Hand painted signs are so popular and I completely understand why. They are beautiful, simplistic, can be tailored to so many different decor styles and are super easy to make! If you are a hand lettering artist, you can truly customize this tutorial to your own style to create a one of a kind piece of art that can be used, gifted and treasured! Do you want to learn how to make your own DIY handprinted sign? Read on!
Today I want to share with you ONE of the ways to make a hand-painted hand lettered sign. I say one of the ways because there are so so many, but today I’m going to share with you what I think is the easiest way if you are a hand lettering artist. But don’t worry, I will be coming out with another tutorial soon showing you how to do this even if you have zero interest in hand lettering!
Are you ready to get right into this super simple tutorial?!
First, in the video tutorial shown above, I’m using a pre-stained board. I believe this one was from Target (hey, dollar spot that turned into a $3-5 dollar spot!), but if you’re planning to make lots of signs, you may save money if you purchase wood yourself and sanding and staining it down.
If that’s not your thing, I have recently seen that Hobby Lobby has quite a selection of pre-stained or pre-painted boards. There are many options of sizes and they even have boards that are already painted white and framed out! I purchased one of those for my next tutorial and if you don’t find it simple to get out all of your tools to create a sign for your home decor, then those are a GREAT option! (And super inexpensive) They are my current go-to and with a Hobby Lobby coupon, such a great price.
Pencil (for sketching on paper)
Erasable colored pencil (for sketching on wood)
Posca Paint Pens
There is nothing too fancy here! These basic supplies were things that I had already and you can improvise if you need to.
Step 1: Sketch out your design on paper.
You may know that I usually don’t sketch out my designs first, but painting signs is an exception for sure! This would be a HOT MESS if I didn’t sketch it out first. Not because of the lettering, but because of the spacing.
The main point here is to get the spacing right, which is why I used a piece of paper that had similar dimensions to my piece of wood. In the video, you can see that I experimented with adding some block letters but in the end decided to go with a completely script design. That’s why a pencil sketch is a good call!
Step 2: Sketch your drawing on your piece of wood.
Now is the stressful part, for me at least. Spacing is hard, but I have a trick for you! If you are trying to do this yourself, is that you can type up the quote on your computer first. There are so many script fonts out there so I’d recommend finding one that looks similar to your lettering style and simply seeing where the spacing may go. ‘Brushability” is a good one with a slant and “” is a good one if your script lettering style is more upright (like mine). Once you have it laid out on your computer, you can then you can use it as a guideline when you space out your own letters.
Step 3: Time to use your paint pens!
Next I am going to be using these posca paint pens! These pens make this process SUPER simple. They are quick drying, so you don’t have to wait a ton of time in between coats. I am using the medium nib from this pack that I bought. If you’re not familiar with hand lettering using Posca Paint Pens, check out this tutorial that I made showing my process.
Quick Tip: Use a piece of paper on the side to pump the pen when you need better ink flow. It’s always a good idea to not do that on the actual piece of wood, just in case it were to spill and ruin your beautiful sign.
You will see in the video tutorial, that I went back over my lettering multiple times. Here is a quick run-down of my process.
Paint Pen Layer 1: MONOLINE SCRIPT
This layer is where I am simply writing out the letters in my quote. I’m not adding thickened downstrokes quite yet. It’s just a simple, 1 thickness style of lettering. This is what we often refer to as monoline script. (Monoline = 1 thickness the whole way through and Script = the style of writing, as opposed to print or block).
Paint Pen Layer 2: ADDING WEIGHT TO YOUR DOWNSTROKES
This is the point in the lettering process where we make our lettering look like brush lettering, but without a brush pen! This is commonly referred to as Faux-Calligraphy, which is so fun! It’s essentially where you can create the look of calligraphy, but without any fancy pens or tools! If you want to learn more about faux-calligraphy, check out this worksheet set! You can use a regular ball-point pen if you’d like!
Paint Pen Layer 3: MAKING IT OPAQUE
Once my paint was dry enough, I went over the ENTIRE thing (the monoline part + the thickened downstrokes) to create a more opaque look. This was probably the thing that I spent the most time on and tried to go pretty slowly. Patience is key!
You do want to make sure that your paint is dry before going back over it again with the paint pen. If not, it’s easy for the paint to get pushed around and leave bare spots in your lettering.
Posca Paint Pen Tip: Try not to push too hard on your second pass through. If your ink isn’t flowing nicely, give it a gentle shake and a couple of pumps on your piece of scrap paper. You want a good ink flow so that you’re not scraping your first layer of paint off of the sign!
And that’s it!
Now, there are options here as well. Depending on your materials used and how you want the sign to last, you may consider sealing it. But I’m a quick-diy kind of girl, so I haven’t done that before! I also prefer the matte look and don’t like to risk my sign turning glossy or shiny. But feel free to experiment for yourself!
I think this is a really great and simple way to create a hand painted, hand lettered sign! This would be a great gift or a great way to customize your home! Like I mentioned, I’ll be sharing 1, maybe 2 more tutorials for hand-painted signs, so if you have specific questions you want answered, now is the time to ask so leave those questions below so I know what things you’d like covered in the next one.
And again, if you want to learn how to create beautiful hand lettering, make sure to check out my faux-calligraphy worksheets here. If you’re just totally not sure where to start with hand lettering, I have a completely free beginner hand lettering course that you can sign up for below! It will walk you through all of my very favorite ways to create beautiful hand lettering without all of the stress and fuss! Make sure to sign up below!
For more lettering tips and tutorials, make sure to follow me on Instagram @howtohandletter and tag me in your beautiful hand lettered creations!