10 ideas for hand lettering practice

Hand Lettering Practice: 10 Ideas for When You Need Inspiration

How do you know what to letter? You finally have time to start a hand lettering practice so you sit down with your lettering supplies and you have no idea what to letter. Does that sound familiar? I am asked this question a lot! Maybe you’re in a creative slump. That’s not a fun place to be! So I made a list of 10 ideas for a hand lettering practice when you’re stuck and have no idea what to letter.

Hand Lettering Practice: 10 Ideas for when you need inspiration

10 Ideas for a Hand Lettering Practice

Idea 1: Choose a set of words to practice hand lettering

There are lots of different sets of words like colors, types of flowers, animals, etc. Choose something that interests you. This is also great if you don’t feel ready for quotes yet because words are simpler. When you choose a set of words, you have several to work through that can take you a couple of weeks, which is great because that’s more practice time.

Idea 2: Hand Letter names to practice

Choose names of friends, family, people you admire, or movie and book characters you love. This is also great for uppercase practice too. When I had been lettering for only a few months, I asked on Instagram for name requests, and I think I lettered, like, 200 names in a week or something. It was a bit intense, but it was great practice. And who doesn’t love seeing their name hand lettered? Even though I know how to hand letter, I still love seeing other people letter my name.

Idea 3: Practice Lettering song lyrics

Do you love music? Do you listen to it while you letter? I love to sit down with my lettering supplies, put on my noise canceling headphones, and letter the lyrics of the songs I’m listening to. Taylor Swift is my go to for this. Maybe you’re not a song person, but you like to letter while watching movies or TV shows. You could do the same thing with movie quotes. It’s a great way to relax with your lettering.

Taylor Swift has the best lyrics that always speak right to my heart. One of these days I want to fill a whole journal with just Taylor Swift lyrics.

hand lettering practice taylor swift song

Idea 4: Use Hand Lettering practice sheets

Choose some practice sheets that look fun to you. There are so many hand lettering worksheets on Etsy including my own practice worksheets. Worksheets are helpful because you don’t have to decide what to practice, you have a guide. If you want everything you need to start, you could get my book Hand Lettering for Beginners (shameless plug here). It is full of worksheets with seven different font styles, techniques and projects to practice. This is a great way to get into the flow of lettering, and you never have to question what to letter.

Idea 5: Start a grateful list as your hand lettering practice

There is so much research out there about how noticing the things you’re grateful for can improve your mood. And I would even go as far to say that it improves it even more if it’s beautiful with your own hand lettering.

I was training for a half marathon with my husband and on our long run days I made a collage of how many miles we ran. I was feeling grateful that I was able to accomplish that, especially when my legs are telling me to stop the whole time. I am not a runner, but I really enjoy spending that time with my husband. And then I looked forward to making this collage as I’m grateful for my body and grateful for the beautiful weather. All of it helped me be more grateful about my life.

Hand lettering grateful list number collage

Idea 6: Hand Letter for someone else

Is there a holiday coming up? Is it someone’s birthday? Everyone loves receiving snail mail, especially if it’s made by hand. If you’re worried about what someone might think of your lettering, they’re really not thinking about it that much. You are definitely more critical because you see the details. Welcome to the world of lettering. Your friend or family member doesn’t know the difference between your lettering and that lettering artist you admire on Instagram because they don’t live in this world, and they don’t notice those details. They’re just gonna be so impressed that you handmade something for them.

Idea 7: Get a Hand Lettering journal with quotes in the margins

I had a journal with quotes in the margins and sometimes that’s what I letter. Like, this quote, “Life is the best party I’ve ever been invited to.” I hadn’t heard that quote before, and I loved it. So I actually lettered it twice in different ways. I love inspirational quotes, but I especially love when I don’t have to go searching for them. Having a journal with quotes is like built in inspiration. I have the journal I like in my Amazon favorites under the journal section.

practice hand lettering journal

Idea 8: Start your own list of quotes to practice

When you see or hear a quote you like, write it down. Keep a quote list so you can look back through it when you need something to draw from. To make my quote list, I use Notion. It’s a free organizing tool, and it’s how I’ve been organizing basically everything. I have a Notion board dedicated to quotes that I love so I can keep adding to it. I always have it with me as long as I have my phone. When you don’t feel like lettering anything, you pull it up and you have a narrowed down list to choose from as opposed to googling quotes with endless results. You know what I mean.

Idea 9: Practice Lettering quotes from books

Do you like reading as much as I do? I’m always finding great quotes to letter in the books that I read. I have another Notion board where I keep track of all the books I’m reading so I can write quotes that are meaningful and things that I want to remember. I like to read fiction, but I also really like to read non-fiction. When I read a quote that really speaks to me, and then I letter it, it helps me process it and try to make it part of my life. This helps me feel like my best self.

Here are two pages of quotes from the book Midnight Library by Matt Haig. This book really made me think about my perspective on life and I loved lettering something from it.

midnight library quotes hand lettered

Idea 10: Hand Letter what’s on your mind

This is what I do most often, and it’s amazing how lettering can help you express yourself and process experiences, emotions, and things you’re doing. Some questions I ask myself are, what do I need to hear right now? What do I want to feel? What happened today that I’m proud of? This is how lettering started for me. It was my therapy. I didn’t practice the basic strokes so I could get perfect lettering. I practiced quotes that made me feel like I could handle life. That’s what hand lettering does for me.

If you’ve experienced something similar with your hand lettering, I would love to hear about it. And, also, please share if you have another idea that works for you.

Here’s the video version of this post!

If you want some other tips on practicing hand lettering, check out these posts:

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  1. Thanks Sarah for these great ideas! I’m always on the lookout for more ideas! As for me, I love to letter our menu for the week. I stick the menu on our fridge as well as a positive quote every week. I also keep a journal jar. On slips of paper, I write « beautiful moments » as I experience them. I got this idea from the book « A Book That Takes Its Time: An Unhurried Adventure in Creative Mindfulness ». I also letter lists and poems that I compose in a journal.

    1. Ooh I love those ideas! I’m going to need to look up that book. What a fun idea to fill a jar of beautiful moments with beautiful lettering. Thanks for sharing!