How to make hand lettered art for cheap

June 01, 2020

Hey hey! I've got a cute DIY lettered sign to share with you today! This has been in the works for weeks -- I had a scrap piece of wood cut down a couple months ago and painted it...and then let it sit while I tackled other projects. This is how I do things around here.

The other day I finally sat down at my computer to finish it up. I saw this phrase on a sign in a store and knew I wanted to make my own. It's perfect for our family room:
It's so good to be home art

The sign is about 14 inches by a couple feet so I played around with the size of the words to fit the wood. I used two fonts -- the script is free one called Stonestick. Do you recognize the other font? Once I say it you'll be all oh's the Pottery Barn font and you can download that for free too. (Just do a search and they should come up.)

I've shared a couple different lettering techniques for signs over the years -- this is a stencil version and this one is perfect for chalkboard lettering. For this sign I did another technique similar to the chalkboard version. 

I cut out the words to space them out how I wanted (as you can see above) and then taped them to the wood. Then I traced the words with a pen: 

Easy transfer technique for lettered art

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You want to press hard enough so that the pen leaves an imprint on the wood. It's not crazy hard -- you can pull up the paper to see how it's doing during the process. (Just make sure to lay it back exactly in the same spot!) I used a cheap ball point pen for this. 

Here's how the words looked after I traced: 
DIY lettered signs and art

Do this on a sunny day or near a light so you can position the wood in a way that makes it easy to see the imprint. 

I used these Craftsmart paint pens and followed the imprint to paint the letters onto the wood:
black paint pens

I've also used the Elmer's paint pens in the past -- here's the medium tip and here's the fine tip version. (It's easiest to have both. More on that below!) 

You can use a brush but you need to have a really steady hand! I'm not that talented. :) I prefer the paint pens because you can really control your writing: 
Tracing technique for word signs

As you can see, it doesn't have to be perfect because you'll be filling it in. You can make adjustments as you go and that's another reason I like the pens -- it's way easier to make small fixes. 

I used the thin paint pen for the tracing and smaller areas and the larger one for the bigger letters:
Easy lettering technique for art

That's it! It just feels like you're coloring. :) 

I stained a piece of wood in one of my favorite stain colors (Provincial by Minwax) and framed the art with it. 

Oh my goodness. I love it!:
DIY it's good to be home sign

It will stay up all year but it looks perfect with the warm seasonal decor, right? 

So cozy!: 
How to make your own lettered art

I love the combo of the two fonts -- and I have to say, I like my version even better than the one I saw in the store! I'm really digging that Pottery Barn font. 

It leans against the large mirror I made years ago. This Everett hall table is still one of my favorite pieces in our house. I love the pretty finish on it and the hardware I added years ago:
Everett table World Market decor

We see the sign right when we walk in the house and it makes me smile every time! And yes, those baskets hold dog toys and basketballs. Form and function at it's best! 

It's simple but sweet -- it is always SO good to be home!
It's so good to be home art

Have you tried this lettering technique? I actually find it soothing -- I find the tracing and coloring in to be relaxing. :)

If you love the look of signs that are so popular right now this is such an easy DIY project -- it just takes time. I finished the tracing, letters and filling in under an hour while I watched TV. This cost me the price of the piece of wood for the frame and the paint pens -- after coupons it was less than $10!

I hung this sign in our new home as well -- here it is in the mud room/laundry combo:
mud room laundry combo marble floors

Here's an image to pin for later if you'd like to try this yourself!:
easily make your own hand lettered art

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  1. How did you build the frame? I've been wanting to do something just like this!

    1. I used my nail gun to attach it to the sides of the wood. :) You could try glue too -- and you don't need to miter the corners like I did!

    2. Was that a 1/4" piece of plywood you used and then a 1 x 2 for the frame? Love the PB font!

  2. I love it! That saying is just what we feel too after being away and what a great place for you to put it.... for now. I know you'll want to move it eventually, right? haha

    What font size did you use and what's the overall size of the picture?

    1. I'm not sure if the font size but the wood is about 14 x 24. :)

  3. I love it! I've been using this method for my DIY signs for awhile now. Since I usually am working at night after my boys go to bed I learned a neat little trick to hold my phone flashlight over it while I go over the tracing with pen. That way I can see where I am painting perfectly. Works like a charm! ;)

  4. when i saw the font, it was like I know it, but what is it, well of course everybody's favorite: PB! It is super cute and you make it look easy. I might finally try it!

  5. I like this so much! I feel like this every. single. day. I am so thankful I have a place to call home with the ones I love...So, I have a question that may seem silly but where do I get the free fonts? I have a PC and have never used any other font than what is on my computer already. Can you offer any tips/suggestions?
    Thanks for your blog, your easy to read tutorials and very approachable and beautifully decorated and designed home. Love checking your blog every day.


  6. You do have a way of tackling projects like it's no big deal. Glad to hear you love signs and making of them. If I can find the right boards I'm there. sometimes hubs puts them together for me, I paint them then don't get to even start but at back of mind are those boards just waiting to become a sign.
    On the right day they'll become a sign, lot different than one had initially planned on but that's ok cause that's how I roll, in the moment. Seem to do my best work in the moment.
    Am really paying attention to how you plotted out your letters. That's always been my problem, spacing letters so they look like they should. Especially like how you used 2 different fonts,looks much better that way, gives a sign personality. Taking lessons from your creativity, can always learn new ways.
    Very appropriate saying, think it sure rings home.
    Seems like older I get coming home after traipsing around all day feels so right.
    Thanks for inspiration Sarah. Enjoy rest of week

  7. Wow, this looks amazing! I am trying to get better at brush lettering, so this technique is really cool and creative. I would love to try this at home, this seems like a great idea for DIY gifts or office decor too.

  8. That's awesome! I have a question, though! Where did you purchase the garland on the mirror? Love it!

  9. You read my mind Debbie!!! I too want to know where she found, or how she made, the leaf garland. Love it.

  10. I actually bought the sign for our foyer, but I like your version better! Now that I know how simple this can be, I'll definitely try my hand at it next time! xo

  11. I would love to know the name of the cursive font you used and where you found it. Thanks!

    1. It's called Stonestick but I can't remember where I found it -- if you search online or Pinterest I'm sure it will come up. :)

  12. Love it! Looks fantastic where you have it. Yes, I want to know if you made or purchased the garland?? Thanks for sharing!

  13. I LOVE this! I'm going to cut the saying with the same fonts from vinyl and put on the inside garage door leading into our house. THANK YOU!

  14. Where was the wood from and what kind? Love the sign!!

  15. I have done this sign technique and found it to be easy as well! I would love to see you do a post on how you created the frame. I know you think it's easy but to those of us not as handy, I wouldn't be sure how to nail those corners without having them come out the other side!?

  16. Love it. My hubby says this often after traveling a bunch with work. Looks pretty there, too!

  17. Oh. My. Goodness!!! I love it! This is definitely something I can handle. It looks fabulous. Thanks so much!!

  18. This is awesome - I love this idea because normally I just buy a stencil letters and such to make my signs. Thanks for Shairng!

    Carole @ Garden Up Green


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