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Paper Mache Letters

First off –

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO MY LOVE!

I really liked the idea of giving him those paper mache letters you can buy at Michael’s or Joann’s, but they didn’t have an &.  And I really wanted to do N & L.  So I googled it and came across this tutorial (Click here) and decided I could totally do that!  So I did.

IMG_1954For starters I went to dafont.com and found a font I liked.  Its called Storybook.  And then I had to figure out how to get it to print on multiple pages, without using publisher (cause I don’t have it).  I ended up using openoffice calIMG_1955culator (which is basically excel).  It takes some messing with margin settings and size settings, also depends on your printer.  I can’t really walk you through this step because every printer and program is different.IMG_1957

So once I had the size the way I wanted it.  I printed them out.  (In red ink only because we were out of black at the time).  Taped them together (since the letters were slightly larger than one piece of paper) and tIMG_1961hen cut them out.

I recommend if you have lots of extra cereal boxes to use them as they aren’t quite as difficult to cut out.  I only had 1 box so I used a pizza box instead.  Traced the letters, front and back (so that I had a front and back)  And cut them out.  (I recommend IMG_1964good sharp scissors if using regular cardboard, or just buy some extra cereal to make it easier on you!)

Once they are cut out, put them off to the side and cut a bunch of strips of cereal boxes (this is where I used my one and only box.  I also used the cardboardIMG_1965 from a cake mix, beer six pack cardboard, and the cardboard from snack packs.  They are all slightly more flimsy and made it easier to cut.)  I decided an inch and a half was a perfect so cut a TON of strips to that size.

IMG_1966Then came the taping.  I started with a regular roll of tape but after the L, I ran out and switched to the packing tape because we have so much of it, and I didn’t have any more regular tape.  This is kind of tricky at first and there are many ways IMG_1970to do it.  I found that starting at a corner was easiest, and I just inched my way around the letter.  Working from the inside out if possible.

Once a piece was on the front I opted to put the back on and work my way around, IMG_1973that way I could keep it even as I went.  It worked for me but you could also do the entire front to the sides and then attach the back.

Once the letters were completely constructed, they were sIMG_1975urprisingly sturdy.   Next comes the messy part.  The paper mache.  1 cup of water, 1 cup of flour and 1/2 tbsp salt.  Mix well until there are no lumps.  I let it sit for about an hour stirring once every 10 or so minutes to let the lumps work themselves out.

IMG_1976For the paper, I used a small news paper, cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch strips.  About 8 inches long.  And ripped them in half when necessary.  Using my fingers to apply the paste to them, because it was easier than just dipping it in and wiping it off.  Apply the best way you can until the letter is coIMG_1977mpletely covered.  Set off to the side to dry for 8-10 hours or over night.  Repeat with the remaining letters.

Repeat the next day.  One batch of paste was enough for one layer per letter.  The second day I had to make another batch of paste.  Again set off to the side to dry for abut 8-10 hours or overnight.

IMG_1978Once the letters are dry, using fine sand paper sand down any rough edges.  I did a basic once over on the entire piece just to make sure.  Remove any dust with a cloth and paint.

I only primed the letters IMG_1979because the final color will depend on what room they are in, and I wanted to leave that up to Nick.  So until that is decided they will remain White.

You can make them distressed if you want, smooth them out and make them sleek and modern. Give them a more laquered finish, satin finish or keep it flat.  You can use a gel stain over the corners to give them an older look.  Or you could layer different colors of paint and sand them off in certain areas to give them depth.  The possibilities are really endless.

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If you want to hang them on the wall you can just attach those little hangers with the teeth or any other hanger you prefer.  Or you can let them stand on their own on a shelf.  Once we decide I will be sure to update with a finished picture of the items and where I put them  (and if I do more than just painting them, I’ll post how I did that!)

If you decide to make these, send me a pic!  I’d love to see what you do!

Comments (2)

  1. Emely

    My partner and I stumbled over here from a different web
    address and thought I may as well check things out. I like what I see
    so now i am following you. Look forward to looking at your web page for
    a second time.

  2. Doug

    Lauren awesome tutorial! I’ll send you a pic when I’m finished with my project. TY

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