Monday, January 16, 2012

DIY Decorative Letter Panels, since I seem to have some spare time on my hands these days as I'm not teaching any voice lessons and only have a 3 month old to talk to, I've decided to start adding some tutorials to my blog. You'll get to see my crafty side, and my vain side as I've decided to start doing hair and makeup tutorials here as well (keep an eye out for them!). I don't really have any intention of starting a youtube account, so, provided my videos can be short enough, its likely that here at my blog will be the only place to access may change, but for now, that is what I have planned. That being said...this tutorial isn't a video tutorial, its a picture tutorial.

Preface: Since we've moved into our new place in Vegas at the beginning of the month, and the diva in training has her own room, I decided I wanted to decorate. Well...problem #1- We're renting so I can't really do anything dramatic or drastic and problem #2- babies grow up! They start having their own likes and dislikes... it would be tragic to spend a ton of money on decorations only to have to throw them away or send them to D.I.or Goodwill when they've been outgrown.

I've seen lots of pictures of wooden letter blocks that can be hung on walls, and some DIY tutorials. I looked into it and it would have cost $25-$30 for the letters alone as I already have the other necessary crafting tools...but to me,that is still pretty pricey for a decoration that will likely be outgrown (have I mentioned I am super cheap...?)

So, as we just moved and had tons of boxes laying around I was struck with an idea.

Presenting my DIY Nursery Letters Tutorial! If you already have a cardboard box the size you want, scrapbook paper,and modge podge (most serious crafters will...) this will be essentially free to do...if you don't have modge podge a bottle can be purchased for $2-3 and if you don't have scrapbook paper you can buy a pretty big book of it for about $5 at most craft stores, if you don't have ribbon you can easily get a skein for $1...essentially this craft would cost you anywhere from $2- 8...I think its a deal!

So... let's get started...

Here is a picture of what you'll need...but I will write a list:
You will need: A cardboard box, modge podge, scissors, scrapbook paper, sharpie (or similar black marker- optional), pencil, white out (optional), something sharp to poke holes in your panels (I used a knitting needle), a craft needle like a yarn darning needle, ribbon and the chosen art that you will be using to add to the letter, and the letters in the font that you have chosen. In my case I am using Precious Moments (Faith's room will be Precious Moments Noah's Ark themed). You can (if you have a fancy enough printer, or live close to a copy center) copy + print everything out and cut it out, but since I'm artsy fartsy and like to show off (and don't own a printer that is capable of making copies) I am hand drawing everything.

Step 1:
Choose how you are cutting your panels. The side panels on my box were the perfect size for what I wanted, so I didn't even have to do any measuring. I also used a thinner type of cardboard, so I didn't even use these scissors to cut them (the picture was taken later. I couldn't find my good crafting scissors so I used child sized scissors to cut the panels...LOL)

Step 2:
Trace your panel on the scrapbook paper of your choice and cut it out.

Step 3:
Go crazy with the modge podge! Squirt some down, and spread it out. I used cotton balls because I couldn't find my paint brush that I normally use (note for later: if you use cotton balls, know that they will leave some white "fluff" be prepared to pick it off of the top of the finished project BEFORE it dries.) After modge podge is spread, put your scrapbook paper down and push out the air bubbles between the cardboard and paper.

Step 4:
Continue your love affair with modge podge as you put your letter on the panel. Spread some out underneath, put your letter down and then put modge podge over the top. Allow it to dry. and voila!
You can either be done here and move on to the ribbon steps at the end...or you can do what I did, trace the letter with a sharpie once its dried and then add some characters or art work to it.

Step 5:

Cut out your animals...for added flair you can trace parts of their bodies that could be other colors, cut out the piece you're replacing and tape or glue the new piece in its place. This is where the white out comes in...if you want an area to be white you can color it in with white out, or markers as you can see I've done. When placing the animal (or artwork of your choice), do the same as you did to place the letter. Put an initial coat of modge podge where you're placing the artwork and then cover it in a thin layer of modge podge once its set where you'd like it!
You can also place artwork before you place the letters...see!

Once you're happy with the amount of art on your panels, you add the ribbon. You will need to cut lengths of ribbon for each panel. Mine ended up being about 18 inches long.

Poke 2 wholes in your panel atleast an inch away from the closest end with your sharp poking object (see my fancy purple knitting needle!!! LOL) If you look close you can see my holes. I did them about 2 inches apart, 2 inches from the side,and 1 inch from the top.

Take your yarn darning needle and thread the ribbon through. Poke the ribbon through one of the holes from the front and come out the other side

Your ribbon should sit like this.

Even out the ends and tie bows, leaving a loop of ribbon free to be the hanger (like so)

For extra hold you can run a needle through the middle loop of the bow...just know that I didn't, but if you'd like it to last a little longer- go for it!

Happy crafting! (Did I mention that I think this is a great idea for a project to do WITH your child. Its a way to get older kids involved in decorating their own rooms! I would have loved to do a project like this with my mom when I was growing up...)

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!

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