Hi friends! Are you ready for a quick and easy DIY for the holidays? Remember the green plaid fabric covered paper mache letters spelling out "Noel" on the mantel in our Christmas home tour and my promise to give you a tutorial? Here it is - and let me tell you it will almost take more time to read this post than to do the actual project!
Before you think, "what's the big deal, I could figure that out myself" I want to tell you that I discovered the easiest way to do this - and it wasn't anything I found when I did a Google search on covering paper mache letters (not that I think I'm the only one who's ever done it this way - there is not much new under the sun- just that it's not the norm...), so if you want to cover letters like this for any season, you'll want to read on for this tip.
DIY Noel letters with white lights.
When I shared my holiday decorating 'plan' with you, the main thing I wanted to add was a subtle green plaid fabric I found at JoAnn's. The two things I knew for sure that I wanted to make was a set of the also super easy envelope pillows for the couch and a runner for the table, so I cut those out first since they took up most of the 2-1/2 yards. Then it was a matter of figuring out ways I could add touches of the green plaid to the rest of our great room.
Looking through my craft stash, I found these paper mache letters that I had bought last year and never used and a lightbulb went off. I pictured them simply covered only on the fronts with raw-edged plaid fabric. All that was needed was cutting and applying the fabric. I think you know by now I LOVE projects like this!
How to Make Fabric Covered Paper Mache Letters
Supplies (affiliate links):
- 8" Paper Mache Letters
- fabric scissors (don't use your regular paper scissors for this - you want the cleanest edges you can get)
- pen or fabric marker
- spray adhesive
Step 1: Trace letters on fabric. Lay each letter on the back of the fabric, making sure the letter is the right way for displaying (some letters are easy to mix up, like "L"). Use a pen or pencil (or white fabric marker for dark fabrics) - something you will be able to see, but won't bleed through - to trace the letters onto the wrong side of the fabric (if there is one - both sides were the same on this plaid).
Step 2: Cut out the letters along your lines.
Step 3: Apply the fabric to the letter fronts. And here is my big tip: use adhesive spray! Using the more commonly recommended Mod Podge is much messier and you have to be careful about bleed-though leaving ugly splotches. Here's how to use the spray adhesive for this project:
- Shake the can as directed.
- Take one letter at a time, with the adhesive, outside and spray the front lightly with the adhesive. You don't have to hurry, the adhesive stays tacky.
- Back inside, lay the letter on a table and lift the matching cut-out fabric letter over the top, setting it gently on top of the paper mache letter, straightening as needed. I started at the top and smoothed it down.
Step 4: Repeat with remaining letters.
The other beauty of using spray adhesive is that you can pull up the fabric and reapply if it doesn't look straight to you, since it's just tacky and not permanent at this point. Seriously SO easy!
You can see from the close-up that the raw edges are a bit frayed and uneven - that doesn't bother me at. all.
From further back no one notices that. If it bothers you or if you want the sides covered, you can use the spray adhesive for that, too - there will just be a lot more cutting involved and clipping of corners, etc., so it will take quite a bit longer.
I really do love how they turned out and I think it took me maybe 20 minutes? Maybe longer to grab the scissors and figure out the adhesive, but still a quick, simple project that adds a fun, unique look to our decor.
I actually started with the letters on the mantel and when I saw how they looked, I decided to keep the rest of it quiet and neutral so the letters would become a focal point. Well, along with the vintage sheet music wreath - even after 4 years, I can't keep my eyes off of that wherever it's displayed during the holidays!
So, tell me - are you going to make some letters? What word would you use?
And if you're in a DIY mood, here are some quick & fun ornaments you may enjoy creating, too (click the photos to go to the tutorials):
Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links and by clicking on them you help support AOC at no extra cost to you – thanks so much! Plus you can trust I'll only share what I love. (You can always read our entire disclosure page here.)