Monday, April 03, 2006

Painting Decorative Wall Letters

It's all the rage in children's bedroom all across the country-- wall letters that spell out the child's name or their monogram. This hot trend, which began showing up in upscale stores and boutiques a few years ago, is so rampant that now even discount stores are selling wall letters. The best wall letters that I have seen are hand painted letters-- and there are many eBay businesses that revolve around peddling hand painted wall letter designs at close to ten dollars a letter (some charge even more than that).

If you are crafty in the least bit, then making wall letters for your children's rooms is definitely a task that you can handle. You may even be able to turn this newfound hobby into a lucrative business venture or, at the very least, you can create gorgeous, custom letters that you can give as gifts or sell at craft fairs.

Supplies. Starting your hand painted wall letter hobby won't be difficult. The most important supply you will need, of course, is the letters. Craft stores sell unpainted wood wall letters in all sizes and the average cost can be under a couple of dollars per letter. Cash in on one of the craft store's weekly discount coupons and you can get them even cheaper. Discount stores like Target, Kmart and Walmart usually sell plain white letters. Depending on the sizes you need, you can stock up on a bulk supply of letters in a variety of fonts.

The next most important supply you will need is acrylic paint. Once again, craft stores are the place to go for inexpensive acrylics-- a small bottle cost less than one dollar and it will take you a long way. Buy a wide variety of colors and of course some white paint to lighten up other colors if needed. You should also stock up on some good quality brushes in a few different brush widths-- this is not the time to use your kid's watercolor paintbrushes! Finally, you will want to buy some sealant protectant to apply to the letters after the acrylic paint has dried--this will seal the letters and keep them looking like new for many years.

Painting Ideas. There are many great suggestions for how to paint your letters. My son has blue gingham painted letters in his room and they look adorable. My daughter's wall letters are more of a mixed set. Check out popular children's decorating catalogs and their online websites for ideas for colors and patterns. Many professional letter painters mimic the designs of popular children's bedding and room decor lines lines. While there may be copyright issues regarding this practice (I'm not sure what the guidelines are, as I'm not a legal professional), you can easily design your letters to coordinate nicely with these popular designs by using coordinating colors, etc. For instance, if your daughter has a pink and green floral bedding set, paint the letters with similar colors. You can also make each letter different-- as in you can paint a pink gingham letter, a green floral letter, a pink and green polka dotted letter, etc. When grouped together as a set these different designs will look great together and will match any bedding design nicely.

The most popular room themes for girls include princesses, flowers, butterflies, hearts and stars. For boys, some of the most popular room themes include dinosaurs, airplanes, trains, race cars, camouflage, and solar system.

If you're nervous about painting freehand, practice on paper first. You can also use stencils for some designs, although I prefer the imperfections of a hand painted letter. Plaids, flowers, stripes, swirly lines and star designs are all good choices to make each letter unique.

You can also add hooks or ribbons for hanging the letters. Some letters will come with wall hooks already attached on the back. If not, the wall hooks are very inexpensive and can easily be mounted onto the backs. Decorative ribbons are a nice touch, especially for a girl's room.

And don't forget this important step: after the acrylic paint dries, apply a coat or two of glossy or flat sealant to protect the letters from fading. The sealant will give your letters a finished look and protect them for years to come.

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