This is one of the easiest and most gratifying DIY’s ever. It’s cheap, it’s easy and best of all, it’s totally trendy right now. So, ya know all those hand lettered signs you’ve been coveting on Insta and Etsy? Now you can make your own even if your cursive looks like chicken scratch. Fake hand lettering… ready?
Start with a piece of art, a piece of wood, a thrifted globe, an old map…. whatever. Hit the interwebs for your favorite delicious, hand drawn cursive font and print out your words/quote on a piece of paper. You’ll want to make sure that you’re printing it at actual size. In this case, I wanted it about the same size as a sheet of paper, but if you want something larger than that, make sure you adjust your print settings to print at 100%. You’ll have the extra step of taping it all together but, no big deal.
I started with this crappy, water damaged thrift store art. This awful pic makes it look even worse.
This is so easy.
Flip over the paper and color over the back of the paper with a graphite pencil. There is a specialty paper you can find at craft stores called graphite paper, but it’s expensive and it’s literally just tracing paper covered in graphite. DIY it. After you’ve laid down enough graphite on the back of your paper, flip it over and position the paper where you want the text to be. Trace over the outlines of the text on the right side of the paper. When you remove the paper, you’ll have some faint outlines of the text.
I didn’t have a tiny paint brush on hand that I liked so I just used some Q-Tips along with some leftover paint I had in the garage.
I’ve used this same technique for several other projects. You can use this to create your own amazing chalkboard art as well as to decorate mugs, plates and bowls. I learned in Art History that this was kinda how Michelangelo transferred his images to the Sistine ceiling, but he used charcoal rather than graphite. I’ve never seen the ceiling in person, but all of the proportions are spot on – even in places where the ceiling arches, which is a crazy amazing feat. He planned it all out on paper at actual size and then poked little holes in the paper on the outlines and then pounced a charcoal pouch over the holes to leave a little connect-the-dots type guide. So this is a super old technique. Crazy, right?
I actually saw an Instagram post recently where someone had posted a bunch of hand lettered wooden signs they had made. I’m constantly on Creative Market looking at (and spending too much money on) hand lettered fonts. I recognized the font in the ‘gram immediately. I had to hold my tongue when I saw someone comment something along the lines of “I love your handwriting!” Uhm, no bro. I’m not trying to take away from real actual hand lettering artists here, because they ARE artists, but, there are a bunch of fakers (HI!) who can just trace a gorgeous font.
And now you can, too!