Thursday, October 10, 2013

DIY Vinyl Letter Art :: Your Addiction Starts Right... NOW

As you may have heard through the "grapevine", I have a bit of a "fixation" with "collages".

And while I'm truly not as crafty as you think, once in a while I stumble on something that works for me and my "quirks".

I present to you my requirements for a slam-dunk craft:
Kid friendly
Can be done while watching reality TV

*Were you a scab-picker as a child? Do you enjoy plucking your eyebrows? Pulling weeds? Peeling a sunburn? Were you obsessed with Biore strips in college? If so, not only are you neurotic like moi, you're also a prime candidate for an FPFG "satisfying" craft. Read on!

Here's what you'll need:
Flat board canvases (or rigid cardboard) (Got mine in a pack of 8 for 50% off at Michaels with a coupon)
Removable vinyl lettering from a hardware store (not scrapbooking lettering!) (Got mine at Ace.)
Mod Podge/glue
Old magazines, sheet music, love letters, book pages, etc...
A significant (and short!) quote or word

The first step is to lock down your base coat. For my first run, I used sheet music.

Then the addiction firmly took root and I wanted to make more, so I got my shorties involved and we collaged up some canvas using old catalogs. (Land of Nod, Boden, PB Teen)

Since I was doing these as a test-run for Craft Weekend, I went through and cut out the scraps then let the kids glue them on. We did a super-sloppy glue-down using regular Elmer's glue for the first batch.

On subsequent runs, I carefully Mod Podged everything down in a smooth later. There are no rules.

It was so much fun tracking down the pattern and color!

While we worked, I asked each of them to think of a word that was special to them.

Ruby chose "Peace". (please recall this was in early February, on the heels of her MLK obsession)

Silas wowed us all by choosing the suspiciously respectable "Sing". (I had my money on "Lamp" or "Extension cord".) (Dude can sing!)

(Calvin was being a grump that day and didn't want to play.)

Next, you place your vinyl letters.

For this one (a birthday gift for Sarah featuring one of her fave song lyrics by her beloved Over the Rhine) I wanted the text to be right-justified, so I actually placed the lettering backwards, to get the spacing quasi-right.

Note: This craft is not for perfectionists. Repeat after me, "It's okay to be wonky!"

Next, you paint over the entire shebang with regular old craft paint. (I don't have a photo of this step. Sue me!)
Let it dry.

Then, you peeeeeeel, baby.

You can't imagine the initial terror. You're sure you might wreck it all up. You're seized. Gripped. But it's soon replaced by intense gratification. Or at least that's what my neurotic, recovering scab-picker friend told me.

Sometimes the letters peel off but you realize there are parts that blend in with your top-coat. It's okay, just bust out the Sharpie.

Sometimes there's just the right amount of contrast between under-layer and top-coat, but the letters pull part of the paper off. Just call it the "faded" look.

"It's okay to be wonky!"

Listen, we're not trying to win any awards here.
We're all wonky, all the time.

We like bumpy texture and crooked lines. We wear dots with plaid. We eat cereal for snack and snacks for breakfast.

Sadly, I do not have a pic of Sarah's finished product. (Why?? I do not know.) But close your eyes and picture a swoony aqua top-coat and letters that peeled off like a dream. I loved how it turned out.

This is the canvas I made at Craft Weekend.
I meant to paint over it like regular, but then I talked too much and worked too little and ran out of time and then I couldn't bear to part with my swoony underlayer, so I hauled it home as-is and called it a day.

"It's okay to be wonky!"



Check out some of the canvases people drummed up at the legendary Craft Weekend. They were all super quirky and fun.

Once I got my bad-boy home, I found that I wanted to see it and be around it all the time, so I tossed it up on the "mantel" with my BFF Canvas People bargain (85% off right now!!) where they collaborate daily for the perpetual happiness of yours truly, except for right now, as they've been temporarily replaced by vintage autumnal paint-by-numbers.

So that's it, homies.

Give it a whirl! Report back.

Flower Patch Scab Picker


  1. I love these! I really love the "let me be singing" one. That's one of my favorite songs. I hate to say it, but I have copied several ideas of yours and from others. I'm such a plagiarizer! There was a day when my artistic juices flowed on their own. Not anymore. I'm getting old and my children have sucked all of my brain cells. Now I just rely on others like yourself and then make it my own. So, thank you for your genius!

    1. It's called being "inspired" by someone! We all do it. :)

    2. I absolutely believe that children really do suck our brain cells. It HAS to be fact.

  2. whoooo hoot!
    This is spectacular.

    you do wonky very well.

  3. p.s. I'm more of a banner freak but also love the canvas'.

  4. I am suddenly evaluating my day to see how soon I can get to some canvas and vinyl letters - love!

  5. My son just created something like this using contact paper and painter's tape in his art class! (It looks like a bi-plane - cool.) I like being able to see the layer so I would probably leave it like yours or the CREATE one from Craft Weekend. I'm going to have to give this a try soon.

    1. I'm pretty sure that was Meg's creation...of course! :)

  6. OH MY GOODNESS...I think even I could do this!!!!!! Hoping and praying our house will sell soon and I am DEFINITELY making one of these to put up in whatever new very downsized place we land!!!!

    I am craftily challenged, but I make awesome brownies! :-)

  7. OMG I love this! Can't wait for a rainy or snowy day so that I can take my girlies to the craft store and do this. And I have to tell you that I'm neurotic like you...thought I was the only one like that. I'm still obsessed with Biore strips :)

  8. love love love!
    i see a home school project in my near future!


  9. I love this space. and your ideas. and your heart.

    You're simply the best.


  10. LOVE them all!!

    This is right up my wonkified alley (although I'm not a scab picker, but I'm friends with them).
    Can't wait to try making this with my little (actually not-so-little, she's 10) soon!

    Not sure I could bear to paint over the collage and words either, so we'll have to make at least two. :)

  11. These are so fun - just the sort of craft therapy my slightly stressed out self needs about now...

  12. I really think I need a farmgirl/ siley original. sell those suckers.


  13. Favorite part = what you expected Silas to choose. Dude is hilarious!

  14. That was my favoritist craft we did at CW--probably cause I'm not a perfectionist--AT ALL--and I'm wonky to boot! I luv mine--it's the map one --and I'm famous--my canvas is on your blog... :)

    1. I LOVE yours, too! Miss you, Lady.
      If only we could turn back time! (cue Cher)

  15. I have been waiting for this! Seriously...I caught a glimpse of it in the Craft Weekend posts (yours and Meg's) and have been wondering if you'd ever let us in on the secret. I had my collage artwork days in my teens so I'd like to try my hand at this now that I'm "grown up". Thanks for sharing!

  16. I am SO doing this.....I LOVE wonky!!!

  17. Ooh I love this! I really truly thing I need to do this with my kiddos this weekend!

    I love a bit of wonky! I also wear dots with everything and this summer I bought a mustard cardigan that I firmly believe goes with everything. I think of you every time I wear it with something that it probably shouldn't be worn with! Lol. Wonky. X

    1. Mustard is a neutral. Also, navy gingham. And anything peachy/coral.
      True story.

  18. I do these with actual (cheap) stretched canvases, but then I sew on felt bits. I also learned how to make my own letters out of plain old contact's cool to let the kids write their own names (you 'plump' up the letters0 and then you have their handwriting....anyway, crafty I am, but techy I'm not so I am going to try to paste a post that shows my latest creation. The pumpkin is felt.

    1. well you can get there if you highlight that big old address and put it up there in the top address place....

    2. Fun! Love the idea of preserving the kiddo handwriting!

  19. So fun! I will definitely have to try this out! And I agree, I don't know if I would have had the heart to paint over that collage, it looks so great.

  20. This line? *Were you a scab-picker as a child? Do you enjoy plucking your eyebrows? Pulling weeds? Peeling a sunburn? Were you obsessed with Biore strips in college? If so, not only are you neurotic like moi,...." is the best line I've read on the Internet in a loooong time.
    Will be making this craft. Love it!

  21. I so think we could be friends ~ love from your fellow sunburn peeling, scab picking, eyebrow plucking, weed pulling and don't forget zit popping! Love this craft ~ going to pin it now!

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  23. let's discuss this.
    i love it so much. it has been pinned all across america.

    i also do not think i am crafty at ALL.
    and i believe every room needs a collage wall.
    or a "collage" wall, as you say.

    also please visit

  24. OK, I love these. BUT. . . I want to know - where's the "It's OK to be wonky" board???? It's your thang, and it ought to be done. ;)

  25. so i made one.
    and i'm gonna make another.
    and it's wonky and glorious.
    and I love it.
    thank you lady.

  26. I'm so excited that I finally got my Mod Podge for this craft!
    Got my papers picked out.
    Just need my letters.
    Oh, also got my ingredients for Curried Chicken with Coconut Rice. Loving the great dinner experiment!

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  28. making this tonight with my ladies' fellowship craft night!

  29. This is a fun idea, can't wait to try it. You got my full attention with the Over the Rhine connection. We are huge fans! Thanks for the great craft tutorial.

  30. This is a fun idea, can't wait to try it. You got my full attention with the Over the Rhine connection. We are huge fans! Thanks for the great craft tutorial.

  31. Were you obsessed with Biore strips in college? If so, not only are you neurotic like moi, you're also a prime candidate for an FPFG "satisfying" craft vinyl lettering


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