Monday, January 5, 2015


DIY Custom Monogram Art

Sometimes it can be difficult to think of awesome gifts for my sister. She is pretty awesome so I wanted to make sure that I had an awesome gift to give her. However, the budget for Christmas was pretty tight this year so I knew I wanted to make her something. She had a custom monogram on her Amazon wish list for a while so I thought I would give that a try. This is the end result. I would say it was a success! Time consuming, but a success. 

I took a scrap of 1/4" thick plywood and drew some fancy curly swirly letters on it in pencil to create her initials. I made sure that as many of the swirls came in contact with another portion of the wood as much as possible so there were fewer weak areas in the wood. Then I took a cordless drill with a 1/2" drill bit and drilled at least one hole in inside each of the areas I wanted to cut out. You have to have a way to get the jigsaw blade into the wood after all. 

Then I carefully used the jigsaw to follow the curved lines. This took quite a bit of time. Since I was using 1/4" plywood I had to hold the wood out past the edge of the table to cut it and support all the weight of the saw with my hand rather than letting the weight of the saw rest on the wood. 

Let me tell you it was pretty scary when I got to the K. I knew it would be the weakest point so I started from the M and worked towards the K. But cutting out the pieces that met in the center of the K I was basically holding my breath hoping and praying that it didn't break at that point. I was several hours into cutting this thing out and I would have been so irate if it broke then. But all was well! Here is the finished cut out. A little sanding and I was ready for paint!

For the simple frame I bought some chair rail molding from Home Depot and used the router to cut out a notch for a plywood back to set in, cut the corners to a miter, then glued and stapled the frame together and clamped it up. I wish I had taken a picture of the frame all clamped up waiting for the glue to dry. Then I just cut another scrap of plywood and glued it inside the frame.

I would also like to note that I did this entire project on my own without the hubs. Although he had shown me how to use the tools on other projects.

The monogram letters got a coat of gold paint. I used DecoArt Elegant Finish Metallic Paint in Emperor's Gold. At first I thought it was too orange-y of a gold rather than a gold gold. But I kept on going (mostly because I didn't have time to find another color of gold paint and re-paint it. After three coats of gold paint it was totally gilded and ready to go. I really like that you can still see the wood grain of the plywood even though it looks like it was cut out of gold.

The frame got two coats of DecoArt Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint in Everlasting then a coat of the Americana Decor Creme Wax. Once I set the gold letters on the white frame the gold looked perfect and you could practically hear angels singing (maybe it was just the Celtic Woman Christmas album that was playing... but it totally had the same effect). 

Now gold is one of those trends that goes in and out. So I wanted to make it easy to remove the letters and repaint them when gold goes out of style again. To attach the letters onto the frame I just put two of the Command Picture Hanging Strips (kinda like velcro, but not) together and cut them into about 1/4" wide strips. Then it was just peel and stick to add a bunch of these velcro like pieces and just press it onto the frame. 

A couple of hanging loops screwed onto the back and I was done! Thankfully it was nice enough (28 degrees and overcast but not raining) to take the finished project outside to get some photos. Then it was ready to be wrapped. 

All in all it was worth all the work to see how excited my sister was with her fabulous wall art. I was worried it would be too big since it ended up being about 28" x 40" but it works perfectly over her desk. Since we already had the plywood and some of the paint I just ended up having to by the chair rail trim and the Chalky Finish paint. That's what I call a score!

Linking to these parties.