“Magic Words” on wall tutorial

The web is covered in tutorials.
I have a personal aversion to the “7 Easy Steps to being a Better Wife” type tutorials.
But …. a tutorial on painting? I can do that!

Through the years, I have seen walls that were painted with accent stripes or designs.
I would rip out the magazine page and stuff it into my “walls” manila file folder
and file it in my file cabinet.
Today, my ideas/inspiration pages are pinned Pinterest … like THIS  example.
But, I still have inspiration boards around my home.
THIS magazine page that hangs on one of those boards!Banana Republic Inspiration

See that number three? It almost fades into the wall.
That Banana Republic ad gave me the idea to use words on my wall
rather than a design or stripes.
And I would make it appear to fade or hide depending on where you are standing in my room.

This is my living area upon first entering my home. The words on the wall are invisible.

Magic Words on Wall Tutorial. So easy! You can do it, too! As you walk into the room and closer to the wall
the sunshine from the bay window to the left
bounces off the words and they begin to appear … like magic!Magic Words on Wall Tutorial. They are also invisible from other angles of the room, as well.
When seated at my dining table, you can only see a hint of them.
You have to draw closer for them to truly be revealed.The den wall when you can't see the words. Magic Words on Wall TutorialDepending on where you are standing in the room depends on which words reflect the light.Magic Words on Wall Tutorial. So easy! You can do it, too! From certain positions, you can see more words.

Magic Words on Wall Tutorial. So easy! You can do it, too! Depending on where you are standing, different words are more fully revealed.
Here  is “PREPARE” fully reflected … among other words that are just hinting of their presence.Magic Words on Wall Tutorial. So easy! You can do it, too! “STAND” …. and “PREPARE” again. Magic Words on Wall Tutorial. So easy! You can do it, too! And “rest” … is a really good word, isn’t it?
That is at eye level for small kiddos (none of those in MY family). Magic Words on Wall Tutorial. So easy! You really CAN do it! Here is “foster” …Magic Words on Wall Tutorial. So easy! You really CAN do it!
and “ponder”Magic Words on Wall Tutorial. So easy! You really CAN do it! and “disengage” (my Word of the Year for 2011)."Disengage" ... on of my favorite words on the wall. I'm working on this action.

Would you like to try doing this to a wall in your home? I know you can do it!

Magic Words Wall Painting Tutorial

Gather your supplies first. You’ll need
Gloss paint in the exact same color as your wall paint
A list of words, printed in different font styles
2-3 different paint brushes
Paper towels to dab water off your brush
A cup of water to clean your brush
Low-tack/painter’s tape
A level
a 2-3″ spacing guide (I used a ruler)
A step stool
Some sort of spot light

Let me mention first three things I learned that you want to know up front.
1) Words that are higher than eye-level or below eye level will not show up. I put some words near the ceiling and some near the chair rail. Unless someone is on a ladder or seated, those words will never be seen by the average adult. So, my suggestion is to place your words within a 2-3′ expanse that is right at eye level for an average adult. If you have young children, they will see the words at the chair rail … so you may want to use words there for them? Like “obey” HAhaha  Very few people will see anything above around 6′ high on your wall.
2) If you can,  paint your words freehand using your printed words as your guide. If you write in pencil … even lightly …. the marks will show through your paint, especially if you’re painting in a light color like white/cream/tan or any pastel color.
3) This will not work in a room without good light. For example, it wouldn’t work in a windowless hallway. You need natural light entering through a window that is at or below eye-level to allow your paint to reflect so that your images/words will show up well.

You’ll want to start with a list of words. I began jotting mine down a few weeks before I began so I had a large list of words. I used a thesaurus to help me.  I chose verbs … you might choose adjectives. Or you could choose a phrase or a poem?

When I had my words gathered, I put them into a word processing program in my computer and then chose a different font for each word … one that felt like it represented the word well within the typography. I printed out those words and then cut them out so I could tape the word on the wall for reference as I painted.

We’ll assume that your wall is freshly painted and clean.

I’m a Lowe’s girl so I used Valspar Eggshell paint (more scrubbable and not quite as flat as “Flat paint”) on my walls and Semi-gloss for my words (it is also the trim paint in my living area).Lowe's Valspar Paint

Using pieces of tape that are around 8-12″, begin placing the tape on your wall.
Using a level, make sure each piece of tape is straight so you will be able to paint your words straight on the wall.Making sure the tape is level. Magic Words on Wall tutorial. If you place all the pieces of tape upon the wall at one time, you can best see spacing. I painted some words and then came back weeks later to add more … so you see some words already in place with tape interspersed. I sized my paint strips so that they were longer for longer words  (like “contemplate”) and shorter for smaller words  ( like “love”). Magic Words on Wall Tutorial. So easy! You can do it, too! I added a second piece of tape above the lower one so I had a guide for the height of each letter. I used a ruler that was 2″ wide to help me make sure that my top guide/tape was an equal distance from the lower one. If you don’t have a ruler that is wide enough, a straight piece of paper would work just as well. Since I already had the lower guide strip level, this helped me make sure that each letter was painted a consistent in size from end to end. And I make some words larger than others. Magic Words on Wall Tutorial. So easy! You can do it, too!
And for letters with a ascenders (like “h” and “l” that extend above the mainline of the word) or descenders (like “g” and “f” that extend below the baseline),  simply paint the bulk of the word then peel away the tape and finish your letter. I set up a spotlight to help illuminate the paint while I worked.  Since the paint is the same color as the wall, you really can’t see it without light for it to reflect. Preparing the wall for words. Magic Words on wall tutorialI used just a few  brushes. A thin round one is better for skinny letters (like the top two). A wider, flat one is better for wider letters (like the third one down).  An angled one (like on the bottom) that is flat and has sharp edges (rather than rounded)  can be helpful with words in a calligraphy style font.Magic Words on Wall - paint brushesSo, choose your words and print them out,
give yourself tape guides for placement,
paint your words
and remove your tape.

That’s it!

If you have any questions, I’d love to try to fill in any gaps of instruction that I don’t realize I left open. If you try the project, take a photo and post your link? I’d love to see how you make this work in your home!

You can do it! Really, you can!


One thought on ““Magic Words” on wall tutorial

  1. Karen, LOVE what you did with your walls. It has been much too long since we’ve connected, although I’ve thought of you often. I am very bad, as you can tell, about keeping in touch.
    Any trips planned to head this way soon?
    Sending my best,


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