Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hanging Wooden Letters Tutorial, Part 1

I've always loved the look of having my son's name somewhere in his nursery, you see it all over home decor magazines and catalogs. I've been wanting to do this hanging letter project since my son was born but never got around to it. Plus, I was never able to find the perfect letters for his name or find all the letters in the same font. A few months back I found the perfect letters and bonus, I was able to find ALL the letters I needed. So needless to say I snatched them up and hoarded stored them away until recently when I found the time to paint. So here's a little tutorial on how I did this project:

Gather all your supplies:
  • Wooden/MDF letters (mine were $1.99 each at Michaels)
  • Craft acrylic paint (I bought Apple Barrel in Gloss, $1.29 each at Michaels)
  • Wooden animals ($0.59 each at Michaels)
  • Brushes, newspaper, etc.
Not pictured, but still needed:
  • Ribbon
  • Clear gloss spray paint
  • Gorilla glue or some other glue or epoxy
  • Clamps
  • Fine grain sandpaper (use the one that specifically mentions it's for in between paint coats)
  • Wax paper (I placed a sheet of wax paper underneath my painted letters to prevent the newspaper from getting stuck in the paint)

Just a quick note: My son's nursery is a jungle theme, but you can add any shapes you want to your letters. The instructions are the same regardless of whether you add flowers or lions. You can also choose to not add any other elements and simply paint the letters and add ribbon. It's completely up to you.
Paint your letters in whatever color(s) you choose. If you got MDF letters (like mine) or a darker wood then you may want to prime it first to prevent adding extra steps. Acrylic paint dries really fast so you'll be able to get a few coats done in under an hour. Don't forget to paint the sides!

After you paint a few coats, let dry completely before you use a fine grain sandpaper. Lightly sand each letter until smooth. Don't forget to sand the sides too. After you sand, paint one more coat (or in my case, two) to get the color you want. Let dry completely.
To get the polka dots, I used the tip of an unused pencil eraser, dipped it into my second paint color, and wiped off the excess before putting it on the letter. I didn't use a pattern, just placed my dots sporadically. Don't forget to place dots on the edges of the letter, edges need love too. :) And don't worry about getting the perfect dot the first time around. I placed all my dots on the letter first then went back a second time and filled in where needed.
I did polka dots for all the letters and this was my end result. But you can do other designs as well, experiment and see what you come up with. Let your polka dots dry completely overnight before going on to the next step.
After letting the letters dry overnight take them outside or to a well ventilated room and spray with a coat or two of clear glaze. Give them another night to dry completely before moving to the next step.

Unfortunately, this is where I must leave you. In the midst of this project I got sick and I've been holed up in my bedroom for the last few days. Give me another day or two and I will return with the second part of this tutorial. I hope you like the tutorial thus far, next up is adding the animals and ribbon. :)

edit// Here's the link to part 2

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