September 19, 2011

How To: Make Custom Wood Letters on the Cheap

Just like majority of, well, everyone, I love the wood letters that people put up in their baby's nursery. I had decided long ago that my baby was also going to have these but Joey and I held off on getting some because of uncertainty in the baby's name and also we didn't know what style we wanted. After searching online for months, literally, I decided that I was going to make them instead of buy them. At the lowest cost I found, it was still averaging $10-15 per letter. No thanks. The cheapest letters were also only painted, while the really nice ones could go up to $20 a piece. Holy cow, I have no idea how or why people afford this. So my next idea was that I was going to purchase the wood letters on my own from the craft store along with some paint and ribbon and make them. I did go out and buy all these things only to have my mind changed because 1. Joey and I agreed this wasn't very original and 2. I suck at painting anything more than coats of color. So back to the store I went to do a little return.

Our letters sat on the counter for weeks before Joey and I decided that we were going to try to Modge Podge scrapbook paper onto the letters. Joey and I headed out to good old Michaels and Jo-Ann fabrics only to be disappointed in the scrapbook paper selection and (for me) the cost. The only paper that we found that was close to what we wanted to match Baby Girl's room was in a book of 48 papers for $20 at Michaels. After getting that, the Modge Podge, paint, brushes, etc. it was going to be way more than I wanted to spend on my little arts and craft project. And also what the hell was I going to do with all that paper after I spelled out my baby's name?

But alas, this story has a happy ending. Very happy ending! As we were exiting the store, I happened to want to walk through the dollar section (yes, I am very frugal), and found adorable shelf paper that was exactly what we were looking for! We found 3 rolls of shelf paper in a green pattern, pink pattern and green and pink rose pattern that matches the baby's room perfectly.

Satisfied with our decision, we bought the other materials that we needed and went home to get crafty!
This is what we ended up needing/spending:
Wood letters: 2.99 per letter.
2 small tubes of white paint: .59 cents per tube...and I ended up only needing 1!
3 rolls of shelf paper: 1.20 per roll! What a deal.
Paint brush: .79 cents.
Exacto knife: 2.27 after using a 40% off coupon.

So as you can see, we spent much less than the cost to purchase these letters pre made. And the work wasn't all that bad! Here is what we did.
1. First off I painted the sides of the letters white-two coats. If I were to do this again I would have dried the letters on wax paper, not newspaper since some newspaper stuck to the paint on the back of the letters.

2. Because we used shelf paper instead of scrapbook paper there was already adhesive on the back, eliminating the Modge Podge/glue step which was very convenient! All we had to do was take the backing off of the shelf paper and carefully lay the letter upside down on the paper, pressing firmly, then trace the letters with an exacto knife.

Daddy hard at work.

3. Make sure there are no bubbles in the paper by smoothing it with your hand.

Voila! Done! Probably one of the easiest projects we ever did that ended up looking awesome!
Although our baby's name isn't a so called secret by any means, we still haven't gone public with it, in hopes that it will still be somewhat of a surprise when she arrives, so I'm only showing you one letter from her name. For the people who do know baby girl's name, please keep your lips sealed! Thanks! ;)

We are also thinking of skipping the traditional ribbons and just putting velcro on the backs of the letters to hang them "floating" on the wall. This is a good idea for us because we really don't want to put nails into the wall! 
More later,

UPDATE: Now that Noelle has been born, we can show all the letters! :)

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