Saturday, December 17, 2016

Hand-Lettering Signs

hand lettered, fusion mineral paint, joy to the world, Christmas sign, how to hand letter,
I often get asked about and comments on my signs and how I hand letter them. And I have posted on it before, but after getting questions on the reindeer sign in my Christmas home tour, I decided it was time for another post on it.  
hand lettered sign, reindeer sign, fusion mineral paint, Christmas sign, DIY,

I am by no means an expert and there are a lot of folks out there hand-lettering much more nicely than I do.  But, I do enjoy it.  I like creating something that looks like it was handmade and not mass-produced.  Signs are a dime a dozen nowadays, so I like the idea that something is crafted by hand, individually. And I do use stencils some times, but hand-lettering is so much more rewarding for me.

So, I like to practice hand-lettering in sketchbooks.  
sketchbook, hand lettering, practice,
It is much easier to letter with a pencil, but the sketchbook is a great way to practice and something to keep your fingers busy while watching a favorite TV show (THIS IS US, do you watch it?).
hand lettering, sketchbook, DIY,
My signs usually start as a "sketch".  Painting on a smooth surface is easier than a rough, barnwood piece.  The reindeer sign was a hollow-core door in it's past life.  We cut up to make two signs that look like nice canvases.  This new Joy to the World sign was a shelf board. I painted it with Fusion Mineral Paint in Fort York Red. 
joy to the world, hand lettered, fusion mineral paint,
I use a yardstick and mark off some lines to keep the writing straight.  I always use chalk, pressing lightly.  I use colored chalk on signs with a white background.
how to hand letter, fusion mineral paint, yardstick, chalk,
I then letter my sign with the chalk,  This is where the practice comes.  There are all kinds of tutorial videos on You Tube, and they do help!! There are days I erase the chalk several times before I get the spacing correct or the look I like.
hand lettered signs, chalk, how to,
I most often use this paintbrush.
paintbrush, how to hand letter signs, liner brush,
You want to use a paint that isn't too thick, goes on smoothly, but covers well enough that you don't have to go over the letters a second time.  Fusion Mineral Paint is perfect for this!!
hand-lettered signs, fusion mineral paint,
I try to paint with the strokes going in a downward motion, which is a little hard to get used to at first.  But with a paint brush it is easier.  This brush is nice because when your press on it the bristles flatten out and give you a nice, thicker line.
how to make a sign, hand lettered, fusion mineral paint,
I keep a wet rag nearby and if I mess up, and oh I often do, I try and wipe the paint away quickly.  Some times I have to sand a bit and repaint.  Practice, it does get easier and more natural.  
hand lettered signs, how to, fusion mineral paint, Christmas sign,
When the paint is dry, use a wet rag to get rid of the chalk lines. You may need to rinse the rag and wipe the chalk away a couple times.

I made this new sign for my mudroom.  I decided it was looking very unfestive and it is the first room we walk into most of the time when we arrive home. 
Christmas sign, hand lettered, joy to the world, Christmas decor,
The dog had to check it out--she approved.
So, to recap--1) embrace hand-lettering and its imperfections, 2) practice, practice, practice, 3) chalk is the easiest way to make a rough draft of your sign, and 4)use a good paintbrush and a nice, smooth paint for your lettering.

1 comment:

  1. Love it, & red isn't even my favorite color but it's just so darn festive. Thanks for the tip about practicing in a notepad. I do love letter writing so I can imagine signs would be a lot of fun to try.


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