Google+ House Revivals: How to Make Faux Tin Letters and a Union Jack

Monday, January 17, 2011

How to Make Faux Tin Letters and a Union Jack

Okay, here are the instructions for making this project.

These "rusted tin letters" were swagged over a Union Jack collage in my British Invasion post.  For the cord, I just used some crochet thread finger crocheted to the length needed.  Really, anything would do.  Just use what you have on hand: twine, yarn, wire, chain, whatever you can lay your hands on.

I wanted to make sure the letters would not fall off, so I used good old Gorilla Glue to secure the letters to the cord.

To create the letters, I found a font I liked and printed the letters at the size I wanted.   Then, I cut out the letters and traced around them onto cardboard.  I did this twice for each letter.

After tracing the second set of letters, draw a new cutting line, a scant quarter inch in from the original tracing line.

 Cut out the letters, cutting the first set using the original line, and the second set, using the new cutting line.

 You should now have one regular set of letters, and one skinny set.

You need two different widths of letters to create this dimensional look.

For the next highly technical step, I just glued a couple of layers of scrap cardboard to the underside of the skinny set of letters....

.... and then just glued the built-up skinny letters on top of the regular letters.

The next step was to glue newsprint over the letters.  One or two layers is plenty.  I just cut out very generous letters and glued them over the cardboard, coaxing a gentle curve into the space between the letters.  You could also just skip the newsprint and run a bead of paintable caulk or spackle in the crevice, smoothing it out with your finger.  This step is key to getting that "pressed tin" look.

Do all your letters. In this case, I spelled "LOVE", but you can spell anything.  In fact, I think "ANYTHING" would be a wonderful word!

This is how the backs of the letters looked, before they were covered in newsprint.

I think the letters are perfect just like this, and might have left them alone at this point, using them with the newsprint exposed....

 ... but, what I really wanted for the British invasion collage was the look of rusty, painted tin letters, so I kept going.

All of the letters got two or three sloppy layers of paint, followed by some dark paint dabbed along the high points and edges -- anywhere you might expect to see some rust on a metal sign letter.   Just a bit of glaze to finish things off, and that's it.

 That's all she wrote, folks... she just wrote these LOVE letters....

To create the Union Jack inspired collage, I started with this thrifted piece. 

I have big plans for the large frame, but only needed the smaller, inner frame for the Union Jack inspired piece.

After prying it off, I took it apart and cleaned it up.  Then I turned the picture over and decoupaged strips of fabric torn from my husband's old shirts to create the "flag" (I used Mod Podge for this).  The flowers in the corners of the the flag were cut from a tatty old handbag.

Once all the Mod Podge was dry, all the parts were put back together and the frame was given just a touch of antiquing glaze.

The letters were strung from eye-screws on the back of the frame, and the collage was ready to hang.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful!  Be sure to check out the British Invasion Post, here.

You might also like this post on how to make Anthropologie knock-off cabinet knobs.

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