Paint Samples Up-cycled: Decorative Quotes

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This DIY was inspired by my personal need to re-connect with things that have meaning in life! Quotes can be a good reminder of meaningful things and thus I wanted to make myself a "reminder quote" that looked nice.

Things you’ll need:

  • Old paint samples
  • Access to a computer
  • Access to a laser cutter (or a X-acto knife / scissors)
  • A piece of paper for the backing
  • Glue
  • Optional: a frame

I had a bunch of Orange tones because we just repainted some orange in the house but you can mix and match with what you have. If you don't have access to a laser cutter, you can cut out the letters with an X-acto knife or with scissors and still get a pretty good result.

Step 1: Select Your Quote and Create Your File

Select a quote and type it into any software that handles typing (I used word). Using a software that can export in .dxf saves you a step. Select your typeface and make the words hollow (in word, go to home, font, text effect and choose text fill: no fill, and text outline: solid line).

I then converted the word doc into a .dxf file using an online free service. I have attached the picture of what the quote looked like and the .dxf file.

Step 2: Laser Cutting (or Alternatives)

To set up the laser cutter, I first did a few cutting tests with some spare samples. I cut a small rectangle to make sure the cut settings were right. I ended up choosing a speed of 80mm/s and a power of 30% (picture 1).

Then I imported my .dxf file. I organized the letters needed for the quote (and some extras) to make sure they would get cut into the parts of the samples that didn't have any extra writing in them. To do so, I created a pattern (in green in picture 2) that delimited where the letters should be based on the size of my sample pieces and the 'usable space' in the sample. Each big green rectangle is a sample, and the smaller green rectangle is the usable space where I then organized the letters.

*Alternative: if you don't have access to a laser cutter or just prefer to do it by hand, you can print the quote in the font you want to use and make that into a stencil. You can draw out the letters on the samples and cut them with scissors and/or an X-acto knife. This can take very long if you are doing it super precisely and if your font is complex but you can definitely get away with it!

Step 3: Cutting the Samples

Arrange the samples to match the layout you have done in the software, and press cut!

The picture shows me in the middle of collecting my cut samples after the laser was done.

Step 4: Glue the Letters

Grab your backing paper and glue. I had an extra sheet of card-stock laying around, but you can use plain paper as your background.

Organize the letters approximately the way you want them and glue them down. Let your creativity flow as you arrange the color order and align or jumble the alignment of the letters. If your glue is water based, it might warp your paper so using a heavier paper like card-stock might be advisable.

I has a couple of missing letters and "I" dots that I couldn't find, so I just cut the extra ones with an X-acto knife.

Step 5: Hang Your Decorative Quote!

Option: you can frame your quote to give it extra jazz.

Hang it up and enjoy!

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