Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Make Your Own Fun, Fabric Covered Letters

fabric covered letters

Ever since I set up my home office…I have had a place on top of my shelving unit that has just cried out for something to be put on it. Since I already have lots of framed pictures on one wall and a cute wall quote on another, I was looking for something different.

I saw a picture of fabric-covered letters on Pinterest one day and thought that would be fun. I even bought the letters clear back in December…and they have been sitting on the shelf in my craft closet since then. I just couldn’t seem to find any fabric that I liked to put ON the letters.

 

fabric covered letters

A couple of weeks ago as I was traipsing across the internet I stumbled onto FatQuarterShop.com and my problem was solved! I’m not a quilter so I wasn’t aware you could buy what they call “fat quarter bundles” of fabric in all sorts of coordinating patterns and colors!

From their website:

Fat Quarter Bundles are collections of fat quarters from a fabric line. Fat Quarters are quarter-yard cuts of fabric cut wide (hence the name fat). Their approximate size is 18″ x 21″.

 

fabric covered letters

I purchased the cutest bundle from Riley Blake Designs called “LadyBug Garden” and when it arrived I couldn’t wait to get started!

I feel I must warn you before I continue with this tutorial. You know that famous line from the movie “Jaws” where Roy Scheider’s character says, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”  When I was a few letters into this project I found myself saying, “We’re gonna need a LOT more glue sticks!”  :-)  Yep, you’re gonna need LOTS of glue sticks…but they’re pretty inexpensive. I got the BIG bag of glue sticks at Walmart for about 2 bucks.

I didn’t set out to make a full-fledged “tutorial” out of this…I just thought I would make it and share a few pictures. But after repeating the process six times on six different letters, I kind of have this down to a science and felt I must share to make it easier for the rest of you. :-)

So here we go. My attempt at a “real” tutorial. Hold on to your seats!  It’s bound to be a bumpy ride!

 

fabric covered letters

First of all you will needs letters. duh. I got these at Hobby Lobby for around $1.50 each. They are made out of paper mache.

Then you are going to need some sort of batting if you want your letters to have a little puffiness to them. (You could forego the batting I guess, but I don’t think they would be quite the same.) :-)

 

fabric covered letters

I used this very thin quilt batting. It was just enough to give the letters a little depth, but not too thick to make it hard to work with.

 

fabric covered letters

And then you will need some fabric. Like I said, I bought fat quarters and they turned out to be the perfect size for this project.

You will need two squares for each letter. One for the face of the letter, and one for the sides. They can be matching, or contrasting. I went the contrasting route. That’s another great thing about buying a fat quarter bundle for this project. There are lots of different fabrics to choose from and they all coordinate! So convenient. :-)

OK…time to start your glue guns!

 

fabric covered letters

Cut out a piece of batting that is large enough to cover the front and sides of the letter….plus a little extra to glue to the back.

 

fabric covered letters

First attach the batting to the front of the letter with glue, then fold each side around the letter and glue to the back.

 

fabric covered letters

On the inside corners…snip your material at a diagonal and then glue down.

 

fabric covered letters

Once all the side are glued down, trim the excess off the outside corners.

 

fabric covered letters

Now you’re doing to do the same thing with the fabric…with a couple of exceptions.

#1. You want to cut the fabric just big enough so that wraps around the SIDE of the letter, but not the BACK.

 

fabric covered letters

#2. Instead of trimming the corners off, you’re going to fold them like you’re wrapping a present and glue them down. Once again, snipping the fabric at the corners helps in wrapping it around the letters.

 

fabric covered letters

Your letter should now look like this. Ready to put the contrasting (or matching) trim around the edges.

Another neat thing about the fat quarters that works so well for the project is that they come with edges that are pinked. (Is that even a word? lol.) So all I had to do was cut strips from each side of the piece of fabric and I used that as the finished edge. Cool huh? Once I figured that out I really began to fly on these letters.

 

fabric covered letters

Cut enough strips to go around the entire letter. Some letters…like “E”…take more strips than others. You want the strips to be flush with the front of the letter and wrap about 1/2 inch around the back…so make sure you cut them wide enough.

 

fabric covered letters

Starting at really any place you want, attach the strips using your glue gun. (Are you running out of glue sticks yet???) Keep overlapping, and adding strips until you’ve gone all the way around the letter.

 

fabric covered letters

As you can see, the trim nicely covers all the unfinished edges, including the corners.

 

fabric covered letters

fabric covered letters

Now glue the excess fabric to the back of the letter, much like we did with the batting in the beginning, including trimming the excess fabric off the outer corners.

 

fabric covered letters

Now REPEAT all above steps on however many letters YOUR project has….and then stand back and admire all your hard work!

 

fabric covered letters

 

fabric covered letters

A word of advice here.  The first letter is the hardest!  I almost gave up at that point. But I promise, by the last letter (depending on how long the name or word you are trying to spell out is) you will be a pro!

 

fabric covered letters

fabric covered letters

So how did I do on my first ever full-fledged tutorial? I’m sure there’s massive room for improvement, but there’s got to be a first time. :-)

 

fabric covered letters


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37 thoughts on “Make Your Own Fun, Fabric Covered Letters

  1. Natasha

    This is a great idea. Thanks I have been getting ready to redo my girls room and this is a great idea to put on their walls over their beds.

    Reply
  2. Cynthia

    Could you tell me why I can’t see your photo’s on my PC or Ipad? It just shows a broken image icon and if I click on the icon it says DNS lookup error. What format do you use for your project photos?
    I love your ideas and projects but I need to see the photo’s.

    Reply
    1. Dianne

      Cynthia, check your browser’s Settings or Options and look for anything that blocks pictures. Or perhaps an Ad blocker, or even a Pop Up Blocker will sometimes do that and block photos. I know mine did until I went through the Settings. You can do it just for specific pages and not every site you visit. Just a thought.

      Reply
  3. Beth

    I did these years ago for my children. I used cardboard letters and felt squares. Now my daughter has asked me to do them again for my grandchildren.

    Reply
  4. Ina

    I love these and the fabric is perfect! I made one of my own over this past weekend using handmade paper I found a World Market for a couple of dollars. The project was fast, easy and fun. Made me feel as though I accomplished something just for me! I love your posts and look forward to reading them every day. Thank you!

    Reply
  5. Debbie

    My daughter made me letters that spelled the word “Quilt” three Christmases ago and they are proudly displayed in my quilt studio on the wall. We used Command frame hangars on the back of the letters and they are hanging on the wall and they stay there (we tried double stick tape and we would find one on the floor every morning) . She did not use batting, but took my fabric scraps and glued the scraps onto the letters in a very “scrappy” way. My letters are by far one of my most treasured gifts that I have ever received.

    Reply
  6. lisacb12

    I was thinking that if one uses wooden letters it might be able to use the heavy duty staples on the back. Just a thought. I have a bunch of Vera Bradley napkins and scraps that I never used according to plan, and I am thinking they would make a beautiful display. I just don’t know where, or what ir would say! Think, think, think.

    Reply
        1. Jeanne

          Jillee,
          Thanks for the cute ideas!i love to decorate! I noticed you have some little flowers on your desk. Are they ink pens by any chance? If not, it would be a great idea for you. You take some cheap, but good ball point pens (like BIC), and use a silk flower of your. Hoice with a short stem. You affix the flower on the end of the pens with green floral tape and wrap it all the way to almost the tip, leaving room for the cap to go on. Then you make a bunch of these with either all the same flower or a variety! You arrange them in a bowl (or a terra cotta pot) filled with marbles or colorful glass pebbles. So you end up with a nice floral arrangement that is functional too. And th

          Reply
  7. Carolyn

    I was just talking with my oldest last night about having a positive “ATTITUDE” and not be putting himself down. This would be a fabulous reminder for his new room I think!
    Thank you :)
    Yours are terrific, Jillee.

    Reply
  8. Donna Hill

    I’d try using spray adhesive instead of the glue sticks. You can place your fabric in a cardboard box, face down, and spray the back with spray adhesive. That way the edges adhere nicely and you’ll have no bumps or ridges from the glue. These are really cute!

    Reply
  9. Gail

    #1, Had I only known you needed fabric, you could have come over to my house and gone through my stash.

    #2, Riley Blake is a local company and you can find their fabrics in all the quilt shops here.

    #3, There are innumerable quilt shops here in the Valley and almost all will carry some fat quarter bundles.

    Reply
  10. Ellie

    Stop being so cute and creative!!! No really, I already have at least 4 of your projects on my to do list. Love your blog and tutorials, your site is such a joy to follow. Keep it up girl!

    Reply
  11. cty

    Nice job! You get an “A” for adorable.
    What a great tool when young ones are learning letter recognition/spelling/orientation of their name. Little hands could line these up easily. I’d probably cover the back too and save the sides for last (to cover all sins).

    Reply
  12. Staci

    As with ANYTHING you seem to do Jillee, Great idea, love it! I do however want to know how is it possible you have a different colored manicure EVERY TIME you post? What gives! LOL!

    Reply
  13. DeAnna

    Those amazon prices are crazy! I am not paying $70- over $100 for fabric scraps! The link to the fat quarter shop was much, much more reasonable ;)

    Reply
  14. kelley

    Love this! Glad to learn this after doing letters for my two girls’ college dorm rooms with ModPodge and cute scrapbooking papers-(sticky hands and ripped pieces of cute paper because the glue starts drying)! I have a new project for daughter number three going off to college in August! My fingers thank you!

    Reply
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  16. Noah Davies

    Normally I do not learn post on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to take a look at and do it! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thanks, quite nice article..watch

    Reply
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