Word Art Design – VW Beetle Word Art Tutorial

Have you heard of word art design? Today we’re showing you how to create word art and turn it into a unique wall decor piece to display.

Creative Craft Hop

It’s time for another Creative Craft blog hop! So if you are visiting from Terrie at Decorate and More With Tip, welcome! Wasn’t her repurposed old window amazing?! At the very bottom of this post, we’ll be directing you to the next stop on this venture. But don’t forget to check out the other stops too because you’ll find plenty more ideas. Be sure to drop back in throughout the week to visit them all!

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What is Word Art?

Word art is combining words or phrases to create an image made of words. It can be a time consuming process to produce word art using a graphics program like Illustrator, but I discovered a quick and easy shortcut using wordart.com. Wordart.com is an online generator that allows you to upload your own artwork and list of words to create one of a kind images.

Inspiration for this Project

Are you a classic car fan? You may remember our upcycled kitchen cabinets which we turned into a one-of-a-kind VW desk! We also did a needle felted VW beetle, by upcycling a sweater.

Although we loved our Beetle, sadly Hubs said goodbye to it in the summer of ’21. The plan was to make room in the garage so I could have an outdoor space to putter in. Spoiler alert: as fast as Hubs moved his car out, he moved in hundreds of sewing machines for HIS new hobby, one of which we upcycled into DIY bookends.

Beetle being towed to its new owner

However, we have lots of great memories with this car! It featured prominently in pictures when we got married.

couple kissing in front of red Beetle with Just Married sign on the back

We had so much fun hamming it up for the camera with our Beetle. This is the only wedding picture we printed to hang on a wall and we blew it up huge! It’s an appropriate picture to commemorate the big day because after all these years, we’re still having fun!

Then our guests REALLY had fun with the car. Out came the toilet paper!

Overhead shot of beetle about to be wrapped in toilet paper

After covering the Beetle with toilet paper, it took us a while before we could actually leave that night! If only we knew then how valuable toilet paper would become so many years later during the pandemic!

Beetle at night fully wrapped in toilet paper

So that’s the inspiration behind our word art design. Now for the project!

Watch the Video

In this video tutorial, you’ll learn how to create your own Word Art design and see how we engrave it on wood with our xTool P2 Co2 55w Laser.

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Word Art Design Project

Below is a step-by-step on how to make your own unique word art design using your own artwork. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a car. It could be anything! And you don’t necessarily need to laser print it. Although, it’s really cool to engrave on wood, you could print it and frame it – or even create a t-shirt (like I did for Hubs)! xTool actually has a screen printer accessory in their laser line-up that can print T-shirts!

How to Make a Word Art Design

1. Create a list of words

We made a list of words consisting of how the Volkswagen Beetle is known in different parts of the world. Save whatever words you choose on Notepad, or any word processing software you prefer, for importing into Wordart.com later.

Did you notice the nod to Dr. Seuss at the top of the list? That’s a shout-out to Hubs who’s a huge Dr. Seuss fan.

List of words for word art design

2. Draw your design

I use procreate on my iPad for the initial sketch. You can literally trace right over your picture on a different layer. I didn’t quite have the right angle, but you can easily improvise; erase and redraw until you like what you see.

Sketch of beetle drawn over a picture of the car for word art design

This isn’t my first rodeo with word art as you saw by the t-shirt . But it is my first time trying out the Wordart.com site generator, so I had to experiment a little. First, I coloured everything in to try it out.

Finished sketch of Beetle for word art design

However, jumping ahead, the trick isn’t to colour everything. When everything fills with words, it’s way too busy.

Beetle filled with words on the wordart.com website

It took me a few tries to get the look I wanted. By leaving some white space in your drawing, the words won’t fill those spaces and it will give you a more realistic representation, as you’ll see shortly.

3. Export Your Design

Once you’re happy with your design, turn off the photo layer and export it as a jpg or png.

Car before exporting it to use as word art

4. Open Up Wordart.com

In Wordart.com, you can type in words individually, but that will take forever! So be sure to have your list ready and import it all in one go.

importing the word list for the word art design5. Add Shape

Onto the next tab: Shape. If you don’t want to draw your own shape, you can choose from the designs on the site. Otherwise, import your own image.

Importing the shape for the word art design

6. Add Font

I wanted a plain, easy to read font so I chose Expressway. However, the one drawback is that the font you choose might not support special characters if you have them. I chose to ignore the warning as it only affected one word.

Warning on the screen after choosing a word art font

7. Choose Layout

I like the idea of vertical and horizontal words, so that’s what I choose. Feel free to experiment.

Now click the red Visualize button and your word art will magically appear!

Picking a horizontal and vertical layout for the word art design

8. Pick Style

Next, you can choose the style. For my wordart, I don’t want a background so I choose transparent.

Playing with the transparent of the word art car

I also want it just black and white. So click on palette and deselect all the colours that appear.

Changing the colours of the word art design

Change the last colour block to black.

Picking black from the word art palette

9. Change Opacity and Contrast

Lastly, I don’t want any part of the original artwork to show through, so I bring the opacity down to zero. That leaves me with just the words forming the shape of the car.

Notice that there are no words where I left blank spots.

Changing opacity of word art design

If you just wanted to print this, you could play around with the colour contrast. Because this will be laser printed, I want as much contrast as possible; 100%.

changing contrast of word art design

Keep in mind that every time you upload revised artwork that you have to click on the ‘Visualize’ button to update it.

I played around with moving the position of a few words on the list. That will juggle the horizontal and vertical positioning around. So if you like a version, save it before doing this. You can also undo and go back it you don’t like how it looks.

In the end, I wanted to see ‘I do not like them in a car’ prominently, so back in Procreate I coloured in the front window and reimported the drawing.

Using the visualize button to regenerate the settings

After ‘visualiizing’ again, that leaves just the back window free of words.

Example of Volkswagen Beetle word art design

Engraving Word Art Design

When I was about to engrave the design, I realized just how long my design would take to process, so I went back to the drawing board and drastically reduced the word count. I went from 800 words as you see above, to 163. I also changed the density slider to 27% to create more breathing room between the words.

Changing settings to reduce word amount and lessen the density of the word art design

No matter how many times I visualized the beetle, I still couldn’t quite get the detail to my liking (for instance, the side mirrors). So I did joush it up in Illustrator to add some of the detail around the mirrors and bumpers back in, as you’ll see in the final reveal.

Measuring the Material

It’s important to have an accurate measurement of your material, in this case an upcycled wood round. I don’t find the xTool’s aimed measure to be accurate (perhaps it has something to do with the height of the honeycomb). So the best thing you can do is purchase digital calipers to measure your materials and enter the number manually.

Measuring material thickness of wood round with electronic calipers

Test Engrave

Time to fire up the xTool P2 laser! Before engraving the actual material, I did a test run on a scrap of wood. This is left over from our Dinosaur Wall Art.

Testing the word art on a sample piece of wood

It took quite a long time to process just this little sample. But I was more curious to find out if the xTool P2 could handle engraving tiny words and still be legible. And it did not disappoint!

I was amazed to see that my word art design idea was going to work perfectly in the laser machine!

Engraving the word art sample

Engraving the Word Art Design

Here are the steps to set up your file for engraving on the xTool P2 Co2 Laser.

  1. Import your SVG. Power on your laser device and connect it.
  2. Move the design onto the canvas.
  3. Click on each colour of the artwork to assign it a function: ‘score’, ‘cut’ or ‘engrave’ setting as appropriate. In my files, red = engrave, blue = score and black = cut. In the next step, you’ll see I also rename the layers in the lower left corner. Setting up the various layers in xTool XCS software
  4. Capture close view. For now, I still have a black line around the artwork. But because my round is already cut out, I won’t need that (I actually delete it later). However, it WILL be helpful to use that line in conjunction with the close view camera to accurately position the artwork onto the round.

Positioning the artwork in xTool XCS onto the wood round

5. Enter the settings for each function. For score, I’m choosing to use 20/100/1. For engrave, I choose 10/100/1. I rename the layer names to reflect the function (instead of layer 1 and layer 2).

You can see the highlight of the close view camera in the lower right corner in this screenshot. Zoom in by holding the control key and swiping the mouse so see the fine detail that will help you position your artwork.

Using the close view camera in the xTool XCS software

Measure Thickness

6. Now, type in the thickness of the material. As I mentioned before, the aimed measure isn’t very accurate. It calculates the thickness at .783.

Doing an aimed measure in xTool XCS

However, the digital calipers measured the thickness at .716. So I opt to enter it manually.

Entering the thickness of the wood round in the manual settings

7. Hit process.

When you’re happy with everything click the green process button. Click process in the next screen and press the start button on the xTool P2 laser.

Don’t you just love it when your artwork engraves just as you imagined!

Engraving the wood round in the xTool P2 with the Beetle word art design

Once the processing is done on the xTool P2 laser (this took 1 hour, 45 minutes!), I’ll colour in the wording with a black Posca Paint Pen. Other option would be to cut out the phrase in black acrylic, but working with cast acrylic is a post for another time! Then seal with a clear water-based lacquer.

You know how we love to upcycle. However, for a project like this, it’s better to use a wood with less grain so it doesn’t compete with the graphic.

Using a Posca paint pen to colour in the wording on the word art design

Word art design produces such a cool effect – especially when it’s laser engraved on wood! I love this piece almost as much as the inspiration behind it!

overhead view of the word art design on the wood round

Do you have a favourite car you’d like to capture in word art? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Word art design hanging on a wall

Pin Word Art Design

Pinning is always welcome and appreciated!

Pinnable image for word art design

Creative Craft Hop

Now it’s time to check out DIY Painted Rocks For Grandkid’s Garden Area from Donna at Modern on Monticello. When you’re done, please remember to visit these other amazing talents below:

16 thoughts on “Word Art Design – VW Beetle Word Art Tutorial

  1. Sara you come up with some cool things to create. I have never tried the wood engraving or any other type of engraving, but reading about your craft today has made me want to. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Thanks for that lovely compliment Terrie! I love hearing that our projects are inspirational 🙂

  2. I absolutely love this project, Sara. It reminds we of Wordle – taken to the next level! Such a fun idea!

    • So funny you mention that Ånn; Wordle was about all I could do when I got sick last year. It sure did keep my mind active, even if I couldn’t be!

  3. Wow Sara, this is crazy cool! I must admit, it is way over my head, I would never be able to figure all that out! I do love how it turned out and the fun inspiration behind it~ your wedding photos are great!! Thanks so much for hosting these fun hops!

    • Thanks so much Jenna! I just love giving myself challenges and it was so fun reflecting back on the happiest day of my life lol!

  4. This is very impressive, Sara! What a fun way to create visual art of an important and meaningful memory! My hubby had a tan VW Beetle when we were courting. He tried teaching me how to use a stick shift but I was quite defiant in trying to learn. I won’t go into detail, but at one point I almost crashed into a store front, just trying to start it! He got rid of it before we got married and I was glad he did.

    • You are a braver soul than me Gail! Hubs’ cars (he had a few of them when we first met) were stick shift too and I wouldn’t dream of trying to learn.

  5. One of my all time fav cars (along with a mini and an ugly duckling). I had an orange beetle for about a year and I loved that car, so I totally understand where you’re coming from. Thanks for all the wordart instructions. That’s going to come in very useful for a project I need to do for work.

    • Wow Michelle; so glad the word art will come in handy. I’m intrigued by how you’re going to use it for work! You always find a way to be creative – even in your day job!

  6. Sara, I LOVE the wedding photos featuring your VW Beetle and what a fun project to commemorate the memory! Thanks for the inspiration and for hosting us! Blessings, Cecilia @ My Thrift Store Addiction

    • You’re so welcome Cecilia! It sure was a fun day to commemorate!

  7. Very interesting and unique project, Sara. Thanks for hosting the blog hop.

    • That will be a stunning pickup when it’s done! Hope he finishes it.

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