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how to hand letter signs like a pro (with a sharpie!)

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hand lettered sign

I love to hand letter wood signs. They’re rustic, customizable, and very on-trend. How to hand-letter signs is one of the most common questions I get…I’m so happy to share my own lettering technique with you today!

Yes, lots of techniques are out there for learning how to hand letter wood signs…painting over letter stickers is a popular one, especially when creating subway art. Letter stencils are another easy method. Neither was what I was after, though. I wanted something that would give me large letters, and I also didn’t like the line “breaks” that you see in letter stencils.

(I shared a very similiar technique when I first started my blog on my Wooden Welcome Sign Tutorial, but I wanted to reshare it here!)

Materials Needed:
computer and printer

paint marker
craft paint

Step One: Find a font that you want to recreate, and, using your word processing software, type out and print out exactly what you want the sign to say. Also, make your letters the exact size you want them to be in the finished product.

Step Two: Cut out each individual letter (leave a border of white around each letter), and place each letter exactly where you want it on your wood. Take your pencil (I used a mechanical pencil with no lead showing), and outline each of your letters.

The marks will be visible, but only barely!

Step Three: (This, by the way, is where real artists probably want to stop reading-if they haven’t already!) Outline your letters using a paint pen.

Step Four: Using a small paintbrush and craft paint. Fill in your letters (I needed two coats).

I’d love to hear any tips you all have for hand lettering signs! This is, so far, the easiest method I’ve found…what works for you?

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Diy Home : DIY: how to hand letter signs like a pro. (SMART!!!!) - ListFender | Leading Inspiration Magazine, Shopping, Trends, Lifestyle & More

Sunday 8th of April 2018

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Saturday 23rd of June 2012

if you do not like the line breaks left by letter stencils just paint them in and then the letter is solid - every time I see line breaks I say to myself ''why didn't they just fill those in'' the letters would look so much better

George โ€“ signage

Wednesday 13th of June 2012

Thank you for sharing this. I would like to try my hand at customized artwork and I would love to try this. I just hope it will be as easy to do as it looks. Your work has inspired me. I'm already excited to go out and buy the materials I will need.


Monday 4th of June 2012

Just use graphite paper and trace your letters with no cutting out. Graphite paper comes in grey like pencil lead and white and works just like carbon paper, but easy to erase. I love it and have been using it for years.

Luzy Rashid khamis

Thursday 11th of October 2018

Thank you Kathy but assuming that am to trace the letters on a wall could it work out for me


Sunday 3rd of June 2012

I rub white chalk on the back of each letter before I trance it on the surface. The chalk easily wipes away but it easy to see while painting. I lime the Sharpie idea! I might have to try that :-)