DIY Chalkboard “Hand Lettering” Decal {Tutorial}

A few weeks ago, the hubby and I mustered up the courage to paint an accent wall in our kitchen to use as a chalkboard. I have to say, it’s pretty darn functional. I actually do plan out our menu for the week on this wall, write down any items as we run out to snap a cell phone picture of before heading out to the store, and the bottom portion is for Olivia’s artwork to entertain her as I cook dinner. She loves it! And if she ventures to furniture or other walls while I’m caught up playing chef (thank goodness for eggshell paint), chalk easily wipes off of pretty much anything with a dry rag.
But since painting this wall, I have felt like it lacked that certain something. I’ve seen some beautiful hand lettering lately, but since I am more of a crafty person instead of an artistically talented person, I thought I might get a few personalized chalk hand letter-like decals for this big black chalkboard wall to make it even more functional and more like artwork. As always after looking around at different online decal shops I thought, heck I’ll just make it. If I blow it, I’ll admit defeat and buy one. You never know until you try, right? That seems to be my mantra lately anyway. One of these days I’m going to eat my words. But this little decal project only cost me 3 BUCKS! And it’s removable, so I had nothing to lose.
Since I can’t do this…
I’m breaking out a handy dandy roll of white matte vinyl.
And since I know not everyone has mad Photoshop skills or even owns Photoshop software (and I’ll be honest, I’m not a pro either), I tried this out in Microsoft Word so practically anyone who owns a computer could attempt it too.
First, I found some chalkboard-inspired fonts. Dafont.com has tons to choose from, but I landed on my top three because they weren’t too complicated and allowed me to vary script with block letters. I had to take into account that I would be cutting them by hand without a vinyl-cutter to do the work for me. (Mark my words: One day I will own a Cricut machine.)
Decide on what you would like your chalkboard to say and have fun with trying out fonts and word art shapes. I just Googled “Chalkboard Hand Lettering” and all sorts of amazing inspirations popped up. Look at all the amazing chalkboard art!
Keeping my limited artistic ability in mind, I figured out a simple style and ran with it.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 roll of matte white vinyl  (length depending on the size of your decal)  I used this
Scissors or Xacto knife
Microsoft Word
Scotch Tape
Chalk or Chalk Pen
Damp Cloth
Here’s what to do:
1. In Microsoft Word, create a text box (very important to make the rest work) and type one or two words for a line on your hand lettered graphic. Adjust the size. If you have a ginormous chalkboard to fill up, and you want to make your words bigger than a standard letter-size paper will allow, type just one or two letters at a time on each page.
2. Choose a text effect to create the shape you want your text to have. Go to Drawing Tools -> Text Effects -> Transform
3. Make sure the text box is still highlighted. Go to Drawing Tools -> Format -> Rotate -> Flip Vertical. This will mirror the text.
4. To print the mirrored text on the vinyl, I cut the vinyl roll into letter-sized sheets. Test a sheet of printer paper first to make sure you know how to feed the vinyl so that the text will be printed on the paper-backed side.
5. Your printed vinyl sheet should end up looking like this:
6. Cut the letters with scissors or an Xacto knife. I left those little shading lines off since I planned on drawing them later once the vinyl was placed on the chalkboard.
7. If there is already chalk residue on your chalkboard, wipe it clean with a damp cloth and let dry for a few minutes. Use Scotch tape to test your placement before sticking the vinyl to the board.
8. Peel off a little of the paper backing at a time as you smooth down the vinyl to adhere to the chalkboard. Go sloooooooow.
9. Rub chalk over the letters and board to give the vinyl a blended chalky look.
10. Use a chalk pen (or regular chalk is fine too) to add in any shading, flourishes, or other designs. (This took a little trial and error on my part, but I struggle even with drawing stick people so this wasn’t surprising to me.)
(Notice my super concentrated look as I’m thinking, “Please don’t mess this up, please don’t mess this up.”)
11. And…done! I’m still on the fence about my art skills, but the font itself looks like real hand-lettering. It’s functional and art at the same time like I’d hoped for. And I don’t have to worry about it getting erased.
I might eventually get some black switch plates to camouflage them with the wall and possibly put molding around the perimeter to make a frame.
Now if only I had my menu for the week figured out and the grocery shopping done…

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  1. Looks great!! You are so talented! I love your blog and your pins on Pinterest. You have a beautiful home and I like the way you redo things. Hope you have a nice day! 🙂 Ann

    1. Thank you so much, Ann! This post is so old, but I definitely still love seeing it in our kitchen. 🙂