Hand lettering is an adventure with any writing tools: Finding which ones work best, learning how to use them, and finding the ones you like working with is just the beginning. But once you have that down, it’s time to spread your wings, and what better way than to make your own hand-lettering tools.
In the Cloth Paper Scissors Lettering Lesson, Volume 20 with Laura Lavender, Laura demonstrates how to use everyday objects like feathers, bamboo, and popsicle sticks to make new writing tools. I made a couple of the tools from this lesson, and I was amazed at the results.
The first tool was made using a wooden dowel and a piece of lightweight metal. I cut a 2″ x ½” piece from a soda can for the metal part. The second tool was made using a popsicle stick and a shaped piece from a recycled plastic cover (the template is included in the lesson). A staple and some washi tape, and this tool was ready to go.
I created quite a few letters of the alphabet with the first tool and Speedball® Super Black India Ink. I really like the crisp lines I was able to achieve. I went back in after forming all of the letters, and added serifs, using ink on the flat edge, almost stamping the lines.
I decided to try my hand at a few words: Grow and Smile. I love the way they turned out.
I used acrylic paint with the second tool, watering it a bit to the consistency of cream, as Laura suggested. It took a few tries to get just the right amount of paint on the tool, but I don’t mind the mix of heavy and light areas of paint. I think it adds interest. I created a lowercase alphabet this time.
I played around with this tool, too, and, after spying a couple of clothespins close by, I tried some lettering with them, too.
I decided to create a finished piece, and chose to use the popsicle-stick tool and the same paint. Once the hand lettering dried, I went back in and added the flowers and swirls. I discovered that the end of this tool created great flower petals when used like a stamp, and I used the metal-tipped tool to create the leaves and swirls. I added the flower centers and the random dots and details with a skewer (a tool I think requires further investigation!).
I enjoyed playing with these tools and definitely plan to include them in future hand-lettering exploits. Check out this lesson for more great ideas for making your own hand-lettering tools.