Shiny new backpack? Check! Crisp sheets of loose-leaf paper? Check! A "welcome back to school" treat waiting for the kids after their first day of school?
Well, you'll be able to check that one off your back-to-school to do list after following this tutorial for making chalkboard cupcake toppers.
Even during this busy time of year, you'll have time to whip up these easy cupcake toppers. You should even be able to buy everything you need in one spot: a craft store.
To make the miniature chalkboard cupcake toppers, you will need chalkboard paint (either spray or regular), a small paintbrush, wooden craft squares, glue (wood glue, a hot-glue gun, even plain white glue will do), small wooden skewers or popsicle sticks and chalk.
Chalkboard paint comes in a rainbow of colors, but I recommend either black or "schoolhouse green" for this project to evoke the classroom theme.
(FYI: A can of chalkboard paint costs $10 to $15. This project doesn't require much paint, so if you're looking for more ways to use up your supply, check out these chalkboard paint ideas from About.com's Guide to Interior Decorating.)
Step 1: Paint the Wood
Using your small paintbrush, paint the wooden squares with the chalkboard paint. After the first coat dries, apply another. This won't take long at all--chalkboard paint dries very quickly.
Step 2: Attach the Skewers
Once the paint has dried, glue the skewers or popsicle sticks to the backs of the mini chalkboards. A hot-glue gun works the fastest, but other types of glue will hold up fine. Just be sure to allow plenty of drying time if you're using white or wood glue.
Step 3: Bake the Cupcakes
While the glue is drying, bake the cupcakes, let the cool, and then frost them.
Step 4: Write a Message
Using your chalk (preferably white), write a back-to-school message on the miniature chalkboards. You might choose to write a separate letter on each cupcake topper to create a word or phrase when the cupcakes are lined up together or you could write each child's name on their own cupcake topper.
Step 5: Insert and Enjoy
Making sure the glue is completely dry, insert the cupcake toppers into the cupcakes. Display and set them out at a back-to-school party or on the kitchen counter for your kids on the first day of school.
The miniature chalkboards don't have to be used just for cupcakes. If you're throwing a back-to-school party, use them to label the snacks you're serving on the food table. Or make larger chalkboards (using larger pieces of wood) to create other decorations or a welcome sign for the party.
Check out these ideas for more "welcome back to school" ideas.