Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Custom Letters - How To

I’ve been seeing lots of cool framed words on Pinterest lately like the one shown below....
It got me in the mood to make some again.  I had created one a long time ago that said “fall” but has long since been dismantled and used for other things.  It had a natural look to it because I used real dried leaves, acorn tops and maple spinners as the accents.

I was telling someone about it recently and she commented that she would like to make one but didn’t have an electronic die-cut machine so she couldn’t.  She said she was just going to purchase a set of word frames at their local craft/flea market.  I told her she could make any letter/word she wanted without the use of a die cut machine.  She was surprised and delighted when I explained how I make most of my letters.  She suggested I post it on the blog because she thought others could use this info to make their own letters as well. 

Now, I do have a die-cut machine but (confession time) - I rarely use it.  I know it would make lots of cool stuff to add to my cards/projects but dang, I just can’t get motivated to set it up, figure out what exactly I want to cut and then wait for the machine to do its thing.  Terrible I know but I’m being honest here. 
Custom Lettering
Framed Word Art

Anyway back to how I make letters, you can make letters in virtually any font as long as you have a computer and printer and it’s sooooooo easy!!

1.  Open a microsoft document and orient it (landscape or portrait) depending on how many letters I’ll be using and the size I need.  It’s usually landscape because I use this mostly for larger letters.

2. Type out the word/letters you want to make.  Next, convert the letters to the font you want to use… it can be any font under the sun and you know there are thousands (more about this later). 

3. Highlight your letters and click on the font size…most of the time it only goes up to 72 but if you highlight the number you can type in any size you want.  I’ve got up to 700 before – I used 550 for the examples below. 

 4. Now, you’ve got giant black letters on your screen…you need to make it more printer friendly.  Click on the “Text Effects” – on my screen it’s an “A” that is highlighted with blue.  You can choose all sorts of effects for your letters but all we need to do is choose outline with no shadow…nothing else, just a simple outline.

5. Next choose the “Font Color” – it’s the A with a colored line under it.  The default color is black but of course you can change the color to anything you want.  For this application, choose white.  You’ll be left with just the outlines of the letters.  Congratulations, this is exactly what you want!

6. Now print the letters out onto white (or other color) cardstock.   

this is an example of a couple of letters I'll be using soon...

 You can use the letters like this and skip step 7 and go directly to step 8 or if you’d like to make chipboard letters continue to step 7.

7. To add some body to the letters, roughly trim any excess cardstock from the letter and glue it to a piece of chipboard.  Once it’s dry you’re ready to proceed to step 8 – don’t try to move on until the letter is dry or you’ll tear the letter and possibly ruin it.

8.  Now fussy cut the letter from the cardstock/chipboard.  I usually begin in the center cutting away any inside or intricate areas with an exacto knife.  (this is where large letters are a blessing – smaller letters have lots of tight spaces that are more difficult to cut away.)    After the center and intricate areas have been taken care of you can switch to scissors and finish the trimming as needed.

You’ll be left with some awesome looking letters in any font you desire and the perfect size for your project…no fancy machines, no font cartridges, no special cutter blades, etc. 

You can finish off your letters any way you choose.  I especially like to cover them with glitter (and/or glass glitter) to really make them pop off my project of course that doesn’t work for everything but hey…a girl needs her bling every once in a while ;)

So there you go...
a fun and easy way to make custom letters
without having a die-cut machine.



  1. Thank you for this fantastic info! I'm trying to get up the courage to join in on your swap!

  2. More great tips from Roni. Thanks

  3. I have a Wishblade and have yet to figure out how the darned thing works! Don't mind fussy cutting at all so it's just a dust collector. LOL


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