Wall space in my kids’ rooms is a blank canvas begging to be filled with happy things — pictures and keepsakes, and colorful representations of creativity and love. A blank wall can be intimidating though, especially when it comes to your wallet: Art adds up. Inexpensive cardboard letters available at most craft stores are a great way to decorate kids’ wall space, allowing you to personalize their rooms with anything from their names to positive messages.
How can you transform those boring brown letters into something that gives your walls the “wow” effect? Here are 7 ways to turn them into art that your kids will love.
I might not be a quilter when it comes to sewing, but I can certainly handle some cute fabric scraps and a bottle of Mod Podge. Whether you’re turning just one initial into a patchwork masterpiece or spelling out a favorite phrase for your child’s room, fabric adheres easily to cardboard letters when they’re pasted and overlaid with Mod Podge. Pick 5 to 6 fabric prints (mix and match — things don’t have to coordinate perfectly), cut them up into various sizes of squares and rectangles, and layer them into whatever pattern you like on your cardboard letter, brushing on a generous layer of Mod Podge as you go. You can leave the backs of the letters unfinished — and any picture-hanging hardware will work to attach the letters to the wall.
Cover with Moss
Add a touch of the outdoors to your child’s room by giving your cardboard letter a woodsy makeover. Hot glue a layer of sheet moss (available at craft stores) on the letter, and trim any uneven edges with scissors. You can also add miniature toadstools or small silk flowers to dress it up.
Wrap with Yarn
For a quick no-mess transformation, you can wrap yarn around letters and secure it with a little hot glue. Play with yarn texture, thickness and colors to give your letters and words a unique look. All white yarn works great with a minimalist decor look, while bright bold colors pop against a white wall.
Decoupage Illustrations from Children’s Books
Do you have a favorite children’s book illustrator, or is your child always asking you to read the same story? Buy a duplicate copy of the book, tear up the illustrations (I know, I know — hard to do!) and decoupage them to the cardboard letters using the same method described above with fabric.
Always a fan of Eloise Wilkin’s illustrations and their representation of childhood, I found an extra copy of one of her books and used the pages for the “READ” letters that hang above my daughter’s bookshelf.
Hot Glue Theme Items
Have a little guy who loves dinosaurs? A daughter who digs bugs? Paint your cardboard letters and decorate them with little toys and trinkets (attach them with hot glue) to represent your child’s favorite things. Safari Ltd. offers several themes in their TOOB containers from sea creatures and safari animals to pirates and fairies.
Make a Marquee Letter
Vintage carnival lighted letters and marquee lights can sell upwards of hundreds of dollars, but you can make your own for around $20 with an extra large cardboard letter (paint it the color of your choice), a string of garden lights and an X-ACTO knife.
The cardboard letters are hollow inside, so I cut a narrow pathway in the back of the letter, making room to tuck the light cord inside. I then used the X-ACTO knife to cut small circles in the front of the letter (I cut as many circles as there were bulbs on my light string) for the light sockets to poke through.
After unscrewing each bulb and positioning the light socket through the holes, I replaced the bulbs and added picture hanging hardware to the back to finish the project.
Cover with Craft Pom Poms
A fun, whimsical touch to a room, you can hang a letter covered with colorful craft pom poms on the wall or place it on a shelf or dresser among other childhood treasures to create a playful vignette. Try using all pink or yellow pom poms for a monochromatic look, or combine all colors like this letter for a bold shot of happiness. The textures in the pom poms create great visual interest, entertaining not only your child, but also all who pass through his space.
Photo Credit: Kelle Hampton