Friday, January 3, 2014

Merry Christmas/Happy Thanksgiving Letter Blocks Tutorial

Well Hello again!  At Thanksgiving time I made a craft for my family.  It was Letter Blocks that were reversible for two different holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  One side said, "Happy Thanksgiving" and the other side said, "Merry Christmas".  Complete with vinyl lettering and decoupage papers in the background.  As in the previous post, I had to make about 30 of them.  Whew, it was A LOT of work and due to the layers of paints, it took a lot of time.
Anyways, some have asked me for more details on how to make them.  The funny thing is that as I was making these little letter blocks, I thought to myself, "I should take pictures of each stage and prepare a tutorial."  Well, in my hastiness, I failed to do so.  So I won't have pictures of it all except for the finished product.  Sorry!  So if you do use my tutorial and have a great success with it, please leave credit where credit is due. 
That would be greatly appreciated. 
So here is what I can give you to do them.

Supplies that you will need:
Blocks of wood, of your desired sizes: 
(All of the single lettered blocks were approximately all about 3/4" thick)
For the Outside blocks, I had them cut at 1 and 1/2" wide by 3 and 1/2" tall
For the smaller center blocks, I had them cut at 1 and 1/2" wide by 2 and 1/8" tall
For the base block, I had them cut at 4 and 3/4" long by 1 and 1/8" deep by 3/4" thick
Paint color of your choice (I choose black for the letter blocks and burgundy for the Base/word block)
Seasonal styled scrapbook papers (*Hint:  the smaller the print the better, so that you can see it more)
Stain of your choice of color
Vinyl, colors of your choice (I used black and White)
A way to cut or have the vinyl letters:  I used my Cricut Expression and the Cricut Winter Woodland Cartridge, for all the letters and my Gypsy to design it all on, but you could use the Cricut Craft Room to do the same. 
Decoupage, some of the block sets, were done in a matte finish and others in a glossy finish (I liked the glossy the best because I like shinny things!) 
Step 1: 
Cut and sand off rough edges, blocks of wood to desired sizes
Step 2:
Prime with a coat of primer paint
Step 3: 
Paint at least 2 coats of your desired paint colors for all your blocks, letting them completely dry between each coat.
(*Hint, only paint the one side and then wait for it to dry, then paint the other side/edges also, focus your best painting on the edges where they will be seen)
Step 4:
Sand around the edges to give them a bit of a distressed look
Step 5: 
Rub stain on the exposed edges to give them a darker more distressed/aged look
Step 6: 
Put on your desired paper on one side using the decoupage glue, then put decoupage over top of the paper to seal it down on the blocks.
Step 7: 
Cut and adhere your vinyl letters to each block, I just "eye balled" in trying to figure out where the center was and the perfect level for each.  You may find a better way to getting them centered.  I did not have the time/patience to do that.  Besides, it is supposed to look homemade, right?  Each letter was cut on my Cricut Expression with the Gypsy, using the Winter Woodland Cricut Cartridge, at about 3" wide, but the Larger letters were cut at about 2 and 1/2" tall and the smaller letters were cut about 1 and 1/2" tall.  The words were cut at about 1/2" tall and the length varied on the word and the "welding" that I did in the designing.  "Christmas" was cut at a length of 3 and 3/4" long and "Thanksgiving" was cut at about 4 and 1/2" long.  (*Hint:  If the vinyl seems to not want to stick to your decoupaged papers, try placing them into the position that you want them to be in, and heat them up just a little bit with a heat/embossing tool or a blow dryer and while it is still warm rub them down where you want it to stick.  It does not take a lot of heat to make them stick quickly.
Step 8: 
Put another coat of decoupage over top of everything, just to seal the vinyl onto the blocks.
(*Hint:  Another step that I did not have time to do that probably would help keep the blocks from sticking together, would to put a coat or two of clear coat on everything.)  I did not have the time to let all the layers completely dry/cure in between each coat, so that may have been part of the problem, too.   

I hope this little step by step tutorial is enough for you to understand and to make your own little letter set! 
 If you do have any questions,
 I will do my best to answer them. 
Thanks for stopping in and good luck!

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