DIY Painted Letter Board

I got this letterboard a few years ago, and it’s the best. It generally has a rotating quote from The Office, although John Mulaney has been added in here and there. Recently, I have really started to hate how it looks. I really wanted one that had white felt and black trim. I started looking for one, but the biggest ones I could find at reasonable prices were all 16×20. Mine is 18×24, and I need that space for the long quotes, you know?

So in order to avoid spending $140 for a new letter board, I scoured the Internet a bit and found two really good blogs about painting letterboards. One lady created a letterboard with a frame, which was not my plan, but the colors were really pretty and matched my art corner so I followed suit.

I already had most things required, but here is a list of the supplies I used:
A gradient of purple paints
Walnut Wood Finishing Cloths
Painter’s tape
-Something sharp (I used a Cricut Spatula that I already had)

I started by counting the lines and dividing them by 6 (the amount of different color purples) so that I would know how many lines each section had. My board has 86 lines, so each section was 14 or 15 lines. I used an index card to know where to stop painting. I would advise using something that isn’t paper, because I had to get the paper out from between the lines because it got wet from paint. I sanded the wood, added tape around the edges (also gets stuck from paint), added a bit of the water to the paint to keep the felt from getting super hard, and started to paint. In the blogs I read, a white felt board was used and I assumed that painting over black would be a problem. I was right. It looked terrible. I tried one section and this is how it came out:

This is like 2 or 3 coats of paint that sat overnight. Most of the paint was soaked into the felt, you could barely see the purple, and it was extremely uneven. So I decided to paint it white first (mixed with water still), and paint the next section. It turned out much better, and the purple was much more visible.

After using white paint on the second section, I decided to use gesso + water for the rest of it. Using white paint, it needed 2 layers of white, and that amount of paint coupled with the purple paint just made the felt too hard. I only had to use one layer of gesso + water.

Even though the purple on the section was more visible, I didn’t like how it looked so I painted over that section with gesso as well. That section was a mess when I separated it at the end. It really stuck together! Anyway, after I finished and took the tape off, there was some paint that got on the wood, and some of the tape got stuck when the paint dried.

I sanded the excess paint off of the wood, took the tape out, and filled in the parts that were still white. After fixing the edges, here is the letter board:

Ok, so next is the sides. In retrospect, I could have left the sides as is. It was really pretty, but it turned out well anyway. So first I used the wood finishing cloths to stain the sides, and it was hot trash. I imagined it to be darker, but it really just looked like the color of poo.

So obviously, I immediately sanded that off! Next, I used the Cricut spatula to make space between the lines. They got tighter with the paint, and had to be broken apart in order for the letters to fit.

The grain in the wood was left a little darker after sanding the wood finish, and I considered leaving it that way because it’s not terrible. But the longer I looked at it, the more it bothered me. LOL. It was just too bare, so after about two weeks I tried black on the sides- didn’t love it. Gold on the sides- didn’t love it. Then Al suggested dark grey, and I thought… yeah, I’ll try it. lol. So I got some neutral gray paint from Michael’s and gave it a whirl and really liked it. I sealed it off with some Mod Podge to finish it.

Because of all of the sanding I did, the edges need to be cleaned up a bit so I put some more purple paint over them. I’ll probably touch them up again soon, because I still don’t love the edges. Overall though, I am really happy with how it turned out. I get to keep my large letter board, and I only spent $9 (paint and sandpaper)! Here is the final product:

Perfect little spot for some love of The Office πŸ™‚

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