Thursday, May 30, 2013

bird.i.y.: giant scrabble art

we probably hang out in our backyard a good 60% of our free time in the summers. if it's friday night and not raining, we are usually out there having a few cocktails with a fire going. for a while, we hosted happy hour every friday at our house (anyone is still welcome to come over), and we even have a facebook place name to tag if you're over!! needless to say, i try to make the outdoors cute. it's a little harder with our temperamental seasons, but i work with what i've got.

i wanted to have something to hang in our yard. sure, we have lanterns and bird cages on the trees and garage, but i wanted some actual "nail it to the wall" sort of artwork. so i decided to make something myself. this was one of the more time consuming diys that i have done, but really what that means is that it took more than 30 minutes. all in all (not counting the waiting for paint to dry part), this probably took all of two hours.

so, here's what you'll need.
one strip of lumber (i used a piece that was 8" by 48")
black paint
waterproof polyurethane
paint brush
stencil paint brush
hooks for hanging pictures
exacto pen
template for your scrabble letters
oh, and a saw (not pictured)

you could probably find enough square plaques at a thrift store to make this, and then you wouldn't need the wood, the saw, or the hangers. but i wanted to find wood that was similar in color to an actual scrabble that piece of wood was $1.22, so it was pretty cheap. chris did the honor of cutting it because power tools scare me.

i told him he looked like bono with those glasses.

i had him cut them into perfect 8X8 squares. because i need everything to be perfect.

i then should have sanded them, but i was too anxious. i went straight for the painting portion.

i had printed out the letters in the word "party" on five pieces of paper. i looked up what number coincided with each letter in an actual scrabble game. i used the univers font at 500 pt. and for the number, i used the same font, but a 200 pt., and subscript. i printed them on 8.5X11 paper.

i then went outside with the paper, exacto pen and a cardboard box (to put under the paper while i cut) and began carefully cutting the stencils. i always forget about the stupid holes in letters when i try to make my own stencils. in the end, the "P", "A", and "R" all had holes that i had to tape to the wood before i painted them. however, this is kind of necessary because scrabble letters don't have any lines or cut outs in them. i think i did a pretty good job of lining up the stencils with the cut outs. am i even making sense here? if not, look at the picture below. see that big part i am cutting out of the p? well, i needed that back in order to properly stencil. so i taped it back in. now am i making sense? this is a hard diy to explain!

ok, i think you get the picture. you're all smarties!

next up, put the paper on the wood. i was very exact about this. and by very exact, i mean i measured where to put the wood with a tape measure. no, not an actual tape measure....a roll of tape (see below). and then to make sure each letter was placed in the same spot as the last, i just used the first one i did and lined each one up with that. very scientific. i hate measuring.

then i painted. most people would try to be very careful that they only paint inside of the stencil. while i was pretty careful, i got a little careless by the time i got to the y. i had to do some fix up later.

i let them dry, but not completely...because i knew i would need to fix them. i grabbed some nail polish remover and the exacto pen, and scraped away on the wood to get rid of any black paint that snuck through the stencil. it's ok if you notch up the wood a bit because you will poly it later.

patience has it's perks...but i wouldn't know (at least when it comes to crafts).

i then let them dry overnight. the next day, i added some hooks and wire so i could hang them. make sure you put the hooks in the same place for each one (i almost didn't). i used another very good measuring tool to do this...the remote control.

then you can poly them, front and back. make sure you use an outdoor poly if you plan on hanging these in your yard. this was the only brand of outdoor poly i could find at home depot. i painted the front and the sides, let them dry one more night, and then did the back.

then i just needed a cute place to put them. this will do for now. once our plants are fully grown in, i will need to find a more permanent spot for them.

the flamingos love to party!

i actually love this diy. i think it's a fun way to add something unique to your house or yard. it's cheap, it's easy, and you can choose any word you want!!


megan bird


  1. I LOVE that!! favorite diy project of yours yet! i want to have more fires and hang outs in our back yard!

  2. As a huge Scrabble fan, I definitely need to make some of these. So fun and creative!

  3. So fun! Love this- perfect for an outdoor party!!

  4. You do have the cutest backyard!! I love the new sign!

  5. Ooh, this is my favourite bird.i.y. yet! We have a screened-in porch attached to our house that needs some SERIOUS love of the low-budget variety. This is definitely happening this summer. :)

  6. Oh my gosh this is so awesome! You have the cutest backyard!

  7. That is such a cute idea...your backyard looks so pretty!

    The Tiny Heart
    Bracelet Giveaway!

  8. that's really cute! I love it. It's fun entertaining at home. With the cost of everything, more and more people are doing so.

  9. Such a good idea! Can't wait to see your masterpiece in person :)

  10. How adorbs is that??? I need a new idea for DIY house numbers, I think ours are ugly.

  11. Oh, I love this! I love Scrabble, and this would be so perfect for summers spent in the backyard. Great idea.

  12. Oh my gosh this is amazing! I'm always collecting fun letters at places like Anthropologie and Urban, should definitely try making me own!
    xx, Emily
    shell chic'd

  13. Awesome! I totally love this. I'll have to do it one day when I'm not so lazy. :)

    Oh to Be a Muse
    Shop Layered Muse

  14. Man, those are too much work. I prefer to skip almost anything DIY. I have to really, really, really want it or I won't do it. Those are super dang cute tho!!!!!!!

  15. Love the finished product! Enjoying your blog. I am your latest follower, Dolls! :) T.

  16. This is way too perfect - my family and I love Scrabble, and this is the cutest DIY!

    Trendy Teal

  17. how fabulous - wonderful way to spend a friday and whole summers!! My kinda life


  18. Hi, I loved this idea! I used to read your blog before, then I had some problems (grieving) and now I am back to the blogosphere little by little! But I remember you always had so amazing ideas! This one is very inspiring!

  19. Oh my gosh, this is one of my favorite DIYs ever! Such a great idea to add some fun and something different to your yard. Super cute!

    xo, Yi-chia
    Always Maylee

  20. This is so cute!! I love it. Great idea. xo Julie

  21. LOVE THIS! It is such a cute and simple thing to recreate. I also love scrabble so it makes it even better. Thanks for sharing. I may need to try this out.

  22. Awww...that is such a cute DIY idea!!! I lovee your back yard, its so cute and cosy=D I would die to have a backyard and sipping on cocktails every Friday night too, hehehe

    Thanks for dropping by my blog and yes, you should check out the nectarine blossom and honey cologne,it's from the British brand, Jo Malone. Their stuff are a bit on the pricy side tho, lol


  23. i've never seen this before. i'm so impressed! :)

  24. very impressive..i do love reading your blog, you have done a great job..its very stylish.

    Scrabble Consonant Words