How to Paint Letters Freehand

Paint beautiful letters without using a stencil.
Paint beautiful letters without using a stencil. (Image: paint brushes image by EvilGirl from

Whether you are making a sign or poster or simply want to add a personal touch to a craft project, hand-painted lettering is a great way to get the job done. While stencils are useful, they are often expensive and may not come in the size or style you're looking for. Save time and money on your next project and do the lettering yourself. With just a little paint and practice, you can create beautiful freehand letters.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Computer with word-processing software
  • Printer
  • Paint
  • Small paintbrush with chiseled tip
  • Medium paintbrush with chiseled tip
  • Water
  • Paint stripper
  • Clean cloth

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Practice and experiment with different letter designs with pencil on paper so you get a feel for the letters. Try not to use an eraser, since you won't be able to erase small parts of your design when using pant.

Look up letter designs to mimic as you paint. Use the font tool in your word processor to search through the different types of letters. Print out the designs you like the best for your project.

Practice tracing the letters you chose using paint and paper. Try brushes in different sizes to change the thickness and angles of your lines. Practicing will help you figure out the best way to make each letter and build muscle memory.

Create thin lines and letters by using just the tip of the small paintbrush; make heavy or thick lines and letters by dipping the entire tip of the medium brush into the desired color. Transition between thin and thick lines by alternating, as you would in calligraphy.

As you paint the letters, make the brush strokes as long and fluid as possible to avoid choppy or broken lines in your letters. Wipe any excess paint off the brush to avoid drips.

Rinse the brushes when changing colors; wait for each color to dry before applying the next in order to keep colors from bleeding or mixing.

Allow the lettering to dry completely before touching up any errors or adding highlights or shading. Add highlights to letters by adding a small line of white paint to the outside edges of each letter and the insides of letters such as O or B. Add shadow by using the same process with black or gray paint.


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