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DIY Hand Lettered Artwork That You Can Make Today

It all started a few weeks ago, when we replaced our attic floors. Who knew that a simple attic remodel would inspire a beautiful DIY Hand Lettered Artwork?

We had the kind of attic floors that made you question eating that second cookie before stepping on them for fear of falling into the abyss of whatever lies beneath.

Replacing them was a should-have-done-that-first kind of project.

old thrifted picture covered in rust colored fabric

A should-have-done-that-first because that means that everything that was in that little attic – that teeny space that magically holds massive amounts of stuff –  had to come out.

So there was my husband’s work space, teeming with what had spilled out of that tiny room.

I would paint a picture for you, but all I need to do is reference the TV show Hoarders and you know what I mean.

What I have to tell you is that he is a super hero for putting up with it. After we replaced the flooring in the attic, we left all those mountains of junk in his office and raced off to start our Master Bedroom project.

So for weeks, he walked to his desk every day as if he were trying to win a million dollars on an obstacle course on Survivor!

But do you want to know one good thing that happened from all that chaotic mess?

I found this treasure!

old thrifted picture covered in rust colored fabric

Once upon a time, in a studio far, far away, we made these ‘sound panels’ to help soundproof our music room.

I had taken an old picture and covered it with batting and some rust colored silk.

It was our orange phase.

If I could insert an emoji, it would be the monkey covering his eyes. Orange was my son’s favorite color, and may still be, and everything was orange. Orange shirts, orange drinks, and it obviously influenced our decor choices.

So this was sitting, all lonesome, in the attic crying out for an update.

old thrifted picture

I unwrapped this fabric covered picture as if were Christmas and gasped when I saw what was underneath.

old thrifted picture

Waves of memories rushed in.

This paper stock over press wood picture is 15 years old. That was when I first attempted to dip my toe into the design world with all the french themed decor.

You know… the wine prints, the juggling Pierrot clown, the French Provence feel, the Paris home decor.

I had it all!

I spent hours watching the Christopher Lowell show, or Trading Spaces – anyone who empowered my inner DIY spirit. It was a time of awakening in my creativity.

Which brings me to this treasure.

When I saw this dusty and discarded, stored away for later piece, I knew I could use it to create some amazing DIY Hand lettered artwork for my Master Bedroom Makeover.

I love the hand lettered signs I see everywhere on etsy and instagram, but our budget had to go to our big ticket items for our makeover and I knew I could try to create one of these for myself by flipping the painting over and using the inside of the frame.

How do you do creative hand lettering?

There are some amazing tutorials on the World Wide Web that can teach you the basics of hand lettering and how to truly create your own artwork, like this one.

Brush lettering truly takes and amazing hand and is a piece of art that I wish I could learn to do.

But, if you’re like me, you don’t have time to take a course and put in a lot of practice – maybe years of practice – just to create beautiful signs.

So, I’m going to show you the easy way on how to cheat your way through it to create custom artwork for your home that you’ll love!

Here’s how I made DIY Hand Lettered Artwork

(Some affiliate links are provided below. Full disclosure here.)

Supplies you’ll need:

  • An old print, wood sign, canvas or picture, preferably one you can work with
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Printer and favorite quote of your choice
  • Regular pen or pencil
  • Ruler or something with a straight edge
  • Washi tape
  • Scissors

Search for your quote and fonts

First, I started by finding a saying that I wanted to wake up to every morning.

I love this verse. It tells the start of our love story – and what a perfect fit for this room!

“You have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes,”
Song of Solomon 4:9

Next, look through your favorite fonts. Consider those that reflect the type design you are hoping for. Maybe a font with bigger letters or something that looks like faux calligraphy.

But make sure you find a lettering style that will be easy to trace!

I found a font that I loved and went straight to my printer.

I wanted this piece to not be a focal point, but to blend into the background, so the font I chose was a simpler one.

Print out your quote

I printed out the words and trimmed each piece into workable strips.

Now, be warned that you may have to print a few times to get the perfect sizing.

printed letters laid on a canvas

Next I took my ruler and drew a line under each word to line up on the print.

This will act as a guide once it’s time to start tracing.

cut out printed letters

Paint the canvas

Once you have your quote printed and sized properly, next you will want to paint the background for your lettering.

The wonderful thing about DIY Projects is that you can try different styles and different colors to customize the color palette to reflect your own personal style.

And just as it happens time and time again, this project wouldn’t be the same without some kind of goof. In this case, it was my paint.

painting a thrifted picture with white acrylic paint

As I started painting the inside of the print and noticed these chunks. Obviously, my paint had dried up at some point and left these chunks in the bottle.

But do you know what?

I totally dig the textured look!

painting a thrifted picture with white acrylic paint

It gave the canvas a distinct style that was unique!

Tracing the letters

After the acrylic paint was fully dried, I took a ruler and drew a very faint straight line to place the words.

This is a guide for your printed phrase to make sure it stays consistent, so don’t make this guide line too dark.

In fact, you can barely make it out in the pic below.

painting a thrifted picture with white acrylic paint

Next, I turned the printed words over and shaded the back of each print out.

This acts as a transfer when you trace the words.

There are different methods you can use to get this shading done. In the past, I’ve used graphite sticks, but I’ve found that a pencil works just as well.

shading pieces of paper to trace letters

Remember how you underlined the phrase? Now you can line up the words with your faint line you started with.

I used paper washi tape to hold the piece in place since it’s not super adhesive.

It the best way to make moving the pieces of paper to get the phrase spaces out correctly.

shading pieces of paper to trace letters

Now you can trace!

All you do is simply trace each letter with a light hand.

The shading on the backside transfers to your canvas, leaving a template for you to use when you paint the words.

shading pieces of paper to trace letters
painting a thrifted picture with white acrylic paint

Life the papers often to make sure you have pencil lines to follow. You may have to trace the letters a few times.

Painting the letters

Now if you are a rockstar with mad painting skills, I truly admire you if you can paint with a brush!

But I admit that I do not have that gift.

You can easily do what I did and use a paint pen, or a permanent marker.

shading pieces of paper to trace letters

Like I mentioned before, I wanted this to be a subdued piece, so I used a fine tipped permanent marker. They are really inexpensive, like this one.

It was sooooooo easy! Just keep a steady hand, take your time, and have fun!

Once you’re done, lightly erase the guide line.

And here’s the result!

black dresser with handmade artwork sign hanging over
black dresser with handmade artwork sign hanging over

Isn’t that so neat?

Once the phrase was finished, I painted the edges with black to match the black accents in our Master Bedroom.

Then, I hung the picture with a strong piece of twine.

black dresser with handmade artwork sign hanging over
black dresser with handmade artwork sign hanging over

All the supplies for this project I had on hand, so this was free for me! (happy dancing)

But you could find a similar type of picture at a garage sale or thrift store and easily recreate this DIY Hand Lettered artwork for yourself.

black dresser with handmade artwork sign hanging over

Or you can use these same simple steps to create a beautiful sign or wall art to give as meaningful gifts to your loved ones.

It’s doesn’t take lettering skills to give your blank walls a new look!

Send a pic if you are inspired to make one of your own.  I’d love to celebrate your creativity!

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