Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Wood Letter Tutorial!

I finally did it. Here we go.

 Wood Letters- I order mine from HERE (If you are doing a child's name, I would suggest the 8"size)
Scrapbook paper- a couple of my favorite brands are Crate Paper, Basic Grey, and Little Yellow Bicycle
Craft paint- I like neutrals, brown, black, cream, grey etc
Mod podge
File- I would suggest a metal one
Sponge paint brushes
"Smoother" yes that's what I call it. (I use my pampered chef scraper and it works great!)
Sponge- for the edges

Here are my paper and letters ready to go!

I wanted something softer for Laken. I just think that her name suits a more soft, vintage vibe. The letters I used were Chalk font and 8".

K, Ready?

 1. Trace your letters on your paper, face up. Don't cut them out yet, set them aside.

2. Paint the sides of the letters and then place them face down on some newspaper and paint the backs. It's ok if it isn't fully covered you will do another coat later. Don't paint the front.

3. While the letters dry, cut out your paper. I suggest stay right on the lines because the closer you are to the edge the less you have to file and the filing sucks. ;)

4. Flip letters face up and place all your paper on them to make sure you like the papers and how they look etc. Use a thin coat of modge podge, paint it on the letter then smooth the paper onto the letters. Use your "smoother tool" and work from the middle out to get rid of any bubbles in the paper. The mod podge dries pretty quick. You will know if you are using too much mod podge if it's running out the edge. If you have a thicker paper then after mod podging it on, turn your letters over face down so your edges won't pull up when drying. Let paper dry, it doesn't take too long. I actually have never timed it but it's probably around 10-15 mins.
Then let your 3 year old twin take a pen and trace down the center of your letters... ok just kidding. But that's what mine did! Thank goodness it wasn't that dark. Thanks Presley...

Oh and after tuning them over if you realize you painted the wrong side of the letter. Paint the back now...but who would do that...

5. After paper is dry file off the edges of paper that are hanging over. I used to use a metal file for mine when I sold these and it saved me! Although of course I can't find it now, so I used a normal nail file, which works it just takes a lot longer. You can use anything metal with a file edge and don't be afraid, it won't wreck your letters, unless you see wood flying. Then stop. ha Just get rid of that over hang of paper.

6. Use your sponge and sponge the edges of your letters. If your nervous, practice a bit on something so you can get the effect you want to get. Sometimes I like it all simple and even and other times I want it to look more "worn" or even chunky and darker and not "perfect". Also the amount of paint you put on the sponge makes a difference in the effect you'll get. This to me is the most important part that really makes your letters look professionally made! So take your time.
I used the end of a sponge paint brush and just ripped it off. I used to have nice sponges but this worked for today! You can also use the cheap rectangle kitchen sponges, you can get them at the dollar store and cut them up into small pieces.

7. Paint your sides again with the tip of your brush. I don't do the backs again, since you'll most likely never see them but it's up to you. Try not to use too much paint, the brushes hold a lot of paint so you can "squish" it out of it, so you don't have globs.

8. Make sure everything is completely dry! Don't do this next step until they are dry because it can wreck them and that would suck. Put one final coat of mod podge on the front of the letters. You can do the sides too, I don't really ever but you can. Keep this as smooth as possible because this is what finishes it!

 **Then if you change your mind on the paint color like I did, ha, you can repaint the backs and edges again. Obviously i'm indecisive and I like more of the contrast look so I went with the grey. I'm so glad I did, the cream blended too much and I like it when you can see the sponge effect.

9. Pick an embellishment or two and glue them on! I like to make paper flowers or buy the flowers from the scrapbook stores. I can't remember where I learned these but rip different sized circles from big to small and alternate paper. Crumple them up, then open them and stack them on top of each other and then stick a brad through them and glue it on. (On the "k") There are so many ideas out there to accent your letters, get creative! This was all I had on hand right now and they work for now! Metal accents are cute, ribbon, buttons, pearls, rhinestones etc.

All Done!

If you need some ideas or some inspiration on what to do you can take a look at all the ones i've sold. They are on which was my business where I used to sell these. Click the "my work" button on the right hand side of the page to see them all. I will tell you it was  A LOT of work to do this as a business and I was super busy, so that's why I quit. I still get emails for orders. Now you can go make your own!!
I will be making a video with the next ones I make, I just didn't have time to do it yet. I still have to make Kyla's! I have never made her any. Bad mom. ha I also want to redo the twins. You can always change to paper if you want later, just mod podge new paper right over top and then follow the exact same steps. Easy! 

If any one has any questions about anything you are more than welcome to e-mail me mindyfrancis{at}hotmail{dot}.com


AKutarna said...

Thanks for all the good tips! I've made them before but I never thought to use a file and now I can see what a difference it makes on the edges! And love your nails in the photos!

Kathleen said...

Ok I have been following your blog for a bit now and always loved your letters and wished I could make some as pretty as those! I could never tell how you got the edges to look like that, I always thought your burned the paper, with a lighter or something. Now I know! They are really pretty! I want to try it!

The Harker Family said...

Oh good! Thanks Mindy I was waiting for this post! Woohoo! Now I can do the letters for our newest addition to the family- our baby girl Caesalen. I will email you a pick one I have finished them! Thanks so much for this! You're one talented girly! Love ya!

Kell Bell said...

I am really excited to give this a go! Thanks for sharing :)

Francis Family said...

Glad everyone is going to try them! :)

Lyndi said...

You don't know me but I came across your blog the other day and I loved this tutorial for wood lettering. I pinned it on Pinterest and thought I should let you know that it's been quite popular and has had lots of repins. Great job, great tutorial. I love the look of the letters, especially with the grey edging.