Why I like custom lettering
Have you ever shopped for bulletin board lettering and just did not find what you wanted? Maybe the colors were not right or the font wasn’t what you wanted. What ever you pick, you are sure to see in other teachers classrooms as well. Not to mention the exorbitant cost of purchasing pre-made bulletin board letters. It can run anywhere from $7-$20 for one set! I’m going to show you how to use your printer to create custom bulletin board lettering using scrapbook paper. Have you been to a craft store lately? The sheer volume of colors and patterns in the scrapbook aisle is crazy and it’s always on sale! You are sure to find some thing that will fit with your classroom theme.
It all starts with your word processor. I use Word and although, you can probably do this in other programs, this is what is easiest for me and what I’ll use for this tutorial.
Choose your font
Type out your text and choose your font. You wanna choose a font with some weight so that it isn’t too tedious to cut out, unless that is the look you are going for, in which case have at it! Being able to choose my own font is why I began making my own lettering. I was tired of the typical block or bubble lettering that I could find at the store. I chose this sort of funky font called Guesswhat. You can see that this will be a bulletin board about lab safety.
Make it big!
Now you need to increase the size of the font. Take a minute to look at the space you have available. You don’t want the font to be so small that it’s hard to read across the room but you also don’t want it to take up the entire bulletin board either. I made mine really big because I want my bulletin board lettering to really stand out and because the title is relatively short. In this particular font the size is a whopping 360! It will span several pages.
Now the magic
With your text selected choose format > font from the top menu.
Click the “text effects” button at the bottom of the font box. This is where you will make the font an outline so that your pretty scrapbook paper shows through!
In the left pane of the Format Text Effects box, “text fill” should already be selected. You want to select “no fill” here. this will get rid of the color inside the letters.
Now select “text line” from the left pane of the Format Text Effects box and select a color for your outline. I typically leave it black but you could choose a color that matches your paper if you want it to be less visible.
Sometimes I thicken the line so that I have a wider line to cut on. (It’s easier to make it look nice) You do this by choosing “Weights and Arrows” and increasing the weight of the line.
Once that is complete you have something that look like the following:
The next step is to print your title onto the paper of your choice.
Cut it out. I’m using a clean pair of curved dissecting scissors 🙂 they really help makeing intricate cuts a breeze. If you don’t have these laying around any small sized scissors will make this task easier.
The first image below is the Guess What font and the image to the right is a boxier font on which I used to weights option to thicken the lines. I think that the thick line makes the finished product a bit neater.
I have created custom bulletin board lettering for my bulletin boards (obviously), box labels, welcome signs, you name it! It works well to label things for blocks or periods too. I make several sets of 1,2,3,4 at the beginning of the year so I can slap them on goggle bins, assignment trays, etc. You will not believe how many uses you can find! Any other ideas? I’d love to hear how you are using this in your classroom, leave a comment below.