The How-to Guide for Painting Letters

Painting letters is often the most challenging component to wooden sign making. Fortunately, with a few good tips, you can create lovely letters no matter your artistic capabilities.  Here is a how-to guide for painting letters for personalized wooden signs in Monroe County, PA and other artwork:

  • Start with the right tools: Start with a brush tip pen. These are easier to control and a good introduction to painting letters. You can practice with it or use it to create your final product. However, if you are making something larger, like one of our wood signs, you may have to start with a paintbrush right away. Choose one with a smaller tip that is easier to hold. It should feel more like a pen than a brush.
  • Practice directional strokes: Many studios offer templates that show the stroke order of each letter. These will be different than when you are writing with a normal pen. Study the strokes and then practice them on paper or scrap wood. You will get used to the strokes before creating a final product and increase the likelihood of creating clear and beautiful letters.
  • Make lines: There is no shame in putting lines down first to ensure you paint words straight. You can also place height lines to help make the letters the right size. Just make the lines dark enough so you can see them, but light enough that you can hide them when you finalize the sign. Even if some lines remain, they will be far less noticeable than obvious mistakes from painting words crooked.
  • Know spacing guidelines: Spacing is critical when painting letters. The outside strokes of letters are either round or vertical. Letters like “H” or “M” are considered vertical, while “O” and “C” are considered round. Leave a larger gap between two vertical letters so they do not run together, but do not make it so wide that it looks like your one word is two. If vertical and round letters are next to each other, place them close together. Two round letters should be even closer together. Basically, you will use irregular spacing rather than the same spacing between all letters. It seems counterintuitive, but it will create a more balanced look.
  • Choose the best script for your ability: Fortunately, there are many options for script when painting letters. Assess your ability honestly. If you have never painted letters before, go with a block script. Well-done block letters will always look better than fancy scripts attempted by beginners. If you have more experience, consider an embellished script, but practice it on scrap wood first. Sometimes the fanciest options are much less appealing when you try them out ahead of time.
  • Do not obsess over perfection: The best feature of a custom DIY sign is the imperfections. You may smudge a letter or place letters too close together, but as long as people can read your sign, you succeeded. Be kind to yourself and do your best. Most people will never notice the mistakes anyway.

If you are interested in wood sign making, Absolutely Board Creative Studio offers classes and other opportunities to create personalized wooden signs in Monroe County, PA. Check out our gallery and class schedule to learn more and get started on your custom sign.

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