Monday, March 19, 2012

Alphabet Photography Family Sign: Tutorial

As promised, here is a tutorial on my family name sign. I really love it. Thank you to 365 Alphabet Photography for providing the beautiful images!

Well, here's how I did it!

Note: This is more of a here's-what-I-did than a tutorial. It's not completely step-by-step. I wanted to create an original project similar to the way we've created Mod Podge canvas projects here in the past to show you that you can use the same methods but different materials to achieve a different look. You can take the idea of my project and simplify it by creating a simple rectangular or square sign of your own. The guys at your local wood source can cut the wood for you. You don't need all the tools and you don't need to spend as much time as I spent on this project! Don't be intimidated by words and phrases like "jig saw" and "beveled edge."

I started with a plain piece of 1/2" MDF (50"x25"), which cost me less than $9. Using a pencil, I traced the shape I wanted to cut onto the board.

Then I cut it out with a jig saw!

Beveled the edges with a bevel tool attached to my router. Oh, I just love beveled edges. A pretty edge gives any project a more finished and professional look. More "handmade" than "homemade," if you know what I mean. (My husband says it is a "profile tool" not a bevel tool. Just a little FYI.)

I brushed off all the saw dust and sanded the board until it was smooth and uniform. Then I primed it (twice) and sanded it smooth again.

I painted the sign with two coats of leftover paint from previous projects. I wanted a semi-neutral sign, but decided to paint the edge a bolder color to give it a little oomph. I was going for depth with this project. Do you recognize that Dragonfly blue from 2010's bench project? Still one of my favorite colors.

Along with the 1/2" MDF, I also picked up a very thin 1/8" MDF for just under $4 to use as backing for my letters. I painted it to match the sign's edge.

I cut the thin MDF with a circular saw, measuring a 1/8" excess on all sides to make it slightly larger than the 4x6 images. In other words, I cut out nine 4.5"x6.5" backings for my photos. Then I inked the edges to give some extra depth and definition.

Once that was completely dry and smudge-proof, I Mod Podged the images to the backings. Aren't these gorgeous? Thank you, 365 Alphabet Photography!

Mod Podge Tip: when working with photos, it is best to paint a layer of Mod Podge to the back of the photo itself, then affix the photo to whatever medium you're working with (wood, canvas, children--I'm kidding, don't Mod Podge your kids). If you paint the Mod Podge to the wood/canvas first, it will cause for an uneven, bumpy finish or "sucked-in" areas. This is because the wood/canvas material is very porous, whereas the photo paper is thick and non-absorbent. 

Paint Mod Podge to the back of the photo, then line your photo up where you want it and smooth it on for a perfect finish.

See how the Mod Podge dries clear? I can tell you were a little worried about the milkiness of the previous picture!

I decided that, after all the work I'd put into this project, I really wanted to love the end product. So I splurged! I spent as much on these two little decorative mouldings as I did on the rest of the materials combined. But it was worth it.

I painted the mouldings to match the sign. They really gave my sign a beautiful finish.

I meticulously measured and spaced, centered and nudged until everything was just where I wanted it to be. I used E-6000 adhesive, which dries clear, to permanently affix everything to my sign and voila! The finished product, at a whopping 24.5"x48.5":

If you haven't already done so, remember to enter our current contest to win a $30 credit to 365 Alphabet Photography! Go leave a comment on the giveaway post telling us what you'd create with Jodi's gorgeous images! The contest ends today at 5pm, so get on it!

Pepper and I would LOVE to see pictures of any projects inspired by our tutorials and posts. Email us anytime!


Megan said...

What a lovely project...and I love the "profiled" edges and scroll details...really does make it handmade, not homemade. Thanks for sharing and inspiring!

Becca @ The Sassy Penguin said...

I must now get a bevel tool! ahem, profile tool :)

This looks so great.
I love your blog name too ;)