This project was inspired from this picture posted by The Home Depot.
LOVE. Though they went on to build & paint their own frame, carve their own letters out of wood, and then drill holes through them for inserting Christmas lights. I was not about to go that route, but I did love the look and the simplicity of it. It was a good starting point that got my wheels turning and headed in the direction that I wanted to go. (If I had more time I may have opted for this route, but I completed about 15 projects this week and needed something less time consuming. Not to mention that I’d be purchasing wood letters b/c I most certainly cannot carve my own).
Here’s a much quicker version, with my spin on it:
What you will need:
-Unfinished wood craft frame. You know, the ones that are like $3-$10 depending on the size, and look somewhat like this? (This is not my photo, nor the exact frame b/c apparently I cannot for the life of me remember to take a before picture, but you get the idea). No making your own frame, and super cheap!
-Paper mache letters similar to this. Also cheap, and just as effective, in my opinion.
-Metallic silver acrylic paint
-White acrylic paint
-Silver Metal leaf similar to this
-Silver Metal leaf adhesive similar to this
-Brushes for paint (I prefer 1″ wide foam brushes – you only need 2)
-Brush for applying silver metal leaf adhesive, similar to one of these. Really, you just want to make sure it’s a little on the stiff side.
-Brush for fluffing off excess silver metal leaf. You just want to make sure it’s super soft (opposite the one for applying adhesive).
-Dust mask to keep from breathing sanded debris.
-Hot glue gun/hot glue
Okay, if you’re anything like me you may be looking at the ‘silver metal leaf’ bit with anxiety. This was my first time trying it and TRUST ME when I say that it is super easy! A tad messy, yes. But easy! In fact, I love it so much that it crept its way into more than a few other projects – and I foresee using it a bit too much in the future.
What to do
First you will take the backing out of the frame (mine did not come with glass but if yours does you can repurpose it, as it will not be needed for this project). Paint both the frame and the backing in your silver metallic color. Let dry. You can coat them one or two times in this color – up to you. I chose to coat them twice. After, I painted the frame and backing in my white acrylic color. One coat should be sufficient (depending on how heavy of a coat you put on) as you are going to distress it.
Once it is all dry, you are going to put on your mask and sand both the backing and the frame to get a distressed, worn look. I sanded lightly in some areas, and heavier in others. I prefer a more worn look along the corners, and on the risen edges.You will just have to eye it. You want to make sure that you can see the silver showing through in the distressed parts. Now put the backing back into the frame.
(This step gets a little messy!) Take your paper mache letters and coat them with a thin layer of silver metal leaf adhesive. You do not want a heavy coat here. Allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes until it becomes tacky. Lay the silver metal leaf sheets on and softly brush down with your soft brush. For areas that are not covered, just take small pieces and cover them until there is no spot left uncovered. Though it will be tempting, DO NOT apply more glue or try to make it neat and brush off messy edges yet. You will need to let it rest for a bit first, or you risk creating tears that will be hard to cover later. At this point it will look like a sloppy mess, and that is okay.
After your letters have been sitting for a bit (I let mine sit for a few hours, but you could leave it overnight), you can softly flake away excess with your brush. Flakes will be EVERYWHERE, so be prepared and have a vacuum near! Once you are done, line up where you want your letters to go, and hot glue them in place. I lightly tied the jingle bells around the top for fun, but that is totally optional.
You are done!!!
And you will have plenty material left for other projects! In fact, I used the same materials throughout this week, so keep checking in every day for more crafting options!
What do you think?
I just LOVE the shine that I get from these letters, and paired up with this shabby chic backing just tops it off for me!