DIY Fabric Letters

Alright guys, I feel like we’re close enough friends for me to level with you: I am NOT ready to have kids. I most definitely want to have kids in the future (I’m thinking 3, hubby says 2..we’ll see who wins that one ;)) but I’m just not ready now. We haven’t even been married a year, and for now I just love having adventures with my man and being silly! I do, however, LOVE when people close to me have babies and this summer is going to bring two very important arrivals! One of my closest friends, Ashley, is due to have her precious baby girl any second now (I’m waiting anxiously for the “I’m going into labor” text, Ash!) and then we will be welcoming my very first niece in August..I can’t wait!

And you know I can’t wait to shower these precious little divas with lots of love and cute girly things! So while I may not be gearing up to decorate my own nursery just yet, I couldn’t resist making a little something for Ashley’s.

via Pinterest

I know a lot of people may think initials are overused nowadays, but I don’t care..I love ’em. I just love the personal touch that they add to a room. So, I set out to make one myself!

Here’s what I used: a paper mache letter  from Hobby Lobby, 1/2 yard of fabric, Mod Podge, small sponge brush, and scissors. You’ll also see that I use fabric glue and some ribbon but we’ll get to that later.

First, I covered the front of the ‘C’ in a light layer of the Mod Podge. You could also use fabric glue, but I preferred the Mod Podge because I could easily spread it on using the small sponge brush. You don’t want to glop it on too thick because it’s more likely to cause your fabric to wrinkle when it dries.

Then, flip the letter over  and press it down on the back side of your fabric. It doesn’t take any time at all for the fabric to stick. Just press down on your letter a few times and you’re good to go!

Now, here’s when I discovered mistake numero uno. It would have been a lot easier if I had pre-cut the fabric to the shape of my letter. So for any of you attempting this, I would first trace the outline of your letter onto your fabric and then cut it out leaving about 1/4″ of extra fabric all the way around to fold over all the edges. It wasn’t really that big of a deal, it was just harder to cut around those inside corners after the fabric was already glued on.

But anyway, after you’ve got the fabric glued to the front of the letter, you’ll need to fold the excess fabric over the edges and glue it down. Now, for letters that have curves (which is quite a few of them) it proves to be a little more annoying challenging. For real, curves are the enemy. I’m seriously contemplating naming all my children with the first letter ‘I’ just so I won’t have to deal with curves when I tackle this project for my own munchkins. Ingrid, anyone? How about Icarus? I’m kidding…sort of.

For the curves in the inside of the letter, you want to a make a few straight cuts; I made three: one right in the center of the curve and then one on either side. So it looks something like this:

These cuts will allow you to easily contour the fabric around the corners without adding the bulk of having to try and fold it on top of itself. Now for the curves on the outside of the letters, you’ll want to make a ‘v’ shape cuts all around the corner.

After you’ve made all your cuts, then you can apply your glue (Mod Podge, fabric glue, etc.) and fold up the excess fabric.

Then you’ll want to follow those same instructions for the back of the letter. I’ve also seen variations where people add in a layer of batting between the letter and the fabric for extra, if that floats your boat then go for it!

Originally, I had planned to cover the whole letter in the same fabric, but after I had covered the front and the back I realized that the only way to close the gap and cover all the cuts, frayed edges, etc. would be to cut one long strip of fabric and then wrap it all along the outer edges. But if I did it that way, then there would be no way to make the fabrics match up at the seams and I felt like that would end up looking sloppy. So, I made a quick trip to Hobby Lobby (thank the Lord it’s literally a 2 minute drive from our house) and picked up some decorative ribbon. I really wanted the orange in the fabric to stand out so I chose this orange polka dot ribbon. The tacky glue I already had on hand.

The ribbon ended up being too thick for the edge of the letter so I trimmed off a little on each side (that way all three rows of dots would still be centered) and then worked my way around the outside edge of the letter, applying fabric glue as I went. I decided to use fabric glue instead of Mod Podge because I didn’t want to have to brush the Mod Podge over the edges that I had just glued down..I was afraid it would cause them to wrinkle. Again, you don’t need a ton of glue to hold the ribbon in place, you don’t want glue spilling out over the sides. And voila! You’ve got yourself a pretty adorable little decoration 🙂

I am in L.O.V.E with how it turned out!

And here’s the cost breakdown for this project:

Paper mache letter – $2.50

Fabric – $2.00

Ribbon – $2.00 (orginally $3.99 but it was 50% off)

For a grand total of….. $6.50! Not too shabby! Obviously if you didn’t have mod podge or fabric glue on hand, that would cost a little more but it would still come in under 10 bucks!

Now, we just need the baby that goes with that letter and everything will be peachy 🙂


The Lettered Cottage

May 26, 2011. Tags: , . DIY.


  1. Burgers, Babies, and Beach Balls! replied:

    […] you guys remember that fabric covered letter ‘C’ I made a while back? Well, the lovely little lady I made it for finally decided to make her grand […]

  2. Burgers, Babies, and Beach Balls! « Lemon Drop Life replied:

    […] you guys remember that fabric covered letter ‘C’ I made a while back? Well, the lovely little lady I made it for finally decided to make her grand […]

  3. Layla Mayville replied:

    Thanks for this step by step project. Now it doesn’t seem so difficult to do!!

  4. Meng replied:

    Wow Vern! You impress me more with every post! I expect a letter M when I get back in August!! J/k! But I do have a question, why the letter C?

    • jdparnell replied:

      It’s for Ashley’s little girl! They’re keeping the name on the DL until she gets here, but it starts with a C 🙂

  5. Dad replied:

    Icarus?? Would we call him Icky for short? No, I think you would still be OK with perhaps Noel, or maybe Lucas, or even Kian. I’m sure there are many other letters and names that would still work well and avoid curves.

    Love you and love your blog!

  6. Jo replied:

    Very cute! I love the colors – and the floral/dots combo.

    I have to admit you lost me for a while because I got sidetracked with “I” names:
    Ichabod, Ignatius, Ilya …

  7. Ashley replied:

    And I absolutely loooovvve this DIY project! Dacia did such a good job!!! Thank you so much, it made the nursery complete well without the baby 😉

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