I love when I spot vintage letters and numbers at our local flea markets. I’m the worst at the game where you have a set amount of letters and have to make a word or phrase with what’s there, so I always make my husband spot any good word combinations (he’s addicted to Words With Friends and therefore an expert in my book). I was excited to find some cute copper letters online, but I realized that it could get a bit expensive to do a long word or phrase, so I set out to try my own DIY version at a cheaper cost. We’ve had some thin copper roll floating around the craft room for the last year, and I knew this would be the perfect project for it.
First you’ll want to choose the width and height of your finished letters. Since I had 6″ tall letter stickers, I chose balsa wood pieces that I could make into 4″ x 7″ rectangles. Use your X-Acto knife, metal ruler, and cutting mat to cut your balsa wood pieces to the appropriate size. Roll out your copper roll, squeeze the metal glue around the inside edge (and zig-zag across the middle) on the back of your balsa wood, and place your wood (glue side down) onto the copper. Try and fit as many pieces as you can onto the roll so you don’t waste any copper, but leave at least 1/2″ between each piece. If you can, set the wood right up against the edge so it’s one less edge you have to cut later. Set something flat and heavy on top of the wood as it dries.
Once the glue has set, use scissors to carefully (any torn or pointed edges of the copper can be sharp!) cut around each letter. The wood should be on the top of the copper as you cut. You don’t have to get too close to the wood edges on the first cut; just separate the pieces and then concentrate on cutting as neatly as you can on the second cut. Turn the letters over so the copper is on top, and use your scissors to round each of the four corners for a more vintage look (and no sharp edges). With the sticker backing still attached, cut roughly around each letter sticker and peel back the bottom 1/3 of the backing. Handle the top 2/3 of the sticker to get the placement of the letter on the copper rectangle just right, and press the exposed bottom 1/3 in place. Peel off the rest of the backing and smooth the sticker out.
At this point, you can either leave the font as it is, or you can use your X-Acto knife and ruler to cut out parts of the letter to create a more unique font. Just press down on top of the letter with your X-Acto knife to cut out an area, and use the tip of the knife to peel back that section you just cut away. Use some more glue to glue your sawtooth picture hanger 1″ from the top of your letter, and you’re ready to hang your copper letters!
It’s so exciting to me that I can create my own vintage-inspired letters now instead of just hoping that the right letters are available to spell what I want. I love doing both one-word signage like the “pour” above the coffee cart or short phrases like “grow up” over some baby succulents (that one just makes me laugh). What about you? Need any cute signage for your living space? xo. Laura