DIY Perfect Chalkboard Lettering

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I love chalkboard art, but free handing lettering drives me crazy.  I’m an impatient perfectionist, and I’ve discovered a way to (quickly) get pretty chalkboard lettering every time…

Perfect Chalkboard Lettering

1) You’ll need a chalkboard.

*I made a mirror into a chalkboard.  {Chalkboard paint is easy – I promise!}

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2) Print out lettering for your chalkboard.

I combined two fonts to make this type art for my dining room, and you can download the (2 page, letter-sized) PDFs here:

Print

                                    giveus

                                  giveus(2)

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3) Cover the back of your paper with chalk.

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4) Tape your printed type just as you would read it (chalk covered side down) to your chalkboard.  Using a pen or pencil, firmly trace the type with a pen or pencil.

5) Remove the paper, and you should find a fine chalk outline.  Using chalk (or a chalk pen), you can trace and color in the lettering.

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This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

I found these chalk pens on Amazon.  They are great for chalkboards you want something that isn’t easily wiped away.

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chalkboard

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This chalkboard hangs in my dining room.

**UPDATE** I now have a video tutorial for this technique.  Want to see more?  Click HERE.

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I’m having so much fun with this technique that I even made a chalkboard fridge using this technique.  Click HERE to see more!

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Comments

      • The chalk pen says “not recommended for chalkboard surfaces”….so will it come off? I love the idea of the pen, but want to be able to erase and re-write new designs!

        • Hi Mary, I use chalk pens on chalkboards all the time! I just use water and a rag to remove them, and I haven’t had any problems. Sometimes I pressed so hard with the pen, that the chalkboard has a slight indentation but nothing big. Good luck on your project!

  1. This looks so pretty. You chose great fonts. I have a chalkboard fridge like yours and love writing Scripture verses on it above the area where my 2 year-old doodles. Thanks for showing me how to make it look even prettier!

    • Thanks, Jelli! I appreciate the comment, and I checked out your (awesome!) blog. As a new blogger, I’m looking forward to reading through your blog tips. Take care!

  2. You can also use transfer paper in white. For large projects (like weddings) transfer paper works 10x better and doesn’t smudge around where you trace either. But I like your economical version!

    • I’ve never considered using transfer paper – probably because I didn’t realize you could get it in white. I love that idea! Now I need to find some white transfer paper…

  3. F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S!!!!!! I’m doing this! I’ve been trying to figure out a way to do a custom chalkboard, and this is IT!!! Thank you!!! This will save lots of time, frustration and AA meetings! 🙂

  4. LOVE your site, your talent, your kindness and help and inspiration !!! I really want to do this, but when I looked for chalk pens on amazon, I was overwhelmed with so many types, tip sizes, etc. …. would you mind sharing which pen(s) you used ???? As in sizes, brands, etc. ????? I would appreciate it, if it’s not too imposing or intrusive … and I will send chocolate chip cookeis …. ♥

    • Hi Nicole. It helps to “season” your chalkboard first. To do this, take long end of the chalk and basically color the entire board. Then using a dry rag, rub in the chalk all over the board. The chalkboard will no longer be a stark black, and you won’t notice the chalk around the letters as much. Also, using the chalk pen helps. Once it dries, you can run a dry cloth over it and it’s won’t erase or smudge. Hope I helped!

    • Hi Karen! It’s confusing how I had it set up, so I (hopefully) made it easier. Check out the post now, and see if you can find the links. They are called “give us” and “give us2.” Let me know you you have any problems!

  5. Life changing! This totally works! It’s so perfect for larger scale items, but I am hoping to find a finer tipped pen for some smaller projects as the pen I have tends to bleed. Thank you so much for the step by step. Found you on Pinterest!

    • Hi Stephanie! Thanks for stopping by. There are chalk pencils or you could sharpen chalk for the smaller projects. Let me know if you find a finer tipped chalk pen – I’d love to know!

  6. Great tip Sara d, I use chalk boards all the time to promote our new creations. Suddenly they will now look more professional without extra cost.

    • Hi Sonal – If you use chalk pens, you just wipe away the extra chalk from outside the font. Chalk pens are great for more permanent chalk art because you can’t wipe away the chalk pen – you have to use water.

  7. I like to use rub a pencil on the back and it transfers clean so you can fill it in and have no mess. 😀 I use this method when painting lettering for signs or the walls or doors at home. It’s awesome. LOVE your mirror.

  8. Just wanted to say that I used this excellent tutorial (which I found on Pinterest of course!) to make sign of an Emily Bronte quote for my wedding 🙂 it turned out beautifully and I’m so happy I found your post! Thanks!

    • Hi Valarie! Yes, I did paint chalkboard paint directly on the glass mirror. However, it does have a few scratches, so I would recommend you use a primer first. Good luck!

  9. Hi! Just wanted to add that some paint stores (like Benjamin Moore) sell chalkboard paint that you can get tinted any colour instead of just black or green. Makes your projects stand out as they are unique and out of the ordinary. Mine is a colour called Dinner Party from Benjamin Moor’s Affinity Colour Collection.

  10. i am thinking of doing this for my 5 year anniversary. How do you get the excess chalk off after you cover the back of the paper with chalk? Is the chalk pen safe enough to wipe the excess off without messing up?

    1. cover the back of the paper entirely with chalk?
    2. tape the paper onto the chalkboard with the words facing you
    3. then trace.

    Those are the steps correct? Sorry for the redundancy by im not an artist and im just trying to ensure im doing it correctly.

    • Hi Raymond! Once you use the chalk pen and it dries, you can easily wipe off the excess chalk. And yes, your steps are perfect! You really only need to put the chalk behind the letters/art you’re transferring. So, if you have a lot of white space around your letters, you could cut around it – if that makes sense? Also, don’t forget to tape you paper in place. You don’t want it shifting around. Also, make sure you apply pressure when tracing.

      You can do it! Good luck!

  11. i love this idea.. When can I get more working like this?? I have a few signs I wish to make.

    Renee

  12. Hi there! Great post! Just what I was looking for 🙂

    This might seem a silly question but when you dust off the chalk residue once the permanent chalk is laid down, does it smudge the more permanent chalk at all?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Lucy! This is absolutely not a silly question. Once the chalk pen dries, you can’t smudge it. The only way to remove it is with water. So, dusting off the chalk residue doesn’t smudge your chalkboard art. Good luck!

      • Brilliant! Thank you so much for the prompt reply!

        I wonder if you can answer one more lil’ question for me – I am drawing/painting text on two chalkboards for a café – one inside and one outside. The inside one i’ll be using regular dusty chalk or the chalk pen but the other will need to be weatherproof. Do you have any suggestions for a weatherproof white paint that could be used on an outdoor chalkboard? The chalkboard will be repainted black and redone with a new design every three months or so, so the paint will have to be able to be totally covered by blackboard paint without showing through (every 3 months.)

        Hope that made sense! Hehe.

        Lucy

        • I’ve had a couple pieces made by a local chalkboard artist, and she used china markers. (You can find them on Amazon, and they actually are pencils). The piece she created for me was setting behind my stove for a long time, and the “chalk” never smeared, faded or melted! Also, I know she frequents art fairs, and I’ve see her stuff sitting in the hot sun and it does great! She does spray a clear sealant over her pieces, but I’m not sure if this is necessary or not. I hope this works for you. Good luck with you chalkboards for the cafe!

  13. Sara:
    Love this idea. I am a hater of trying to get the perfect letter ( and straight to boot ). This technique will save me from many unhappy and lengthy projects. Fabulous!! Thank you!

  14. Hi Sara
    you have just saved me a fortune in stencils, especially for large projects.

    Thanks for the easy tutorial

    Angela

  15. I not only love this project but also how PERFECTLY you labeled and linked the steps for your viewers!!! I never comment on blogs but this one simply required it! Great work!

  16. great tip and I applaud you for sharing.Appreciate your Sharing your love of the Lord! May He bless you!

  17. This is awesome!!! I just tried it and it works great! I used actually chalk, as the chalkboard I am using is for work and I will be changing it every month. Thank you Sara. You’ve helped my board look so much more professional!
    -Courtney

  18. Can’t seem to get the outline part to work. I am covering the back of my paper with chalk, flipping it over and outlining my letters. Is there a trick to it that I’m missing??? There is not any thing I can fill in when I’m finished outlining. Help!!!!!

  19. I love this… But I am stuck. The outline step is not working for me. I’ve colored on the back side of my paper with the chalk and flipped it over, taped it down, and there is no outline whatsoever after I am finished going over the letters. I’ve tried adding more chalk and still no luck….. Is there a trick I am missing??? Help!!!! Thank you!

    • I take the side of my chalk and rub pretty hard across the entire piece of paper so there’s a thick layer of chalk. I then shake of the extra and lay it down. Next, I usually use a pen and pressing with firm pressure trace the letters. Once removed, you should have an outline of your letters. Also, it helps to start with a clean chalkboard – one that isn’t already dusted with chalk. Hopefully this helps? I’ve use this technique all the time with lots of success. I hope it works for you too!

  20. Hi Sara,
    I love your mirror idea. I have been doing chalkboard art for the last year and what I found that worked best was white carbon paper for tracing that perfect lettering or picture. Check out some of my chalkboard art on Pinterest.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Before I put paint to the drop cloth, I used chalk to outline my crab. I used a google image of the crab, and freehanded it. HOWEVER, you could print out a crab, trace over it with chalk, and then place the chalk drawing down onto the canvas/drop cloth to get an outline. This is a similar technique to how some people create those gorgeous chalkboard art designs. […]

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