I’ve recently realized that my projects of late are big.
Big DIY projects generate a lot more Pinterest traffic to my site, but they also take a lot more time and money to make.
And how many coffee tables does one family need really?
My friend Rita sent me a photo of a gallery wall that she fell in love with and asked if it was something I could replicate for her – so I decided to break down the wall into steps to show you how you can create great decor pieces on a smaller scale.
First up the inspiration photo – I’m sorry, I don’t know where it came from to give the originator credit:
How to make Scrabble tiles
Step one of the project was to get all of the names she wanted done in scrabble tiles and then to lay them out – either by cutting up pieces of paper to size, or by using Sketchup Make (which is free, but has a slight learning curve) to figure out how to make it all fit within her wall space.
The first plans I sent Rita had each DIY Scrabble tile at 6″ square – but given the length of the names involved, that amounted to more wall space than was available. Rita asked that I shrink them down a bit, so I cut 4.5″ squares instead. (slightly larger than in the schematic)
Using a 1×6 at 8 feet long, I was able to get 25 tiles from a board and a half. A 1×6 will give you a 5.5″ tile, so I had enough leeway to cut each tile down to get my 4.5″ with some nice sharp edges (store lumber is usually rounded and not as crisp as you want these to look).
I gave each tile a sanding at 80 grit and a second sanding at 120 grit, adding a small beveled edge to each side using my (favourite) sander.
I applied a coat of Minwax Special Walnut and then wiped the excess off within about 5 minutes. The tiles need to be relatively light so that the letters and numbers on the face will stand out, so one coat of stain was enough and I wiped them as clean as I could.
Let dry overnight.
While your tiles are drying, and if you have a Silhouette or Cricut cutting machine, you can size and cut your letters out. I read online that the font for Scrabble tiles is Futura Bold, but when I compared it to Franklin Gothic, I found the second to be a closer match.
If you need to look online to see the fonts or to look up the number values of Scrabble tiles check this out. (The number 1 value does look better in Futura Bold, but the rest of the numbers were Franklin Gothic)
If you don’t have a cutting machine – don’t worry, you can still do this, it will just take a bit more effort;
- Type up your letters in a Word document and make sure that your font size is appropriate for the size of your tiles.
- Print out (draft form is fine).
- Lay each letter over its designated tile and trace with a ball point pen – pressing firmly. When you remove the paper, you should see a clear indent in the wood that outlines each letter.
- Now you can just fill it in with a small paintbrush and some black craft paint from the dollar store!
I did my best to centre each letter on each tile and adhered the letter (and the value in the bottom right corner) so that they were as tight to the wood as possible.
I applied a coat of triple-thick varnish in satin finish and let dry.
These are so easy to make – and very inexpensive – all you need is a bit of time.
Whip some up as Scrabble coasters in lieu of drink markers or wine charms. Make larger ones and use for outdoor decor (with an outdoor sealer/varnish).