May Day DIY | Hand-painted Alphabet plaques

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Happy bank holiday Monday to all my UK folks! I hope you’re having a great one whatever you have planned. I really wish 3-day weekends were standard as it never feels long enough to catch up on anything, be it chores or rest! Anyway, I’m savouring it all while it lasts. Isn’t it nuts that we’re in MAY already.?!?!

Anyhoo, after running my first typographic painting workshop a couple of weeks ago for the Fit Brides event, I thought it only seemed fair to share it on here as a DIY tutorial especially if you are big into typography and bold graphics but not quite sure where to start. So here’s how you can create your very own little alphabet plaques….if you fancy doing some art therapy today.MbM_DIY ALPHABETS_01

What you will need:

  1. acrylic paints (or oil if you’re good with it. Just avoid using any thinners or white spirit to avoid any bleeding)
  2. wood off-cuts, preferably MDF or Plywood which you can get from any DIY store
  3. sandpaper
  4. paintbrushes
  5. alphabet stencils (use these templates I’ve created here or go through your font library to see what you can use)
  6. pencils

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[STEP 01] First up, sand down the edges of your wooden off cuts. If you have cut down plywood as I have, then you’ll definitely need to sand down the splintered edges. Cover your work surface and even the floors before you do this to avoid dust getting everywhere. Clean up the dust before you move onto the next stage. When picking out your wooden off-cuts, go for MDF or plywood with smooth grains if possible as it will avoid any bleeding when painted on. If you end up getting pieces of wood with deep/raw grains, try to sand it down and then apply either a coat of wood varnish (or PVA glue!) to seal all the cracks.
MbM_DIY ALPHABETS_04bMbM_DIY ALPHABETS_06[STEP 02] Print or draw out the alphabet template of choice and use the old school ‘transfer’ technique by tracing over the reverse side of the paper with graphite pencil. Then place the correct side up, over the piece of wood and trace over the letter, press hard as you trace so that you’re making sure the graphite transfers onto the wood. If you remember, I’ve used this on earlier tutorials here and here. If you’re selecting your own typeface styles for your letters, try to find ones that are big and bold. You can then add the 45 degree drop shadows and inlines as you please. Most font libraries on your computers have a wide choice of styles…… alternatively, go old school and look for inspiration in magazines or just print stuff online that you can use that to trace around.  
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[STEP 03] Once your letters have been drawn out, pick your paints and carefully fill in all the areas of your letters. The trick is to keep the brush strokes to a minimal in order to give you that smooth, perfected look. I’m aware this may require some bit of patience and a steady hand but don’t get too frustrated if it doesn’t go all too perfectly – just enjoy the process of painting it all in. If you’re unsure what colours to pick for your letters especially if they involve drop shadows, outlines and inlines do a bit of research on Pinterest or Google images for some typographic inspiration. The idea of drop shadows are so that your letters pop and look more 3D so if you use a bright light colour for the main outline, go for something dark for the shadow. Or vice versa. Experiment and have fun!

MbM_DIY ALPHABETS_08MbM_DIY ALPHABETS_09So, there you have it folks! I do hope you enjoy this one – not only is it a fun bit of art therapy but it actually makes for excellent gifts and keepsakes! Let me know how you get on if you give it a go…..and if you decide to share it on any social media platform, please do include the hashtag #craftwithMolu so I can easily find them and have a good nosey at your fab creations! :)

Enjoy! xxMbM_DIY ALPHABETS_10

[Image credit: ©MadebyMolu]

**The small print** Please note that these free printables are to be used for personal use or for classroom projects. They cannot be altered, edited, or changed in any way nor sold or reproduced on any commercial level. All these designs are by me and I would therefore, be grateful if these T&C’s are complied to. If you’d like to share this blog post, by all means do so but kindly provide full credit link to Made by Molu. Thank you so much! :) 

2 thoughts on “May Day DIY | Hand-painted Alphabet plaques

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