DIY Project: Paper Mache Letters – Harry Potter Style

Here it is finally! My first official DIY post! I found a project on pinterest, which is what I somewhat followed to get me started in sculpting, you can find that here. I went a slightly different route from her project, though. Instead of simply applying gold leaf to the letters, I took an extra step and applied paper mache to them to make them a bit stronger.

This project was FAR more time consuming than I imagined it would be, but it turned out so beautiful! Let’s jump right into it, shall we?!

Project Supplies:

  • Poster board/card stock
  • Silhouette Cameo or Printer
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors
  • Paper mache (recipes here)
  • Newspaper
  • Metal leaf
  • Metal leaf glue/sealer

Project Supplies

Printing the Letters

To start out, I downloaded the Harry Potter font from dafont.com and cut out the letters using a Silhouette CAMEO. Size is up to you, I went with the biggest it would let me while staying on the cutting mat. The tallest letter ended up being about 12 inches and the shortest was around 4 or 5 inches. I was still hesitant about the letters being too small, but seeing them held against the wall eased my mind. The size was perfect!

Sculpting the Letters

This next step was probably the most time consuming and difficult part of the project for me; sculpting the letters out. It is honestly a matter of trial and error in getting the letters to look exactly how you want them. The original poster for this project goes in depth about how she sculpted her letters, however, I did mine differently. Instead of using two sheets of poster board to create the 3D look, I used a bunch of fat strips folded in half.

DIY Project: Paper Mache Letters

It took a lot of little pieces of the poster board and a lot of tape, but even before I applied the paper mache, the letters looked fantastic! Unfortunately this was the only picture I got of the letters while I was working on sculpting them. I also managed to snap this shot of my cute little helper before he got himself kicked out. He couldn’t keep his little paws (or teeth) off the project!

DIY Project: Paper Mache Letters

After sculpting about half the letters I went a made my paper mache paste. A quick google search will give you TONS of different recipes, I found a one stop shop for several recipes here.

Making the Paste

The recipe I used was the boiled paste made from flour and water. I mixed 4 tablespoons of flour with 2 cups of water and brought it to a boil on medium heat. As soon as it started to boil I removed it from the heat, let it cool enough to transfer to another bowl, and brought it back with me to finish sculpting out the rest of my letters, occasionally I would stir it, because of minor separation. It took about an hour and a half to cool down, by that point I had gotten a couple more letters sculpted out, so I went ahead and cut 1 inch strips of newspaper and got to pasting!

DIY Project: Paper Mache Letters

Here are the letters finally al(most) done – it only took about 6 hours of very hard work! Oh, and here’s our baby boy’s first name!

It was at this point, where I thought the hardest part was over! I was half right. Working with gold leaf is no walk in the park. It took me almost an hour alone just to get the S done.

Applying the Metal Leaf

To apply the gold leaf I worked in medium sized sections of each letter. I started with mod podge, but after learning that the sealer I bought was also a glue (per the instructions on the can) I decided to switch to just the sealer and it worked way better in my opinion! It starts out greasy, which I find nice while applying the metal leaf, then gets tacky after a while. Anyways! First I sprayed the letter with an even coat of metal leaf sealer, then took 1inch by 1inch pieces of the gold leaf, and applied them. I chose to do it this way because I felt like it gave the letters a more of a rough look. After the letter was totally covered, I sprayed it in one coat of metal leaf sealer, then once that was completely dry the letter got a second coat.

Final Results!

DIY Project: Paper Mache Letters
It looks off center – because it is by an inch, and I’m sure the angle of the picture doesn’t help much.
DIY Project: Paper Mache Letters

I had a hard time finding a way to mount them on the wall, so after several google searches, and a few laps around target I decided to go with Scotch Outdoor Mounting Tape. It’s probably permanent, and it’s probably going to destroy the letters once it’s time for them to come down, but the wall is brick, and I don’t want to worry about the letters falling off the wall. If you are mounting to drywall or a smooth surface, I would recommend just sticking with command strips.

Welp! Thats it for today, thanks for stopping by! If you have similar projects I would love to see how they turned out! Xx

2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Would you consider making some of these to sell? My baby has a short name! hehe. Please contact me if you are!

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