Monday, August 18, 2008

fabric covered letters

A while ago, I bought some large, resin, 3D letters from Hobby Lobby for my girls' bedroom door. I painstakingly painted and antiqued them and mounted them on the door. I loved the look. See below.
    I failed to factor in daily exuberant door shutting and opening. After glueing the L together twice, then the ampersand falling and shattering in a hundred pieces, I gave up. So I decided to do some letters that were feather light. I absolutely adore the fabric covered letters at Anthropologie, but I don't want to cough up that kind of cash, plus not sure they have an ampersand anyway. 

I puzzled over how to construct a 3D letter out of cardboard to cover with fabric, then gave it up as too time-consuming. I ended up just printing the letters actual size from my laser printer, mounting them on chip board for stiffness, and cutting them out. 

Then I sprayed the front of each letter with adhesive and placed it on the wrong side of the chosen fabric. I trimmed the fabric around the letter to within about 3/8 inch of the edge, then turned the fabric to the back side and glued it. Have I said before how much I adore Fabritac? Dries almost instantly.
   Folding the fabric smoothly around the edges to the back side takes finesse. Just like in sewing, you have to clip the curves and junctures to get the best result. In the photo above, the ampersand is in progress, so you can see there are some allowances that are turned and glued on the back already and some that aren't glued yet. Note how I snipped out the corners to fold over smoothly. Any curves that fold over to the back must be clipped into smaller bits like you see above. The deeper the curve of the letter, the more clips you should make so that it looks smooth. Straight parts do not require clipping.
  The view from the front, above. The result was colorful, feather-light letters that stay on just fine with plain ol' tape. In hindsight, I wish I had chosen less vibrant colors of fabric. I feel like more subdued colors and bolder patterns might have looked better, but these'll do for now. 

It occurred to me belatedly that I could have bought some lightweight 3D brown cardboard letters from Hobby Lobby (local craft store) to cover with fabric, but I'm such a typographic snob, I probably wouldn't have seen any that were just right or the perfect size. Once I get a vision in my mind, it is really hard to shake it. 

I hope this helps if you want to do something similar!


  1. I love your new project! It's super gorgeous! I hope to try it in a smaller scale. :)

    Your girls' room is so cute!

  2. Love them!!

    I completely understand the whole vision thing. I think that is why I get so discouraged when shopping for things. All well, saves money I guess. :)

  3. Love the new letters! We have been out of town, so I just saw my Molly on WhipUp. How exciting!

  4. Great idea! Looks so easy and so cute in the door!

  5. Wow, I love the way that those turned out! When I first saw what your idea was I just figured you were using the Hobby Lobby cardboard letters, but I'm a total font snob myself so I would also have to go the DIY route!
    Love your blog, btw!

    amanda @

  6. Fabulous idea! Thanks so much for posting this.

  7. Thanks so much for this tutorial! Loving it and the rest of your blog.

  8. Hi, I just came across your beautiful letters! Just wondering what the name of the font is?

  9. Kylie, holy smokes, you would think I'd know or be able to find out. I can't pin it down by going through my fonts and I can't find my old file. Times bold seems to be close, and also Century Schoolbook bold, but they are not an exact match. Sorry!

  10. Thanks so much, Larissa, I'll try one of those. :)

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