December 4, 2013

Giant Christmasy Wall Letters - The Experimental Home

Hi Sugar Bee Crafts readers! If you have a big wall in need of big holiday spirit, I have the project for you! Spell out J-O-Y in giant wall letters complete with a little Christmas sparkle.

giant christmas wall letters
Before I tell you how easy and inexpensive it is to make your own giant Christmas wall letters, I thought I would take a second and introduce myself. My name is Laura and I blog at The Experimental Home. Before hanging up my lab coat to stay home with my son, I spent my days in a lab solving problems though experimentation. At home, I do the same thing. I have found that I can create anything with just a little experimentation, and believe you can too!
Laura from The Experimental Home
Today, I am going to tell you how I made giant wall letters for my expansive entryway, and how I experimented to find the perfect medium to paint the edges to look like sparkly snow. But first, let's talk about why I picked the word "joy" to adorn my wall. Practically, it only has three letters... it would have taken me three times as long to spell out "Christmas". But, let's be honest, I rarely make practical decisions. I decided on "joy" because it evokes the spirit of Christmas in every way. Celebrating the birth of Jesus? Joy. The smiles on your kid's faces when they open their presents? Joy. Making memories with your family? Joy. No matter how you celebrate Christmas, it is about joy. Thus, "joy" is a perfect, simple sentiment to greet friends and family as they enter our house this holiday season. To make your own giant wall letters, you need foam board. It comes in 20 inch by 30 inch sheets. At my local craft store, the colored sheets are about $6 each, but coupons are plentiful this time of year. The white foam board is a little cheaper - just paint it whatever color you want before you get started. I got red foam board to save a little time and effort.
red foam board to make giant wall letters
Start out by sketching your letters on the foam board in pencil. Each letter will take up the entire board. I drew my letters with a ruler, a plate and a trash can. Seriously, a trash can. Use the ruler to measure and draw straight edges and the round items to add the curves to the letters. Even though you are using pencil, be careful, my eraser marks showed up on the board. In the end, all of my stray pencil lines got covered by the snow so it didn't matter, but be careful anyway. Here are the measurements of my final letters shown to scale red rectangles to represent the foam board.
_joy_measure2
Once your letters are drawn, get cutting. I used an x-acto knife with a brand new blade to cut out my giant wall letters. I found the easiest technique for me was to blast through the straight edges and tackle the curves by scoring first and then cutting through. Please BE CAREFUL, x-acto knives are no joke!
cut foam board with an x-acto knife to make giant wall letters
So just how big are these giant wall letters? Big? Giant? Huge? Here they are all cut out with a standard interior door for scale.
joy_against_door
The next step is to tackle the edges. Using foam board is one thing, but you certainly don't want the foam edges showing. Last time I made wall letters out of thicker foam board, I used washi tape to hide the sides. But this time, I wanted to hide the foam with sparkly snow. To make the snow, I used white acrylic paint, mod podge matte, and white glitter... a lot of white glitter. I figured the mod podge would thicken up the paint and allow the glitter to stick at the same time, but I didn't know how to mix the two to get the effect I wanted. So I conducted a little experiment on my foam board scraps. I started with a 1 to 1 ratio of mod podge to paint - the glitter stuck, but the mixture was too thin. So I started increasing the amount of mod podge and trying again and again. At about 3 parts mod podge to 1 part paint, I hit a sweet spot. The mixture went on thick, covered well, and was noticeably three dimensional when dry - just what I was hoping for.
I mixed up a larger batch of 3 parts mod podge to 1 part white acrylic paint and started painting snow around the edges with a foam brush. The technique I used was really more glopping than painting since the mixture was so thick. I made sure to cover the foam edges and make the edge on top of the letter uneven and random. I did about 12 inches or so before applying a thick coat of glitter and shaking off the excess. Tip: do the inside edges of the letters first, then do the outside. That way you don't get your fingers in the finished edging. If you do get a finger print or a drip on your letter (which happened to me several times), either incorporate the drip into the snow or wipe immediately with a dry paper towel. Here is a close up of the glittery, snowy edge. Pretty cool, huh?
close up of fake sparkly snow
Once they are dry, there is nothing left to do but hang them on the wall. Since they are so light, you can easily hang them with the Command Strip poster hanging strips. No need to damage your walls to hang this seasonal decor! Then step back, feel the JOY and get in the holiday sprit!
Giant wall letters spelling out joy for the holiday season
A big thank you to Mandy for inviting me to share some holiday joy with you today! Stop by The Experimental Home to check out some other fun experiments like zipper flip flops or dog silhouette art. If you happen by on a Monday, don't be surprised if you find a mess! Each Monday, I host The Monday Mess Movement, where I invite other bloggers to showcase their messy side. Sound interesting? It is, and a whole lot of fun too!
I hope your holidays are full of J-O-Y!
sigcd

author

About Author:

Mandy is a craft blogger who loves to blog and enjoys all things crafty, sewing, and DIY - she feels that if she can do something, you can too, and provides tutorials to help you along the way. She loves being a mom to 4 awesome kiddos and blogs from the Kansas City Area. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter or Google +

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