Add a Metallic Effect to Your Lettering

lettering Jan 09, 2020


Hi Friends!! It’s me, Chrystal, from @chrystalizabeth! I’m so excited to be here sharing this very fun, easy & beautiful technique with you on the TPL Blog.

We're going to be interlacing a gorgeous metallic modern calligraphy script throughout bold block letters. Let's jump in!



  • Watercolor Paper or Mixed Media Paper - I’m using Canson XL Mixed Media Paper
  • Pencil & Eraser
  • Ruler - I prefer using a T-Square Ruler to get straight lines
  • A black marker of your choice that is alcohol based or an archival black pen/marker - I’m using a Sharpie
  • Metallic Watercolor of your choice
  • A round watercolor brush of your choice - preferably around a size 2
  • A jar of clean water
  • A napkin or paper towel


Step One: Guidelines

On your paper, start by making dots lightly with your pencil at the following measurements. (These will end up being the guidelines for the boxes that our first word “LOVE” will go inside):

Start by adding one dot in the very center of your paper

Then measure 1” up and add a dot

And measure 1” down and add a dot

(These dots will mark the height)


Then starting at the center dot again

Measure ¼” to the left and add a dot

From that dot, measure 1 ½” to the left and add another dot

Then from that dot, measure ¼” to the left and add a dot

And from that dot measure 1 ½” to the left and add one more dot


Starting from the center dot once more

Measure 1 ½” to the right and add a dot

From that dot, measure ¼” to the right and add a dot

And from that dot measure 1 ½” to the right again and add the last dot



Now draw lines to create the boxes using those dots as guidelines.



Step 2: Block Letters & Ink

Take your pencil and create your letters in each of the boxes. When drawing each letter, try to make sure your letters are touching the edges of each box and are filling up as much space as possible. Inside the first box will be the letter “L”, inside the second box will be the letter “O”, inside the third box will be the letter “V”, and inside the fourth box will be the letter “E”.



Then take your black marker and outline each letter and fill them in completely. Take your time and keep the edges as clean and smooth as possible.



Once you’re done, make sure the ink is dry, and then erase any remaining visible pencil marks.


Step 3: Sketch

Now take your pencil and lightly letter the word “yourself” across the word “LOVE”. When doing this, try and use as many loops as possible (it makes it easier for these letters to wrap around the other block letters) and space the letters out so that they stretch from end to end. It’s ok, and actually preferable, if the word stretches past each end of the word “LOVE”. And try to keep it as centered as possible.


[Photo: Love_Yourself_6.jpg]


Doing this lightly with your pencil will also help make it easier to erase if needed and try again. I had to re-do mine a few times before getting it exactly how I wanted it to be.


Then when you have the word just how you like it, look at your lettering and imagine the word “yourself” moving in and out of the word “LOVE”. Find places that make sense for the letters to wrap around and weave in and out of and erase any unneeded pencil marks that are on top of the block letters so that you only have the pencil marks for where you want your watercolor to go.



You’ll notice with mine, I have the “y” wrapped around the “L”, the “o” slightly behind the “O”, the “r” to “s” connection behind the first half of the “V”, the “l” wrapped around the top of the “E” and “f” slightly behind the bottom of the “E”.

(Lower case letters mentioned here are from the word “yourself”, and upper case letters are from the word “LOVE”)


Step 4: Watercolor Time

Time to finish up! Take your metallic watercolor, I’m using my Cloverset Lettering watercolor, and go over all your pencil lettering. Go slow and make sure to stick to the penciled areas. I say this because if I’m not paying attention, I tend to just letter the whole word and then it’s not exactly intertwined at all. :)



Also, with metallic watercolor, you may want to apply 1-2 more coats to get a nice and saturated look.



When all the watercolor is dry, see if there are any remaining pencil marks and erase them, while being cautious around any watercolor areas.



That’s it! You have created a gorgeous piece of lettering art!


If you want to try this technique again, you can use lots of other phrases. Need some ideas?


Here are a few:

  • “Happy Birthday”
  • Someone’s first & last name
  • Other random phrases like: “Start Somewhere” “Free Yourself” or “Dream Big” 

And totally optional, but if you’d like, please tag me when you post your lettering on social media so I can see your beautiful work using the hashtag #chrystalizabeth and/or @chrystalizabeth. I’d absolutely love to see it!! Enjoy!


Hello! I’m Chrystal Elizabeth, a modern letterer, artist, and author. I’ve been creating, officially, since January 2015 when I started my Instagram account as a hobby.