Have you ever wanted your very own batcave just like Batman? You can get a good start with this easy to make personalized batcave sign! It took me about 2 hours or so to make it, and most of that time was allowing the paint to dry. You just need basic tracing and painting skills and the following supplies and you will have your own batcave sign in no time! Does this tutorial look like it might be more than you want to take on? No worries! You can purchase your very own personalized batcave sign made by me on my Etsy Store. Buy Now
- Stretched Canvas
- I used an 8×10 for this one but you can choose whatever size canvas you would like. Wal-Mart has them pretty cheap and most of them come in sets of 2 so you can make 2 signs or use the other canvas for another project. If you want to check Wal-Mart’s pricing you can do so by clicking here.
- Acrylic Paint Brushes
- Wal-Mart has a set that is for fine details and lettering that works really great for the small areas on this sign. For the background and larger areas I personally prefer to use the square shaped tipped brushes. You can use whatever works best for you. If you have never painted before or you bought new brushes then I would recommend testing them out on some scrap paper or something first so you know how wide or narrow it will paint.
- Black and Bright Yellow Acrylic Paint
- You can use whatever brand of paint you want to, but I used the Apple Barrel paint you can get for $0.50 at Wal-Mart.
- Acrylic Gloss Medium
- For the life of me I can’t figure out why I cannot find this anywhere online. I keep looking for it so I can link it and show you what it is but it’s just not anywhere online. I get this in Wal-Mart and the brand is Daler Rowney. It comes in a big tube and it works great. It protects your artwork and gives it a nice glossy finish. Don’t quote me but I believe it is like $2 something for a tube.
- Compressed Charcoal Stick
- I love these things! You can use chalk instead if you want to but I get a much better image on my canvas using these charcoal sticks. I get them at Hobby Lobby because my Wal-Marts don’t carry them. They come in soft, medium, and hard. I found the soft made too much of a mess and the hard didn’t produce a good enough image so I use the hard ones. You can buy them or see what I am talking about on Hobby Lobby’s website here.
- Sketch Paper or Computer Paper
- Depending on what size canvas you what to use you are either going to want to use sketch paper or computer paper. If you are doing an 8×10 like I did then computer paper will do just fine. If you are going to use a bigger size then you will need sketch paper that will be big enough for your canvas.
- Inkscape (Optional)
- If you are good at free hand drawing and you just want to draw this out then go for it. If you are like me and tracing is your best skill then you can use Inkscape, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, etc. Anything that will let you download a font and create a image. I used to use Illustrator but considering it is expensive and I don’t want to pay for it I have started using Inkscape instead. It does most of the stuff Illustrator does and it is a free open source software. It works just fine for what we are doing here so save yourself some cash and go with Inkscape if you don’t already have something else you can use. You can download it by visiting their website here.
- Batman Font
- Free fonts are just so much fun and fontspace is my go to source. They have thousands of really cool fonts that are searchable and I can usually find whatever I am looking for there. To download the batman font I used for this project just click here. Once your font downloads you will need to extract the zip folder and right click on the font and tell it to install. Make sure to close and restart Inkscape (or whatever program you are using) if you already have it open so it can pull in the new font.
How To Guide
If you have already downloaded Inkscape and installed your font then yay! You are ready to get started :-). I’m going to be showing you how to do this in Inkscape since that is what I used. If you are using a different program or are free handing it then sorry guys but you are on your own on this part. To get started go ahead and open up Inkscape. You want your document size to be the same size as your canvas so you need to change that first before you do anything else. Since my canvas is 8×10 that and it is horizontal that is what I changed my document settings too. Now you need to make your background by using the rectangle tool. Go ahead and select the tool and create a rectangle the same size as your document. Then you can change its color to yellow. Now you can add your text. Disclaimer: the following images were not made when I did this for my painting so there are differences. I forgot to make my name capitalized and I didn’t spread the text out to wrap it as much. You can make yours look however you want it to be. Make sure you make the name and the batcave as two separate text boxes so that you can manipulate them individually. Once you have your text typed out you can add your batman symbol image. You can save this image off from my photos below or you can google it and pick one to use. Resize it and get it where you want it. Now we need to make our text curve around the symbol. To do this in Inkscape you have to use the Bezier Tool to create a straight line and then use the tool to edit the path so you can pull it into the curve of the symbol. I changed the color of the line to red to make it easier to see so I knew I had it lined up properly. When you have your curve looking good then you need to select the curve and the name by clicking them while holding shift. Then tell it to place text on path. It won’t put it dead center so you will have to select your text and move it where you want it and use the rotate function to get it to line up right. You can go ahead and change the font to be your batman font now too. Once it all looks how you want it you can untie it from the path by turning your text into an object. Once you do this though you won’t be able to edit the text anymore besides resizing it and moving it so make sure it looks exactly like you want it. Then you can flip the curve vertically and line it up to the bottom of the symbol. Get your batcave curve to text just like you did with the name. I added periods in-between the letters to make them spaced out better, but don’t trace those into your image. As soon as you have it looking just how you want it you can move on to the next step.
Now that your image is just how you want it it’s time to trace it out. I have found for me the easiest and cheapest way to do this is to hook my laptop up to my 32″ inch TV that I game on and trace my image off of it. You can also use a projector if you have one or want to buy/borrow one or you could print it out. Print outs will only work though if you are doing an 8×10 or your printer will print out bigger sizes that will fit your canvas. You could also piece together 8.5×11 print outs to make it larger but I’ve done it before and it sucks. If you are going to do what I am doing then go ahead and set up your laptop and TV, or you can just do it straight off your laptop screen or monitor if it’s big enough. Make sure your paper is cut to the exact size of your canvas. Resize your image until it is the same size as your paper. For stability I use masking tape to tape down my paper, but you can do it without it if you can keep your paper still enough as you trace. When you are ready go ahead and trace out your image. The images below are from a different a different project but same idea. I just forgot to take pictures of this step when I was making it so please overlook that lol.
Now that you have your image all traced out and looking awesome you are ready to trace it onto your canvas. To do this we are going to turn our paper into transfer paper. You can use chalk if you want but it makes the image really light on the canvas and is easy to accidentally smudge it off while you are painting. I used chalk for the longest until I finally ran across the compressed charcoal sticks at Hobby Lobby. I have been using them ever since and they work fantastic. You can see what I mean from the photos. Take whatever you are going to use and color the whole back of your paper. Make sure you blow/shake it off to get the excess dust off it. If you don’t it will smear all over your canvas and you don’t want that. Take your paper and lay it on top of your canvas the way you want your image to go. You can do what I did and tape down your canvas and paper together to the table or you can just hold the paper and keep it still. Re-trace your image out again. I like to use a different colored ink pen so I can tell what parts I have traced again and what I haven’t. Make sure to bare down good so the charcoal/chalk on the back of the paper leaves the imprint behind. When you are finished your canvas should look like mine shown below.
Now we paint!! I like to paint the black first so I went ahead and painted all of my lettering and the Batman symbol. When I was finished with that I went around and did my background in bright yellow. The yellow paint I used was pretty thin so I did three coats of it. After everything is dry you can take your Daler Rowney gloss and coat the whole canvas. Wait for it to dry and then coat it again. Two coats is usually pretty good but you can do three if you want.
You are all done!! All that is left to do is hang it up! The beauty of stretched canvases is you don’t need a frame. you can just go ahead and hang it right on up with a tack or nail or any kind of hanger you want to use. Congratulations!!!