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5 Ways to Fake Handwritten Lettering with Silhouette CAMEO

There's more than one way to skin a cat - and there's more than one way to fake your handwriting thanks to the help of your Silhouette cutting machine.

Silhouette School monthly contributor Kati from Houseful of Handmade is here today to show you 5 different ways to fake handwritten lettering with Silhouette CAMEO!

Are you in love with the calligraphy trend? I find myself drooling over beautifully written words, I'm mesmerized by calligraphy videos on Facebook, and try my hardest to make my handwriting look half as good. But I do not have the time to practice everyday. So instead I cheat!

Luckily you can use your Silhouette CAMEO to help you fake great handwriting and calligraphy. All my signs and decor that have words on them have been perfected with the help of my Silhouette Cameo and Silhouette Studio. 

Use a Vinyl Stencil 

This is my favorite way to fake great handwriting. I use it all the time on signs like this Farmer's Market sign or my Farmhouse Produce Basket. Stencils are great for smooth surfaces, but not as great for textured surfaces like rough wood or textured canvas. I have however, had success using a vinyl stencil on drop cloth or soft fabrics.

The vinyl stencil is great because you adhere the stencil to the surface and then paint or draw in the words. The vinyl will not move around and, if you are careful not to push your paint or brush under the edges, it will create a clean line.

To make a vinyl stencil, design your text in Silhouette Studio. Cut it out on a piece of vinyl. Weed out the area you want to be painted/drawn. Apply the vinyl stencil to the surface you want to write on with a piece of transfer tape. Then you just need to fill in the stencil with your desired medium such as paint, markers or pen.

When using paint, be careful not to push it or you will not get clean lines because the paint can bleed under the stencil. I prefer using foam pouncers when using a stencil like this. You can also carefully hand paint the letters with a brush and the stencil will help you from making any mistakes.  

Create a template out of paper

I love this method for a more handwritten look. It does require a steady hand, but is totally worth it in the end. This is the method I used to write the text "What's for dinner" on our hallway command center. I get compliments on how great my handwriting looks on here all the time and it makes me smile knowing I used a cheater method.

To use a paper template, design your text in Silhouette Studio. Weld together any cursive or overlapping scripts. Fill the text with black, or make the line width 1.0 pt (from the Line Style tool) so that it will be visible once printed (I prefer the line width because it makes the next steps easier).

Print your text on regular printer paper.

Flip your paper over. If you are transferring the template onto a dark surface, rub a piece of chalk over the back of all the letters. If you are transferring the template onto a light surface, rub the side of a pencil over the back of all the letters. Then place your template on the surface with the chalk or pencil side against the surface and the printed text facing out.

Use a pen or pencil, trace the outlines of all your letters.  By doing so the pressure of the pen or pencil will transfer the chalk or lead onto the surface.

Remove the template and carefully fill in the lines with a pen, brush or marker. I used a chalk marker for our chalkboard command center wall so that it will not be rubbed away without water.

Create a freezer paper template

This method is similar to the paper template. You still need to have a steady hand when painting or filling in the template, but it does save one step (and I am all about saving steps). This one is a bit easier for rough surface too. Since you are printing the design onto a slick surface, it does not soak into the paper and can quickly be transferred to the project surface.

To make a freezer paper template you will need to start by designing your text in Silhouette Studio. Fill the text with black, or make the line width 1.0 pt so that it will be visible once printed.

However, before printing you will need to mirror your image horizontally by selecting Object - Mirror - Flip Horizontally.

Now cut a piece of freezer paper to the same size as your printer paper (typically 8 1/2" x 11"). Put the freezer paper in your printer so it will print on the shiny side. Print your writing template on it.

Place the template on the project surface. Be careful not to move it at all or the image will smudge. Using your vinyl scraper, press the printed template onto the project. This will lightly transfer the printer ink onto the surface - enough that you can use it as a guide to fill in the text with a pen, marker, or paint.

Use vinyl letters instead of handwritten ones 

This may not be the same as actually handwriting your words, but unless someone gets up close and personal with your project, they will have a hard time telling it wasn't handwritten. I used vinyl letter for my winter tray and rustic Christmas sign. The vinyl looks just like perfect handwriting and I love it.

Vinyl is great because you do not have to have a steady hand to get clean crisp lines. The Silhouette CAMEO does all the hard work. Then you just apply your pretty new letters to your project with your favorite transfer tape and you are done!


You can also use heat transfer vinyl and an iron like I did for these farmhouse kitchen canisters. Easy as pie!  

Create lettering with the Sketch Pen

Sadly this is one technique I have not yet used. I am almost embarrassed to admit I haven't tried creating with the Silhouette sketch pens at all. But don't worry, here is a wonderful tutorial to get you started using your sketch pens. Using the sketch pens will create absolutely perfect lettering on any material that you can load into your Silhouette. I think I will be trying this out soon because I will be adding a gallery wall to my almost finished stairway!

I hope I have inspired you to fake some beautiful handwriting with your Silhouette. It is the only way I letter anything these days.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I receive a small commission. That's what helps fund Silhouette School so I can keep buying new Silhouette-related products to show you how to get the most out of your machine!

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  1. I have considered taking calligraphy classes to be able to address my envelopes for cards, but like you, who has the time? Thanks to this post, I'm going to try using the Sketch Pens to write out the address instead. BRILLIANT!

  2. Just wondering how to print white on dark cardstock? Not using the pens. I've done it once and now do not for the life of remember how. I have a Silhouette Cameo using Designer edition software. Not the 3 the previous model. Thanks

  3. Thank you for these options!! What font is used for the "Heirloom Tomatoes" portion of the sign, please? I love it!


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