Being a hand lettering enthusiast (more about my love for hand lettering and calligraphy soon), I find it very therapeutic when I am able to sit down and practice my technique every day. This project, however, tested my natural ability with a totally different surface to write on (bumpy and uneven) and also drawing the larger size lettering (I am used to hand lettering on 8 x 10 mixed media paper or smaller). Spacing between the letters and between the text can always be a little tricky not to mention writing the words in a straight line but we will tackle that together with some tips below.
I am going to show you how we first made the pallet sign (super easy) and then how I hand lettered the pallet sign a couple months ago for a charity organization. You may remember the apartment that we helped re-design for a transitional home organization several months ago. You can see all the before and after pictures here. Well, they liked what my friend Holly, from McCall Manor, and I did so much that they asked us to re-design another transitional home. We were so honored. We loved that we could put our personal touches of inspiration into peoples daily lives to help encourage them during their transitional phase in life.
One of my favorite things we made for the first project was an inspirational piece of wall art made from wooden pallets that were free. Dean and I built the wooden sign and Holly volunteered to use her Silhouette Cameo machine to cut a stencil of a favorite inspirational quote we love (if you’re not familiar with the Silhouette Cameo and all the other Silhouette products, you can explore more at the Silhouette School Blog). After she painted the letters using the vinyl stencil she made, we had a beautiful piece of wall art that was the first thing you see when you walk in the front door. We hope it is bringing a fresh start to each day for the people or families living there now.
Let’s get started on the tutorial for the second inspirational wall art and most recent project we did. Instead of using the Silhouette machine to cut stencils for the lettering this time I gave it a “go” with hand lettering the words.
First, Dean and I gathered four old and weathered pallet boards that we had stored in our garage. These are pallet boards that we found for free and knew that we would make use of them at some point. The roughness of the natural wood made it a little difficult to hand letter perfectly but that’s what makes the finished art unique.
Have in mind your favorite quote, phrase or scripture that you plan to hand letter or stencil on so you can gauge how many pieces of wood you will need . Lay out your pallets or wood to the pattern you desire. I knew I wanted the scripture “It is well with my soul” so I thought 4 pallets should be plenty as I visualized it on the boards.
Take two 1″ x 2″ scrap wood and cut them shorter than the the height of the sign. There is no need to be precise in measurements, the important thing is that all the boards are secure. Ours happen to measure around 12 inches.
Hammer two small nails in each piece of wood then wrap the picture wire tightly around each nail securely.
I sprayed the wood with a clear shellac to seal the wood. This an optional step.
I like to draft out the lettering before actually painting. In this case, for the large landscape I had to write on, I decided to use chalk to draft the scripture. The chalk can easily be wiped off with a damp rag after the paint completely dries. Before you use your chalk, it is a good idea to sharpen it by rubbing it on a piece of paper until you get a pointed tip. This gives you more control while you are writing.
A wood paint marker was recommended to me by the instructor of a hand lettering class I took locally. I used the Zig Woodcraft marker in arctic white. I had to trace over my chalk rendering several times to get the opaqueness of the white paint marker, mainly because the surface was not smooth. I would probably use paint with an artist paintbrush for a rough surface like this again. I used the side of the chalk to get the thicker lines when drafting out. the word “WELL” and I used Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint in duck egg blue. Love that color!
At the time, I was pretty pleased with my first hand lettered pallet sign but now I look back at how my hand lettering has improved even in just a couple of months and would change several things about my strokes with each letter. I’ve come to the conclusion though that there can be beauty in the beginnings, beauty during the transition and beauty in the end. Perhaps it is a good parable for the the transitional home organization that this inspirational wall art is for…
There can be beauty in the transition.