It's really very simple. I found a font I liked on my computer, then printed the words out in the size I needed them to be. I found the center of each riser, as well as the center of each word and lined them up. I used a small piece of scotch tape to hold the pattern in place on either side.
Next, I slipped a piece of tracing paper under my pattern. Be sure to have the black side down so it transfers onto the wood and not onto the back of your paper. I've done that a few times, and it's frustrating.
I use a stylus to trace the pattern on, but a sharp pencil would work just as well. After I trace the first letter, I peek underneath to make sure I'm pushing hard enough and the tracing paper is transferring onto the wood. Sometimes I'm pushing way too hard and the line is really black, so I know to lighten the pressure. Also, did you know they have white tracing paper if you want to transfer a pattern onto dark paint? I've used it a few times and it's great.
See how imperfect mine is? Don't worry, after it's filled in with paint and distressed a little bit with a sanding block, it will look fine. Of course you will notice that I ended up painting the treads and risers with a dark gray stain, and repainting all the numbers in white instead of the light gray I started with, but the process is exactly the same.
In my real life news, my sweet brother Nate just left for Afghanistan last week. He has an adorable wife and three little boys who will miss him terribly. We were lucky enough to all be together at my house for a little goodbye party. Here is a picture I had Jaci snap really quick of my angel parents and their six kids. It was late at night and really dark, but it's rare that we are all together, so it had to be done. Nate is the one in the plaid shirt.
We all love you Nate, and will sure miss you!