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Friday, October 21, 2011

Kids' Room Giant Scrabble Wall


There are basically three walls I'd really like to decorate in that room...possibly four, but I don't want to go too overboard. One of them will have the girls' artwork on it, and I have plans for the small wall above the bookshelves, but there's a large third wall that I was unsure of.

As a Linguistics major, I LOVE words. Subway art seemed like a fun idea, but having done so many subway art clocks, I thought it was time to try something different. I love word searches, crossword puzzles, and Scrabble (when I can find someone nerdy enough to play with me). ;)  So the idea of a giant Scrabble wall seemed on obvious fit! Plus I'm on a "craft-supply-purchasing hiatus", and I already had drop cloth left over from my dining chairs and the ruffled clutch. I used the 3/8" particle board that was previously the back of my bookshelves from Hades, but I decided to leave it off when I reassembled them. 

If you're purchasing from scratch, though, here are the supplies you'll need:

Freezer Paper (found at grocery stores, usually near aluminum foil, etc.)
Drop cloth (mine is from Lowes, and it only takes a small bit, so you'll have lots left over even if you purchase the smallest $9 one)
Printer (mine is an all-in-one by Canon that lets me feed the fabric through the top as well as the tray...it doesn't work on my Lexmark...)
3/8" particle board (or thicker if you prefer. I like the look of thicker better, but I was working with what I had)
Sticky-back Velcro (or some other means of attaching it to the wall)
Jig saw or circular saw (or bat your eyelashes really pretty at the Lowes guy when you pick up your particle board, and maybe he'll cut all 28 pieces for you)
Hot glue gun

First, you need to choose your sizes. My wall space is about 72" wide, but I only wanted to use about 60-65" of it. I had also already decided on the words that I wanted and tried about 12 different layouts with those word combinations...lots of time, trying to decide which layout I thought looked best! Once I knew how many letters across there were going to be, I divided that by my desired width of 60". That gave me about 5-6" per letter. So I cut out paper in both 5x5" and 6x6" and hung them up to see how they would look. Ultimately I liked the larger size letter. Go big, or go home, right?

So once the measuring part was done, I grabbed my scrap wood and went to work.

STEP 1)  I measured it out on a board and marked it with a pen. I wasn't stressed about pen marks since it was going to be covered with fabric anyway.

STEP 2)  Grabbed my sweet jig saw that I bought from a pawn shop last week when I realized we accidentally left our circular saw in Hawaii...boo.

STEP 3)  Cut all 28 of those stinking letters out. Be sure not to leave your safety goggles in Hawaii, too ((cough cough)).

Once your wood is cut. It's time to work with the fabric. I downloaded a font from http://www.dafont.com/. I think it was called Tilez? The font types each letter with a black border around it  to define the scrabble tile, but I didn't want the edges to look all funky when I wrapped them around, so I removed them (I was using Adobe InDesign). I'm sure there's another way to do this with other programs, but this is my favorite program to do print things in.

STEP 1)  For my 6x6 tiles, I decided to use a 8.5x14 paper as my template. I cut out one sheet of freezer paper to that size, and surprisingly, I was able to use the same sheet for all 14 pieces of fabric (2 letters on each sheet).

STEP 2). Cut out 28 pieces (or however many letters you have in your art) of fabric to the 8.5x14 template size. No short-cuts on this one. Ugh!

STEP 3) Iron the shiny side of the freezer paper to your fabric and print! For more tips, you can visit my Ruffled Clutch tutorial.  Make sure to trim strings off before sticking it through your printer!

Wrapping the fabric around the wood turned out to be a little trickier (and more time-consuming) than I anticipated! I had intended to just wrap it like a gift but using hot glue instead of tape, right? Well, that left my corners sticking out all funny. So I ended up gluing two sides down, then cutting the corners off (so it still looked like wrapping a present, but without the excess fabric there). This left two unfinished edges touching at each corner that I simply added a dab of hot glue, let it dry slightly (so I didn't burn my fingers off completely!), and then patted them together. Kinda like using hair gel! ;)

I had also originally planned on hammering 28 nails into the wall and delicately placing all the pieces on. Ha! After spending MUCH too long on the other parts of this project, I decided to take the easy way out on this part. I had some sticky-back Velcro on hand and cut small pieces of that out. Stuck one piece to the board, connected the two hook and loop pieces together, and then peeled the backing off the second piece. Then I stuck the whole thing to the wall!  Brilliant, right! It eliminates the need to do precise measuring since I can just pull the piece off and move it over slightly if it's looking skeewompus. ;)   And when we're ready to move, I'll just take out my handy dandy blow dryer and heat up the Velcro, and it will peel off my wall nice and perfect...  
Or it just might stay here forever. One way or another, it's not going anywhere for 2 years at least!

What do you think? Do you have a spare 14-28 hours you'd like to use on Scrabble Wall Art?

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