How to Make a Hand-Lettered Farmhouse-Style Tray

Add rustic charm to your coffee table and learn how to transfer calligraphy onto wood using this handy chalk stencil technique.

Photo by: Jennie Andrews

Jennie Andrews

Have you ever seen a piece of gorgeous hand-lettered decor and thought, "I wish I could do that"? Well, if you can trace, you can easily create your own farmhouse-inspired signs and decorations at home. Here's how:

What You'll Need

  • pencil
  • 2 cabinet pulls
  • twine
  • painter's tape
  • drill & screwdriver
  • acrylic sealer (optional)

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DIY Hand-Lettered Farmhouse Tray
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Print Your Phrase

Download our free hand-lettered printable, then print on regular white printer paper. 

Add Chalk to Back of Printable

Lay printable on a flat surface, print-side down, and color the back of the word with a generous amount of plain white chalk. Do not blow away excess chalk.

Trace Onto Board

Turn paper print-side up and tape to center of wood board. Bearing down moderately with a ball-point pen, trace the edges of the printed word. When finished, gently peel back paper to reveal a light chalk outline of the word on the board. Set printable aside for later.

Trace Chalk With Paint Pen

Using an opaque white, fine-tipped paint marker, trace over original chalk outline. Let dry for about 15 minutes.

Add Embellishments

If you want to add floral embellishments to your tray, here's a quick trick. On original printable, place a dinner plate directly over the printed word. Check to make sure it's centered, then trace a half moon above and below the word using the plate as a guide. These will serve as the stems of your floral embellishment. Hand draw leaves on the stems. When finished, simply chalk the back of the stems, line up the printable with your board, then repeat the tracing and painting processes from steps three and four.

Fill In With Chalk Paint

Once paint marker is completely dry, fill in downstrokes with white chalk paint. (Chalk paint works best because it doesn't soak into the wood). Let dry for a few hours or overnight.

Seal With Acrylic Spray (Optional)

To prevent premature wear, spray a light coat of clear acrylic sealer over dry paint. Let dry.

Upcycle Old Cabinet Pulls

Give old cabinet pulls a new look with twine. Add a dab of hot glue to one end of the pull on the back side, then wrap to the other end with twine. Secure again with a dab of hot glue. Attach pulls to board about one inch in from the sides and centered top to bottom. 

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