As kids learn how to write, their handwriting goes through some interesting phases — backward letters, random capitalization, loop-de-loops of all sorts. Still, that messy script is endearing. And there are easy (and free!) ways to transform their script into a font that you can use for gift tags, holiday cards, or notes to friends and family all year long!
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On Calligraphr, you can print out a template with squares for each letter of the alphabet. Have your child write their letters inside the boxes. There are special instructions if they’re using fancy cursive letters — check the Calligraphr FAQs for more information and guidelines for your little genius.
Once the boxes are filled, scan or photograph the completed template. Then simply upload the file (PNG, PDF, JPG or TIFF) onto the site, and hit the “Generate Font” button. To use the font, you’ll need to install it on the computer, so find the link to download a .ttf file. Then install it with a double click. Et Voila! Your personalized font is among the selections in any program that calls upon the font menu, like MS Word. Translation: Your kids can now type in their handwriting. It’s so cool that I plan to do it with my own penmanship, which — to be fair — is not much better than my six-year-old’s.
Another site option for this process is yourfonts.com, which has a very simple seven-step process that is much like Calligraphr’s. It has fewer customization options, but it’s a perfect first font-making experience.
Type Light is another site that offers you and your child the ability to create your own font by scanning your writing and uploading it to the program. The program is just for Windows, and there is a free version and a $55 professional version. The site offers comprehensive how-to videos to guide you in the process.
If you and your child would rather create a font using a phone or tablet, try a free app called Fonty. Which allows you to make or draw your own fonts in their easy-to-use interface. You can even spruce up your kids font with clipart. Let them get crazy and have fun.
After their scrawl has been digitized, the kids can fool around with color, kerning, size, and more. It’s a really fun way to personalize messages and play with tech. (It’s also a nice thing for grandparents who like “handwritten” thank you notes — hey, we’ll never tell.) You can also upload the font to your tablet or smartphone and make your kid’s handwriting the default font.
Melissa Walker is a mom of two, a magazine writer, and the author of 9 novels for young adults and pre-teen readers. She grew up in NC and now lives in Brooklyn, NY with her family.
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