How To: Chalkboard Signs

I love handwriting and hand lettering and all things hand written. I love fonts, and I love getting to practice new fonts.

I get asked to address envelopes for weddings and holidays all the time, and I LOVE it.

Fancy writing is really quite easy, and today I want to show you how to take the plunge if you haven’t practiced hand lettering before, OR give you a few tips if you are a hand-writing-lover like me!

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If you are going to be making a sign, consider the type of material you want to write on. It doesn’t only have to be a chalkboard to work. I often use black wrapped canvases like these, and I prefer them.

I choose to use chalkboard markers over actual chalk. And I MUST have a chisel-tip!!! I used these VersaChalk markers for my friend’s wedding chalkboards, and they turned out so well. The colors were perfect because they’re more natural, not as shocking and crazy as some of the neon-colored packs you see at the craft supply store!! I also like the Bistro Chalk Markers, but I have a harder time finding them – usually just at JoAnn’s if I’m lucky.

An actual chalkboard is nice, but I feel like the canvas absorbs the ink in a different way, and gives it more character. The chalkboards can sometimes be too crisp. (Which I think is an example of irony… making a chalkboard design, but not on an actual chalkboard because it doesn’t look chalkboard-y enough?!)

First what you need to do is decide what the heck you’re going to write. See: Pinterest (here’s my Typography board!). You may want to practice on some paper first, get the spacing right, see how you like the word placement. For example, maybe you think that you want to write two words next to each other, but once you write it on paper, you might decide it looks better with one word on each line.

So you’ll have your canvas and your chisel-tip chalk marker. (La Croix optional, but suggested!)

Next, start with the out line and main focus of what you want the board to be. For example, my board I’m making today says Mr. & Mrs. – so I’m going to start with that, not the flourishes and little extra stuff.

So I got it all drawn out.

Next, you will start to outline the letters. The trick here is to only make the writing “thicker” where your “down stroke” with the pen would have been. This makes it look more like you’re doing legit calligraphy.

See how it’s double-lined in some areas? Next, you’ll fill that in. (Although I think the double-lined thickness does look kind of cool and I have stopped with that before!)

And for the final touches, I drew the thinnest line possible on the left sides of the letters. This give it a cool, more dimensional look. I also added in some flourishes and border things. Pinterest is another good resource for getting flourish inspo.

I probably could have kept going on this one, but decided to keep it more on the simple side!

Happy Crafting!

How To Use Cricut Design Space with Iron On Material

I’ve been obsessed with my Cricut lately.

I got it for Christmas from my mom, but we had our house listed for sale shortly after, and then had to pack and move, and then unpack…. I didn’t really get to play around with it as much as I wanted to.

Well now the flood gates have burst with Cricut projects. I sure hope my family is all looking forward to Cricut project gifts for Christmas!

I’ve been especially excited about the iron-on material. I made a shirt for my daughter (which turned out so freakin’ cute), a couple of tote bags (okay like 10 tote bags), and then some more tote bags.

Here’s some things I’ve learned about iron on material.

By the way, if it helps, I have this Cricut.

So I had a hard time understanding how the IO Material should be oriented on the mat. Especially because the metallic and non-metallic look so different. Add the mirror-imaging to that and my brain is all twisted up.

So the outside of the roll will go down on your mat (the part you see when the material is all rolled up). It seems backwards, but that’s the way you want to do it. (However, I found out the hard way that if you put it wrong-side-down, you can still re-cut it on the correct side.

Don’t forget to check mirror image before you cut. Found that one out the hard way, too. When you have IO Material selected as your media, it will show a “mirror image” option in the “cut” screen that you can select. It’s really easy, but you won’t be able to do it until you’re in the “cut” screen.

Next, your image will be cut and you have to weed out all of the negative space. Weeding is the term they use for peeling out all of the extra material so you are left only with the design you want to use. Once you get a little more seasoned, you will get craftier with positioning so you don’t waste as much material (like I did).

Now you’ll be left with a big piece of clear transfer sheet and the design cut from the metallic/other IO Material.

Change the setting of your iron based on the material you’re transferring onto. For my daughter’s shirt, which was a thin cotton baseball t-shirt, I used medium heat. For the heavy duty canvas totes, I used high heat. Do not use steam.

Iron your design onto your tote/shirt/etc. evenly. It will take longer than the Cricut packaging suggests (that’s what I experienced, longer than 30 seconds). I probably spent at least a minute rolling the iron around the design.

You may notice that the color of the IO Material changes when it heats, but in my experience it has gone right back to the original color when it cools (a minute, maybe?). Pay special attention to tiny lines and delicate parts, make sure then get good and ironed on there!!

Once it appears the image has transferred, gently pull up a small corner of the clear paper to see if the IO Material is sticking. If it is, let go of the clear paper! Allow the image to cool for a couple minutes, and then remove the clear transfer paper.

Make sure to take care when washing the item, spot treat if that’s and option. My daughter’s shirt gets washed inside-out, and hung to dry (which is why she doesn’t wear it often! HA!).

I hope this helps with your Cricut cutting!