I know, I know… it's not quite yet Thanksgiving (here in the US, at least) but we are ready to get this holiday season started! In the past we've done 12 Days of Christmas, where we've spent 12 straight days sharing some awesome holiday projects, from decor to gift ideas and a whole lot more. This year, we (and our amazing contributor team) will still be sharing great Christmas projects, but not all in a row (because that's easier for us procrastinators 😉 , so stay tuned by following by email and RSS to see all 12 Projects of Christmas, which we'll be sharing between now and Christmas.
Today we start with an awesome gift idea (and, of course, make one for yourself, too!) — a DIY felt letter board! These are so pricy to buy online, but our amazing newest contributor Allison is here to show you how to build your own for a fraction of that cost, so you can share cheeky wisdom through the holiday season and beyond:
Hi, everyone! My name is Allison, and I cannot contain how excited I am to join the contributor team here at Remodelaholic. I write a humble little blog called Shark Tails, which I started less than a year ago to document the process of updating our 90s home (seriously, my house is where all the golden oak came to die) and hopefully inspire others who may be trying to do the same on a limited budget (did I mention I'm cheap?)
A few things about myself: I'm Canadian (I've lived my whole life in the same small town except for a 6 year hiatus spent living in South Korea), I have three rambunctious dogs who I love an insane amount, and I'm a huge fan of mid-nineties gangster rap. I'm married with no kids, and currently we are undecided on whether that will ever change or not. My style is relatively eclectic and ever changing; something I loved last month I most likely hate today, which is a constant source of frustration for my poor husband.
So let's jump right into it! I have to be honest with you guys: I've been in a bit of a DIY slump lately. You know the feeling — your past few projects have been just “meh” and/or things aren't turning out the way you had imagined. I knew I had to get it together for my first ever post on Remodelaholic, and so today I am sharing with you my DIY slump-buster: a project I am SUPER thrilled about and I hope you will be too.
I present to you my DIY felt letter board:
How to Make Your Own DIY Letter Board
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I think I'm in love. I have been drooling over all the beautiful letter boards on Instagram for months now. Can I confess something? As a rule, I don't generally like typography in my decor; it just isn't my thing. But these letter boards! They have that retro element that I love and are also so versatile: I can see myself changing it up on the daily from song lyrics to sassy turn-of-phrases to movie quotes. Endless possibilities!
I looked into purchasing a letter board online from a couple different places (Amazon, Letterfolk) but since I am Canadian (the horror!), the shipping prices were insane and once the exchange rate was factored in I was looking at over $200. No can do. I decided to DIY one using a few simple materials and my trusty hot glue gun.
What you'll need:
- frame with a backing and a deep enough inset for your dowels (I made my own using scrap 2x2s and plywood, but you could easily grab one from your local thrift store or Michaels instead)
- 1/4″ wooden dowels, cut to size
- felt or other thick fabric (more on this below)
- fabric scissors
- hot glue gun and lots of glue sticks
- letter board letters
Step 1: Cut your dowels to size, if necessary. The inside of my frame measured 16″ across, and the dowels I got at Home Depot were 48″ long, so I cut them into three using my mitre saw.
Step 2: Cut your fabric into strips. I was unable to find black felt anywhere for this project (my local fabric store was out) and so I used some black velvet I purchased at our local thrift store. I love the way it looks, but I will warn you it was super messy due to the edges of the strips fraying. I had little black fuzzies and threads everywhere. Use felt if you can. I cut each strip a little longer than 16″, and about 1″ wide. I did not do this precisely: I simply eyeballed it.
Step 3: Crank the tunes, fire up that hot glue gun, and start wrapping dowels! I found the technique that worked best for me was to squeeze one line of glue down the middle of the strip and place the wood dowel on top. Then I'd squeeze another line of glue onto the edge of the fabric, wrap it up going from the middle outwards, and then do the same to the other side so that the entire dowel was covered. I tried to capture this as best I could in the photos:
This probably seems like it would take forever, but it actually wasn't that bad. I think I had all the dowels I needed wrapped in about two hours, and I didn't even end up using them all!
Step 4: It's time to secure your dowels into the frame. I squeezed out a strip of glue and then placed the dowels into the frame as snugly as I could, holding them in place for a few seconds while the glue dried.
Once you have all of your dowels snugly secured in the frame, you can remove all the little glue wispies from the fabric. I used a lint roller that I had to borrow from my mom (how absurd is it that someone with three dogs doesn't have their own lint roller?) and it worked really well! I also went all around the edge with my utility knife tucking in any fabric ends that were peeking out.
Although the velvet was a pain to work with, I do think it adds a certain luxurious element to the board that you wouldn't get with felt.
All in, this project cost me under $60 — the most expensive part were the 1″ tab letters that I purchased online from Amazon for about $9.99 (I bought 3 sets: search “letterboard letters” and a ton of options will come up). The fabric was $6 and the dowels were $20: everything else I had on hand. The final result is even better than I'd hoped!
We recently put an opening and breakfast bar in the wall that separates the kitchen from the living room, and the letter board is the perfect piece of decor to fill the empty space on the right hand side:
Extra points for anyone who can name that movie reference!
This thing is seriously so much fun to change around…
This was definitely the project I needed to get me back in the game. For a little effort and minimal dough, I think it makes a great impact! I love how versatile it is: you could make it as big or as small as you want to suit any space. I contemplated hanging it in our bedroom, but in the end decided the kitchen was the best spot for it because more people would be able to enjoy all the clever musings I intend to display.
Thanks for reading, everyone — until next time!
Click here to see our other 12 Projects of Christmas — decor, gift ideas, and more!
Plus, try these other DIY gift ideas:
easy DIY cookbook or tablet stand — make 3 from one board!