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A few years ago, I fell in love with hand-lettered signs. My obsession started small: a pin or two to a board filled with a list of projects I promised myself I would complete in the future (spoiler alert: most of them are still on my to-do list). Soon enough, I found myself pinning more and more of these cute little signs. I quickly decided that my home needed (yes, needed) some of these signs.
My handwriting is terrible.
My letters are all different sizes. The sentences I write could compete in downhill skiing competition with how badly they slant downwards. I jam letters so close to one another that “long” suddenly looks like “bng”. Halfway through writing, my brain gives up on the letter I am trying to form and my hand produces some hideous scribble instead.
It’s a mess.
With this in mind, I knew my usual DIY approach of “just try it and hope for the best” wasn’t going to work here. So I decided to experiment. I tried a number of different chalkboard lettering techniques, figuring that at least one of them would allow me to create pretty signs without being some sort of calligraphy god.
After much trial and error, I eventually hit on a technique that I loved. And I’ve now used this technique so many times, I’m fairly certain I’m single-handedly keeping the chalkboard paint industry afloat.
So today I’m going to share with you how to do chalkboard lettering the easy way!
How to do easy chalkboard lettering
For this project, you will need.
- A print out of the text you want to put on your sign, preferably in a handwritten or calligraphy font (for this project I used Octavia Script)
- A chalkboard. Here’s a cheap option on Amazon. Here’s a slightly larger chalkboard, if you need something bigger. I personally used an old photo frame, painting the backing with some cheap chalkboard paint to create the chalkboard.
- Sticky tape
- Scissors. I really like this pair, as they’re super affordable but cut almost everything I throw at them (including fabric!)
- A stick of chalk. (Coloured chalk works best as white chalk can be hard to see)
- A chalk marker. I love chalk markers as I find it a lot easier to write with a proper pen rather than a small stick of chalk. Alternatively, if you do not intend on erasing your chalkboard lettering, you could try paint markers.
Step 1: Trace your letters
Stick you paper to a window with decent sun, letters facing outward so you see the back of the paper. If you have a particularly sunny desk/bench or thin piece of paper, you may be able to see the letters through the paper – if so, you can skip attaching the paper to the window.
Using your coloured chalk, trace the back of your letters. Press down semi-firmly to ensure a decent amount of chalk is transferred to the paper. You can go over your letters two or three times if you think you need more chalk.
Once you have traced your letters, you will have something that looks like this:
Step 2: Transfer the traced letters to the chalkboard
Flip your paper over and place it on the chalkboard in the position you would like your lettering to appear. Use sticky tape to hold the paper in place (the bigger your design, the more sticky tape you will need).
Once your paper is secure, use your fingers to apply firm pressure to the paper and begin rubbing back and forth. I usually rub over the letters at least twice, often three times.
Rub, rub, rub.
Once you’re done, gently lift the paper from the chalkboard. You should have something like this.
Step 3: Trace the template with a chalk marker
This is where the easy chalkboard lettering really springs to life. Grab your chalk marker and begin tracing the chalk outline.
Once you have finished, you will have something like this.
As you can see, mine is quite messy around the edges – my marker ran out halfway through and I have a very unsteady hand. If your diy chalkboard lettering is messy, proceed to the optional step 4. If you’re a handwriting god with perfect lettering already, skip step 4.
Step 4: Clean up your lines (optional)
If your writing is messier than you would like, never fear! Simply grab a small paintbrush, dip it in a little water (it only needs to be damp, not dripping), and begin wiping around any messy letters.
The ability to easily clean up your lines like this is the main reason I prefer to use a chalk marker over something else, such as a paint marker.
Your chalkboard lettering is now finished! Sit back, grab a relaxing cup of coffee, and admire your creation.
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