We are gradually trying to smarten our kitchen up a bit. We inherited all the decor from the previous owners and we always thought we would completely re-do it. However circumstances changed (not least of which was me giving up teaching) and we have never managed to get the money together. Now I am finding ways to spruce it up without major investment.
We had a set of three IKEA pictures that used to hang in our sitting room before we re-decorated. Since then they have been relegated to the upstairs sitting room. Neither or us were that enamoured of the sand dune scenes and they no longer seemed to fit anywhere (and yes, we still haven’t decided what colour to paint the walls!).
I love typography and I have long wanted to put some kind of outsize sign in the kitchen but not quite found the one that was “right”. So I made my own!
- Kitchen Foil (I used the extra wide stuff you usually use for the Christmas Turkey).
- Cardboard Boxes
- “Mod Podge” or PVA Glue
- Pritt Stick
- Double sided tape
- Mount board in the colour of your choice.
- Computer and Printer
- Cutting Mat (or smooth surface that you don’t mind getting ruined)
- Steel rule (for cutting with)
- Paintbrush or glue spreader
- Tape Measure
- Blu Tack
Decide on the word that you want to feature (mine was partially dictated by the fact I had three frames to use!) and find a font on your computer that you like.
I used “Maxxi Serif” which I found and downloaded from “Dafont.com”. If you haven’t discovered this website it is an amazing resource for what is fashionable in type right now and most of the downloads are free for personal use.
If you have Microsoft Publisher it will allow you to have sheet sizes that are larger than A4. I don’t so I have a programme called Serif Draw Plus. This is graphic design software and I have the free starter edition.
This allowed me to set up a page size the size of my frame and add type to it. I then played around with the size until I was happy. When it came to printing the programme splits the digital “page” evenly amongst certain number of A4 sheets.
Print the letters out and glue the sheets together. The printer gives a 5mm overlap to each one and I made it easier to glue them together by drawing a line at the 5mm point to align the edge of the page with more easily.
I used Pritt Stick to glue the sheets together but then sellotaped over the top of each join to help it hold together as I wanted to move on quite quickly.
I cut the letters out and used Blu-tack to put them cut outs onto the frames so that I could check the size and proportions of the letters.
I stuck the paper cut outs FACE DOWN onto some card board boxes using Mod Podge spread out with an old children’s paint brush (in my experience brushes do not survive glue!)
I stuck them face down because I wanted the templates to be on the back of the final piece and the smoother surface on the front.
Whilst waiting for the templates to dry I used the one of the pictures from the frames to mark out the size on the back of the mount board. Because of the size of the frames I had to use three pieces of mount board (a bit expensive at around £2.50 a sheet, but the only thing I bought for this project).
Because of the price of the board I drew my cutting lines in with pencil completely rather than cutting with my ruler lined up to marks!
I continued until I had my three pieces of backing board ready to go.
Using a craft knife I cut out the letters attached to the cardboard. Once I thought they were cut out completely I would flip the cardboard over and check the back (it is a good way to spot bits you have not cut all the way through on and catch them before they tear and spoil the finish)
I spread the roll of kitchen foil out along the table carefully so as not to crease it. I wanted a more industrial steel finish on my final piece so I placed it shiny side up. Again I used Mod Podge to stick the shapes to the foil and weighted them down with books to dry (around two hours).
Using a scalpel or craft knife cut the shapes from the foil leaving a border around each one. Score into internal corners at 45 degrees and cut across external ones at the same angle (see the picture if that doesn’t make sense, I wasn’t sure how to describe it!)
I then put double sided tape around the edges and folded the edges tight around the cardboard.
I used masking tape to mark onto my backing boards where I needed to line the letters up with to get them in the right position and used double sided tape to secure the letters to the back boards.
I put the boards into the frames (which I had painted white with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and waxed) and secured.
Hang your pictures. This was actually quite tricky as they had to be level and it took me quite a long time to tweak the hanging cords to the right level!
I’m pretty pleased with result. They remind me of a slightly retro marquee sign and with three letters I have limited the amount of chaos Boffin and Best Boy can cause by re-arranging them!