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DIY Wednesday (Yes I know today’s Thursday) 3 Dimensional Paperboard Letters

2011 September 29
tags: ,
by Michelle

Hey everyone! Since I took yesterday off to spend with my birthday girl Avery, I’m posting this weeks installment of DIY Wednesday on Thursday.

We all know how unique and fun a space can be transformed into with the addition of Monogram letters. In the nursery, in the kitchen, on a wreath, ANYWHERE! But even being a frugal coupon user, getting those paper mache letters at 40% off adds up. So I thought I’d give you a little how to using things you already have in your house!

If your family is like mine, you go through a box of cereal faster that you can blink and what do you do with the box? If you can, you recycle it, but not all areas accept paperboard as a recyclable. So, try making something out of it instead of banishing it to the garbage can.

First collect the materials you’ll need:

Paperboard letter supplies Empty cereal boxes

Ruler

Exacto Knife

Print out of the letter you’ll be tracing (I like to print it on Cardstock to give my stencil a little extra staying power)

Cutting Mat

Pen/Pencil

Glue Gun and lots of glue sticks (not pictured)

 

Once you have all the items collected begin the Paperboard Letter/Shape Making Process

Step 1: Cut out your Shape, mine is a letter A.

Step 2: Open up your cereal boxes by breaking the seal on the side of the box and placing your letter on top and trace around it. Be sure to flip your stencil when you begin tracing your shape on the piece of Paperboard that will be the back of the letter.

Trace your shape onto your cereal box Step 3: Carefully using your exacto knife, cut out the shape. I recommend using a straight edged ruler for all your straight sections of your letter/shape.

Front and Back of the Paperboard letter

Front and Back of the Paperboard letter

Step 4: Measure and record the length of each edge that will need to lined. I simply wrote each measurement near the corresponding edge. You can use a sewing tape measure for any curved areas.

measureStep 5: Decide on the depth you want for your letter. To make things easier on myself, I selected the width of my ruler so that I didn’t have to make any measurements on the spare parts of my cereal box. Cut out strips and sections to match the lengths you recorded for each edge of your letter/shape.
Step 6: Once you have cut out the sides of your letter to length, line them up along side your letter in the correct arrangement so that when you’re gluing your pieces together you don’t have to search through your pile of pieces to find the correct one.

edges for letter

Step 7: Beginning with the interior sides, start gluing your pieces together by running a bead of glue in the 90° angle of your 2 pieces.
glue your interior pieces first

Step 8: Continue this process until all your sides have been glued on. You may have to hold your pieces together for a few seconds while the glue cools, but it does this so fast, which is why I chose to use hot glue. Plus it’s forgiving. If you mess up, simply use your exacto knife to cut away your glue and try again. Can you tell I had to do that in a few places?
Glue until all your sides have been affixed

 

You have options now, you can either leave it without a back (especially if you’re going to hang it on the wall) or you can proceed and attach the back of the paperboard.

Step 9: If you’re a glutton for punishment like I am, you chose to put the back on your letter/shape. Now this is where things get a little tricky. Assuming you’ve done a perfect job and all your sides line up perfectly and are at perfect 90° angles, you’ll just run a bead of hot glue along the edges of you letter’s interior back side and place your letter on top. Well, if yours wasn’t absolute perfect like mine wasn’t, you’ll have to manipulate and glue in stages to ensure you don’t have too many exposed edges or gaps in your letter.  But even after your best efforts you have a small section or two that aren’t perfect (see below) simply take your exacto knife and cut away that pesky little imperfection.

oops, how did that happen?!

What you’re left with is a fully constructed shape.

Not pictured are the next steps to seal the edges of your letter/shape. There are several different routes you can take.

Paper Mache along the edges of the letter to seal them in place. To paper mache dip strips of newspaper into a mixture of equal parts water and glue, wipe off excess between your fingers as you pull the strip out of your mixture and carefully apply to your form being sure to smooth out any lumps and bumps. Paint and decorate as you see fit.

You can decoupage your letter with scrapbooking paper, pictures, old maps or fabric. Mod Podge is a great sealer and glue for this purpose.

You can wrap your letter in yarn, twine, or jute for a unique look.

You can apply things like paper flowers (Hint Hint, this will be next weeks DIY) feathers, leaves, dried beans, yes dried beans it looks pretty cool.

You can guild it using flat thumbtacks

Really the possibilities are endless and up to the limits of your own creativity (or other things you see here or on Pinterest)

Happy Crafting!

Michelle

 


 

You might also like:

DIY Wednesday: Paper Rosettes
DIY Wednesday: Book 'em Dano (aka Fall Pumpkin from an old book)
12 Days of Christmas: Day 2 Tabletop Christmas trees Set of 3 Giveaway
5 Responses leave one →
  1. Darren permalink
    September 30, 2011

    Simply marvelous! I’m glad I know you. :~)

  2. yarely zamora permalink
    December 5, 2013

    where i can print those letters?

    • Michelle permalink*
      December 5, 2013

      You can use any word processing program to print out the letters. Though not always the case, a general rule of thumb is that 72pts= 1″ so if you want a 5″ letter try setting your font size to 360 and print with your home printer.

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