I decided to make her a pseudo scrabble tile wall art with the names of all of her grandchildren! I think it's perfect for her! I know, I know, names aren't allowed in the game of Scrabble. Too bad, I'm making my own rules with this one!
Wanna make one too? Follow along and I'll show you how.
Step 1: Cut
When purchasing your boards, be sure to check the face of the board for knots. You want boards that are as knot-free as possible. It's not even that important if the boards are warped or not, since you'll be cutting them into tiny pieces, but you don't want to have knots showing on your finished tiles.
I picked up some really nice boards at Lowe's. They were really clean, and most importantly, they had edges that were already a bit rounded.
Cut your wood into squares and sand the edges. My dad got me a grinding wheel some time back and it works wonderfully for smoothing the edges.
Step 2: Shop
I tried several office supply stores and craft stores for the pre-cut vinyl letters, but none of them were the right font or right size. Plus, I would have had to purchase several packages, which would have made this project too expensive to be practical.
I also looked into stencils, but with alphabet stencils, the letters are usually choppy as part of the design for holding the cutouts in place.
I also looked at stamps. I knew it was very unlikely that I would find 1.5" stamps in the font I needed, for under $10. And of course, I didn't. I did find a set of number stamps that were just right.
I still liked the idea of stamping, I just needed the letters. At Michael's, I found the perfect size and perfect font in this canister of adhesive foam shapes! I was set!!
Step 3: Cut
Step 4: Glue
Step 5: Prepare
I used the crossword maker to come up with my layout. If you put your names in and don't like the arrangement, just click the "create my puzzle" button again and it will do a different form. I had to try it a number of times before I got a shape I was happy with. Also, just a note, sometimes it won't use all the names for some reason, so check the note at the bottom of the puzzle indicating how many words were used to be sure you don't leave anyone out.
If you do this step before stamping, it will reduce the number of letter tiles you need, since some of them are used twice. Before I started stamping, I counted how many of each letter was needed.
Once the Scrabble tiles and stamps were made, the rest went super fast!
Step 6: Stamp
Step 8: Position
I laid them out on a flat surface and began gluing them together. I used basic Elmer's wood glue to secure mine and it worked great, but it's important to really let the glue dry before messing with it. It seems like it's holding after about 15 minutes, but any significant force will pop it apart. If I had it to do over, I think I would first glue the horizontal names, let them dry, then arrange the vertical names into the horizontal names.
Step 9: Secure
Step 10: Hang
I also had to work with the puzzle maker function a bit, until I found one with their names together, then I altered the design a bit, shuffling their names to the center. It was basically a lot like playing Scrabble.
I also tried including their last name, but thought it was inconsistent with the rest of the first-name-only list. If I do another, I think it would be cool to do just an immediate family, and then have the last name included/darker. I'll post if I ever get around to that.
The last thing I did was spray a clear coat sealer on it. The stamping ink is water-based and it isn't pretty if any water gets on the tiles. Trust me on that. A thin coating of spray varnish worked fine for me, but try it on a test tile first, to be sure the sealer doesn't do bad things to it. And for the next one I do, I'm going to spray the tiles individually before I even start to glue them together. It's amazing how easily the stamping ink smudges.
For more information or to see more of my original tutorials, visit childmadetutorials.blogspot.com