This year I’m not going to be celebrating Thanksgiving at home. But, I cannot pass on the decorating. A good friend and I were planning a day together and I asked her if I could put together a centerpiece and something fun for her sideboard in her style and do a photo shoot of it at her lovely condo. She said, “Yes!”
My friend decorates mostly with grays and silvers and blacks, and her walls are the loveliest shade of cool blue, warmed with beautiful rich wood floors. Except for a few red accents, she stays within that color palette. With that in mind I went shopping.
When I’m working at putting together “a look” it always starts with a spark. The spark this time… paper mache 3-D letters I found on sale for a dollar off each at JoAnn.
With these 3-D letters I created this word of gratitude… T-H-A-N-K-S… giving them an industrial-style with a fun whimsical touch. Next Monday I will be back with the Thanksgiving centerpiece and tablescape I also created that began with the same shopping trip.
This is my second project with paper mache letters. I had fun creating an X and a O for a Valentine’s Day mantel a few years ago. Those were covered with book pages and Mod Podge.
I had an entirely different vision this time. So using paint, Mod Podge, and upholstery nails I created this modern, yet whimsical industrial version of the word THANKS.
This was a very fun project. You can choose to create something similar for Thanksgiving or another holiday, or choose another word like gratitude or believe or achieve or persevere or happy or rejoice or… well you get the idea.
Here’s the tutorial…
Make Industrial-Style Letters with a Fun Whimsical Touch
- 6″ Paper Mache Letters
- Matte Mod Podge
- Paint: I used these acrylic paints — FolkArt – Pure Black / FolkArt – Gunmetal Gray / Martha Stewart Crafts –Titanium
- Sponge Brush or Paint Brush or both
- Decorative Scrapbook Paper
- Dritz Decorative Upholstery Nails – Brushed Silver 7/16 in.
I purchased all my items at JoAnn – but I’ve added Amazon affiliate links here for your convenience.
If you want to decorate one or more of your letters with scrapbook paper… trace the letters on the scrapbook paper and then cut out the letters. Be sure that it will fit, trimming as necessary, and also be sure to mark the side of the letter where you will paste the paper with an “X.” The letters are not perfect and this may make a big difference.
Paint your paper mache letters with black paint, being careful to coat completely.
If you’re decoupaging some of the letters, you don’t need to paint the portion of the letter that will be covered with the decorative paper and Mod Podge.
Let the letters dry for a short time. (This is a good time to stretch your legs or go for a short walk around the blog… um… block.)
Next, coat the back side of your decorative paper letter with Mod Podge. Carefully apply it to your paper mache letter. Once it is positioned properly, rub it all over for good adhesion, and then brush on a top coat of Mod Podge. You may need to rub your finger over some of the edges so that edges are clean and adhered to the paper mache letter. Let it dry. Apply a second coat if you wish.
Here’s where the real fun begins.
At this point I drew a few lines to help me as I painted the metallic colors on to the letters.
This letter morphed over time. If you look closely you can see that it was originally stripped. I wasn’t crazy about the look so I washed it with one of the colors. I love the ‘washed’ look and the process makes me feel so artsy. When the letter was finished it looked too blah… so I took one of my sponge daubers… which I’ll share about in a bit…. and carefully added some black paint spots. My friend says this is her favorite of all the letters. I was sure she was going to like the decoupage ones. Who knew!?
I have been smitten with the idea of using upholstery tacks on a project for some time. When I discovered these brushed nickle nail heads I absolutely had to use them.
I have a tendency to eyeball things for spacing and it usually works out fairly well for me. I noticed that not all the pins are centered in the tacks so beyond a center line that you can draw… which I did for a guide… you’ll have to eyeball them for spacing.
To get an idea ahead of time I arranged them down on their heads. No tools are required… just give them a firm but cautious push in to your letter. And don’t go for perfection. It won’t happen. You can’t take two imperfect items and create perfection. Hopefully the end result will be perfectly imperfect.
And then there is my husband’s favorite… this “S” that is both painted and embellished with the nail head trim.
This was such a fun project for me. And the best part… my friend said that if she were to go to the store to pick out something like it… this is what she would have chosen. She loves it! Yay!!!! And it really does go so nicely in her home.
I thought the letters might look lonely sitting on the sideboard all by themselves… so of course I needed to add another something to complete the look.
I’m sure fresh pumpkins would have been very nice. But, I wanted her to get multiple years use from this and I wanted the pumpkins to be the perfect complement. So… I took this pumpkin…
And with a little painting… carefully brushing black paint over those pretty coppery glittered spots…
transformed it into this!
The silver spots were so easy. I simply took my sponge dauber and pushed the paint on the now black textured polka-dots. Glitter paint might be fun… but this is the better look to go with the letters.
I also took a mini pumpkin that was also all coppery and glittery and turned it silver with my paint brush.
After I finished the photo shoot and we got everything put away… I said to my friend… When you look at these letters spelling out T-H-A-N-K-S … know that although they are a reminder of Thanksgiving and our need to be grateful each day…. they are special letters from me to you. They are my tangible letters of thanks for being a wonderfully loving and caring and most of all praying friend.
There may or may not have been a few moist eyes. And a hug or two.
Just so you know… this isn’t about me bragging about something I’ve done. NO! Instead it’s a gentle way of encouraging you to use your gifts, skills, and abilities to bless someone else. It could be out of gratitude. Or it could be… just because. And just because is always the right reason.
Please PIN this…
Of course… feel free to make industrial-style letters with your own special touch for your home decor.
What letters will you choose?
Thanks for stopping by today… I can’t wait to hear your lovely thoughts!
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