DIY Paper-Covered Ampersand

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From time to time I get this overwhelming surge in creativity and the need to get crafty. Pinterest adds a lot of fuel to this fire. Like, a lot! When I pinned this project from A Cultivated Nest (view the original post here) to cover chipboard letters with scrapbook paper, I wasn’t sure what I would use it for. And then came Michelle and Brad’s engagement shoot a few weeks ago and she mentioned using an ampersand as a prop. Within hours I found myself in the scrapbooking aisle at Michaels’ on the Upper West Side, perusing their paper selections. I knew Michelle would love the glittery gold paper I picked, which fit perfectly with their autumn shoot in Central Park (see more from the shoot here). But I also picked up a second ampersand letter and a natural, stone-looking paper so I could incorporate making it into a DIY blog post!

Without further ado, here’s how to make your own scrapbook paper-covered letters:

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To start, you’ll need a chipboard letter (or letters) of your choosing, 12×12 scrapbooking paper (one for each letter you’re making), acrylic paint and an adhesive. Most people use Mod Podge as a glue, but I actually prefer using the Liquitex Gel Medium. It also works great to prime canvas and make photo transfers! For the glittery gold letter, I used a flat black paint on the ampersand, but for the stone one, I found a really cool bronze color to paint the chipboard first. While you don’t have to paint the letters, it does add to the overall look of them if you do.

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I lay down some wax paper while I work to keep my surface underneath clean and to keep the tacky paint from sticking as it dries. Be sure to paint the front, back and edges of the letter.

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Once the paint is dry, usually in an hour or so, lay the letter upside down on the back of the scrapbooking paper and trace the shape with pencil; cut the letter out of the paper. Brush the front of the painted chipboard with your adhesive and carefully apply the paper cutout. I always start from the top middle and smooth the paper out to the edges as I work my way down the chipboard so I don’t get any bubbles in the paper.

Depending on the intricacy of the letter or shape, another option is to apply the glue to the front of the chipboard letter and stick it on top of the full sheet of scrapbooking paper. Once the glue has dried, you can cut around the shape with an X-Acto knife. This would have been a good way to do the ampersand since it has the middle pieces to cut out.

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I laid the freshly glued shape on some wax paper and then applied a few heavy books on top while it dried. This helps with adhesion and keeps any more bubbles from forming. I let it sit overnight to fully dry. Whichever way you choose to cut the paper, you’ll find that there is a slight edge hanging over the chipboard. This is easily removed some fine-grain sandpaper. On the natural paper ampersand, I took off a little extra paper in certain places to give it a more distressed look. I did not do this on the glittery gold letter, as I wanted it to have a more polished finish.

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And just like that you have a fun photo prop! I’ve seen couples use their initials in engagement shoots, but why not use numbers as new way to do Save-The-Dates. Or spell out “Love” as a backdrop to your place-card table at your wedding, or spell “Home” like A Cultivated Nest did as a beautiful home decor item. The possibilities are endless, happy crafting :)

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