FWIW, I do know that you can put words on your wall using vinyl, but vinyl isn’t the most eco-friendly solution, nor is it really my style. We own our house, and so have the luxury of lowering our property value by painting the walls however we like.
So when I wanted to put a J.R.R. Tolkien quote on our wall of travel souvenirs, I didn’t turn to perfectly-formed vinyl or contact paper letter cut-outs. Instead, I relied on pencil, paper, a Sharpie, and my favorite slate-grey color of paint. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, and it’s definitely a project that’s easy to do even if you’re not a confident artist. If you can scribble, and you can color (reasonably well) within the lines, then you can paint a quote on a wall!
How to Paint a Quote on a Wall
You will need:
traceable image on plain copy paper. I used the most sophisticated of graphic design programs to create my quote: MICROSOFT WORD!!! Gasp, right? How did I ever learn to operate such a professional piece of software?!?
Seriously, if you’re making a quote, all you have to do is print it out in the font of your choice at correct size. If you’re a total boss, save yourself some ink by figuring out how to print it as an outline.
One mistake that I did make, actually, was not to put each word on a separate page. That messed up the spacing on the wall a little, but we all know that mistakes just give a piece character.
If you want to create your own image, you can print something else out, or even freehand draw something–just make sure that you put it onto plain white copy paper.
graphite pencil. I really like a woodless graphite pencil for how easily it is to do the shading required for this project, but a regular pencil will work, as well.
paint. I used my favorite color of indoor/outdoor house paint, already on hand, but craft acrylics will also work.
Sharpie. You’ll be using this to outline your painting. I used black, but I’m betting that metallic Sharpies would be fun to experiment with.
1. Tape the copy paper with the text on it directly onto the wall. Use this time to get all your placement absolutely perfect. Tape the paper to the wall ONLY at the top–this is important!
2. Shade the underside of the paper. Flip the first piece of paper up, then use the side of your pencil to shade completely over the backside of the text. Shade it really dark, and be sure to cover the entire area that your text covers on the other side.
3. Trace over the text. Here’s the tricky part: flip the paper back over, so that the area shaded with pencil is touching the wall and your text is facing up. Now trace over the outline of your text, and press HARD.
When you’re finished, flip your paper up again. You’ll see that, just like magic, you’ve transferred that outline to the wall:
How cool is that, right?!?
4. Color in the outline. All you have to do is paint inside that outline! Get yourself a tiny brush and your paint, and color away like a preschooler. Use as many coats as you need, and don’t worry that the edges look a little messy–we’re going to fix that next!
5. Sharpie over the outline. Carefully go over the outline of each letter with your Sharpie, as this will make all the edges look smooth.
I wanted to include Tolkien’s entire poem here–if you want to look it up, look in The Fellowship of the Ring, when the group is in the town of Bree. They receive a letter from Gandalf; in that letter, he includes a poem (spoiler alert: it’s about Strider!), and this quote is one line of that poem.
Anyway, my husband stoutly disagreed with my awesome plan to put the entire poem on our wall, and so I did just the one relevant quote, but you’ll notice that I did just happen to leave a lot of wall space free above and below that line…