5 Tips to Boost Your Chalkboard Hand Lettering
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 6 min read


  1. Choose the Right Chalk
  2. Practice Basic Strokes
  3. Learn Letter Forms
  4. Work on Layouts
  5. Experiment with Styles and Decorations

If you're eager to get better at hand lettering on chalkboards, you've found the right place. In this blog, we'll explore five simple yet effective steps that can significantly improve your chalkboard hand lettering. From selecting the right chalk to experimenting with styles and decorations, we've got you covered. Let's kick things off with our first tip.

Choose the Right Chalk

Choosing the right chalk is your first step towards improving your chalkboard hand lettering. And no, not all chalk is created equal. So, let's make sense of which chalk suits your needs best.

The Everyday Chalk

If you're just starting out or practicing frequently, everyday or traditional school chalk is your go-to. Why? It's cost-effective and readily available. But remember, its quality can vary:

  • Hard chalk: It's firm and doesn't break easily. However, it might not give you the smoothest lines.
  • Soft chalk: This one's perfect for smooth and bold lines. But be careful, it snaps easily.

Chalk Markers and Pencils

Now, if you're getting serious about your chalkboard hand lettering, you might want to invest in chalk markers or pencils. They offer:

  1. Precision: With markers and pencils, you can achieve detailed lettering.
  2. Vibrancy: They typically have more pigment, making your lettering pop on the chalkboard.

Remember, chalk markers are not easily erasable like traditional chalk. So, make sure you're confident about your design before you get down to work.

Colorful Chalk

Who said chalkboards need to be black and white? Colorful chalk can add a fun twist to your lettering. It can help you highlight certain words or create visually appealing designs. But remember, colored chalk usually comes in softer versions, so handle with care.

So, there you have it—choosing the right chalk is your first step to getting better at hand lettering on chalkboards. In the next section, we'll move on to practicing basic strokes.

Practice Basic Strokes

Once you've picked the right chalk, it's time to get down to business—practicing your basic strokes. Just like learning to write, getting better at hand lettering on chalkboards begins with mastering the basics.


Downstrokes are the lines you draw when moving your hand downwards. These strokes are usually thicker and give your letters a bold look. Here's how you can practice:

  1. Start at the top and move your chalk smoothly downwards. Keep your pressure consistent.
  2. Try drawing several parallel downstrokes. They should all be of the same thickness and length.


Upstrokes, on the other hand, are lines drawn while moving your hand upwards. These strokes are generally thinner and give your letters a delicate touch. Here's how to practice:

  • Start at the bottom and move your chalk upwards. Keep your hand light and steady.
  • Again, draw several parallel upstrokes. The goal is consistency in thickness and length.

Curve Stroke

Curve strokes add a dynamic flair to your hand lettering. They can be a bit tricky, but with practice, you'll get the hang of it. Here's a quick guide:

  1. Start with a simple semi-circle. The key is to keep your hand movement fluid.
  2. Gradually move on to drawing full circles and then 'S' shapes. Remember, the smoother your curve stroke, the better your letters will look.

These are your basic strokes—the building blocks of all letters. The key is to practice them until they become second nature. After all, the more you practice, the closer you are to getting better at hand lettering on chalkboards. In the next section, we'll learn about different letter forms.

Learn Letter Forms

Now, let's take those basic strokes you've been practicing and start forming letters. This step is essential in your journey towards getting better at hand lettering on chalkboards. So, shall we?

Understanding Anatomy of a Letter

Each letter has its own structure, or "anatomy". It includes elements like the stem, crossbar, bowl, and more. Knowing these parts will help you draw each letter correctly and consistently. Let's break it down:

  • Stem: This is the main, usually vertical, part of a letter. For instance, the straight line in 'l' or 'b'.
  • Crossbar: It's a horizontal stroke in letters like 't' or 'H'.
  • Bowl: It's the rounded part of letters like 'd' or 'b'.

Mastering Lowercase Letters

It's best to start learning letter forms with lowercase letters. They are simpler and many of them share common shapes. Here's how to practice:

  1. Start with simple letters like 'i', 'l', 't'. You can clearly see the stem and crossbar in these.
  2. Gradually move on to letters with bowls like 'b', 'd', 'p'. Remember to keep your strokes consistent.
  3. Finally, practice complex letters like 'a', 'g', 'o'. These will test your control over the chalk.

Progressing to Uppercase Letters

Once you're comfortable with lowercase letters, it's time to tackle the uppercase ones. They are a bit more complex but don't worry, you've got this. Here's your practice routine:

  1. Begin with straight letters like 'I', 'T', 'L'. These letters will help you understand proportions.
  2. Then, work on rounded letters like 'C', 'O', 'Q'. Keep your hand movement fluid.
  3. Lastly, practice complex letters like 'B', 'E', 'F'. Take your time and don't rush.

Remember, practice makes perfect. You're well on your way to getting better at hand lettering on chalkboards. Next up, we'll dive into creating layouts.

Work on Layouts

Once you've got a firm grip on letter forms, it's time to start crafting your chalkboard layouts. This is where your hand lettering starts to really come alive. Ready to take the next big step in getting better at hand lettering on chalkboards? Let's do it.

Create a Grid

Grids are like the secret blueprint of an effective layout. They help you keep your lettering straight and consistent. Here's how you can create your own grid:

  1. Start by lightly drawing horizontal lines across your chalkboard. Ensure they're evenly spaced.
  2. Add vertical lines to divide your chalkboard into smaller sections.
  3. Use these lines as guides to place your letters and maintain alignment.

Plan Your Design

Before you put chalk to board, have a clear idea of what you want your design to look like. This can save you a lot of time and chalk. Here's how you can plan your design:

  • Sketch it out: Use a piece of paper to doodle your design. It doesn't have to be perfect, it's just a rough blueprint.
  • Visualize the space: Think about how your design will fit on the chalkboard. Will it be centered? Cover the whole board?
  • Balance your elements: Make sure your design is balanced. If you have a large letter on one side, balance it with a smaller design element on the other side.

Start Lettering

Now it's time to grab your chalk and start lettering. Remember, it's okay if it doesn't turn out perfect the first time. Just enjoy the process. Here's how you can start:

  1. Begin with the main text. This could be a quote, a welcome message, or a menu item.
  2. Add secondary text or design elements around the main text.
  3. Finally, erase your guiding gridlines and admire your handiwork.

With your new layout skills, you're one step closer to getting better at hand lettering on chalkboards. Now, let's move on to experimenting with styles and decorations.

Experiment with Styles and Decorations

Style and decoration are the flavorings that spice up a well-crafted chalkboard hand lettering project. They're like the cherry on top of an ice cream sundae, adding that extra zing that makes your work pop. So are you ready to add a dash of creativity to your chalkboard hand lettering?

Try Different Fonts

Just like how different outfits express different moods, fonts can also convey an array of emotions. Diversifying your font usage is a great technique for getting better at hand lettering on chalkboards. Here's what you can do:

  • Explore Calligraphy: The flowing lines of calligraphy can add an elegant touch to your chalkboard art.
  • Play with Serif: Serif fonts, with their small decorative lines, can give your hand lettering a classic, traditional feel.
  • Experiment with Sans Serif: Sans serif fonts, without those tiny lines, can give your work a modern, clean look.

Add Decorative Elements

Decorative elements are what make your chalkboard hand lettering uniquely yours. They give a personal touch and add complexity to your work. Here's how you can make your chalkboard designs more decorative:

  1. Draw simple shapes like stars, hearts, or flowers around your letters.
  2. Add arrows, lines, or banners to highlight parts of your text.
  3. Shade or fill in some parts of your letters to create depth.

Play with Colors

Who says chalkboards are only for white chalk? Colorful chalk can add a whole new level of excitement to your hand lettering. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Use Colored Chalk: Brighten up your chalkboard lettering with a rainbow of chalk colors.
  • Try Chalk Markers: For more vibrant, solid colors, chalk markers can be a great option.
  • Blend Colors: Try blending different colors together for a gradient effect in your letters.

By adding a dash of creativity and style, you're making significant strides towards getting better at hand lettering on chalkboards. Remember, the key is to experiment, have fun, and make your chalkboard hand lettering uniquely yours.

If you're looking to further refine your chalkboard hand lettering skills, we highly recommend attending the 'Getting Started with Hand Lettering' workshop by Shannon Layne. This workshop will provide you with valuable techniques and insights to take your hand lettering to the next level, whether it's on chalkboards or other mediums.