For the longest time, I’ve admired the adorable wooden letters in the Pottery Barn Kids catalogue, but there were two major problems that kept me from buying them for my son’s room. Number one: they are all either limited to pastel shades or overly embellished fonts. Number two: they are incredibly expensive.
I decided to just make my own set of letters, using materials from our local Michael’s. Here’s how.
What you’ll need:
- unfinished wood letters (I used 9.5″ Nicole brand, but there were a ton of different styles and brands online)
- different sheets of coordinating scrapbook paper
- Mod Podge
- a brayer (roller)
- disposable sponge brush
- X-acto knife and mat
- superfine sandpaper.
Next, I chose which pattern would go on to each letter, based on the scale of the pattern. For example, some letters have very narrow areas and can’t accomodate larger characters such as the construction crane. I held each paper up to the light with the letter behind it. This allowed me to see the outline of the letter, and to be able to position the paper pattern exactly where I wanted it. You could do this with a light box too, but I was going old school 🙂
Once the paper was positioned on the letter, I carefully turned both over onto the table and drew the outline of the letter in pencil.
Then I cut around the outline about a half inch all the way around. If there are any cutouts in your letters (like the middle of this A), be sure to cut a little bit of the paper out there. It just makes it easier later on when smoothing out the bubbles and wrinkles.
Next, I applied a layer of Mod Podge to the wooden letter and turned it face down into the outline on the paper. In all of the Mod Podge instructions I have seen, they make a huge deal out of using enough glue, otherwise wrinkling will occur. This is true, however, don’t go overboard on your application either though, or when you flatten out the paper, excess will glob out and it’s a pain to remove if it dries. I apologize for the lack of photos for this step, but I got so into gluing, I completely forgot.
But I digress. Once the letter is applied to the paper (and the Mod Podge is still wet), carefully turn both over and smooth out any wrinkles using a brayer (roller) or plastic spatula. Work from the middle on out. The glue takes a while to dry, so really take your time and make sure the paper is flat to avoid any bubbles or corners not adhering properly.
Allow the letters to dry on a sheet of newspaper. I left mine overnight.
Once everything is dry, turn the letters over and cut off the excess paper using your X-acto knife. If there is any excess Mod Podge that made it over the edge and formed a blob, you can cut that off too.
When you’ve cut off all the excess, apply a layer of Mod Podge to the front of the letter to seal the paper. Allow to dry. Once dry, lightly sand and apply a second coat of Mod Podge. Allow to dry and you are all done! You can use the letters as-is on a shelf, or you can attach fasteners to the back for hanging on the wall. The total cost of the entire project was around $20 (for the letters on sale at $1.99 each, and the paper). All of the other materials were already part my craft supplies.
Have you created any personalized wood letters? If so, I would love to see your projects- please comment below with a link to your blog.
Find more DIY project tutorials here. Happy crafting!