An Official DIY Post

Somehow, I feel like I have to write a how-to post in order to be a legitimate bride. OK, I know that’s not true. But I’m still excited to write about my biggest project so far—and definitely my favorite.

I told you before about my Scrabble obsession inspiration. I was innocently scrolling through Pinterest when I saw a picture of a card box labeled with “Cards” in Scrabble letters.

I loved the idea of labeling with Scrabble letters! Except, as always, I had to take it one, or two, or three steps further. First of all, I wanted them to be made out of wood to mimic as closely as possible the smaller Scrabble letters I had already ordered. Second, I wanted to label all the tables with matching letters. Third, I wanted to make them myself, with a budget of…basically zero dollars.

Originally I was all like “We’ll just make the words ‘breakfast’ and ‘lunch’! It will be easy! It will only take us a half hour!” Somehow that morphed into 61 letters of two different sizes and five people spending over 15 hours combined on the project. Oops.

We wanted to make the following words to label the various tables:

  • LUNCH
  • COFFEE
  • BREAKFAST
  • GUESTBOOK
  • GIFTS

We also wanted to use the Scrabble letters as table markers for seating—like table numbers but letters. We’re planning on having around 15 tables, so we needed the letters A through O.

Finally, we wanted to make larger letters (7″ x 7″) to put on the mantel. We decided on “MR. & MRS. LEMUR” for these letters. After we added up all the letters, we had 49 4″ x 4″ letters and 12 7″ x 7″ letters.

After we figured out what we wanted to do and how to do it (we had some issues with spray paint and markers bleeding into the wood and not creating crisp lines), my dad got to work ripping quarter-inch plywood into 4″ x 4″ and 7″ x 7″ squares. He made a few extra of both, but we ended up only using one extra 4″ x 4″ square by accident. He sanded the edges and coated them in lacquer so the paint or marker wouldn’t bleed along with the grain of the wood.

The wood took a while to dry, so we lined them up along the hallway in our house. When the wood was finally dry, we stacked them on the table along with a really cute Christmas tablecloth…one that we didn’t mind getting glue on, obviously!

Scrabbl

In the pictures the wood looks like it’s different colors—this is because the back of the plywood was a slightly different color than the front. We chose to use the lighter side for all of the tiles, so they all look consistent. On the table letters we put the letters on both sides, so they don’t match perfectly. You can’t tell unless you put them side by side, though!

While we were waiting for the wood to be prepped, we got to work creating our templates. There was no way this girl was going to freehand letters and numbers onto 61 tiles! We used the letters from this site because they were classic and had clean lines. We simply copied and pasted the images into Microsoft Word and resized them to either the 4″ x 4″ or 7″ x 7″ size. Then we printed them on card stock and cut around the edges. I don’t have any pictures of this part—but the next thing we did was carefully cut out the letters and numbers using an X-Acto knife. It ended up being really important to make precise cuts, especially on the smaller numbers. You can see where we didn’t do a great job with this in the final product. When we were done, the templates looked like this (sitting on top of a finished block of wood):

Scrabbl

In order to keep the template in place, we put a thin film of glue stick on the back of the template and pressed down hard along the edges of each letter and number. We found that the glue stick came off pretty easily (as long as you didn’t use too much!) and you could use the templates over and over, because we only cut out one template of each letter.

When it came to actually writing on the block of wood, we tried several different things. Spray paint proved to be messy and not entirely precise. Painting the letters individually was time-consuming and again, messy. So when all else fails, use a Sharpie!

Scrabbl01

Or…11 Sharpies (and permanent markers). The Sharpies faded quickly writing on the lacquered wood—RIP all the Sharpies that found a quick death in this project!

Buying the markers proved to be the most expensive part of the project. My dad already had the wood (he’s a construction manager and carpenter), so the only other cost was the card stock, which again we already had on hand. This would be slightly more expensive if you had to buy wood—for example, here’s a 2′ x 4′ sheet of quarter-inch plywood from Lowe’s for 10 dollars. (Don’t ask me if this is what my dad used—I have no idea…)

Then it was time to go! But first, some Leverage on my laptop (my current favorite show—sadly, TNT canceled Leverage after this season).

Scrabbl02

By the end of the night, we got into a groove. Mr. Lemur would glue the templates onto the wood (like above) and Sister A would trace over the template with a Sharpie. Note: these are actually Mr. Lemur’s hands before Sister A took over the template tracing.

Scrabbl03

After the templates had been traced and removed, the letters were still in rough shape. That’s when Sister E and I would take the letters and slowly trace around the edges or fill in any spots that weren’t super clean. This was the hardest part of the project, as seen by the fact that it took two of us to keep up! Here’s a shot of us working over halfway through the project—it’s past 11:00 here.

Scrabbl04

Not all of the letters are perfect. Some of them are slightly larger or smaller, and there are definitely little oopsies. But around midnight (on New Year’s Day) we finished up the project and laid out all of the letters to view our handiwork!

Scrabbl05

I’m really happy with them. Here’s a closeup of the table letters:

Scrabbl06

My personal favorites are the larger letters spelling out our names. I have a secret ambition to hang these in our house someday. Unfortunately, I can’t really show them to you because it would be all one big blur, but use your imagination!

So did I do OK on my first DIY how-to post ever? What do you think of the letters? Is my obsession officially out of control? (Don’t answer that last one.)

BLOGGER

Mrs. Lemur

Location:
Greenville, South Carolina
Wedding Date:
May 2013

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comments

  1. Member
    tpag8rgirl 74 posts, Worker bee @ 8:20 am

    Awesome job! They look REALLY great! :)

  2. Member
    msjackrabbit 1080 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:21 am

    these look absolutely incredible.

    i do love a bit of DIY – especially as it means no one else has the exact same thing you do :)

  3. Member
    lolo0403 50 posts, Worker bee @ 8:39 am

    Ahhhhh! I love these!! They are so awesome. I wonder if anyone sells these on etsy–that could be a good etsy shop waiting to happen!

  4. Member
    mrscvsomeday 162 posts, Blushing bee @ 9:08 am

    I love, love, love these!!!! Terrific work!

  5. Member
    Almost Mrs.P 2056 posts, Buzzing bee @ 9:31 am

    These look awesome! You guys did a great job.

  6. Member
    Miss Care Bear 193 posts, Blushing bee @ 9:46 am

    OMG, please tell me you’re planning on making matching tile racks for your letters! :D That would look so cool!

  7. Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 9:48 am

    I love how these turned out, they look exactly like Scrabble tiles!

  8. Member
    bluebelle23 854 posts, Busy bee @ 10:07 am

    Okay… I feel like a DIY loser. Those are super awesome and I’m whining about program fans.

    They canceled Leverage!?!? I love that show. :(

  9. Member
    shaynapunim 654 posts, Busy bee @ 10:11 am

    These look amazing!!

  10. Member
    bracelet 1419 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:40 am

    They look great! Way to go!

  11. Member
    stephk527 987 posts, Busy bee @ 11:15 am

    Girl you have so much freaking patience BUT it totally was worth it – these are awesome!

  12. Member
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 11:57 am

    YES hang them in your home, they’ll look fantastic.

  13. Member
    sinfoniaxid 62 posts, Worker bee @ 12:14 pm

    Those are REALLY cool. I’m super impressed by how sharp you managed to get everything, all the angles and such – it looks just like they were actually printed for a ginormous game of Scrabble!

    And you should definitely keep the ones with your names somewhere you can see them often, cuz this looked like a lot of work and is worth enjoying for longer than one day!

  14. Member
    MsMagtoMrsK 52 posts, Worker bee @ 1:51 pm

    Love them! I too am having a scrabble theme, but I bought big tiles with our initials on Etsy. For the table numbers my fiancé came up with a crazy great idea to pick words that will make the shape of all of the numbers when put together on cut out scrabble board squares. It was really hard at first but he used an excel template to make each one. Now we just have to create them irl. I can’t wait to see more of your ideas!

  15. Member
    mstreasure 1655 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:58 pm

    These look so cute!

  16. Member
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 3:40 pm

    Thanks everyone for your awesome comments!!

    @lolo0403: I did a quick google search for “oversized Scrabble letters” and did find a few — but they cost between $3 and $10 each. Since we needed over 60 titles that just wasn’t possible for us on a strict budget. For people who don’t want to spend the time, though, that’s a definitely possibility!

    @Miss Care Bear: I have an order in with my dad for tile racks ;) He’s an amazing woodworker — I know he can make them look great!

  17. Member
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 3:41 pm

    @bluebelle23: Oh I never could have done anything like this on my own! My dad is super amazing and I had tons of help from my sisters and Mr. Lemur.

    And Leverage is done after five seasons :( I’m glad to meet a fellow Leverage fan though!! I love Elliot & Parker!

  18. Member
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 3:44 pm

    @Mrs. Toadstool & @SinfoniAXiD: This is my inspiration: http://www.insideways.com/2011/10/diy-scrabble-art.html

    They have a different tutorial there too! But I definitely thinking hanging the letters in a hallway or on a mantel maybe? I wish I could show you a picture but they look just like the ones in that blog post but with our first names and an ampersand!

  19. Member
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 3:51 pm

    @MsMagtoMrsK: This sounds so cool but I can’t quite visualize it! Tell me more… like individual tiles made into words that make up letters? Your guests are going to love this! Have you seen these?

    http://domesticfordummies.com/2011/11/fall-pinterest-project-diy-coasters.html

    I would totally have done something like this for a smaller wedding!

  20. Member
    DBS5127 220 posts, Helper bee @ 7:30 pm

    I love the scrabble letters! They look great. They are certainly on my mind for my wedding. I can’t wait to see how they look at your wedding!

  21. Member
    josief 12 posts, Newbee @ 10:30 pm

    Terrific work! They look REALLY great!

  22. Member
    jordyanna 476 posts, Helper bee @ 8:18 pm

    L-O-V-E IT!!

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