DIY Wood Letter Tiles
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Make Over-Sized, Vintage, Game Pieces

A brief detour on the way to Halloween.

I’ve come up with another (potential) Use-Up-That-Scrap-Wood project!

Of course, you may be thinking that the first step in reducing scrap wood might be, perhaps, to create less scrap wood to begin with?

Reasonable.

But that would involve the dreaded accurate measuring and the even more terrifying planning ahead!

Actually , you’ll be proud to know I did that recently.  For the last round of coaster-blank cutting I measured!  I optimized!  I planned!

And I’m happy to report that after jumping through all the hoops I ended up almost zero scrap!  Genius!  Perfect!

And after I did the third most dreaded thing: Math I discovered that I had saved exactly .005 cents per piece.

#motivating!  #planthatParisvacation

Anyway….

As you know I kinda have a thing for letters.

I’ve been making letters of various sizes and styles since I started Cheltenham Road.

Distressed letters

Distressed Wood Letters Tutorial

HOME signs (click pic for link to Etsy)Los Angeles Wooden Letter HOME sign

Letters with vintage wallpaper

Giant Santa Monica Signs (each letter is 16″ tall)Vintage Santa Monica Sign

Big New York letters11 inch high wood letters vintage New York City collage by Cheltenham Road

I could go on……

As you may not know The Borrowers was one of my favorite books as a child and I think it messed up my sense of scale.  I always seem to think “wouldn’t it be cool if I made a giant version of X?”

Recently I saw a magazine that used old game tiles to spell out the titles of each article.   You know, scrabble tiles, anagram tiles…stuff like that.

And I thought “wouldn’t it be cool to make an oversized game piece letter alphabet?”

To make them all different this became an “every tool you got” project: stencils, image transfer, mod podge – you get the idea

I started with:

  • Scrap wood cut to varied sizes: 4.5 squares, rectangles, a few circles
  • Folk Art Home Decor Chalk Paints – various colors
  • Folk Art Stencils and poncing brushes
  • Polycrylic (not pictured)
  • Small Wood letters (on sale at Michaels)
  • Matte Mod Podge (not pictured)
  • A scanned print of a Scrabble tile
  • Sanpaper (not pictured)
  • E6000 glue (not pictured)

I painted all the wood blank tiles different colors using Folk Art’s Home Decor Chalk Paint.  They come in a great range of colors, go on beautifully and dry quickly (key for Mr. Crafting-in-a-Hurry).  When everything was dry I sanded them for a distressed look.For some of the letters I used Folk Art Stencils for letters and numbers.Folk Art Stencils

For others I used my polycrylic image transfer technique (details here)

I made one to look like a children’s block using a bit more scrap wood, cut, painted and distressed and a small wood letter from Michaels.  I used the E6000 glue to attach all the elements.

For the scrabble tile I simply scanned a tile and blew it up to 6×6 (my wood blank is 4.5×4.5)*

* I used Matte Mod Podge for this but only had a bottle of Gloss Lustre when I went to take photos – either will work.

To make the “image” wrap around the blank I marked where each corner would be

Then cut away the corner

After covering the front and sides with Mod Podge I just attached the print and folded the sides down and let it dry

I like them!  They’re fun!  Easy to make and you could do a lot of variations and spell pretty much anything you want.DIY Wood Letter Tiles

But…..

I discovered as I did my research that there aren’t many super-identifiable vintage game pieces.  Once you get past Scrabble tiles they are pretty much just, well….. letters.

Image courtesy of SplendidSundries on Etsy – click on picture to be taken to Etsy

So my question is – would you know they are game pieces?  Does it matter?

My thinking was to make all the letters in the alphabet and have a nice display box where people could pick out what they wanted.  They would be fun and easy to make. They would use up all those leftover supplies and bits and parts etc.

But do you think it would appeal? (not rhetorical – I’m honestly asking for your opinion).

OK, back to Halloween planning…..

 

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Plaid Ambassador program.  Most of the materials used in this project were provided to me by Plaid – makers of Mod Podge, Folk Art Paints, brushes and stencils.  Other than the supplies I receive no other compensation.  Links are provided just for convenience and the opinions expressed are totally my own.

 

25 thoughts on “Make Over-Sized, Vintage, Game Pieces”

  1. Scrabble tiles—yes. The others—not so much. But why does it matter? It is a totally delightful visual. Do it-it is a great idea.

  2. The problem is that most people would want to use the letters to spell out a word and that would require you to make LOTS of repetitive letters (vowels and most used letters like “t”, etc.) Soon you’d be drowning in letters and still have a customer say “darn, if you only had a “k”!), and then you’d quietly have to command Pi to “sic um” and Pi thinks all commands are actually “take a nap”….and long story longer…. no. I’ve never written a novelette in posting to a blog but I think I have a talent for it don’t you?

    1. You are correct on all fronts. I’ve done the letter thing before and, yes, if you have five “K’s” in a rainbow of colors you will NEVER have the color the customer hoped for. And you’ll always run out of “E’s” or something. But! I’m hoping that, because they are so easy to make, having lots and making more won’t be a big hassle. And I have tried to teach Pi commands. Unfortunately, when I say “Pi! Kill!” he just licks something. I look forward to the publishing of your debut novel “Commencing to Comment – My Life in the Blogosphere”

  3. I’m at that point in my life where less is more (seriously awaiting grandkids) and I try not to buy more things….but that said, I’ve always had an affection for letters. A blown up classic typeface blow up will always force me to stop, consider its acquisition, or get me to eat there if it’s a local restaurant’s sign, etc. so I can tell you that among the detritus that my kids might have to dispose of, or might want – seriously I think that?- are z’s, H’s and few k’s…not to mention letters spelling beach and eat, of course.

    I think expanded typewriter font letters are super, as are the classic letters standing for the transit systems of the US (who doesn’t recognize the font and BART, or MTA, or SP, UP (railroads) etc.
    Blown up dice (no, I don’t know how to spell the singular, is it die?) or the letters for Park Ave on Monopoly.

    So I think this is a fun direction, and if the item is heavy enough, paperweights are seriously useful as we increasingly use fans to cool our global warming induced hot homes!!!

  4. I only recognize the scrabble and the child’s block. Scrabble letters are everywhere though. My advice would be just letters, typewriter or other font(s) as mentioned previously by Kathleen. I sell basic letters and letters on different colours of hanging fish, people like to sort through as you say, to spell things. Important to have more “e’s” and others, but also I have used reports of most common baby names to know what letters may be needed.

      1. I forgot to say I’ve also sold ❤️‘s so people can buy I ❤️ U . So you may need more U’s than you would think! I have also sold full names with a heart, like SAM ❤️ JOHN. (Now mine are small and less than $5 each so full names are not too expensive)

  5. I agree with Julie Rose. I can see Scrabble tiles and children block tiles being the most popular. Others not so much. Seems like it would take up a lot of inventory space to have all the letters that you would need. Only you know how much room that you have to carry around more stuff. Would be fun to have holidays spelled out. Merry Christmas, Halloween and Thanksgiving come to mind.

    1. Very good point about the space issue – I would truly need to consider that – they aren’t thin like coasters. Also great idea about spelling out holidays……Thanks!

  6. Love your idea of making all sorts of letters in in varied colors and sizes to use up the scrap pieces. People will have their own personal thoughts on how to use them and they won’t care if they are game pieces or not.

    Thought your vertical placement of the word
    ‘Create’ was great for a craft area or simply to
    inspire yourself to , in fact, create.

    You know, using maps to cover the letters of a city or state could really be good, too.

    Always enjoy your posts and your musings, both artistic and personal.
    Blessings.

    1. Thanks Joan. Yes, that is actually in my craft room! (I closed the door next to it since that leads into a bathroom and I thought that visual would have rendered the goal of the wall-message confusing and kinda gross…..)

      1. You are one funny guy! I love your blog, thanks for sharing yourself with the world!

  7. I think they look great. I suggest if you go forward with it to add some punctuation items like an exclamation point, a question mark, and of course a hashtag. Perhaps also an ampersand and an @

  8. Make them look like old typewriter keys, old blocks (I still have mine), boggle cubes–all of these flat of course–if you’re wanting the letters to have different “looks.” I like the mix or match option.

    I’m one of those people who grew up admiring the Mary Tyler Moore “M” on the wall, so I have have a few random “D” letters.

    I’ve always admired the HOLLYWOOD sign, too.

    I can see possibilities for letters. Especially the letter “D.” 😉

    d

    1. Yes, “D” is a VERY important letter that everyone should have! And what was it about that M on the wall? Seems to have resonated with everyone who ever watched that show (myself included)

      1. Independence, home of one’s own, I’ve got this! It started a trend, too! I wonder if MTM ever talked about it.

        As for the character Mary Richards, I always felt it had a bit of I am woman, I am a feminist, I can survive in a man’s world. Especially when she moved and placed it on the wall of the new apartment.

        D

  9. I had an additional thought about those random letters from scrap pieces…..
    I could see several Zs ( 5 or six…or more)
    Hung side by side above the headboard
    as a bit of whimsy in hopes of a good nights rest. A teen might like Xs and Os. Just a thought.
    Now I will probably be awake half the night thinking of a bizillion other combinations and placements…..and it isn’t even my project!!!
    Have fun.

  10. Scrabble and children’s blocks will be your only sellers and for that you only need to carry 27 of them in your booth — enough to spell out O-R-D-E-R T-H-E W-O-R-D-S & C-O-L-O-R-S Y-O-U W-A-N-T. Charge there, ship later, expand your mailing list.

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