Introduction: Painted Typography

About: I'm just a graphic designer that gets bored sitting at the computer all the time. You can check out my YouTube page at or my tumblr at

With a steady hand, and a little bit of extra free time, just about anyone can make a beautiful typographic piece to hang on the wall.

Step 1: Print Out the Text

You really want the text to be entirely black & white if possible. Then print it out slightly smaller than your canvas. Once you have it printed, set it on the canvas to make sure that it is going to be the size that you would like.

I do graphic design, so I could pretty easily come up with things to arrange for this. However in this particular instance, I pulled one from Pinterest.

You can check out my Pinterest boards to see if there is anything that appeals to you or find/make your own.

*Your canvas can be whatever you like. I chose one that I had covered with dictionary pages for this particular piece. I have used solid-color backgrounds before though.

Step 2: Prepping to Trace

Flip your paper over on your desk/table and trace it with a standard #2 pencil. Make sure to bear down hard enough to leave a substantial amount of the lead behind. Just do a rough outline of all of the letters/lines, making sure to cover them. You don't need to fill the entire paper with the lead though.

Step 3: Tracing

Lay your paper back down on the canvas, being careful not to move it around too much. Then tape the corners down with masking tape. Make it as secure as you can because any shifting during this next part will cause it to come out distorted in the end.

Once you have it taped down, trace your edges with a pencil or ball-point pen. I prefer to use the pen because it doesn't dull over the course of the tracing.

Be exact if you can, but don't stress too much. You can see where I got off track a few times. It happens, but you can fix it up in the painting stage.

Once you have everything traced out, go ahead an pull up the paper to see how it looks. Depending on the amount of pressure you put on your pen/pencil, the lines may be darker or lighter.

Step 4: Cleaning the Tracing Up a Bit

This part is entirely optional, it just makes things run a little easier. I like to go back over the pencil lines with my black pen to make the lines darker and easier to see. As you can see, the background on my canvas has a lot of black in it also, so the pencil is difficult to follow. When I use lighter, single-colored backgrounds I sometimes just leave the pencil lines.

Step 5: Painting

I use your standard 50 cent acrylic paint for this with the smallest brush I can track down at the time. 
Start at the top left (or top right if you're left-handed) and work your way down. Be careful not to slide your hand across the pencil/pen lines as it might smear them.

If your eyes start to hurt or it gets frustrating to follow the tiny lines, take a break and come back. It's not the end of the world if you don't get this done in one sitting.

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