We still get lots of comments/questions about these, so we made a video tutorial! Came up with some new tips that make the tricky parts wayyyy easier. Check out the video below!
You can also click here if you want to see the update tutorial in written form, or keep reading below to see the original one.
[Before we keep going, I want to pause and say if you have a sec it would mean SO much to us if you’d like our video or subscribe to our channel. We’re new to YouTube, so every view, like, and sub makes a huge difference for us. Thank youuuuu!]
(Continued from part 1) There are a ton of great toys you can use for this next step… I mean… power tools… I used my jig saw. It’s a great wood/everything cutting power tool when you’re living in an apartment and don’t have a garage to store big toys. Soon to be fixed ^_^ (I’m sure there will be a post with a handyman garage setup).
Since we traced the letters in the previous post cutting them out was pretty easy. Remember, don’t push too hard or the edges will be rough and require more sanding. If you are unfamiliar with using a jig saw I would practice on some spare lumber. Also, since we bought our lumber before hand we planned the height of the letters so they would not require any cutting on the top and bottom. Before you know it you’ll have a masterly crafted letter in your hands:
Letters like the L are pretty easy to cut. No hard to reach corners. But when tight corners do arise don’t loose hope. Again, get some extra lumber and test to see how tight corners you can cut with whatever power tools you are using. With my jig saw I ended up doing a gradual turn and then backtracking to get that straight edge I wanted:
Before you know it you’ll have all your letters cut out! Good thing we remembered to take a picture when we were all done and not just partially so!!… not.
Whatever could we be spelling?! Live?!… umm can’t think of anything else but the other live… and love :)
Next we roll out the template again and gently hammer a nail in (somewhat of an oxymoron). Just nail it partially in to mark where you’ll be drilling later:
For the lights that we mentioned earlier a 13/16″ spade drill bit worked PERFECTLY! Just barely lets the light socket through. Make sure to measure a properly sized hole if you aren’t using our same lights. Run to your fav hardware store and pick up a your fav type of hole drill and have at it!
Follow the pattern you laid out earlier with your gentle nailing and you’ll do swell! Lay out your letters and admire your handiwork:
After you’ve made all the holes for your light bulbs, you’re gonna want to sand things down a bit. Because the plywood we got was pre-sanded, this part was pretty easy. We just did a few gentle swipes along the face of the letters and focused mainly on the edges using 220 grit sand paper.
Next came my favorite part… staining!! This was the first time we stained anything and it was awesome. Now we want to stain ALL THE THINGS! Before you go all stain crazy on your letters though, I’d recommend testing the stain on some scrap wood first. Again, we used Minwax stain in “Dark Walnut” (because we loved how it look on some projects over at Young House Love!)
We tested how the stain looked after sitting for 1 minute, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, and 10 minutes. When each section was done, we wiped things down with a clean old T-shirt. The visual difference between the stain times was pretty subtle so we decided to go with 1 minute. Hey, we are impatient!
Now it’s time to go to town on the letters! Make sure to wipe them down to get rid of dust and stuff first. Also, work somewhere well-ventilated. For us that meant our wittle teeny apartment balcony. Gotta work with what you’ve got! Also, remember to lay down a dropcloth or something to catch any drips. I read online that you’re supposed to apply the stain with the grain, so that’s what we did. The internet said so, so it must be true!
We didn’t worry too much about our edges because they won’t show once we add our metal sides. Also, by the time our minute of staining time was up almost all the stain was absorbed by the wood, but we still wiped off the little bit of excess with a clean old T-shirt.
Literally like 5 minutes later, we were done! Of course, you know we also had to pop some light bulbs in and test how they looked with the stained wood. One step closer to marquee-style letters for our wedding!