Hand lettering on a wall can be a scary idea! I even find it a bit daunting since my everyday handwriting is barely legible. So I thought I would give you some tips on how to make the process less painful and that will produce a successful outcome!
Here is my first tip: Don’t expect perfection! If you are looking for crisp outlines on the words, opt for a stencil or vinyl letters.
My client wanted the words to curve around the clock in her sun porch. Curving the words is definitely harder than a straight line, so bear that in mind with your project.
Next big tip: Use a projector! I have had this projector for over 10 years and it has saved many a design for me. I can draw just fine on a small scale but keeping things in perspective as the design gets larger is not my forte. I use an overhead projector as opposed to an opaque projector because I also never know what the lighting will be like in a space. Opaque projectors (like this one) need a dark room; overhead projectors (like this one) do not. I have printed out clipart from online using printable acetate, as well as drawing directly onto acetate with a black Sharpie.
If you only need a projector for one project, your best option is to rent one. I own mine because painting murals and other large scale paintings are part of my profession.
It takes a bit of maneuvering to get out of your own way when drawing the design on the wall but with the projector you can line up the letters just the way you want them and in an appropriate size.
I use a white chalk pencil to trace on the letters since I want a fairly thin line to work with. However, regular white or colored chalk will work just fine if you are not looking for detail but just a basic outline. Another tip: test your chalk on a discreet part of the wall and make sure it will come back off with a baby wipe. You will need to erase any visible chalk lines when you are done.
A painting tip: If you are looking for a solid letter, thin your acrylic paint down to an inky consistency with water (I use FolkArt brand craft paint). I chose to make my lettering look like a woody grapevine. This way my letters didn’t have to be sharp or have an even consistency of paint. I wanted the branch feeling to really show.
If after you have painted the letters you find that it is not quite even (it happens!), add some decorative touches to some of the letters to even it out. Here I added some grapes and leaves to extend the design even more.
And don’t forget to erase your chalk marks when you are done! As you can see from the picture above, I forgot to do that before I took the photo.
I hope these tips will encourage you to give hand lettering a try. When in doubt, always remember that it is just paint! You can always base coat the wall and start again!
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