Hanging wooden letters on the wall of your child’s room is a great way of enhancing its charm and functionality. You can feature your child’s initials, spell out his or her name, or even hang all twenty six letters of the alphabet that your child can rearrange to his or her heart’s desire. Not only does this add a bit of personality to the space, the letters can also be useful in introducing your child to the alphabet.
Wooden letters can be purchased from most craft stores but they can get rather expensive, especially if you plan to buy an entire alphabet set. Making your own wooden letters is much cheaper and could be a great weekend project for you and your child. You can even paint or decorate the wooden pieces to match the room’s décor.
- Create your letter pattern. Type the letters that you wish to make into decorative wooden letters. Choose the size and font that you need your actual letters to be. You can use the default fonts on your word processor or download more fun fonts from the Internet. Once you are satisfied with the look of your letters, print them out a letter at a time on card board. You can also print the letters on bond paper, but cardboard is sturdier and would make tracing much easier. Cut out your pattern using your craft or any straight-edged scissors.
- Make the wooden letters. Lay the letter patterns on a sheet of balsa wood that is about 1-inch thick. Using a pencil, draw the outline of each letter pattern. Cut out the letters by tracing the outline with the blade of a heavy-duty utility knife, or X-acto knife. Use light pressure first, just enough to make a shallow indentation on the wood. Re-trace the outline a few times using heavier pressure until you have completely cut through the wood sheet.
- Set aside each of the letters for sanding. If you wish to make thicker wooden letters, visit your local lumberyard and buy wood blocks that are at least 2 inches thick. Trace the outline of your printed letters onto the surface of the wood. Mount the wooden blocks on your cutting table and carefully cut the letters using a scroll saw. Set your saw to slow or medium speed to avoid any accidents.
- Finish the wooden letters. Using medium-grit sandpaper, smoothen all the surfaces of each wooden letter. Once all the rough saw blade marks have been removed, switch to a higher grit sandpaper and run it over the surface of your wooden letters until each is as smooth as you want it to be. You can then paint your wood according to the color scheme of the room. Use a non-toxic acrylic paint. You can also spray on liquid lacquer instead for a more rustic look.
To make unique wooden letter decorations, embellish the letters with decorative paper, ribbons, and stickers. Use the printed pattern to trace letter outlines on the paper that you wish to use. Cut out the decorative paper letters using your craft scissors. Apply a thin layer of decoupage medium on the surface of each wooden letter and lay the corresponding cutout paper letter on top of it. Smooth out any air bubbles by applying mild pressure using your fingers. Protect the surface of your letters by covering it with a thin coating of decoupage medium or by spraying on clear lacquer. You can then add stickers or any other embellishments that you like.