Hand Lettered Nursery Art

Babies are big in my world right now! This year, we’ve had five baby showers at my church, and they’ve all been great. I had been trying to come up with a signature gift to bring to showers, and I think I’ve finally found my niche with hand lettering. It started with lettering the card envelopes that went with my gift, but then I decided to start painting. Especially for mothers who are on Baby #2, #3, or more, I always feel like there aren’t as many things that they need (except diapers, of course!). I like to give them something that is unique. So in lies the hand lettering. Painting on canvas is a simple gift that can look far more expensive than it actually was to create. It also shows that you put in time and thought to make something for your friend that’s unique to them and their situation.

The most recent baby shower I went to provided a special opportunity for me, though. A sweet friend of mine is set to adopt a baby girl with her husband in just a few short weeks. I love that my church still hosted a baby shower for her, and we treated it the same way we treated all the other baby showers we’d thrown. It doesn’t matter that she is not biologically giving birth to this baby, she is a new mommy-to-be. Adoption is a beautiful example of God’s love for each of us, because adoptive parents choose their children voluntarily, bring them into their families and love them and raise them as their own. Because of this, I wanted to make a piece that both my friends and their new baby girl could look at as a reminder of how much they are loved- the little girl by her new parents and my friends by their friends and family.

To start with, I actually had all the pieces I needed already.

  • 10X10 Canvas
  • Pink and gold acrylic paint
  • 1 inch foam brush
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Basic craft paintbrush

I squirted about a quarter’s size of the pink paint out onto a piece of plastic I had lying around. I dipped the foam brush in it and started to brush it across the canvas. Since the brush strokes showed, and I liked the look of them showing, I made sure to brush in the same horizontal strokes over the whole canvas. To be sure I wouldn’t mess up the background, I let the canvas dry overnight.

The next day, I grabbed my pencil and started sketching out the phrase I had chosen. After spending 20 minutes on the word “you”, I discovered a trick to hand lettering. The easiest way to draw out words is to think of it as just that: drawing, not writing. When you write out the words, you think of it as writing letters. If you remember to think of it as a drawing instead, you can think of it as a combination of lines, swoops, curves, and curls. I also discovered that, even with light strokes, the penciling was difficult to completely erase from the canvas. In the future, I plan to draw up the lettering on a piece of paper and to create a transfer for the canvas to avoid this problem.

After getting the phrase lettered the way I wanted it, I squirted out some gold paint and started to carefully paint over the outline. Due to the metallic feature of the paint, I let it dry and went back over it to get a more even coverage.

Next came my favorite part. The extra little touch that I add to most of my hand lettering: calligraphy. And by calligraphy, I mean fake calligraphy, because, you see, there’s a trick that I’ve learned. If you thicken each of the down strokes of all your letters, it looks like they were written with a calligrapher’s pen.

Ironically, the day after I finished the pink and gold piece, I heard from my friend that they were doing the nursery in yellows and grays. And those don’t really go with pink and gold… Oops! I created a transfer, as I mentioned before, and traced it onto another canvas. This canvas had a yellow background and gray lettering (which went on thicker than the metallic gold, thankfully). It came out even better, in my opinion!

The final product will match their daughter’s nursery, and every day, as she grows up, she will be reminded that she is indeed “so loved.”

Deborahs small signature

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