How to Create Striped Brush Lettering

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If you’ve been involved in hand lettering for any amount of time, you know that there are infinite possibilities to add interest to your lettering.  Blending, adding effects with pens, shadowing, highlighting….the list goes on.  It can all seem a bit overwhelming.  Luckily, creating striped brush lettering isn’t overwhelming.  In fact, you probably already have everything you need and you’ll be able to create it in a matter of minutes.

How to Create Striped Lettering | Use Brush Pens to Add Stripes to Your Hand Lettering | Destination Decoration

Materials for Striped Brush Lettering

  • Brush pens – preferably water-based with a thick tip.  My favorite are Tombow Dual Brush Pens.  You can get them in a giant set of 96 or individual packs like my favorites, the bright and primary sets.
  • Painter’s tape – The thickness will depend on the size of your lettering.  For thicker lettering, get a thicker tape.  For thinner lettering, buy a thinner roll or cut pieces in half.
  • Paper – You’ll want smooth paper for brush lettering because it will extend the life of your marker.  (Yes, there is actual paper designated as smooth.)  For practice, I love Rhodia dot pads.  For a final project, use smooth paper like a Canson Marker Pad or a Rhodia Blank Pad.  While normal paper will cause brush pen tips to fray more quickly, smooth paper will give you some extra mileage out of your pen.

How to Create Striped Brush Lettering

Psst: Stay tuned to the end to see this tutorial in video form.

The process of creating striped brush lettering is alarmingly simple.

First, you’ll want to pick two colors.  One color should be lighter and the other should be darker.  The lighter color will be your base and the darker color will create the stripes.

Next, use your lighter colored brush pen to write your word or phrase.  (If you want more information on how to create brush lettering, check out The Beginner’s Guide to Brush Lettering: Part I and Part II.)

Take a piece of painter’s tape and cover a part of your lettering.  I like to put the tape in the center of my lettering, but you can make yours off-center if you prefer.  Press your tape down lightly to seal it to the paper.  Don’t press too hard or the paper will come off with the tape when you peel it off.

Trace over the parts of your lettering that isn’t covered by the tape.  (Tip: Use the bullet tip of the Tombow Dual Brush Pen to trace over the thinner parts of the lines.  You’ll get a more consistent line.  Use the brush tip to trace over the thicker parts.)  Be careful not to smear the pen with your hand.

Then, remove the tape.  Pull gently so you don’t take bits of the paper with it.

You can finish there, but since I’m a perfectionist I like to do touch ups.  This is another place where the bullet tip comes in handy.  Use the bullet tip to touch up the borders where the tape was.  Go straight across the edges to create straight horizontal lines to clean up the stripes.


And voila!  An easy and beautiful technique to add interest to your lettering.

As promised, here’s a video version of this tutorial.

If you’re interested in more forms of hand lettering, make sure to check out my series on modern calligraphy.

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