Last updated on September 29th, 2021

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It’s that time of year again!  Believe it or not, but back to school time is here.

For some of you, back to school season will already start in a few short weeks.  And it feels like summer just started.  Time really does fly when you’re having fun in the sun.


To kick this school year off right, I designed new Free Printable First Day of School Signs.  They are perfect to make your back to school photos even more fun this year.

Do you want to know my favorite part of back to school time?  Crisp, fresh composition notebooks that haven’t even been cracked open yet.  There’s something about their size that makes them really fun to use.  And I love the feel of the smooth pages, unbroken spines and lots of room to fill up with new knowledge.  I usually pick up a few this time of year too to use for my business.  It’s great seeing them over flow with new ideas during the year.

These composition notebooks inspired these Free Printable First Day of School Signs.  Do you notice the pattern in the background on the sign?  That would be composition notebook you see.

When I was a kid, composition notebooks only came in black.  They could be quite boring.  We used to color in the white parts of the design to make them “colored”.

Then, somewhere along the way, they added some more traditional colors – red, blue and green.  This helped distinguish different subjects.  And science always was assigned green.

These days, though, composition notebooks come in an array of colors.  From bright pink to teal green and orange, there are a rainbow of notebook colors to choose from.


Our Free Printable First Day of School signs are no different.  I created four colors for each sign, so your kids can pick their favorite.  There is traditional black, spunky pink, soothing teal and popping orange.

These First Day of School signs also have you covered on grades.  There is a generic one if you want to only print a single sign.  Or you can choose the signs to match your child’s grade level.  I created signs for preschool through 12th grade, so you should be able to find a sign to fit everyone in school.


Why are the Signs Helpful?

As the family photographer, I’ve been snapping first day of school pics for almost a decade now.

I also snap photos at the end of each school year too.  That’s a lot of school pictures.

Over the years, I’ve discovered how easily the photos can start to look the same after awhile.  Since I’m not the best about sorting through photos (many times I go through them a year or two later), I started to get the different years confused.  And whether I was looking at a first day photo or a last day photo.

So, I started using this Free Printable Last Day of School Chalkboard Sign a couple years ago.  This way, I could identify that I was taking the end of the year photos.

But this year, I wanted something a little more modern.  And that could be used for the first day of school.


Using photo signs in your first day of school photos can be quite helpful.  When looking back at the photos, you’re less likely to confuse the grades, year and when the photo was taken.  This will save you time when organizing your photos later.

If you like taking lots of different poses for your photos, you can use the sign in the first one only.  Then, when you’re going through the photos, you have a reminder of when the photo was taken.  All of the following photos will be part of that set.

Another idea is to try different poses with the signs.  Your child can hold it up in front for a traditional pose.  But they can also try holding it high in the air.  Or they can move the sign to an angle.  There are lots of different ways to get creative with your back to school photos.

How Do I Print My First Day of School Signs?

Each first day of school sign measures 8″ x 10″.  The sign is laid out on an 8.5″ x 11″ page for easy printing.

For your sign, medium to heavy white cardstock is best.  Here is the white cardstock that I like to use for sign printing (affiliate).  It’s not actually that heavy, so it works with most printers.   Or you can use a heavier white cardstock like this one for a more lasting sign. (affiliate)

Need more tips for printing your design?  Check out our printing tips here.

Once printed, trim your sign to the exact size using scissors or a paper cutter (affiliate).  Then, they are ready for back to school photos.


Ready to Download your Signs?

You can download your Free Printable First Day of School Signs below.  I have divided them into different categories to make the file size smaller and printing easier.  Download the version that you need.  You can open in any PDF viewer.

The Early Years - First Day of School Signs - 2021 Elementary Years - First Day of School Signs - 2021 Middle School Years - First Day of School Signs - 2021 High School Years - First Day of School Signs - 2021

Love these signs, but not time for the First Day of School yet?  Pin it below so you can come back later.


Want to make back to school time special this year?  Check out favorite back to school traditions to start with your family.  It’s a great way to make this exciting season even more memorable.

And if your family loves crafting, we also have some awesome back to school craft ideas.  You can make an apple garland to decorate for back to school.  Or try these sweet Gumball Rulers to kick off the school year.  They’re yummy and fun to craft.

Happy Celebrating,


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