Monday, August 20, 2012

DIY Typography Art Tutorial

I am loving all the bold typography showing up in wall art these days. I made a version of DIY typography canvas art for my 1 year old's sunshine birthday party and I want to show you how easy it is to do.  It is a quick project (under an hour) that takes zero artistic talent but you can claim you painted your own wall art!

DIY Typography Art Tutorial

The idea for this project came about as I was searching on Etsy while planning my daughter's party. I came across this You Are My Sunshine canvas that I almost thought of purchasing for the party decor before it occurred to me that I could pretty easily make a version myself. In fact, for the price of one 8x10 canvas, I was able to make 3 different 11x14 canvases - an inexpensive and easy project! 

Supplies for Canvas Typography Wall Art


  • Canvas - lots of sizes to choose from (I bought a 3 pack of 11"x14" at JoAnn for $10 during a 50% off sale)
  • Letter stencils (the bigger your canvas, the bigger the stencil you'll want. I used 2" letters)
  • Acrylic craft paint (in a pinch, I actually used some of Stella's Crayola tempera paint!)
  • Foam brush or stenciling blotter

DIY Typography Art Tutorial

Steps for Making Typography Wall Art


1. Decide what quote, saying, etc. you plan to put on the canvas and estimate how many lines you'll need.  I used a ruler and pencil to make little marks to divide the canvas in fifths for five lines of text

2. (Optional) Lightly stencil letters with a pencil.  If you are like me and prefer to eyeball things rather than carefully measure spacing between letters, this can be a precautionary step to avoid any oddly spaced letters or crooked words.  However, you will still be able to see some of the pencil outline after you paint over it (at least I didn't have success erasing the pencil from the canvas).  I kind of liked the look of the pencil outline, but it is up to you whether you do this step or go straight to the stenciling.

DIY Typography Art Tutorial

3. Position the stencils over the penciled outlines and use a foam brush to blot a small amount of paint to stencil on the letter, being careful not to move the stencil while doing so.  Repeat until all your words are spelled out and voila you have art!

DIY Typography Art Tutorial


Some Helpful Tips I Learned Along the Way


1. When stenciling with the paint, make sure you use an up and down blotting motion rather than a painting stroke to avoid paint seeping under the stencil and messing up the nice sharp lines of the graphic letters.

2. Also make sure to hold the stencil down flush with the canvas to avoid any seeping.  My cardboard stencils started to warp a bit after using them a couple of times, which made it particularly important to hold them down flat against the canvas.

3. It is easy to get paint on your fingers when doing this, so be careful, otherwise you might smudge a part of the canvas unintentionally...not that it happened to me...

4. It doesn't have to be perfect to look good.  A little off kilter, a few smudges, just add character. ;)

DIY Typography Art Tutorial

This project was so easy I made some wall art for Stella's room with the third canvas in the pack.  Case in point that it doesn't have to be perfect: I eyeballed this one (skipping the pencil step #2 ) and it was initially supposed to say "Follow Your Dreams" but I realized at the end there wouldn't be enough room for the "s" - oops.  Luckily, "Follow Your Dream" still works!

DIY Typography Art Tutorial







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