Friday, March 12, 2010

Decorating Wall Letters: A Tutorial

I was given some wall letters for Raegen's nursery when he was born. They had been painted white and I hung them on the wall with some cutesy ribbon and buttons. I've dug long and hard through my picture files, but haven't come across not ONE picture to show you. boo.
Here's a picture of what they look like now:
I sold his nursery bedding and choose blue and brown for his new bedroom colors.
{as an aside, I have to say it's REALLY easy to sell your firstborn's nursery bedding when you scored it for a steal of a deal at a yardsale! Talk about no emotional attachment!!}
I covered the letters with scrapbook paper.
I LOVE the way they turned out, but...
Problem #1:
I scored this ADORABLE bedding on clearance at Target and just couldn't resist.
{it was part of the "Dorm '09" collection. I purchased a Twin/XL Twin comforter, a Full comforter, a sheet set, and an adorable storage ottoman. I was able to make two crib/toddler bed blankets with the Twin size comforter and eventually should be able to make two Twin comforters out of the Full, PLUS I still have HALF the Twin!!}
So, my blue/brown letters do not match the turqoise/brown bedding.
And a few weeks ago I received some letters for Lynden! I had been dreaming of doing the same thing for him and Aunt Jenn just read my mind.

Being the OCD person I am, I couldn't handle the difference in letter size, so I hit up "crack for crafters" {or as others like to call it, Hobby Lobby} and was determined to purchase more...

Problem #2:
I wasn't able to get all the letters I needed. BUT wait! I stumbled across these cutesy letters...
on sale for HALF price!
{word to all craft addicts, NEVER pay full price at HobLob!}

So I was able to get all of Lynden AND Raegen's letters for $1.50 each AND, they were already painted white...which does matter and I'll share why later.

I also picked up some turquoise/brown scrapbook paper. There's still not a huge collection in this color scheme so this is the best I could do. Most papers are the traditional blue/brown scheme.

To complete this project you should also have Mod Podge on hand. If you've never used it, it's very similar to Elmer's glue.

Use a small paintbrush to apply glue to the letter...use restraint; less is best. If you apply too much glue, your paper will bubble and/or get soggy. boo.

Now lay your paper over the letter and quickly smooth out with your hand. You want to make sure there are no bubbles or creases. You have to work quickly because the small amount of glue that was applied will dry quickly.

This is what it will look like from the back.

Now it's time to trim...get your handy dandy sander ready.

Glide your sander along the edges of the letter. It will cause the paper to thin, like so:

Eventually the paper will "cut" in two and come apart:

The sander method is much easier than tracing your letter on paper, cutting the paper letter out, and then trying to line the paper up onto the letter...believe me,
been there, done that.
However, there will be times when you need to use scissors. Such as the inside area of this letter:

I simply cut along the letter, leaving maybe a 1/4" of paper extending past the letter. Now use the sander to go along the edge and "cut away" the extra paper.

Use the sander to make sure there are no scragglies:

You want a smooth edge all the way around. If you notice there are edges that lack glue, use your paint brush and slide it between the paper and letter to apply more glue. You want to make sure you don't have any loose areas before you move on.

Then it's time to "paint" the top with glue. Make sure you get all the edges.

Your finished project with look like so:

As I mentioned earlier, the letters already being white will save you a step. It wasn't necessary for me to paint the edges of my letters {because they were white to start with!} and I think the white helps them stand out from the wall. If you noticed in an earlier picture, my hand got a little sander heavy and I sanded away the paint from a few edges. If you want, you could easily touch that up OR even apply stain to give it a distressed look. I didn't feel the edges were thick enough to really show my mistakes so I left my letters as-is.
Now it's time to hang!
My "affordable/leave no holes in the wall" hanger of choice is straight pins:

Find where you need it,

provide a little support,
{they are straight pins so they're not quite the strongest thing in the world! :) So you'll need to "help" it stay straight. Anyone notice anything MISSING in this picture?!}

and hammer it in!
{obviously I can't hold a straight pin, hammer, AND take a picture...something had to give...ha!}

If your letter's not quite where you wanted, just remove the pin and start again...the hole is virtually invisible!

I LOVE the finished project!
I'll be sharing more of the boys' room next week. ;)

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