Transfer letters without stenciling

Put down your coffee cup, because this is officially your cue to turn to the person next to you and say “Um, did she really need to label the door to her powder room?”

Nope, but I wanted to!

That wasn’t my plan all along, though. It just kind of happened. I was planning out an upcoming DIY project and came across a tutorial that promised to be “the easiest way EVER” to transfer letters without stenciling.

Now, I have transferred a lot of letters over the years. Sometimes I’ve painstakingly done it the ‘right’ way — cutting them out, tracing them on the finished product, and then painting them.

Like when I made this “Clarke family” sign for our front hall …

Full tutorial

But usually I chose hand-lettering because I couldn’t be bothered to spend all that time cutting around the delicate details of a serif uppercase “A.”

But this method — which really is the easiest thing ever — involves scribbling with pencil (or chalk) on the back of a printed word or phrase. Then you press the paper against your finished product, pencil-side down, and trace the letters with a sharp tool (like the tip of a mechanic pencil). Lift up the paper and the letters are there!

When I read the steps, I pretty much dropped what I was doing and tried it immediately. I’m sure some people would do a test on a scrap of wood rather than the door of a room designed to be used by their guests, but I felt very confident that day.

I printed out the word “Powder room” and obediently scribbled across the back (just behind the letters).

Then I taped the paper to the door, firmly traced over the letters, and the pencil marks were magically transferred!

I used a thin brush and a bit of grey acrylic paint to make the letters pop on the white door, and that was it!

(If you’ve been using this method for years, I have no idea why it’s taken me so long to discover it — especially given the amount of time I spend on Pinterest. But trust me, I’m making up for lost time now.)

I want to poke myself in the eye with that mechanic pencil when I think of how many hours I spent cutting pointless stencils. I could have used this method on canvases, wood projects, walls — you name it. Oh, well. What matters is that we have each other now, and I’ll never let go.

I already have plans to do the basement door across the hall, but I can’t decide what to put: Basement? Family Room? Man Cave? Toy room? Carpeted Lower Level That’s Perpetually Covered in Sawdust Because We Don’t Have a Garage?

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