Nailed It! DIY Free-Standing Nail & String Letters

You guys learned about our love of large typography when we made our DIY L.O.V.E. Marquee letters (which looked AMAZING at our wedding by the way!)

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Well the large-wooden-letter train did not stop there! We also wanted to do a large “E” and a large “K” (for Evan and Katelyn) to hang at the entrance of our venue. But it was sort of a last minute addition to the DIY to-do list (and by “last minute” I mean we still had like 2 months… I plan things very far in advance, so 2 months to go counts as last minute), so we didn’t want to take on anything too complicated.

Then I remembered seeing all those cool string & nail letters on Pinterest and it was settled! (Not sure what I’m referring too? Check out these). Of course, we had to do something a littttttle different than what was already out there. You’ll notice that most existing examples are some sort of rectangular “canvas” (wood, foam board, etc) with the nails outlining the letters. We wanted free standing letters.

First we chose a font and printed it really large, similar to how we did for the L.O.V.E. letters, across multiple sheets of paper.

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There are a couple ways to print them that way. When we did the marquee letters, we used a Windows computer which gives you the option to tile your print. You just mess with the settings in the “Page Setup.” Here are some more detailed instructions:

http://scottiestech.info/2009/08/08/how-to-easily-print-a-large-image-to-multiple-pages-in-windows/

This time we used rasterbator.net (aka the most awkward website to tell your friends to go to), which is a site that will print large scale images as multiple dots. It asks you to upload an image, set how many sheets you want it to be, and adjust the frequency of the dot grid (how tight or far apart the dots are). When you print your image, you kind of have to connect the dots (literally) to get your solid outline, but it works in a pinch if you don’t have a Windows

Once we taped together our sheets and cut out our letters, we were ready to go. Mochi wasn’t ready for us to go, but we were ready to go.

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We picked up one piece of 2 feet x 4 feet pre-sanded plywood (the same kind we used for the marquee letters), we traced out the letters, and Evan cut them with his jigsaw. Somehow forgot to take photos of this part. Then we hammered thin finishing nails at regular increments around the perimeter of the letters. Somehow forgot to take photos of that part too. Seriously, we stop blogging for a few months to plan a little wedding and all our tutorial-making skills go out the window. Anyway, here is how things were looking after the nails were in.

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We tried to get pretty close to the edge with the nails, but not tooooo close because we didn’t want the wood to split.

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In retrospect, we should have stained them before we added the nails. But the nails weren’t too hard to stain around. And since they were a dark color, any stain that got on them didn’t really show up. We used a Minwax stain in Dark Walnut and Evan swiped it on with a brush and then spread it out with an old T-shirt rag.

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Then we moved onto the E. Looking good!

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Once they were dry we took them inside to start stringing ‘em up. This was the fun part :D

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I couldn’t decide on what colors to use so I got 3 different teals and 3 different peaches to choose from. We ended up using… all of them! Yep, we got started with a teal on the E and a peach on the K and then just decided to keep going until we used up all the string because we didn’t want to go back to the store, even though the colors weren’t the same. It turned out pretty sweet though!

Below you can see the K after one color of string (it looks white in the photo but it’s actually a light peach) and again after all three colors of string were added.

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To add the string, we would tie one end tightly to a nail and just start zig zagging around, trying to get the string pretty evenly distributed around the letter. When we finished one color, we would tie it off on the closest nail and start a new color.

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Annnnnnd done! It was super fast and easy adding the string.

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The letters looked super cute at the wedding! We used fishing wire to hang them on the big wooden doors at the entrance of our venue.

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And the awesome part is that now we get to use them as art in our home! There is a lot of wedding decor that gets used on the big day and never again, but we tried to make as much as possible usable in our home after the wedding. Now we have these letters hanging on the brick in our entryway.

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You can see them here looking into our living room. (Pay no attention to those stray wires hanging from the ceiling, all will be explained in good time…)

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10 Responses to “Nailed It! DIY Free-Standing Nail & String Letters”

  1. Maria June 12, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

    Awesome! Also THOSE PHOTOS!!!!!! Wow.

    • Katelyn Shibley June 12, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

      Thank you!!

  2. Yvonne @ Sunnyside Up-Stairs June 12, 2014 at 3:50 pm #

    Love your wedding photos! :) The string art letters are a great addition to your brick wall after your special day, too.

    • Katelyn Shibley June 12, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

      Thanks! We really should post more of the wedding photos on the blog!

  3. thebettylimited June 13, 2014 at 3:22 pm #

    Those photos are BEYOND gorgeous!! I didn’t even notice the cute letters, I am just awkwardly staring at how gorge you guys are. :)

    • Katelyn Shibley June 13, 2014 at 4:53 pm #

      Awww you are too sweet!!

  4. Lisa C. June 23, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

    Great pics and letters! We noticed the letters first thing when we arrived at the entrance.
    Katelyn, I think you’ve inherited the Cox DIY genes–ask your Nana about her father (Pawpaw to your mom and I) and her grandfather (known as Popey). Pawpaw was great at carpentry and painting etc. and Popey could, according to the family, do anything–carpentry, paperhanging, painting, blacksmithing . . . he could even estimate the right amount of inches to cut and cut correctly–no ruler needed!
    I got my pics done in AR!!! And have scanned ‘em in and emailed the zip file to your mom.

    • Katelyn Shibley June 24, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

      Thank you! Haha maybe I did inherit some of those genes! Can’t wait to see your photos :)

  5. Grey June 26, 2014 at 11:53 am #

    I love the letters! The lit letters make such a gorgeous backdrop for your wedding photos! And I’m still drooling over that stunning dress…

    • Katelyn Shibley June 26, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

      Thank you! We were really happy with how they turned out! Awww and thank you, wish it was socially acceptable to wear that dress all the time!

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