I can eyeball it and get it pretty close. On those occasions when I am noticeably off-center, I add some stickers, bling, or some other kind of art to the side with the most space. Put it at an angle. Then, you can also add smaller stickers, bling, etc to the other side, but often you will not have to. You will learn how to cover your small mistakes.
I am going to look in my gallery and find an example for you.
This is an example of a LO of mine where the letters are not centered. If you look, you can see that for the word "grandma" at the top, I have more room on the right hand side. I put some buttons there, diagonally, and I balanced it on the other side with the butterfly placed at an angle. I don't think it's noticeable that my letters are not perfectly centered.
Hope that helps. Like I said, you will learn how to cover your boo-boos.
Get a centering ruler! Love mine. The 0 is in the middle so you can line stuff up easier. I stick the very edge of my letters to the ruler and then when they're where I want, I push the tops down and remove the ruler from the bottoms then push those down.
I linked a few from the store here. I found mine at J's in the quilting section.
Centering rulers are fantastic! However, I try not to center things very much because the eye will detect the smallest flaws, and I know I'm very flawed when it comes to measureing and precision! I try to do asymmetrical whenever possible.
I am bad at measuring, too. Tried to use a ruler once, and my hand kept moving it as I tried to do stuff. That is why I eyeball stuff now.
In my recent J's order I bought a magnetic cutting mat. Hopefully it solves the problem of MRS (Moving Ruler Syndrome). I haven't had a chance to use it yet, but playing around with it, it looks like it will be a big help. It had better help or I'm going to have to grow a third hand.
I have accepted the fact that I am "not centered" so I plan to be asymetrical or put letters in a curved line. That helps me accept the fact that I can't center perfectly. The best tip someone gave me is to figure out what letter is in the middle of the word... then place it in the middle of the line. Place one letter to the left, one to the right, etc. until you have all the letters placed.
I don't do any of that stuff - tried, and was rubbish at it. Now I just pick the middle letter in the word and stick that on in the centre of the space I have. The other letters get placed lightly around it (left first, then right, then left etc.) until I'm happy with the placement. Then I stick them down properly.
Or, you can stick each of your alphas onto mats. Then you can move them around until you're happy with the positioning before you stick them permanently. Good luck!
Oh, I love the idea with the Post-its. I use my clear Fiskars ruler, but it can get unwieldy.
Sometimes I work from the center letter outwards, but mostly only as a guideline - almost every font I've used has, for example, wide Ms and Ws, but narrow Is. More usually, with stickers, I stick them on the edge of a leftover empty sticker sheet and measure them to see where the center is, and work from there, instead of guessing that it's the center letter. Helps with letters of different widths and also with spaces between words. With die-cut letters I just lay them on the ruler and estimate.
I also use a clear ruler. I place just the bottom portion of the sticker right on the ruler and then move it around on the page until they are right where I want them. Then I press down on the top part of the stickers and gently pull the ruler off the bottom.
I have the both titletopias from Creative Memories. They help you place letters straight, sideways,upside down, wavy like a banner,circle or spiral. When I place my letteres on the template, I can tell exactly how much room I need for the word and can easily center.
You also can place your letters on a ruler edge or piece of sticker paper to line up then lift.
Press the letters down really well and then remove the ruler from each letter individually by peeling the lIttle bit that's stuck to it off. Once all the letters are free, slide the ruler out and press the rest of the letter down. Easy peasy.
If my letters are made on the Cricut they are spaced evenly and perfectly on the mat already!
I just take a piece of drywall tape and place it over the letters and lift them using the spatula so they don't loose their places and they are still straight. If one gets crooked while I'm lifting it, I just put it back in its place on the mat and lift it again.
When I get through my letters are on the drywall tape perfectly.
THen if I'm going to be completeling the layout at a crop I tape the drydall tape to typing paper and it keeps its perfect placement from the mat.
WHen I'm ready to place it on the layout I just hold the drywall tape over my layout to decide where I want it and put the ruler on the place where the bottom of the letters will go so it will be straight - the letters are already straight on the drywall tape, just want them straight on my page. The drywall tape is very loosly woven so I can see through it and know how its going to look and exactly where I want it.
Then I add glue to the back of each letter but the entire word or phrase has to be done at once - I use the 2-way zig pen.
Place it back on the layout where I want it and carefully pull the drywall tape away.
I haven't found anything else that works - has to be drywall tape. Its sticker than a post-it note and the letters stick to it well and its strong enough to lift the letters off the Cricut mat.
But the tape pulls away from it too so its easy to work with.
I bought a roll 4 years ago and still have half of it. I bought mine at Lowes but they have it at Home Depot too.
When it comes to "embracing aysmmetry," you can also buy cool-looking, funky fonts that don't have to be straight. In fact, they CAN'T be perfectly straight. I submit a picture of a LO using an "asymmetrical" font: it's from Sizzix and it's called "Mac 'n Cheese." I used it for the words "another 11 year old." Who can tell if the letters aren't perfectly straight? I love this font! Next on my list of funky fonts: Sizzix's "Cherish."
For the words "grows up," I traced one of my alpha fonts and colored in with markers. The phrase is not perfectly centered, but I decided I can live with this small imperfection (and as you scrap more, you will learn to accept small imperfections--half the time, when I go to "correct" a small imperfection, I either make the problem worse or create a new problem. You learn how to let it go.)
First of all, I NEVER put down letters without a practice first. If I want the letters centered, I start with the letter in the middle of the word, Or the 2 letters if there is an odd number of letters. For instance, if I was using LOVE, I would first place the O and the V, then place the L and E working from the center. I also often times use a strip of scrap paper to line up my letter so they are straight. I measure from the top in 3 places making tiny marks on my paper with a pencil and I use these marks as a guide for my strip. Of course this is only when I want my title straight.
First of all, I NEVER put down letters without a practice first. If I want the letters centered, I start with the letter in the middle of the word, Or the 2 letters if there is an odd number of letters. For instance, if I was using LOVE, I would first place the O and the V, then place the L and E working from the center.
Then I think you mean to say you start with 2 letters if there is an EVEN number of letters.
By the way, Henri, when you say drywall tape, is it the thing I think of as "painter's tape" (the blue stuff that holds well but peels away easily, with a texture like masking tape), or is it something else?
Since Henri hasn't answered, I'll take a stab at it. My hubby was in construction and brought everything extra home with him When I told him I wanted to try Henri's method he brought me in his drywall tape. It's a mesh type of tape and is slightly sticky on one side. Mine is just under 2" wide, bright yellow and comes on a big roll. I haven't tried the technique yet...but I have the tape