My wife and I made this piece of wall art for our laundry room in only a couple afternoons. It was a quick, cheap, fun project we could do together that helped decorate one of the smallest rooms in our home. You will need the following things...
(1) 4' long 1x3 pine board
(1) 4' 6" long 1x6 pine board (or enough plywood to cut all the squares and rectangles for the letters)
(7) Sheets of interesting, colorful scrapbook paper
(7) Sheets of black card stock paper
(22) Screws, 3/4"
(1) Bottle of Mod Podge craft glue
(1) Bottle of black acrylic paint
(3) L-shaped wall brackets or something equivalent to hang the sign
Circular saw or hand saw
Power drill with a couple bits
Phillips head screwdriver (for the final screw)
Razor utility blade or craft knife
Paper cutter (optional)
Brushes for paint and mod podge
Word processing program
Image editing program
Step 1: Cut Boards to Size
To cut the boards for the letters I used spare plywood I had lying around in the garage, but if you're buying supplies I would recommend just getting a 1x6 and cutting sections off that. That being said, my measurements will be slightly different than yours if you use a 1x6, because I cut the sections exactly 5" wide (whereas, if you were using 1x6 they would be 5 1/2" wide).
My Measurements (5" wide sections):
(3) 7 1/2" tall boards
(3) 5" tall sections
(1) 9" tall section
New Measurements (5 1/2" wide sections using 1x6 board):
(3) 8 1/4" tall sections
(3) 5 1/2" tall sections
(1) 10" tall section
For the 1x3 backing board, I cut mine to 39". You will need to cut yours longer to accommodate the wider letter blocks. After cutting your letter blocks, space them how you want them, then lay the 1x3 on top and mark how long you want it. Then cut it to size. Don't screw anything together yet. We're going to paint and glue everything on front first before we put it all together.
Sand the blocks down nice and smooth.
Step 2: Cutting Paper for Backing and Letters
Scrapbook Paper Backgrounds
It's completely up to you what kind of scrapbook backing you want to put on each letter block. I would recommend light colors to contrast nicely against the black letters. If you wanted, you could also do dark colored backgrounds and light colored letters.
Cut the backgrounds 1/4" shorter than the dimensions of the board blocks so there is a 1/8" border of block when you glue them on.
Cut out the backgrounds with the paper cutter.
Card Stock Paper Letters
Search online or explore your computer's word processor for whatever type of font you would like to use. Pick something that won't be too difficult to cut out with a razor knife (so, nothing with very thin parts to it). Once you found one you like, type out the word "laundry" in a size that will fill the screen. Take a screenshot of the word, and load the picture into an image-editing program. This is where it gets a little tricky...
Each letter is going to be printed separately in the end, but first you have to figure out how big to make the letters. Scale the "laundry" word picture and print a few test runs on regular white paper to get the right size you want to put on the letter blocks. The whole word may not print on a single piece of paper right now, but it's not important. After you find the size you want, "cut" the image into several images with 2 letters on each. So you'll have "LA", "UN", "DR", and "Y" in 4 separate images. You may want to print another test run of the new images on white paper to make sure the size is still the same.
Finally, before printing onto your black card stock paper, you need to mirror the images horizontally. This way, when you print onto the card stock the letters will be backwards. After you cut them out, the nice side without the printer ink on it will be oriented correctly.
Cut out the letters with the razor knife.
Step 3: Paint and Glue
Paint the 1x3 board and the letter blocks with black paint. The majority of the face of the block will be covered by the scrapbook paper, so don't paint that part. Use several coats, and make sure you get the sides well.
After the paint dries, mod podge the scrapbook paper onto the boards and the letters onto the scrapbook paper. The one tall board is for the "L". The mid-size boards are for letters "u", "d", and "y". The smallest boards are for letters "a", "n", and "r". Use several coats of mod podge.
Step 4: Putting It All Together
I probably made this step harder than it needed to be, but screwing the boards together was a three step process. Because I used 3/4" thick boards and 3/4" screws, I had to sink the screws halfway through the first board. In order that I didn't split the wood, I pre-drilled the holes for the screws and then pre-drilled a bigger hole halfway down the first board for the head of the screw to fit into. You will be drilling from the back of the project to the front, so make sure your pre-drill holes don't go too deep or your will punch through the scrapbook paper and ruin that letter block.
SO, my three-step process was this:
1) Pre-drill holes using small bit.
2) Pre-drill 3/8" sink holes in the first holes using a larger bit.
3) Screw in the screws.
Make sure you don't over-tighten the screws since they're only holding onto 3/8" of the backing board. I used 3 screws per letter block. Overboard? Yes, maybe. But I don't like things to fall apart.
Step 5: Hang It Up
I used L-shaped brackets to hang the sign because that's what I had in my tool box. There's probably a better solution out there, but this worked very well for me. I placed them so they are hidden behind the letter blocks. The two brackets on the bottom don't actually screw into the project, they just help support the weight. The top middle bracket is inverted and screws into the top of the backing board behind the "n". So, basically the sign sits on the lower two but is held in place by the top one. Make sure you pre-drill the hole in the top of the backing board for the screw before you try to hang it.
To get it level, screw the brackets into the wall in this order:
1) Screw one bottom bracket in place.
2) Put the sign on the wall on the one bracket while holding it in place. Use the level to level it (duh), and mark the spot for the second bottom bracket.
3) Screw the second bottom bracket in place.
4) Put the sign back on the wall on the two bottom brackets and hold in place. Check level.
5) While the sign is still held in place, slide the top bracket in behind the "n" and mark its position.
6) Pull the sign down and screw in the top bracket.
7) Put the sign back up and screw the top bracket to the hole in the backing board.
Voilà! It is finished! Stand back and marvel at your work you crafty devil you!
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