I think I’ve previously admitted my addiction to letters, initials and monograms. In fact, I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to Initial Decor. I hope this doesn’t mean I’m narcissistic! I like to give personalized gifts using initials and monograms too, so it’s not entirely self serving (so I tell myself). We recently did a lot of updates to our kitchen, and I’m working on a “Des Moines” wall for our dining room which will include a subway art sign of meaningful places for us, some photos of Des Moines and this map covered letter I just finished, which is the first of all my projects for the wall.
- Paper Mache Letter (I used a 12″ letter)
- Map(s) big enough to cover your letter
- Circular cutter, Xacto Knife or Scissors
- Modge Podge and/or Clear Sealer
Maps: I found a Des Moines city streets map book at my local Barnes and Noble. The pages weren’t nearly big enough to cover my 12″ letter H. I ripped the pages out of the book, cut off the edges of each page and pieced the maps together to form big enough sheets.
Cutting out a template: This will be different for every letter. I decided to trace my H and then cut down the center to use the inner pieces to wrap around the inside legs, so that everything didn’t have to be completely separate. For the sides I just used strips at lengths that would wrap around the top and outsides. For the back, I traced and cut out the H. If you have letters with a curve, I would just cut out a front and back and then use long strips for the inner and outer edges.
Gluing your maps down: I almost used spray adhesive, but then I decided it would make everything more sticky than I wanted it and more likely that I’d have to keep repositioning my maps if I didn’t get it right. Modge Podge worked fine as long as I brushed it and worked in small sections before it dried.
I was so happy with it when I got it all wrapped, but…
but then I decided to do a spray top coat. I wanted a super shiny finish, but I didn’t want brush marks from the Modge Podge. I hadn’t used my spray clear coat in a while and when I started to spray I just wanted to cry. It got VERY dark. I prayed it was just from being wet and it would dry fine.
That was partially true, but I had some spots where the Modge Podge had eeked through the seams when I was gluing the maps on. My clear coat spray wasn’t very shiny, but the places where the Modge Podge came through was. Grrrr…. I ended up Modge Podging (is that a verb?) the finish anyway. There are a few darker spots still, but I guess it just makes the maps look a little older.
Here’s the finished map covered letter H. Now to finish the other projects for the wall …