DIY Hand Lettered Teacher Gifts

I don’t know about you, friend, but I seriously stress out about teacher gifts this time of year. I want to give them something they’ll enjoy and use, but without costing a small fortune. Now that they’re in middle school, each boy has four academic teachers, plus four specials teachers, so that adds up pretty quickly! Here’s a DIY idea that I think any teacher would love, a personalized sign for the classroom, that only cost me $2 to make.  Take a look:

DIY Hand Lettered Teacher Gifts

You’ll need:

chalkboard sign {mine were less than $2 at Walmart in the craft aisle}

fine tip white paint pen

Ready to get started?

I’m going to show you how super-easy it is to get that gorgeous hand-lettered look without any special tools or skills. I call it “faux calligraphy,” and here’s how it works.

Step 1: Write the teacher’s name with the paint pen, leaving a little extra space between the letters.

Step 2: Find all the downstrokes in each letter and draw a second line, as shown in the sample below.

So, what’s a downstroke? Simply put, when we move our pen to write letters, it’s always moving either up {away from us}, down {toward us}, or horizontally. A downstroke is anyplace we were moving the pen toward ourselves while writing. The trick to that pretty brush-lettered look is to have thick downstrokes while leaving our upstrokes and horizontal strokes thin. Make sense? You can see in the example that I’ve drawn a second line everywhere my pen would have been moving downward while writing the letter.

Step 3: Color in between the lines to give the appearance of a thick stroke.

Ta-da! See? It’s like magic!

For more tips on this, check out my beginner hand lettering post, free practice pages, and of course my book, Hand Lettering for Relaxation!

Step 4: Add a border and/or doodles.

I thought the signs looked too blank with just the teachers’ names, so I added some details that went along with the subjects they teach. For a Science teacher, what better border is there than some DNA?

Here’s a super quick look at how I drew it; just a wavy line with another wavy line intersecting it and some vertical lines in between! I also have a quick step-out for the atom…a few intersecting ovals and some circles.

Of course, an English Language Arts teacher is going to love books, so that’s what I drew on this sign. Books are incredibly simple to draw, just a series of rectangles in varying heights and widths. Add a few little details like stripes or dots on the spine, and you’re good to go!

For a Social Studies teacher, a simple globe is a great embellishment. As a border, I sketched two little paper airplanes in flight.

Here’s how you can too…all drawings are based on simple shapes. Just draw a circle, then a half circle around it. Sketch a vertical line and a base, then draw a few wavy shapes to represent the continents. It’s not geographically accurate, but you can definitely tell it’s the earth, right? The airplanes are just a series of triangles followed by dashed lines.

In this case, the Math teacher is a fanatic for Harry Potter {just like Little Crafter}, so he wanted her sign to reflect that instead of her subject. So, I drew Harry’s glasses and scar.

Here’s a quick look at those doodles, as well as some other ideas for non-Harry Potter loving math teachers. Symbols like multiplication, division, etc. or the numerals of Pi would make a fun border.

That’s all there is to it! Just two inexpensive supplies, a little bit of time, and you have personalized gifts your kids’ teachers are sure to love. What do you think? Are there teachers in your life who would enjoy receiving these?

Don’t forget, if you like it, then you ought to put a Pin on it!

DIY Hand Lettered Teacher Gifts

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