As a blogger, I feel like it is mandatory for me to have a letter board, complete with a clever message, of course. They have a retro element that, let’s be honest, is kind of blowing up right now. While there are a few places in Calgary that carry them, they are going to run you about $90 if you want a decent sized one. I also searched the web in hopes of finding a cheaper alternative, but since I live in Canada, once you add in shipping and the exchange, the price just keeps climbing and climbing. So, being the stubborn person I am and still wanting to get my hands on one of these puppies, I thought why not just make one and save a few bucks while doing so!? The nice thing about this DIY felt letterboard is that you have complete creative freedom – you could use a patterned frame and hot pink felt if your heart so desires. Full disclosure, while the cost savings is substantial (all in I spent about $50), be prepared to test your patience. Are you feeling up to the challenge? Pop a xanax and let’s get to it!
Here’s what you need:
- wooden picture frame without glass (I found one in the clearance section of HomeSense for $5 that measures 11” x 14”)
- approx. 12 balsa wood square dowels, cut to size (you can find these at Michael’s) NOTE: the amount of dowel will vary depending on your frame size, so find that first, and then determine the total length of dowel needed.
- black felt (for size give yourself an extra few inches for width and 2.5 times the height of the frame as it shrinks up a ton, also, the lighter the gauge of felt, the better)
- plastic letters (I used these or if you want a larger size you could order these)
- exacto knife or mini hacksaw
- hot glue gun
- metal ruler
Here’s what you do:
Create a frame out of the dowels by using the back piece of the picture frame as a size guide. PS: it’s not a bad idea to pop it back into the frame to make sure it fits before you continue glueing!
NOTE: for the width, make sure you come in from the picture frame about 1 cm so you have space for the bunched up felt to fold in, and a little room on the height too. I did not do this the first time around, so when I went to pop in the finished product it didn’t fit back into the picture frame. Not. Fun.
Glue remaining dowels across the frame you created, leaving a few millimetres in-between each one.
Here comes the challenging part. Lay the felt over the dowels, and using a metal ruler, begin to push the felt between the slats. Be gentle here – the balsa dowels can easily come unglued if you are too aggressive. I found it helpful to hold the previous row in place so the felt doesn’t lift out of the row you just completed. Don’t get super hung up on the edges, my felt doubled up in several spots, and still looked great once I was finished the entire thing.
Once you have the felt fed through every slat, first, pour yourself a congratulatory drink cuz that was hella hard, and second, trim the excess felt off your new masterpiece!
Gently press the felt frame back into the picture frame and put the back piece on to keep everything secure.
Think of some words of inspiration, a favourite movie quote, or some song lyrics to add to your beautiful new felt letter board!