Having personalized artwork in our home is where the, “I really love our home” magic happens. When we moved to Los Angeles in 2012 from Minneapolis we brought with us a tiny selection of home decorating favorites. We didn’t have room in our Jeep for much, so what we brought here either rode with us across the country or fit into a shipped box. Next time we move across the country, I’m totally making sure we have room for this hand-painted lyric art ;) I love it so much, mostly because the lyrics are from my very favorite song, Insomniac by Billy Pilgram. (Back when we were in college and dating, Zack sang in a male a capella group, and this song quickly became my favorite.)
It was super easy to make this lyric art, and took a couple of hours from start to finish.
SUPPLIES NEEDED: firm paint brush, black acrylic paint, plate & aluminum foil (or paint palette), painters tape, tape measure, a large wooden board or canvas (ours measures 4 feet x 3 feet).
OPTIONAL: a drill, hanging rope, and a heavy-duty picture frame hanger for hanging the sign (double check weight/strength before hanging).
I started by creating horizontal lines across the board with the painters tape. Beginning at the top, I spaced each line out about 5″ and continued all the way down to the bottom. To help keep the lines straight, I measured 5″ on the left and right sides, making sure the measurements (and my tape lines) matched. Then I quickly practiced “air” writing the lyrics to get a general idea of how much spacing was needed, and how many words I could fit on each line. I decided I wanted to end each line with a full word, but you could add a dash at the syllable break if you want the words to flow endlessly from line to line.
I then practiced writing a couple of letters on my plate covered in aluminum foil to get a feel for the brush strokes. I did not hand draw the lyrics on the wood before painting. I thought about doing this, but then decided the letters wouldn’t look like my natural handwriting if they were pre-drawn, so I decided to opt out.
Next up: start painting! I dipped my brush in the paint, and hoped for the best as I worked on the first line :) The entire process of this project was so fun & easy, and I think “Y”s and “G”s were my favorite letters to paint on the wood. There are a couple of letters that didn’t turn out how I had hoped, but that was OK — I wasn’t looking for perfection.
I wrote more and more and more words, dipping my brush into the paint often and thinking back on the years Zack and I spent together prior to getting married. Working on this project flooded my mind with so many happy events, that may have been the best part of this entire project!
The song lyrics were pulled up on my computer, and as I was painting I was checking them constantly to make sure I was copying them over correctly :) I noticed the first few letters had the best saturation of paint, and the longer I painted the lighter the letters became. At first I was constantly re-dipping my brush into the paint, but soon decided my words looked the best like my handwriting when I kept going. I made sure the second coat of paint over the letters covered up any gaps. Some letters even needed a third look-over.
After the first draft was painted on I went over everything a second time, like I mentioned above, focusing on the starting points of each letter and filling in any weak areas. Once everything was completely dry (which took a couple of hours), I pulled the painters tape off — I was done!
Zack drilled two holes at the top so I could loop a hanging rope through, then my hand-painted lyric art was ready to hang.
Right now it faces our bed, but in months past it’s been a part of Maxwell’s nursery collection. It’s a great lullaby, and admittedly the kids hear it ofter at bedtime :)
I think if I did this project over I’d find a skinnier roll of painters tape so the line spacing wasn’t so large (it’s about 1″). The words also feel a little big, but I think they are the right size considering the project as a whole.
Instead of hand-painting lyrics, what if you wrote a monologue about a memory or feelings towards someone? Much inspiration can be drawn from this simple DIY, and I love so much all of the imperfections of this sign. It’s a natural reflection of our relationship; for life in general. True perfection is hard to find, but there is beauty throughout and it deserves to be noticed.
And in case you’re interested, here is the a capella version of the song that inspired this project…