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How To: Oversized Love Sign


Large and in-charge

by Maddie Eisenhart, Digital Director & Style Editor

How To: Oversized Love Sign | A Practical Wedding

When we put a call out for crowdsourced DIY inspiration earlier this year, the idea was to deconstruct and simplify really cool statement pieces into simple instructions. But as the suggestions started pouring in, it quickly became clear to us that a lot of the really cool ideas you see floating around Pinterest and other sites are, in fact, the work of skilled professionals. In many cases the projects you loved took days, if not months, to complete. There was a good reason that you loved them, but none of us own a wood laser cutter.

So instead, what we’ve put together for this set of tutorials is more like a hack than an exact deconstruction. Because the beauty of wedding aesthetics is that, for the most part, you really just need the idea to come across. This isn’t Project Runway. Nobody is judging your craftsmanship up close and asking why you hot glued your centerpieces instead of sewed them.

How To: Oversized Love Sign | A Practical Wedding How To: Oversized Love Sign | A Practical Wedding How To: Oversized Love Sign | A Practical Wedding How To: Oversized Love Sign | A Practical Wedding How To: Oversized Love Sign | A Practical Wedding How To: Oversized Love Sign | A Practical Wedding How To: Oversized Love Sign | A Practical Wedding How To: Oversized Love Sign | A Practical Wedding How To: Oversized Love Sign | A Practical Wedding

Photos: Allison Andres / Styling: Michelle Edgemont

The original inspiration for this tutorial was a combination of this amazing light-up “LOVE” sign and these oversized letters hanging in a tree. The kicker was figuring out a way to mimic the impact of those pieces, without requiring special tools like a laser cutter or special knowledge like electrical engineering. So when we found these amazing 23″ paper mache letters at JoAnn Fabric (and after Meg finished creating questionable feminist vocabulary with them in the store), the doors swung wide open on this thing.

If you’re a lazy crafter looking for an easy impactful piece to put up at your wedding, you’re going to love this one so damn much for two reasons:

  1. The letters cost $9.99 each (Update: They are on sale today for $5.99!), which brought the whole project in under $100, and that’s without the coupon we had.
  2. It took about an hour to make this from start to finish. Which is exactly how much patience I have for crafting.

The steps are remarkably simple. And my favorite part? They don’t require any kind of technical artistry. Just spraying and gluing and cutting, which are crafting verbs I can handle:

  1. Go to JoAnn’s (or JoAnn.com) and buy these letters
  2. Spray paint them white. (Meg fell in love with this blue lace in store, but you can do anything with these letters that you want. Spray paint them hot pink, cover them in glitter, make them glow-in-the-dark—the possibilities are pretty endless.)
  3. Once the paint is dry, spray the letters with spray adhesive. Give the adhesive a minute to dry and get tacky before moving on to step four. (If you don’t, the liquid from the spray adhesive can make the dyes in your fabric run.)
  4. Gently place your fabric onto the spray adhesive, being careful that it lays flat and doesn’t wrinkle. Smooth it down so that the adhesive bonds to the fabric.
  5. Cut off any excess fabric. We took the lazy way out and only had the fabric lay flat on one side of the letters, but a craftier/less-lazy person could wrap it around the letters if they were so inclined.
  6. Screw eye hooks into the top and run fishing wire or twine through the hooks to hang from your desired location. We affixed these to some branches on an ivy wall. The letters are super light, so you really only need a bit of support to keep them up.
This project now lives in my office, if that’s any indication of my love for it. So go forth! This is just one idea for how you can use these letters, but there are a million other ways to interpret this project and make it work with your wedding. Happy lazy crafting to one and all.

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is the Managing Editor of A Practical Wedding. She’s been writing stories about boys and crushes since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) in the art of talking from NYU in 2008. In her spare time, she takes pictures of people in love. Maddie lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband Michael, her Mastiff named Juno, and her roommate named Joe.

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  • Ellen

    I know this isn’t the point of the tutorial, but the “ONE LOVE” picture cracks me up. I’m singing Bob Marley songs in my head now. Thanks!

    More to the point: I am now trying to think of awesome things we could put in giganta-letter form so I can make use of this tutorial.

  • Beth

    The letters are on sale RIGHT NOW for $5.99 each! Yay! I’m already married, but there must be something I can use them for, right? :)

    • Erin

      I just used them to make a giant marquee-type light sign for my daughter’s bedroom. Cut off the face of each letter, took out the cardboard stuffing, spraypainted, then wired them with LED globe lights. It goes across one wall of her bedroom and she loves it . . . her name in lights!

  • Laura C

    Contemplating words other than love (though not the one Meg went for) that we might want at our wedding. Which is uncharacteristic because boy am I not a DIY-er of anything but food.

    • alpelican

      I was just thinking of what would be the funniest thing to write out in letters at a wedding without being wildly inappropriate:

      “EGADS”
      “WOW”
      “OMG”
      “YOLO”

      • Katelyn

        Some more:

        WOOHOO
        YAY
        WE DO

        And if you’re feeling crafty and want to make your own “+” or possibly re-construct the T you could do your initials: B + K

    • meg

      Honest truth: Love was not our first choice. But the letters were on clearance, and we had to figure out what we could spell with the remaining letters :)

      • TeaforTwo

        I was hoping for “Be Merry” to hang over the bar at our Christmas wedding cocktail hour, but JoAnn.com doesn’t have any Rs left!

      • patrice

        meg! curious to know what word you originally wanted to go with??

  • http://www.alivingspace.com Julia@a-living-space

    If people want to make relatively easy light-up letters, kindof like the first inspiration sign but a lot simpler, check out this DIY post from one of my favorite little blogs: http://www.gohausgo.com/2012/11/the-big-day-diy-10-marquee-initial/

    She only spent $10 and made a pretty sweet marquee initial for her wedding!

    • SamiSidewinder

      My step-father made a light up version for me much like the one in the blog, except he didn’t cut off the front face of the letters, which keeps them a bit more sturdy.

  • D

    Wow, I’m sorry, but I think almost €100 for just a four-letter word sign is pretty expensive to me.
    I guess I could consider myself a crafty person but I would definitely do decorations for less money (and probably more time, I’ll give you that)

    • D

      Sorry I mean $100 of course, but still think that’s quite expensive!

      • http://andshelovesyou.com Lucy

        Just to clarify, it says under $100, not exactly $100. Four letters at $9.99 is closer to $50. You can cheat this and use what tools you have (ie, instead of buying eye hooks you could just put holes in the top, hang them with thread you already have and make sure they’re above eye level) and come in cheaper.

        There’s also another “craft secret”, that JoAnn’s regularly puts out coupons for 50% off certain sections of the store. Not to mention slashing prices within certain sections of the store on a weekly rotation. So it’s entirely possible, with a bit of leg work, to get these for $4 to $5. I’ve never bought anything for full price at JoAnn. When we went in to buy nearly 80 feet of burlap for our table runners, the attendant gave me a 50% off coupon, so our $60 purchase turned into $30. JoAnn is a cheapskate’s dream world, and I honestly don’t know how they make money sometimes.

        • alpelican

          The even cheaper hack would be to superglue a couple layers of cardboard together and use an exacto knife to cut the letters… but sometimes it is worth spending a little money to save a lot of time and frustration.

          • meg

            I was going to say! Yes, if you want to build them from scratch, you could go cheaper. I DO NOT WANT TO BUILD THEM FROM SCRATCH. All caps. If I wanted to do it, $50 to $100 would be an awesome deal for a high impact item. If that felt like too much, I wouldn’t bother at all. I’m big on not bothering at all.

            But yeah, I don’t think $50ish dollars for this project is very steep, considering.

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    At first I thought you’d used the lace as a stencil. I’ve seen that done as well and it looks pretty cool.

  • KTMARIE

    I haven’t taken the time to compare pricing to what you have, but I fell in love with this website http://www.craftcuts.com/ for doing some home decor word stuff. There are tons of options and I have always found the pricing to be very reasonable. I bought a handful of letters for our wedding representing our schools (ex: UNC and RIT) and my fiances fraternity so we can take alumni pictures with people holding the letters up!

  • SamiSidewinder

    YEA! So glad to finally see the finished product of all the APW How-to suggestions! And sometimes its worth it to not have the electrical version b/c hanging it on a wall gets kind of complicated and it ends up sitting in a box for a month and a half… Sometimes.

    Well worth the hack!

  • Brianne

    I did this with just our first initials and floral store moss. It turned out great but it was a pain in the butt. Now I wish I’d used lace.

    I also have medium-sized metallic spray-painted letters that spell HOME up on the wall.

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