I've had a few sweet people email me asking for a step by step process that I used to make the letters for E's Alphabet wall.
Supplies I used:
- 14 ply Chipboard - You could probably use cardboard, but chipboard paints better without warping too much.
- Craft Knife
- Insulation foam OR 3 oz paper Dixie Cups - depending on how thick you want your letter to be.
- Elmers glue
- Paper Tape - it's basically brown kraft packing tape that is like an envelope.
A photo of the chipboard to show the thickness:
Step 1: Draw your letter out on the chipboard. I used the edges of my chipboard for my letter so that I would not waste time cutting the edges or waste chipboard. But this is the part where you could be super creative and do a cursive letter, an upper case or lower case letter, OR even print a certain letter from your favorite font and give that a try. All of mine, I hand drew to make it easier/faster, but I am sure it would be fun to have one in your favorite font, too.
Step 2: Use your craft knife and a ruler (on straight edges a ruler helps!) to begin cutting the letter out. Because the chipboard is thick, it takes more than one cut to cut all the way through AND a craft mat to cut would also help make this process easier.
Step 3: use your cut out letter to trace another out on chipboard and repeat step 2.
Step 4: Slice your insulation foam into 1 inch sized squares. These do not have to be precisely one inch, just small enough so they do not go over the edges when put on the letter.
Step 5: Begin using Elmer's glue to glue your insulation pieces to the bottom layer letter - spreading them about an inch apart and being sure that they do not go over the sides of the chipboard.
Step 6: Put glue on the tops of the pieces of insulation foam.
Step 7: Carefully place your other chipboard letter on top of the gluey insulation foam, looking over the very top of it and "1-eyeballing" it to make sure the edges line up just so. Especially the bottom edge if you are going to want your letter to stand upright.
A side view
Step 8: Carefully place a book or a thick catalog on top of the letter as a weight to hold the chipboard down while the glue dries. Step away from your letter and let the glue dry before moving on. I generally do this process one day, let it sit a night, and then come back to it the next day.
Once the glue is dry continue with the following steps.
I used this paper tape from DickBlick.com. You will also need a paper plate and a damp sponge to wet your paper tape.
Step 9: Tear about 3-4 inch strips of paper tape. you can tear a lot of them at once, or tear as you go.
Step 10: Begin by wetting the shiny side of the tape with your sponge. You do not want it to be drippy wet, just wet enough so that it becomes sticky.
Step 11: Begin covering your letter with the strip of tape. Pull and press the tape firmly over the side, but do not pull it too much or your will make the edges pucker together. This part is all about craftsmanship and neatness. It takes patience so you might practice a bit with the paper tape a bit to get the right technique down.
Tips for using Paper Tape:
- Don't use too much water on your sponge. You want the tape damp, not drippy.
- Smooth the edges of the tape down using a damp finger. Gently pulling the tape around the side - too much pull, and your sides will squeeze together.
- Overlap the tape so you do not have gaps in between your tape.
- When you get to the corners, get as close with the tape as you can, and then use the next tip to properly seal your corners.
- Fold and crease the paper tape before wetting it, then wetting it and placing it on a corner to get a sharp corner.
Again, the paper tape takes some practice and play and patience to get the hang of.
I made this short video to demonstrate the first steps of using paper tape. It was challenging to video with one hand and apply paper tape with the other hand, so it might not be extremely helpful, but it's a start.
I also suggest using at least two layers of the paper tape to ensure a sturdy monogram.
From there, you can decorate your letters however you would like. Here is how I decorated Ellis':
A - Mod Podge with fabric strips
B, F, K, O - Mod Podge with tissue paper
C - Mod Podge with an old map
D, I, J, L, M, N, P, Q, Y, Z - Painted with acrylic paint
E, W - Painted then drawn on with a Sharpie, then Mod Podge.
H, U - Mod Podge with old book pages on sides, then painted on lots of glue to the front and glittered.
G, X - Painted with acrylic paint, Mod Podge paper dots or hearts.
R - Painted with acrylic paint, then used a craft knife to cut the paper design and Mod Podge to front.
S - Mod Podge with notebook paper
V - Ornamented with toilet paper rolls cut down, then painted with acrylic paint.
T - Decorated with washi tape, then Mod Podge'd
Notice a commonality? MOD PODGE!!! It was my BFF during this project :)
And because we just had an impromptu photo shoot a couple nights ago with my baby bean standing and playing in her crib:
Just exactly the kind of picture I imagined while I was making each letter of the alphabet for my sweet butterbean's nursery.