Introduction: Easy Cardboard Letters and Signs

In this project I will present you an easy and quick way to do Cardboard Letters and signs out of your old cardboards cuttings. You will not need to be gifted to do it, only cardboard, glue and some other tools are required.

I love cardboard as one of the most versatile and easy-to-work material. Out-of my other cardboard projects, I get a lot of parts, of different shapes and sizes, due to cutting. I usually throw them to garbage but I decided to upcycle them and make cardboard letters and signs out of it. As always, I guess that those kind of thing can be found in some specialized shops but... well, let's do it by ourselves.

This technique is a derivative from FGehry Wiggle Side Chair

What you will need to make your own:
- 2 sheets of cardboard in a good shape for outer faces,

- Sheets/pieces/parts of cardboard, any size, any types...

- An utility knife,

- White/wood glue (I will use Wood)

- A computer with a printer and a text processor such a Microsoft Word or OpenOffice

- A jigsaw,

- Gummed kraft

- A Glue stick or spray glue (optional)

Two other optional tools which might help especially if your letters have to be cut inside:

- a driller (optional)

- a precision handsaw (optional)

In this I'ble we will be using sharp and cutting tools so please take care to handle those tools with appropriate behaviour and eventually wear some personal protective equipment, here mainly gloves and glasses. If you decided to use spray glue, take care of using it in a well ventilated area.

Step 1: Making Your Material

Depending of the size of the letters / signs you want to do, let's build your material. You will need two sheets of cardboard that are of the required dimension for your project in order to have clean outer faces.

I have an I'ble describing this way of obtaining a new material from cardboard cuttings. Check it out!

Collect all parts, pieces, old cardboards etc... you want to upcycle using this technique. As this is quite "cardboard consuming" you will need load of them, especially if you want to have thick or large objects.

The idea is to gather all those pieces that have alone no value into a new material with whom we will be able to build our letters and signs.

Start by taking one of your outer face cardboard sheet and position it on a plane surface. Put white/wood glue on it and glue all your parts/pieces of cardboard in layers. One after each other, those layers will build a new material made of glued cardboard pieces. Let the whole thing dry for at least one night, best 24 hours, under a weight.

Take your jigsaw and start cutting following your outer face surface.

Hint from the field: Cutting cardboard with a jigsaw can produce a lot of dust. Put your vacuum cleaner under the cutting area will reduce the amount of dust drastically. Take care not to enter the cutting zone and damaging your vacuum cleaner nor endangering you.

You should end with a relatively thick material with one clean face.

To have a second clean face, glue the second outer face cardboard sheet on the appropriate face of you material. Allow time for the glue to dry.

Done. We are now ready to make our letter/sign.

Step 2: Making Your Letter / Sign

Now that we have the required upcycled material. Let's get our letter / sign out of it.

Start by using a computer and the word processor.

On a white page, type the desired letter / sign. Enlarge it until you reach the required size. Print it. this will be your pattern. Take care to select a font and a letter / Sign which can be cut out of your cardboard "board".

Position your pattern on your board.

One can use spray glue to stick the paper on the cardboard but I rather hold it by hand and transfer it to the cardboard using the tip of utility knife. I am not cutting the cardboard at that time but only making a serie of very small holes in the surface, transferring my pattern. I rather use this technique instead of the glue as one has to later remove the glued paper from the surface, eventually damaging it.

Once you pattern is transferred or your paper is glued, take the jigsaw and cut your form out of the board. Take extreme care at the edges to have a nice and sharp shape.

Step 3: Finishing Your Letter / Sign

Now that you have the shape of your letter / sign, you have to finish it to make it smooth and beautiful and eventually prepare it for painting.

Especially on the side, where the corrugation can be seen, extreme care has to be taken in order to achieve a good result.

Hint from the field: If you used pretty thick cardboard such as double or triple corrugated, one can use a coating (such as fine gypsum) to fill the corrugations.

Take the gummed kraft and basically put it all over your sign. Cut Extras and make some more adjustments.

Ready to be painted.

Step 4: Painting and Enjoying Your Work

Once your work is krafted you may want/need to apply a finishing treatment on it.

It can be paint or other as you wish but never forget that cardboard doesn't like water ;-) I personally used black green paint mixed from my son painting material. It has the advantage to be completely save and compliant with child use.

It is now on my desk at work making my colleagues kind of jealous.

Thanks for reading!

Post photos if you make this I'ble, I would be interested viewing your realizations.

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Bio: I am just a guy who love making things Proud father of 2, I cook, build lots of things, learn new things (CAD, Arduinno...), gardening ... More »
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