Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Writing on the Wall

I've got lettering on my walls in three places.


and here:

and here:

..and more to come (obsessed much?)....but all my faithful friends (all two of you) want to know "How the heck do you do that???" Never fear...I'm here...and here's a tutorial! It's super easy!

Here's what you need:
a computer
a printer
an exact-o knife
cardboard or cutting board
paint (acrylic or wall paint-both are forgiving if you wipe up mistakes when they happen)
paint brush or sponge brush
a leveler (for real! You don't want to paint a crooked saying-unless you mean for it to be crooked)

Did I mention that you'll need patience? A steady hand doesn't hurt either. Neither does having children that are napping while you do this.

1. Find the saying you want..."bon appetit!" or "Merci!" or any saying like "the family that plays together, stays together" for a game room, a monogram...but my favorites are Bible verses.

2. Spend hours fiddling with it in Word, searching for just the right font and sizes. Keep in mind here that you will be cutting it out, so the more intricate the lettering...the more time it takes to cut it out.You can download free fonts from Mine are 250 and 200 and 100 sized...just to give you an idea. This will mean that your saying will be printed over a number of pages. No biggie, but if you have words you want next to each other, tape the pages together before you cut any excess paper off so you can make sure they are even.

If you have excess paper on the back side (like I did) turn it over and cut it off. It's much easier to cut through one sheet of paper. If it is a stencil you'd like to use over and over again, use card stock when you print it. Regular paper is definitely a one-time job! Front side:
Back side:

3. Once you have your saying cut and pasted together how you want it, I recommend putting it up on your wall and living with it for a while before you do it. That way, you can tweak it and try it in many ways BEFORE you paint it and realize you wished you would have done something different.

4. Now that you know you love it just the way it is, take it down and carefully cut the lettering out. Pay special attention to letters with complete circles in them like "O" and lowercase '"g." You'll need to keep a piece of that letter still attached so that you don't lose it. You can fill in the empty line later by freehand. I stick tape underneath those circles when they are on the wall so that they don't flop down on me.See how it's attached? That's what you'll need to add some tape to so it doesn't fall off the wall while you're painting:

When you put it up on your wall, please, please, please! level the letters! This looked level to me on the wall, but when I put the leveler up on the lettering, it was way off and I bet I would have noticed it as soon as the paper came off. Once it's level, tape it up there. QUICK! Before it's slips and you have to level it all over again!

5. Choose your paint...and then get to painting! Make sure you are painting with the brush or sponge by dabbing straight on the letter. Your brush should be perpindicular or somewhat close. Don't do brush strokes and don't load your brush with tooooo much paint or it will bleed underneath the paper.

6. Once you're done, peel it off. See where the "O" needs to be completed?

I just freehand that little area.

I recommend peeling it off right after you're done because there could be paint that has bled and you'll want to scratch or wipe it off while it's still somewhat wet. I always have to touch up my lettering because I have textured walls, but remember that no one is going to notice a small blemish in the lettering from where they will be looking at it.

See???? Bet you didn't even notice!!!

Wah-La! Beautiful lettering for WAY less than you would have paid for vinyl!

The possibilities really are endless with this! Imagine plates, memo boards, headboards, wall art, windows for holidays....even window treatments like my burlap kitchen valance!

Happy painting!!! And don't forget to show me what you've done!


  1. Wow Carrie!!! You are amazing! Thanks for taking the time to do this for all of us who wish we could be like you :)

  2. nah! you come do mine! B:) J/K - I'll try it...eventually.

  3. Thanks friend!! I am so going to do this!!

  4. That looks great! I totally was expecting you to say you did it with vinyl.

    ~ Sarah

  5. I was just thinking about your skill today in the car and wondering how exactly you did the lettering. You read my mind!

  6. do such nice work!!! Thanks so much for the tutorial :) For now - because we are just leasing our place - I'll have to limit my painting to furniture...grrr!!! (I LOVE color and these off-white walls just aren't gettin' it for me!)

    Have a great evening!
    (Treasure the Moment)

  7. Awesome job! I've done a ton of lettering as a decorative painter for hire, but never done it that looks great! I've been eyeing the vinyl lettering, thinking I've been working too hard all this time....

    I've always printed my lettering out, used transfer paper to trace the letters on the wall, and then filled in with paint....tedious!

  8. Thanks Carrie! When we finally own a house someday, I am totally going to do this!


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