Updated: Jan 31, 2019
Letterboards have been having a moment and I have embraced it in a BIG way! I got a Letterfolk letterboard (the people responsible for this massive comeback) 2 Christmas' ago, and it has been one of my favorite things to change in the house. There have been many letterboards popping up but I have to give them the credit for this fun trend! Combine my love for letterboards with my love for celebrating and party planning and the Mega Letterboard was born!
The uses for this thing are endless! Make a statement for birthdays, weddings, showers, milestones, merchandise backdrop, store windows, playroom decor, classroom fun, I could go on and on! There are also many ways that this project could be made. Besides the frame, I tried to take the cheapest route possible, which also usually means more time. I'd love to see what other ideas you have for letters! So far the foamboard and balloon letters are what I've got but I know there must be so many more possibilities!
Coffee with a side of sugar tees from Trendy Treehouse.
Below are the supplies I used for this size letterboard which is about 7 1/2 ft. by 5 1/2 ft. I wanted it to be tall enough for my hubby and his friends to stand in front of that are over 6 ft.
6 science presentation boards (Dollar Tree!)
16 foam boards (Dollar Tree!)
3 yards black felt (or whatever color you want to make your board :) ) (Hobby Lobby)
1 &1/4inch by 1 & 1/4inch round over wood (found in moulding section of Home Depot, I used Pine)
2 more foam boards were used to make the letters in this post (they can fit a lot of letters!)
Old gift cards/credit cards for letter tabs
Hot Glue gun and at least 30 mini sticks!
This project looks a bit daunting but with some helpers it could be done SO quickly...and if you don't have a 7 month old learning to crawl during the process.
Making and Attaching the Letterboard Lines
This is probably the easiest but most time consuming part. Call some friends over, feed them, put on Netflix and start an assembly line!
First I cut out the foam strips in 1 &1/2 inch pieces...all. 16. boards (it actually only took about an hour with baby). These will be the lines of the letterboard. To cover this size board, you only need 8 foamboards but I doubled them up to make the indents thicker to hold the letters. I used a piece of wood that we had lying around that was that size as a guide for the exacto knife to cut the foam (aka I DID NOT measure 1 & 1/2 inches by hand for these boards, don't do it!!!). After they were cut, I doubled each of them up with a couple dots of hot glue on the ends and middle (ends being the most important).
Then, I started attaching the letterboard lines to the science presentation boards. I placed 2 of the science boards vertically next to each other. Because the presentation boards were not connected, I alternated hot gluing the doubled up foam pieces so they made a brick pattern shown below, closing the gap and connecting the boards (depending on what size you build, you will have overhangs as shown). I kept the space between the rows of foam very minimal, and when I felted it, the rows that had smaller gaps worked the best! As you can see, not all of the lines are perfect, and for this size it is really hard to tell in pics (I think the black felt helps). Once I finished covering the 2 science boards, I added 2 more vertical presentation boards and continued to cover with the foam lines. A piece of cardboard was hot glued to the back to connect the the 4 science boards together. After adding the 2, I still wasn't pleased with the height, but 6 was overkill, so I cut the remaining 2 boards to the size that I liked and continued with the same process.
I also decided that I wasn't happy with the width (if I was going to cut this much foam board, I wanted to make sure I loved it!) On the overhangs shown below, I used an exacto to remove all of the overhangs from just one side. Then I used the extra cardboard to add them to the overhangs on the other side, closing all of the gaps.
Felting the Letterboard!
When felting the letterboard, I went a little at a time. Using a paintbrush and Mod Podge I would coat 5 rows and lightly smooth felt over it. Then, starting at the end, I would work my way across the line with a credit card, pushing the felt into the indents. I didn't add any glue to the indentations, but I'm sure you could, just an extra step. When, moving to the next row, I would do the same thing, but while working my way across with the card, I would hold on to the previous row of felt so that it wouldn't move. This gives a nice tight line of felt that makes the board look clean. This step actually moved quite quickly. If you don't have enough of one strand of felt to cover the board lengthwise, that's totally fine. I combined 2 pieces, by making a cut at one of the lines and just tucking the edges in with hot glue.
You can see some of the imperfections in the picture above, and how the felt overhangs. After, the whole board was felted, I trimmed the overhang to be about 2 inches, pulled it tightly, and hot glued to the back of the board.
Building the Frame
This was the most debated part of the whole project for me. You could do so many things with the frame. If you are ok having a white frame, it is way cheaper, but I decided that I wanted this one to look more like my original letterboard and went with pine. I cut 4 pieces roughly in the moulding section of home depot (dear customers shopping at home depot, yes I'm a woman with a young kiddo, and yes I know what I'm doing in the wood department...end of rant). My husband has this awesome Japanese Dozuki hand saw from Amazon that is PERFECT for projects like this. You could use an angle tool to cut the 45 degree angles that make this look like a picture frame, or you can eyeball it and cut some angles like me and hope for the best. I started attaching the corners around the letterboard to each other, creating the frame, but didn't attach them to the actual letterboard until the end. The proper way to connect the corners would be wood glue, but again I saw the end in sight and hot glue won over (worked just fine!). After making the frame, I used hot glue along the edges of the letterboard to attach it to the frame.
Making the Letters
I used white foam board to make the letters, but they sell so many colors now that you could do so many fun things, even spray painting them a metallic! (I see rose gold letters in my future) Also if you have friends with a 3D printer, or Cricut, I'm sure there are a ton of cool things you could do to make letters with that. Instead of buying stencils in a font that I didn't like, I used a font on the computer (Arial Rounded MT Bold size 760pt). In order to save on ink, I suggest just using the outline of the letters and filling them in with white. Cut out your desired letters and use them as a stencil on the foamboard. Use an exacto to cut them out.
At first I tried to get by attaching the letters to the board with sticky dots and double sided tape squares...LETTERS DROPPING EVERYWHERE. Later I cut up some old gift cards into strips and attached them perpendicularly to the back of the letters with, you guessed it, hot glue. Just make sure to line up the letters if you do this so that when you place them on the board in the indents, they're straight. The cool part is that they're always fixable, you could cut off the tab and replace.
Below you can get an idea of the size! It is definitely MEGA!
I can't wait to see how people get creative with this project and make it their own! If you try this DIY please tag me and use #malloryerinmakes so that I can see your work! Any questions, please feel free to post below!