, what type/color of paper is needed? I've seen all these adorable chalkboard signs for 1st Birthdays and I'm eager to try it out for my daughters birthday on the 22nd. Any tips? Thanks so much, this was so much fun to read!!!


Thanks for taking the time to comment! I read and appreciate everything you have to say.


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