Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wall Art Wedding Gift

In going through some posts the other day, I came across one from Amy from “My 3 Monsters”, where she was showing some wall art she had made.  I loved the look of it and thought it would make a great house warming/wedding gift for my niece.  Did it matter that I only had one day until I had to fly out to her wedding???  Heck no… no problem!!  In Amy’s post she gave the links to a photo letter and number collection where you can download everything for free!!!!  WAHOO, I’m all about FREE!!  (This is what Amy said on her post:  I happened upon the Flickr photostream of Leo Reynolds. He has posted thousands of photos of typography and signage (and other interesting things) and he is kind enough to let us, the general public, use them with a very few restrictions.) 
Here are the links for the letters,
and here are the numbers
I went and started checking out the photo letters and became even more inspired!!!  I HAD to make one of these for my niece and soon-to-be hubby.  Sooooo, I started downloading the appropriate letters and numbers to make up their sign.  Like Amy said, the hardest part is deciding on which pictures to use. I had it designed by that evening, and planned to print it and frame it the next day.  Did it matter that I had not even packed yet???  Heck no… no problem!!
Now this is the point where I rather strayed from the original idea that Amy posted.  I wanted something with a little more substance than just a printed sheet that was framed.  When I printed the sign out, it reminded me of tiles.  Hmmmmm, would it be possible to “kick this up a notch” using tiles.  Wellllll, my little mind got to thinking, I came up with a plan, and I made out a list of all the things I wanted to look for. 
Stacey wedding
First I needed to print out the letters and numbers to the appropriate size.  Not knowing the exact size of the tiles I had to guess.  I sized each letter and number to 1.75” x 1.75”.  They fit perfectly!!!  (If you want a larger piece of wall art you could use 4" x 4" tiles.)  I wasn’t sure if I might want a black boarder around letter, so I made the background black.  I then printed out the letters and numbers on white card stock.  I used a laser color printer, but next time I’m going to try using photo paper on an inkjet because the quality of the letters will be even better. 
Now mind you, I was leaving at 5:00 AM the next morning for CA, had to work half a day, needed to purchase supplies, make the gift (which I still wasn’t sure would work), pack and try to get a few hours of sleep.  Nothing like waiting until the last minute… right??  Well, I was determined to complete this project, so I had to get busy. 
I headed to Lowes to try and find the tiles.  I had plain white tiles in mind, but once I got there and saw some of the other tiles available I opted for something a little different.  Instead I decided on some tiles that were more of a natural color, and somewhat of a “frame” around each tile.  That set me back a whole whopping $2.89 for a sheet of tiles.  I needed 16 tiles for my project.  Since there are 36 tiles to one sheet, I would have more than enough for 2 projects, plus extra in case I messed up.
The next thing I needed to find was a frame that would work.  I headed over to Big Lots to see what they had.  After looking around a while I found the perfect thing.  It was a square black frame with a raised center area that was the EXACT size for the tiles.  No glass, just a raised area.  I snagged that baby for $6, and headed home to start my project.  I pealed off the picture that was glued on the raised area.  The only problem with pealing it off, was it left the white backing on the board.  Hmmmm, that wasn’t going to look very good.  I tried putting a piece of burlap on the area, but didn’t really like the look.  What I needed was just a plain black background.  Well, there was certainly an easy fix to that problem… black spray paint.  Now I didn’t really want to take off the corner cardboard pieces (because I wanted it to travel), so I needed to find a way around that. 
GEDC1592   GEDC1589   GEDC1590 
Foil to the rescue.  I use foil a lot when I paint.  It’s cheap, can mold around anything, and is easy to take off after the paint is dry.  I wrapped everything except the raised area, and spray painted it black.
GEDC1609   GEDC1616 
Next I cut out all the letters and numbers.  Since I had decided to use the nice tiles, I determined that I did NOT want the black border, so I cut that off and just laid out everything to see how it would look.  Each letter fit perfectly within the tile area, leaving enough tile to serve as a border.  I broke apart all the tiles, and cut off the glue areas between the tiles.  I had decided that I was going to just use some spray adhesive, but you could use regular glue, Mod Podge, or even a glue stick.  Doesn’t really matter as long as you make sure it is well adhered. 
GEDC1622   GEDC1626   GEDC1627   GEDC1629   
Now… how to finish off the tiles?  Idea #1:  Spray Polyurethane over the top.  #2:  Mod Podge over the top.  #3:  Use embossing powder to make a coating. 
I tried Idea #1 first.  Looked nice, but didn’t really seal off the letter like I wanted.  I was not really interested in #2, so I went straight on to idea #3.  I placed a tile on a piece of foil, covered it with a HEAVY coating of the embossing powder, stuck it in a 350 degree oven for about 3 minutes (long enough for the embossing powder to melt), took it out, and let it cool.  It was EXACTLY what I was looking for!!!!  It’s hard to tell from the picture, but there is now a clear heavy glaze over the tile.  
GEDC1630  GEDC1654
Once I had established that this was the look I was happy with I proceeded with the rest of the tiles.  Rather than doing one at a time (I had to hurry since I still had to pack) I took out a cookie sheet, covered it with foil, covered each tile with a HEAVY coating of embossing powder, and placed the whole thing in the oven.  You can see that the embossing powder was slowly melting, and eventually became clear over the entire tile.  Because I did so many at a time it did take a little longer in the oven, but I just carefully watched them and took them out as soon as all the powder was melted.  ONE SUGGESTION I WOULD MAKE:  If I were to do it again, I would place something under each tile to raise it up.  I have used nuts before (no silly, NOT “nuts” that you eat… one that you use with a bolt!!  LOL).  Place one or two under each tile.  This allows the powder to melt down over the sides without the melting powder making the tile stick to the foil.
GEDC1633    GEDC1631
Once the tiles had a chance to cool down it was time to secure them to the frame.  I wanted to make sure that the spacing was equal, so I used tile spacers and then I glued the tiles to the frame.  I used my favorite glue, E6000, to adhere the tiles.
 E6000 glueGEDC1637   GEDC1638 
I also decided to add a little “bling” to some of the letters.
Once the glue had time to set up I removed the spacers and “called ‘er done”!  I absolutely LOVED it, and couldn’t wait to deliver it to the newlyweds… Oh! Guess I better get some packing done!!!
Perfect gift for the perfect couple… Matt & Stacey Bates, Established 2010
They loved it, but I forgot to take a picture of them with it.  Hopefully I can get one once they return from their honeymoon.

As far as I know, this idea is original with me... at least I have not seen it anyplace else, so if you end up making something like this, but sure to give me a shout-out (along with my link) on your post, and of course let me see a picture of what you came up with.  I would LOVE to see what you do!!!!

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  1. Hi Debbie...

    Ohh my goodness...this is sooo awesome! You just did a fabulous job and it turned out sooo pretty! What a wonderful gift...I'm sure that Stacey and Matt loved it!!! about "living on the edge"...hehe! Girl, you crack me up!!! That's what I call "crafting on the go"! Hehe! Thank you for sharing this cool project with us...great tutorial too!!! I love it!!!

    Well my friend, I hope that my note finds you and your sweet family all doing well!

    Love ya,
    Chari @Happy To Design

  2. WOW! What a great and thoughtful gift.

    Thank you for the detailed tutorial. I'm keeping this one in the back of my mind, for sure.

  3. Wow, that is very creative! Nice job.

  4. I am so impressed! What a great idea to use tiles. I love how it turned out!

  5. I LOVE IT!!!! The tiles are a fantastic idea! Well done.

  6. I really like this idea. Thank you so much for all the detail you shared in the tutorial.


  7. I'm going to make one of these! Thanks for the neat idea :)

  8. I love love love this! What a project!

  9. Beautiful! I am a ceramic artist and this just gets my creative juices going. Thanks for sharing! Following you !

  10. What a creative and beautiful gift! Love it!

  11. This looks amazing, thanks for sharing


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