DIY HAND LETTERED SIGN FOR WAY LESS MONEY THAN BUYING THEM
I have a confession. I am obsessed with using words in my home decor. Every room of my house has words, quotes, Scriptures, and notes. On the walls, on the mantles, above my bed, on the dresser…. I have, therefore, been *adoring* the big trend of hand-lettered canvas signs that seem to be everywhere. But if you haven’t looked to see how much all those canvas signs cost, be prepared for a little sticker shock. They’re expensive — like give up my weekly Sunday morning coffee trip expensive. And if I want to find one that is personalized? It was nice knowing you, my first born child….
So, what’s a poor youth pastor’s wife to do? Enter Pinterest. Pinterest gave me lots of ideas on how to make my own “hand-lettered” sign for a less expensive bottom dollar. I tried many methods and failed many times. But I found one method that turns out stellar work every time I’ve tried!
You do [not] have to be an artist or particularly artistic for this to work. You also do not have to have nice handwriting or know how to do bounce lettering for this to work. You do, however, need to have an hour or so of time. Also, keep in mind I’ve only tried this method on canvas.
SUPPLIES YOU’LL NEED TO COMPLETE THIS PROJECT:
1. A blank canvas
2. A pencil with an eraser that works (make sure it doesn’t leave smudges behind)
3. A printer
4. A Sharpie or paint marker
5. Tape — anything but scotch tape works (electrical, duct tape, packing tape)
6. A Ruler
1. Decide what sign you want to make. I know it’s hard to narrow it down to just one, right? But I strongly recommend that you start with something simple and save the fancy floral additions for round two of do-it-yourself hand-lettered signs.
2. Decide what size canvas you want to put this sign on. Canvases come in all sizes and you’ll want to measure the space you’re putting it up on to make sure this is going to fit.
3. Go buy that canvas. Now, the canvas can get pretty pricey if you just pick it up any day you feel like at any store that’s most convenient. But if you wait for the coupons that stores like Joann’s and Michael’s hand out on a regular basis (50% off one item! 60% off no exceptions!) and then look in their ads for sales on canvasses, you can get a nice canvas in almost any size for 5$ or less. Keep in mind that if you want it to look professional (like what you would buy in a store), you’re going to want to pick the canvas in the section that is NOT the thinnest one. Those thinner ones look and feel cheap. They also (sadly) tend to warp into a curve away from your wall. You’re looking for one at least 3/4″ thick.
4. Get on your computer, pick a font that you like, type up your phrase, and print it out. I have found that the thicker the font of your print, the better it will work. The thinner fonts don’t turn out bad, but the thicker fonts look more professional. Scripts work well, too, but they do take significantly more time. Your phrase may require that you type one word per phrase (if you’re doing a bigger sign): if so, make sure your fonts are all the same size.
5. Turn your page upside down and trace your printed font three times: note this is on the back of the page you printed. If you’re having a hard time seeing the outline of your font, put a white piece of paper beneath your printout. Try to avoid smearing the pencil. You want lead upon lead to stay right where you trace. Please know that this does not have to be a PERFECT tracing: just get close.
6. Tape your printout right side up onto your canvas where you want your words to be placed. You may use your ruler to get it centered if you would like. Don’t put tape where the actual font is (just around the edges of your page). Every time I tried to do this with regular scotch tape, my print out would shift. Thicker tape works better at keeping your words in place. I normally just tape the top so I can check my progress as I go along, but if it feels like the paper’s shifting, add a layer of tape at the bottom. It’s very important that you do not allow that paper shift once you start tracing.
7. Pressing down as hard as you can without breaking your pencil or piercing the page, trace around the font on the printout twice. Don’t worry about being too precise here. This actually works better if you’re a little messy with your “tracing” on the front part.
8. Carefully remove the printout and all tape. You’ll see your words outlined fairly clearly on the canvas! But are they where you wanted them to be? Now’s the time to correct any mistakes. If you need to, use your eraser to remove the words. Be careful to not press too hard with your eraser because you don’t want the texture of the canvas to change. When all is where you want it to be, move on.
9. Fill in the outline with your marker carefully. I’ve used a Sharpie and I’ve used a paint marker. I’ve never seen a quality difference between the two, but some people prefer one to the other. If this is your first time, I strongly suggest the Sharpie because it’s much cheaper. Darker colors look more professional from my experience, but any color will work. Again, use coupons in your favor to get that marker cheaper!
10. Erase any noticeable pencil marks that are on your canvas. Do this gently or you’ll discolor your Sharpie or change the texture of your canvas.
11. Hang your sign and be proud of your handiwork! Or if you’re like me and can’t seem to hang anything straight, ask your husband to put up your canvas. You just saved loads of money making a one-of-a-kind masterpiece.
12. Go get coffee to celebrate. Well, you don’t really have to, but it always feels pretty festive when I finish a sign and nothing says “woohoo!” quite like delicious coffee!
If you are looking for a good scripture for your sign project you can read our post here: A Scripture For Every Room