Thursday, December 19, 2013

Vintage Book Letters

Hey All! Is everyone gearing up for Christmas? We are but aren't. I'm so ready for the holiday but I still have shopping to do! Ack!!

In the meantime instead of getting things done around the house... I've been trying to get some items into the shop for last minute Christmas shoppers. You have most likely seen these before:

Similar ones were sold at Anthropologie and other specialty stores this season. They are super cool but were super expensive (to me at least). I knew it was a project I could tackle myself. 

I perused used book stores and found several old condensed Readers Digest. These were perfect for the project because all the covers had fun designs on them, and they are very inexpensive!

From there it was pretty easy. If you want to try this yourself all you need is:

A jigsaw (if you have access to a bandsaw that would be even better; I tried my scroll saw but the blade kept breaking) I used a blade for cutting steel- not sure if a wood cutting blade would make a difference

Letter Template (download one and print to size or freehand like I did)

Drill- several size drill bits ranging from small to large and spade drill bit (for cutting out the center of letter if needed)

ModPodge (if you want you letters to be glued and unopenable- I choose not to do this)

To get started either free hand you letter or trace the stencil you printed out. Use a pencil so you can erase any leftover lines.

Then cut! I purposely choose books that were about 1-1.5" think opposed to the really thick ones. My jigsaw handled it easily. Just hold the book firmly in your hand as you cut or clamp it down.

To cut out any center portions (like the holes in the Letter B above) start by drilling a hole in the center of the part you are going to cut with the small drill bit. Then graduate to a larger one. (If you are lucky enough to have a drill press then use that! It would be way easier :)

Then use your spade drill bit to drill a hole large enough for your jig saw blade. I used a 1" I believe.

Finally use your jig saw to cut out the center portion of the letter. I found that coming at different angles and moving the book instead of the saw around the curves was easiest.

If you want to Modge Podge your books this is the time to do it. Modge Podge the front and back covers and around the outside edges. Then you can install a metal tooth hanger and hang it on the wall if you want!

Or leave them loose like I did so they can stand on their own on a desk or table:

I seriously thought about keeping the red and green Letter F for myself ~

I hope everyone has a great Holiday Season! Peace out until the New Year! <3

*** UPDATE*** I had some more questions about how I made these letters. I would like to point out that they are the thin Readers Digest. If you have the thicker ones you would probably have to use a bandsaw to cut through the pages. I also used a have gauge jig saw blade- one for cutting steel. I did not clamp the books down I held them down firmly with one hand and used the other to maneuver the saw. And loose or frayed edges I used sand paper to sand off. Hope that's helpful! :)


Feral Turtle said...

OMG this is freakin awesome Rachelle!!! I am pinning this and definitely going to make some of these for my sister. Thanks for the inspiration!!

Marian Frizzell said...

love these. so fun.

Ashley@AttemptsAtDomestication said...

This is so cool! I love those!

Mally said...

Very cleaver. Love them.

Unknown said...

So amazing! I was inspired to make these for teacher appreciation and have been working on them for 3 weeks. Being a first time jigsaw user, I could use lots more tips. My cuts did not come out as clean as yours. Did you use a vice? How were you able to move book instead of jigsaw? Unless book is closed up tight, my cuts would not continue. more pics please?