How To Make 3D Faux Metal Letters – From Cardboard!

Hey folks! Did you know that these letters are made from cardboard? They aren’t actually real metal, as in…. they were not store bought. What..? You had already guessed that? How?! Hmm you might as well just stop reading right now then as I have obviously failed at this faux metal letters thing …. failed miserably!

THE EASY WAY TO DIY FAUX METAL LETTERS / WWW.GRILLO-DESIGNS.COM



 

Just kidding… Don’t leave yet!

So, you’re telling me that you don’t think these letters look even the slightest bit metallic … ? Oh. You do.. but what’s that? ..’Only if you squint your eyes and tilt your head to the side’ you say? That’s fine … I’ll take that!

A TUTORIAL ON HOW TO MAKE FAUX METAL LETTERS / WWW.GRILLO-DESIGNS.COM

 

WHY I DECIDED TO MAKE THESE FAUX METAL LETTERS FROM A CARDBOARD BOX?

 

INDUSTRIAL STYLE FAUX METAL LETTERS / WWW.GRILLO-DESIGNS.COM

Last month, myself and the Admin of the Grillo Designs HOME & DIY group launched our very first DIY challenge . The challenge: upcycle any sized cardboard box into something fun and creative (I even made a cool graphic to go with it!) The best project is chosen by the most votes and the winner gets a cash prize.

 

Our projects aren’t included in the vote…Boooo! No fun being in charge. We’re still participating though, so technically we should win a prize just for that..right?

 

MAKE FAUX METAL LETTERS FROM A CARDBOARD BOX / WWW.GRILLO-DESIGNS.COM

 

Click here to see what the other ADMIN and everyone else made from their boxes … And VOTE your favourite! (NOW CLOSED!)

 

I used my box to make large 3D letters for my dining room wall and as I’m a sucker for all things industrial I decided to make them look like galvanised metal too… as if the making of the actual letters wasn’t hard enough.
easy-to-do-tutorial-for-faux-metal-letters-grillo-designs-www-grillo-designs-com

I did a semi- awkward Facebook live on my dining room makeover progress which you can watch here.… if you want.

 

Material used to make these faux metal letters:

 

3D FAUX METAL LETTERS FOR AN INDUSTRIAL STYLE DINING ROOM / WWW.GRILLO-DESIGNS.COM

 

TO BUILD:

 

Affiliate links used for your convenience – please see full disclosure here

 

 

USE A CARDBOARD BOX TO MAKE 3D FAUX METAL LETTERS / WWW.GRILLO-DESIGNS.COM

 

 

TO PAINT:

 

 

How to make 3D letters:

I want to make this easy for you.. I really do (because God knows it was anything but for me) so I’m going to explain this in steps. If something doesn’t make sense. just leave me a question in the comment section below

STEP ONE: PRINT

Print off your templates.

 

GALVANIZED FAUX METAL LETTERS TUTORIAL / WWW.GRILLO-DESIGNS.COM

 

These are A3 sized ( my printer only prints A4 sized) so I had to convince the hubby to print them off for me at his work place … It’s not the first time he’s been roped into doing things for me at work. He says his work colleagues no longer ask any questions….they just know! Haha

 

CLICK HERE TO PRINT YOUR LETTER TEMPLATES

 

STEP TWO: START CUTTING

Tape each template in place to your cardboard and cut around the outlines using your knife . Placing a board underneath might be useful here so you’d don’t damage or scratch anything . I used an old magazine halfway through … It’s now in shreds and my flooring has seen better days .

Be smart. Buy a cutting board

 

MAKE YOUR OWN FAUX METAL LETTERS / WWW.GRILLO-DESIGNS.COM

 

Obviously, if it weren’t for the fact that I had to use a cardboard box for this challenge , I most probably would have skipped these steps and bought either wooden or paper mache letters.

 

DIY FAUX METAL LETTERS EASY TUTORIAL / WWW.GRILLO-DESIGNS.COM

 

 

STEP THREE: CUT 3D WALLS

Now that you have your cardboard letters cut and ready , you need to add the ‘3D aspect’. To do this, cut long pieces of cardboard from your box (width depends on how 3D looking you want them to look).

 

CRAFT YOUR VERY OWN FAUX METAL LETTERS / WWW.GRILLO-DESIGNS.COM

 

Using glue attach the ‘walls’ to the outside of the letters (doubling up with tape in corners and edges for added security).

 

HOW TO MAKE 3D FAUX METAL LETTERS FOR YOUR WALL /WWW.GRILLO-DESIGNS.COM

 

This is a very long process. Be warned. Loads of cutting, measuring and sticking

Your letters should look similar to this at this point .. if you’ve gotten this far, give yourself a pat on the back! You sure do deserve it.

 

INDUSTRIAL DESIGN FAUX METAL LETTERS / WWW.GRILLO-DESIGNS.COM

 

STEP FOUR : PAPER MACHE/DECOUPAGE?

The cardboard I had used was quite thick so it had a jaggedly looking outline where it had been cut. I just knew it wouldn’t look good if I painted over it as it was. That’s where the idea to paper mache comes in.

There’s no right or wrong way to do this step. Just tear bits of newspaper and stick in place with your glue. My 4 year old son helped with this part . He had fun but made lots of mess. Nothing unusual about that. He didn’t help clean up – now thats pretty usual for him.

 

DECOPAUGE CARDBOARD TO MAKE THES FAUX METAL LETTERS / WWW.GRILLO-DESIGNS.COM

 

Notice how much nicer the letter’s outline now looks?

Leave to dry overnight … or not . A few hours will do, but all that cleaning up after my son tired me out so I just chilled out on the sofa that night and went back to them in the morning.

 

 

How to get the faux metal letter look:

 

STEP FIVE : PAINT!

Spray paint a layer of white primer paint – leave to dry

Spray paint a layer of rustoleum bronze metallic paint – leave to dry

 

DIY FAUX METAL LETTERS PROJECT FOR YOUR WALL / WWW.GRILLO-DESIGNS.COM

 

Spray paint a thin layer of the metallic paint. They were beginning to look real shiny at this point, which… was not what I wanted. I wanted galvanised!

 

GAL-VA-NIZED! Was that so difficult….really? I mean really?!

 

(Yeah..alright I’ll admit to having a mini panic attack  at this point. You know the kind where you feel like your head will explode and your stomach is about to fly right out of your mouth… OR it could have just been the effects of the paint fumes that was making me feel like that. I’ll never know now will I?)

 

Using your art brush start dabbing on the light grey paint whilst the metallic paint is drying.

 

STEP SIX: ADD FAKE RUST

Add turmeric powder to edges and corners . Sprinkle it on and use your brush to rub it in. This needs to be done when the paint is wet . Why turmeric powder you ask?
Good question…..

 

MAKE A FAUX EFFECT LETTERS SIGN FOR YOUR WALL / WWW.GRILLO-DESIGNS.COM

 

I used the same paint brush for all of this – notice the mix of orange and grey in some areas (ahem.. totally intentional of course)

I thought the letters looked a little flat after adding the fake rust so I also added the slightest shimmer of metallic paint once again and lightly brushed on streaks of the silver rub on wax. And finally sprayed lightly again with the bronze.

Here is the ‘proud mum moment – I just gave birth to this!!’ photo I shared on Instagram

 

 

NOTE: You really need to play this whole painting part by ear. I’m also not the first person to ever think about faking the metallic look- this tutorial was helpful when I thought all was lost.

 

COMPLETED DIY FAUX METAL LETTERS / WWW.GRILLO-DESIGNS.COM

 

I used command strips to attach these faux metal letters to my wall… I like to use renter friendly ideas where I can. I also like to get my deposit back when I move homes.

 

 

Just saying.

 

USE COMMAND STRIPS TO ATTACH FAUX METAL LETTERS TO THE WALL / WWW.GRILLO-DESIGNS.COM

 

Here they are on my chalkboard wall (FYI this is my tutorial on how to to paint this a chalkboard wall)

 

DIY GALVANIZED EFFECT FAUX METAL LETTERS / WWW.GRILLO-DESIGNS.COM

 

save-your-this-diy-project-to-pinterest-by-clciking-here-grillo-designs-www-grillo-designs-com

 

AN EASY DIY TUTORIAL ON HOW TO MAKE 3D FAUX METAL LETTERS/ WWW.GRILLO-DESIGNS.COM

 

Ok let’s just assume for an instance that you have no crafting skills what’s so ever, thought this tutorial was a little long winded, have cash to spare and would rather just buy letters that look like these .That’s totally fine today but let’s not make this a habit please, as me and my little blog would be out of business.

 

Kidding… again.. I think….


Oh and I repeat, don’t forget to VOTE your favourite cardboard project by clicking here … The contest ends on the 9th!

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Comments

  1. Debrashoppeno5

    What a fabulous project. I love the idea you can make any word or phrase without spending a fortune on letters.

  2. Wow these look amazing! I would never have guessed that these started off life as cardboard boxes. Thank you for sharing them at #DreamandSparkle!

    1. Thank you so much , im honoured!

  3. Such a beautiful work Medina! I would never tell they are cardboard.
    Love the paint technique. Great job!

  4. Wow! This is really clever. I would not know from the pictures that the letters were not metal. Thanks for linking up to The Creative Exchange link party! We are featuring your project this week.
    xo,
    Laura

    1. Awesome! Thanks so much!

  5. Awesome tutorial! Thanks for linking u at The Creative Exchange this week. Holly

    1. Thanks for having me!

  6. These look great, and look so easy to make!? You’d never know they were cardboard! #DreamandSparkle

  7. That’s so stunning. They look real and we really struggle to find metal letters here in South Africa. I can’t believe how easy it is. Thank you so much Medina

    1. Thank so much Michelle 🙂

  8. WOW, these look great! I can’t believe how real they look too (well, how “metal” they look). Thanks for sharing for the Home Matters Link Party.

    1. Thanks so much Lindsay!

  9. Wow! It looks like real metal! Great job and great tutorial!

  10. I seriously loved this tutorial and what a great idea to stick those to your chalkboard wall! I couldn’t help but pin this for later. Thanks for sharing on the linky – great find!

  11. These look soooooo good! I think I would’ve failed at this project miserably but, you are freakin’ genius! Especially with the tumeric powder. I’ll bet they look fantastic in person, hung on your wall. It’s so satisfying to make a house a home 🙂 thanks so much for sharing!

  12. Super cool! I’ve been looking for a number 5, which has been surprisingly hard to find. I’ll have to try this. They totally look like metal. Visiting from Inspiration Monday party.

  13. Kristine

    I love this project! I have been coveting those big metal letters ever since they first hit craft stores, but the price!!! I am now confident I can make them using materials and paint I already have. Thank you for sharing your tutorial and links 🙂

    1. Aww thanks Kristine! I love your project…. yup just go for it! And dont forget to share pictures :0

  14. Wow, it’s pretty incredible what you’ve done with an old Ikea box! Those metal letters are not cheap, and yours look soo good. This is a great project because you could make it in just about any font you wanted instead of only having the options available in the store!

    1. Thanks so much Cindy 🙂

  15. These look fantastic you would never think they were cardboard ! Need to make some myself.

  16. Ok, I will admit that when I saw the post in your FB group about this challenge I was a bit skeptical. However, as usual you do amazing things once you’ve set your mind to it. These look so fantastic, I’m tempted to try this myself for my dining room 🙂

    1. haha thanks Tony. I actually had no idea where I was going with it at the start!