Tuesday, July 28, 2015

lettering with makewells: hand lettered directional signs



Hi everyone! It's Megan from Makewells! I'm here on Alisa's blog today with another fun lettering project! This time, I used my hand lettering techniques to paint a super cheap and easy to make directional sign for our backyard. 

As renters, there are only so many ways we can spruce up our property. One aspect of our backyard that has been bugging me is the fence. It needs some serious help, but being a renter, there's not much I can do. So, I decided to add some life to it by hanging some bright and colorful signage. This is something that can distract the eye from the areas I don't like, while also being easy to take down and bring with us to our next home. It's a win-win project! 
Here's how you can make your own:

Simple enough, right? There is no need to buy wood, just look around your neighborhood for old fence boards. We had a neighbor replacing a new fence and asked if we could take the wood off his hands. There is always something to find on large trash removal days, all you have to do is keep your eyes open! Plus, the aged wood gives the signs great character that it would take years for a new piece to acquire. 
Old palettes are easy to find as well, just keep your eyes open and start collecting!


The next step is to prime the wood for lettering. 
First, sand down any rough spots and removed any remaining nails. 
Next, you can use basic acrylic based outdoor latex paint (or any acrylic will do) and slap on some color. (For the boards I didn't paint, I used an acrylic gel medium to seal in cracks. This makes the wood a little easier to paint on. It dries perfectly clear, but allows for a smoother surface.)

Let them dry.



While the boards are drying, do some sketches of the lettering you plan to draw. I mixed up script lettering with non-script, and tried to create a variety of styles.  
Once you are happy with your sketches, reference them and sketch lightly on the wood.

**Depending on the color paint you use, it may be tricky to see your sketches. I recommend trying a variety of pencils to see what will work for you. It can also be tricky to sketch on the gel medium primed pieces - if this concerns you, skip that and just paint directly on the wood.**


Next, start painting the letters. I like to get all the simple color blocking done first, and then go back for the details (shading, drop shadows, etc.)


This is where it get's really fun. A bold drop shadow can add so much dimension to your signs, and choosing contrasting colors/shades to makes your lettering really stand out. Add a little shading to give it even more pop. 



Once your pieces are completely dried, give it a protective seal. Anytime wood is left outside, it's going to get weathered, but using a clear sealer will slow the process! (The most durable I've found is Helsmans Spar Urethane.)



Lastly, install your new decor! 
I pre-drilled holes in each sign before screwing into the fence. Now, if we move, or our landlord decides to replace the fence, it's easy to take down and install again. 





A little note about our sign: yes, we call our house "The Wellsdorf Astoria". We get a lot of house guests, and like to think it's our little Florida resort :)


Have fun creating everyone!

You can check out all of my lettering posts HERE and don't forget to share your progress using #redefinecreativelettering. 

Xo, Megan
@Makewells (instagram)

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