Hand Lettering: No Calligraphy Skills Required


If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent countless hours searching Pinterest boards and watching Instagram videos on DIY calligraphy and chalk art. (If you’re not like me, you’re missing out because those videos are seriously entrancing!)

I have decent handwriting, but I cannot for the life of me create calligraphy or chalk art that doesn’t look like a 9 year old made it. So, after trying several different methods (and failing each time), I finally gave in and decided to try it my own way: by faking it.

First things first, find what you want to create.

For this project, I decided to re-paint an old globe that was clashing with my office decor; but I’ve also used this technique on chalkboard wall hangings and pallet art and it works great.

Second, find your design.

You can either create your own using your favorite fonts and styles, or a simple Google search will lead you to several great ideas just begging to be crafted.


Third, gather your materials! For this project, you will need:

  • Paint brush or roller
  • Rust-oleum Chalkboard Paint (or any paint or spray paint)
  • White chalk
  • A sharpened pencil
  • Tape
  • Chalkboard pen or paint pen
  • Item to be transformed

Now the fun part:

  1. Paint your item with your paint of choice. I decided to go with chalkboard paint for this project since I will want to switch out the design seasonally. The Rust-oleum chalkboard paint was smooth and thick to apply. I only had to use two coats and didn’t even need to sand down the existing lacquer on the globe. DIY win!
  2. Print or trace your design. I typically like to print my designs out to save some work, but this time, I decided to trace it directly off my computer screen onto a piece of lined paper. You’ll want to be sure to print or trace in dark (black) ink, if possible. It will help you with the next step!
  3.  Flip it over and trace again. Once you have your design printed or traced, flip your page over and, put it up against a white background, and trace along the black outline with a piece of white chalk. You can either decide to fill in the design completely or simply trace along the outside edges. (You’ll fill everything in all the way with your chalk or paint pen later on.)
  4. Place the design on your painted item. With the paged turned back to the front side, place your design over the item you want to transfer it to. If you’re creating a circular object, it will be easier to cut out your design rather than use the whole sheet. Tape along the corners or edges of the paper so the design stays in place, and grab your pencil!
  5. Trace again. Using your sharpened pencil, trace along the design once again to transfer the chalk from the back side onto your item. Press fairly hard, but try not to create any holes in the page as this can puncture any wood or leave an indent in the item underneath.
  6. Remove the paper from your item. Once you’ve traced along the entire design, remove the paper and you will be left with a light chalk outline on your item. From here, you can choose to use either your chalk pen or paint pen to darken the design and make it more permanent. If you like the way it looks without the chalk pen, feel free to leave it be at this point if you’re creating a chalkboard item. I typically like the cleaner lines of the chalkboard pen, but it’s completely up to you!



Hand-lettered chalkboards, ornaments, and wall hangings are a great gift idea for your fellow Pinterest-obsessed friends and family, and also make a great activity if you feel like crafting for yourself!

If you try out this lettering method, feel free to share your finished products in the comments!

Samantha Jo is the founder and owner of “Write On,” a freelance marketing business. Her friends call her Sam, Sammi, or Sammi Jo. Her two favorite people call her “Mommy.” In her spare time, Samantha enjoys coffee, crafting, camping, blogging at lifebytheGills.com and BuffaloMoms.com, and sipping only the finest of boxed wines – although not necessarily in that order.