How to Free Draw Letters for a Sign

By Amanda Stovall ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Poster board
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Eraser
  • Permanent marker
Drawing a sign neatly takes a little preparation to not make mistakes.

Hand drawing a sign is necessary when trying to create a sign that is too big to be printed on a computer, or when a sturdier sign is needed than computer paper can provide. Signs that are often drawn by hand include yard sale signs, directions to an event, and greetings, such as a sign for someone getting off an airplane or playing in a sports game. A little bit of planning and preparation will make drawing the letters simple, and look as neat as if typed on a computer.

Lay the ruler on the poster board and lightly mark off 1-inch segments with the pencil. Create a grid of vertical and horizontal lines. These segments will help you plan how big your letters can be so you do not run out of room, or make them too small.

Count the number of letters in each word you want to put on the sign, and decide how many rows you want. Count how many inches across the poster board is, and determine how many inches wide each letter will be. The width of your letters combined cannot exceed the width of the poster board. Leave at least the width of one letter at each edge of the sign. The height of the letters will depend on the size of the sign.

Use a pencil to lightly write out the letters on the sign. Leave a space equivalent to about one-quarter the width of each letter between each character--for example, if your letters are 2 inches wide, leave 1/2 inch between each letter. If you miscalculate or draw too big or too small, erase and try again.

Once the letters are penciled on the sign, use a large permanent marker or a paint pen to go over them. To make the letters extra thick, you can draw around them and color in the space so the sign is easily readable from far away. A standard thickness for the lines of letters is half an inch.

When the ink is dry, gently erase all pencil lines from the sign.