One of the most common questions I get asked in my Etsy store is the best way to print out the chalkboard prints once you have the file, so here are my recommendations on the best way to print a chalkboard sign or menu, the best size menu to choose, and also the best type of paper to print these types of printables!
I have lost count of the amount of times I’ve been asked if there is any special black paper needed to print out on and the answer is, just plain old white card is all you need! The chalkboard background is what actually gets printed onto the white card. You CAN print these on paper if you are in a pinch and that is all you have but just make sure you pick a heavier/thicker paper as it’s a LOT of ink and it can sometimes be too much for thin copy paper. If you are printing from home then a great inexpensive card stock you I'd highly recommend is the Printworks White Cardstock. It's $9.99 for 100 sheets on Amazon and it is by far one of the best I have used, the color comes out great and the texture is just right for this type of print.
So while you can print out 8x10 or letter size at home, for the larger format prints you will need to send via email, or upload to a local print shop. One of the places I highly recommend for the large format prints is Office Max both for the quality and also the prices. It’s also super easy to upload online and pick up in the store, usually the same day if you order before 2pm. It costs under $17.99 to print out 18x24 (cheaper if you can find a coupon) and this is usually the size I recommend as this size is big enough to be readable, as to print out the 24x36 the cost increases to $29.99. You should also take into consideration that the bigger frame, the higher the price so if you are on a budget, then the 18x24 (or smaller) is the way to go. You can see the size difference in the handy little chart below.
Whether uploading to Office Max (👈🏼 this link will take you directly to the upload template page) or another store you may have closer such as Staples, Kinkos, UPS or even Costco. Just make sure that when uploading to one of these stores sites you make sure to select print onto matte card/paper rather than glossy photo paper as it works better with the chalkboard effect, you don’t want to have any kind of shine or reflection on your print so also don't select the lamination option.
So now for my pro tip: I 100% recommend that you not even using the plexiglass or glass that comes inside the frame when framing these prints, just leave it off for an even more realistic blackboard look without the reflection from the glass. I have used these at parties and most people can’t even tell the difference. Also, another reason to print out on the thicker card is due to the fact that as you don’t have glass in the frame it helps if the actual menu is a little more sturdy and can be held in place just with the outer rim of the frame itself.
I hope this all helps in your printing choices and I have helped you understand the process a little better. You can check out my Etsy store here for some of the smaller menus I offer for weddings & events, or check out my Custom Signs page to see more examples of the larger format restaurant & bar style menus.
Thanks for visiting! :)