DIY Fabric Covered Letters Tutorial

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Monogramming, initials, and letters spelling out baby’s name are all the rage right now! A while ago I had purchased these paper mache (cardboard-ish) letters from Joann’s for 60% off, but I could not figure out what to do with them. I had previously painted the number 1 for wee man’s 1’st birthday as well as some initials for my cousin’s wedding, but I found that even after multiple coats of paint there were still visible blemishes that showed through from the manufacturing of the letters. This time around I decided to go for fabric covered letters in hopes that they would satisfy the perfectionist image that I had in my head of the finished product.

What you’ll need:

  • Paper mache letters- available at Joann’s, Hobby Lobby and some online stores
  • Fabric (multiple colors/patterns, or all the same)
  • Poster board or thick paper
  • Craft glue
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pen/pencil

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Step 1: Iron the fabric that you’d like to use for the front of your letters. Then, lay your letter over the fabric, and cut around the shape of the letter leaving about an extra 3/4 inch of fabric all the way around.

In the case of the J, I cut a slit down the center of the fabric where the J curves, however since each letter has unique curves, you’ll have to sort of wing it. I do suggest at least starting a hole for letters like B where the gaps are in the center. If you don’t, you may find it very difficult to start a cut once you’ve begun gluing.

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Step 2: This step will be easiest if you chose an abstract or solid pattern rather than a geometric or linear pattern. I had quite a hard time getting the chevrons to line up and not be crooked. Pick a straight line on your letter (without curves or holes) to anchor your fabric. Apply enough glue that it will stick, but not so much that it blobs everywhere or takes forever to dry. Make sure you are applying the glue to the side of the letter and not the front. Once your glue is applied on the straight area, line up your fabric over your letter, and stick the part that hangs over onto where you applied your glue.

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Step 3: Following the same procedure that you did for step 2, glue down the fabric to the rest of the straight areas. Leave the curved parts alone for now. Doing the straight parts first will ensure that your fabric goes on straight and without any bubbles or creases.

Step 4: Now lets tackle the curved areas. Take your scissors and cut 1 cm wide slits in the fabric around the curved areas. I did this by using the letter itself as a stopping point for my scissors so that I did not cut too far forward. Just place the tip of your scissors up against the letter while you are making your slits. Once you’ve made your cuts, apply your glue. Then take each centimeter thick piece of fabric, pull slightly to make sure it will lay flat, and stick it down. I started a piece near the center of the cuts and worked my way outwards.

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If your letter has holes in it, follow the same procedure. Be sure to cut a slit at the corners if there is a 90 degree angle.

Once you’re done with this step, you should have a letter with the front side completely covered and the sides looking super messy. Don’t worry, we’ll fix that.

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Step 5: Now, we’ll start making the part to cover the sides. Measure the width of the side of your letter. Mine was 1 inch. Take your poster board and measure a long 1 inch strip. Depending on your letter, you may want to measure for more than one strip. Then cut them out.

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Step 6: Take one of your strips and use it to measure around your letter. Start at a corner and act as if you were gluing it down. Notice where the strip ends… is that where you want a seam? If not, then cut it so that it ends at a corner, and use another strip to make up the difference. Also, now is the time to measure how long of a strip you’ll need for the letter holes. Cut the length just slightly longer than you think it needs to be in order to avoid gaps.

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Step 7: Iron the fabric you’re going to use for the sides. Ideally, it should be at least the length of your measured poster board strips. Lay the fabric flat and place your pre-measured poster strips on top of your fabric. Cut fabric strips that are about a half inch wider on all sides.

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Step 8: Apply glue all the way around the sides of the poster strip. Then fold the fabric over all the way around the edges. You now should have fabric covered poster board cut to the exact length you’ll need to cover your letter.

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Step 9: Beginning with a corner (and doing it the same direction that you did when you measured), apply a generous amount of glue to the side of the letter. Stick down the strip. Apply the glue a little at a time as you go. Keep going until you’ve applied the strip to entire letter. It can be kind of tricky for letters with holes… I found it was easiest to apply glue to the entire hole, coil up the strip a bit, then apply it.

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Congratulations! You’ve created a modern and adorable accent for any room!

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Feel free to comment, ask questions, and post pictures of your masterpieces!

Fabric Bookmark Tutorial


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For this Mother’s Day, my mom specifically requested bookmarks for her gift. She home schools my baby sister, so they are in constant need of something to mark where they left off in their many textbooks and novels. I was going to get her some jewelry or maybe a purse, but hey, if it’s bookmarks that she wants, I’m happy to make it happen.

Sewing and Crafting Level: Beginner

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Fabric- leftover fat quarters and scrap fabric will work just fine.
  • Elastic- the width is up to you
  • Sewing machine and thread

Step 1: Lay your fabric flat and iron out any folds or wrinkles. This will ensure accurate measurements and that your straight lines will actually be straight.

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Step 2: At this point, you need to decide what size book you are making this book mark for. Because of the size difference between larger textbooks and smaller paperbacks, one size does not fit all. The length of your fabric will vary depending on what you decide.

Using a ruler and pen, draw a straight line across the length of your fabric. Use that line as a starting point to measure two 1.5 inch strips. Now, cut out your strips. Or if you have a rotary cutter and mat, your process will be MUCH simpler than mine.

You should end up with two 1.5 inch thick strips- for paperbacks, they should be around 14 inches long and for textbooks they should be around 20 inches long. If they are a bit over or under, no problem. They will just ruffle more or less.

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Step 3: Pin your two strips together, with the pretty sides facing each other. Everyone’s pinning technique varies, so pin them which ever way works best for you. In my case, if I’m sewing something skinny in width, I just put a few pins down the center and remove them as I go.

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Step 4: Leaving at least a 2 inch opening near the center of the strip, sew around the edges of the strip. I used a 1/4 inch seam, but feel free to use whatever you’re comfortable with.

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Step 5: Turn your strip right side out by feeding it through itself and back down through the hole that you left open. I tend to get creative by using pens, dull point scissors, etc. to push the fabric down when my finger is too short or fat to reach. Once it is right side out, use something pointy to push out your corners. But be careful that you don’t push all the way through!

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Step 6: Iron your strip flat, paying careful attention to the part that you left open. You’ll need to give it some guidance in order for it to lay straight and flat.

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Step 7: Top stitch around your strip to close up the hole and give it a finished look.

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Step 8: Now it’s time to deal with the elastic. Cut it to the appropriate length: 22 inches for textbooks and 13 inches for paperbacks. Pin the two ends together so it looks like one continuous loop.

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Step 9: Sew the two ends of the elastic together. Go back and forth several times in different spots so that it won’t come loose later. This DOES NOT need to be pretty. In fact, you may find that it is very difficult to get the elastic to sit still while you’re trying to get it positioned. That is okay. We’ll cover it up later.

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Step 10: Ruffle your fabric strip by pinning it onto the elastic. To do this, pin down a fold every inch or so for the entire length of the fabric. Depending on the length of your fabric strip, you can to big folds or little folds, and this will correspond to how “ruffled” the fabric looks. Make sure that you are placing your fabric so that it covers up the elastic seam that we created in the previous step.

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Step 11: Sew straight down the length of the fabric. MAKE SURE YOU USE A ZIG ZAG STITCH. If you do not use a zig zag stitch, the elastic underneath the fabric will not be able to stretch and it either will not fit around your book, or you will tear your stitches when you try to stretch it. Also, be sure to back stitch on each end so they do not come loose.

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Step 12: Trim your stray threads and TA DA!! You should end up with something like this:

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