I was pretty excited when the friend of a friend contacted me to see if I could make some artwork for her...until I realized that I had to make the artwork. Instantly, I was nervous. She had a very specific idea in mind and it didn't involve my typical birdies or little girls. It was just words.
I started with the background. Used some of my favorite patterened papers, old sheet music and book paper and then added layers of modeling paste, textures (like bubble wrap and cool stamps)...
And I measured a rectangle in the center where the words would go. The elusive words. The most important part. To say I didn't want to mess this up would be an understatement. But that center rectangle seemed to give me the stink eye every time I looked at it.
The truth is, you have a lot of options when you want to add lettering to your artwork. Most often, I print strips on the computer and adhere them down, but with something this big, I knew that wouldn't work. I didn't want to use letter stickers either--just not the look I wanted.
So I turned to my trust printer and made my own.
I'm not going to lie. This isn't the quickest way to do this. I have a Cricut packed away in the garage at our new house, but I love doing this on my computer because I can choose any font I want. Plus, I find this kind of detail work therapeutic.
Making your letters is actually really easy.
1. Open a Word Document.
2. Go to Insert and Select "Word Art." (I always choose the top left option, the outlined words.)
3. Choose your font and type your desired phrase. Click Enter.
4. Drag the box until the words are the size you want them.
5. Under the Word Art Tools Option, find the button that says "Rotate." Click that and choose "Flip Horizontal."
This is what your words will look like when you print it out. If you're using patterned paper, make sure you print the outline on the BACK of the paper, because when you cut it out, you want the lines on the back.
6. Cut out your letters with a pair of detail scissors. I love my Cutter Bees!
They're super sharp on the end (Believe me, I've stuck myself with them more than once.) and they're great for getting the insides of letters like "A".
Once you do that, you're going to want to grab your Gel Medium (or Mod Podge.)
Position the letters where you want them. Don't assume your spacing is just going to work out.
Brush the gel medium on the back of each letter and adhere it onto the canvas.
Once they're all down, brush another coat of gel medium over the top of all the letters...
It won't look clear when it goes on. This is normal. It will dry clear, but try and make the brush strokes nice and smooth if you can. I have a couple of brushes that are really bristly (is that a word?) and you can see every line even after it's dried.
I liked the artwork this way, but I really wanted the words to pop, so I outlined them using a fine-tipped permanent black marker. (Make sure the gel medium is completely dry before you do this.) And go slow. The tip of the marker will slip off the letter really easily and you'll end up with stray black strokes on white letters. Not the look we're going for...
Pretty easy, right?
I've made lots of page titles this way and it seemed a natural fit to do it on a canvas. I like the way this turned out so much I'm going to make one for my house too.