Craft stores only offer giant pre-made cardboard letters in a small variety of fonts and sizes. However, the possibilities are virtually limitless for those who choose to make their own letters at home. The additional time it takes to create them out of papier mache is far outweighed by the expanded options you have and the satisfaction of knowing you made them yourself.
Things You'll Need
- Empty cereal boxes
- Permanent marker
- Masking tape
- Tailor's measuring tape
- Old newspaper
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- Mixing bowl
- Acrylic paint
- Computer with word processing program (optional)
- Printer (optional)
If you're comfortable working freehand, draw your letter in the size and style you wish. Otherwise, choose the style of letter you like from a word processing program. Set the font size as large as you want. Then print the letter out.
Trace the letter onto the broad side of an old cereal box. If you do not have one, use any type of stiff cardboard. Cut out the letter with a pair of scissors.
Place the letter you cut out over another piece of cardboard and trace it. Cut it out so you have two large, identical letters.
Measure the perimeter of a curve or corner of your letter using a tailor's measuring tape. Cut strips out of your extra cardboard that equal the length of your measurement. These will make up the middle section between the two letters. Lay the strip of cardboard on its side and tape it to the letter near a curve or corner. Then wrap it around the curve or corner of the letter, taping it back onto itself. Add more strips until you have reached the desired thickness. Repeat this process on all the letter's curves and corners.
Place the other letter over the top of the strips and tape it into place. The final result is a 3D version of the original letter you drew.
Mix 1 cup water, 1 cup flour and 1/2 tablespoon salt in a mixing bowl. Mix it until it forms a thick liquid free of clumps.
Tear up a newspaper into strips of paper, about 2 inches by 4 inches in size. One by one, dip the strips in your liquid paste and plaster them onto the surface of your 3D letter until it is completely covered.
Allow the letter to dry completely, then apply a second layer of newspaper. Allow the second layer to dry.
Paint the dried and hardened paper mache letter with matte finish acrylic paint.
- Photo Credit Steve Baccon/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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