Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wall Writing: The easy-peasy way!

Unless you live under a rock, you may not have noticed the trend to have pithy sayings emblazoned on your walls. There are several options to achieve this look. First you can Google one of many companies that specialize in stock sayings and pay them big bucks to send you vinyl stick on letters, which tend to be a booger to apply and also tend to not stick to the wall. You can also find wall art in a can/kit at some department stores, again they are stick on letters and run from $14.95 to $19.95. Or you be a cheap skate like me and borrow this little trick I learned in art class years ago.

The best thing about doing this technique, besides the super cheapy cost, is that you aren't stuck with stock sayings. But you can get some great ideas by visiting the sites of these companies that specialize in this art form or you can visit any site with quotes for even more ideas. I like the idea of being able to personalize your sayings that have meaning to you. Pick a line Grandpa always said and put that on your wall next to his picture. To me, home is all about family and personalization.

In the picture above I used a free online translation site to translate, "Live well, love much and laugh often." So if you speak, read or actually are Italian and the translation is wrong, blame them. I don't speak Italian, so it looks perfect to me. Anyways on to why you came here:

Wall Art - The Mrs. Oh's Handy TutOHrial


Graphics program of your choice
Printer paper
Pencils and/or charcoal pencils
Carbon Paper - optional
Painters tape
Paint and matching sharpie marker

Step 1.
The hardest step is the first one. Pick out your saying! Don't ask your hubby for advice. Trust me on this one.

Step 2.
Decide how big you want your saying to be. You can measure your wall if necessary, but I am math and ruler challenged and always just guess.

Step 3.
Open your graphics program or you can even use MS Word. I always open a blank 8X10 on landscape and type up your saying. If your font needs to be a specific size, adjust your font size and use your program's rulers. Be prepared that you may only fit 2 or 3 letters on each page. That is perfectly fine, if your saying is long or large just print what you can and slide your text over, print, slide, print. What you will create in the end is a paper banner.

I am using a Star Wars font for the examples. Wouldn't that be great in a boy's room! Check out my favorite free font site. This is where you can get creative: if you have a beach theme in your room use the Gilligan's Island font, for a space theme you can use the Star Wars or Star Trek fonts. The possibilities are endless.

Also, to save printer ink, if your program gives you the option, just print the outline of each letter.

Step 4.
Once you have created your individual 8x10's of your banner, you will need to tape them together. If there is overlap I cut one layer off and throw it away. Any place the letters are on the paper, you want only one sheet of paper in thickness . Now is the time to test fit your saying on your wall. You can just hold it up, tape or tack it up and see how it looks to you. Make any adjustments at this time.

Step 5.
You have two options on this step. One you can buy the hard-to-find carbon paper, which is an added expense or you can do like me: cheat. Note that using carbon paper is messy and you will have to clean your walls after you transfer your saying onto the wall. I vote for cheating and here is how: flip your banner over and using a pencil or charcoal pencil heavily sketch the backside of your letters. The heavier the better. You are making your own carbon paper! Note that you only have to sketch the outline of your letters, so don't waste your time with the centers.

Step 6.
Flip your banner back over so that the right side is showing and get your level handy. A word of wisdom, you may be tempted to cut your letters out or cut off the white edges of your paper. Don't! Once you cut into the banner you are going to lose the built in straight edge the paper affords you. Now you are ready to place your banner on the wall. Level the banner and tape in place. Heavily tape the banner because you do not want any slippage.

Step 7.
Once your banner is in place now comes the fun part. Take a sharpie marker with the cap ON, or you can use a dull pencil and trace the outline of your letters. Do not worry about filling in the letters as you will do this with paint in a few minutes. You only need to create an outline. Be sure to go over the letters carefully and with a good amount of pressure. If you are using a pencil use less pressure as you don't want to rip the paper. The goal here is to press the carbon on the backside of the paper onto the wall. Once you are done carefully make sure you have achieved a good transfer by peeling the paper up in spots. If there are a few missing spots you can either go over the letters again or if you are crafty you can freehand fill in the lines when you take the paper off the wall.

Step 8.
Take your banner off the wall and ready your paint brush. Fill in the letters with paint and let dry. Once the paint has dried, you may or may not have to add a second or third coat. When you are happy with the look let the paint dry completely. Don't worry if your hand is a little shaky and your outlines aren't perfect. If you have orange peel textured walls like I do, this next step will take care of any imperfections.

I have not tried it but if your letters are large enough I think it would be cool to fill in the letters first with crackle medium and then paint. Let me know if you try it and it works, um, if not... then I never suggested it.

Step 9.
Outline your letters with your sharpie marker, this time with the cap off. This is going to clean up any wobble a shaky hand or textured wall may have created. You can completely skip this step if your lettering looks good and I think it would be okay to use paint pens on this step as well. Okay, we are half-way there now! Just kidding. You're done. That wasn't too bad was it?

A final word of wisdom: Kilz. Because you used a sharpie marker on purpose, unlike our kids who self-decorated their rooms, selves, dogs and furniture with sharpies years ago, when you repaint your room you will need to Kilz your saying to keep the sharpie from bleeding through to your new color. You may need to Kilz a few times.

I hope you enjoyed my first craft tutOHrial and you will be inspired to try this out on your own. This technique is also great anytime you need to copy something. Have fun with it and send me pictures if you try it out!



I absolutely love it!

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