Or ‘How do you get molten glue off of raw flesh? Asking for a friend.’
I wanted to make a tutorial for the Hollywood style ‘movies’ sign that I made for Christmas last year and used for our staycation a few weeks back. But I already have a movies sign, so what would be the point in making another one? Nothing, that’s what. Bummer.
Fossicking around downstairs I came across some leftover LEDs from that project which I had bought at the $2 store. Sadly, I’m a numpty sometimes and I accidentally bought some coloured lights when I needed all white for my original project. But luckily for this numpty those forgotten red and blue LED packs sparked an idea for a new, but strikingly similar project. I would supersize my original sign and make a Captain America themed LED monogram letter for my daughter. We are slowly going through and refurnishing her room, this would be a great addition to the makeover.
I feel it only right to mention here that the Hollywood style movies sign was not my idea. I wanted to create an outdoor movie theatre for Christmas for our kids and I saw one in a picture I found on Google images. It looked easy enough to make my own so I broke out the hot glue gun and had a bash. Quite the successful bash if I do say so myself.
Now, my daughter’s name starts with A, so that is what I went with and it is what I will be referring to as we go through the tutorial. Substitute the first letter of your child’s name in or leave it as an A for America, Captain America.
Sorry, started to channel James Bond for a moment there.
Before we start I would just like to put it out there that I still have all my own skin despite my inherent clumsiness and my husband should just sod off. I can totally be trusted with the hot glue gun. I mean, I did suffer minor burns, but that is to be expected. A craft project without serious injury is a success in my book.
Using whatever graphics program you have (or drawing it up by hand if you have more skills than I do) print your A to size. Although I don’t use it for anything else, Publisher’s banners function allows you to print over several pages with no effort so that’s the program I chose. My letter took up four pages.
Layer three circles onto the A to create the rings of the ‘sheild’. Cover up the middle of the A with a triangle shape that has white fill and no border and replace the middle with a star.
Print two copies out.
Turn each copy over and tape together.
Attach one of your printouts to cardboard with a light run of glue.
Using art knife cut the A out, including the star in the middle. Pull your template off. If you work quickly the glue won’t have had time to dry.
Rule a line half way in from the outer edge. Mark every 2 cm. Using something pokey like a skewer, poke holes through the card every two centimetres. This will be your guide to where your lights will go through.
Using the second template you printed, cut circles out of card.
From largest to smallest you will need to cut: white, red, blue.
Glue a piece of red card to the front of the A, completely covering it. Cut off the excess, including the star in the middle.
Glue the white circle onto the middle of the A. Cut off excess
Repeat for the red and blue circles, cutting off the excess after each layer. Check all edges are secured and glue down if necessary. You should now have a shield on your monogram, congratulate yourself and try not to drink the wine until after you have finished using the hot glue gun.
To build up the back make frames by tracing around the A on to more cardboard. Rule a line 1 cm in from the edges and cut to create an outline and cut out the middle.
Do this twice more
While you are at it, cut two more As exactly the same as the first. One out of the cardboard and the other from red card. Put these aside, they will become the backing pieces.
Using hot glue, secure the frames to the back of the A one on top of the other.
Trim the outside edges to make them straight.
Cut strips of red card 8 cm wide. These will need to be long enough to go all the way around the outside edge of the A. Depending on the length of your card, you will need to cut at least 2 and secure them end to end with hot glue.
Draw a line 2 cm in from the edge and score with the back edge of your art knife.
If you have never scored anything before, this is just cutting a VERY shallow line in the card to give your fold a crisp edge.
Starting at the top of a long straight edge of the A, run a line of glue along the built-up edge. Glue the red strip along the edge. The scored edge should be at the back of the A with the 2 cm overhanging the back.
Run the red stripping all the way around the A, scoring the corners as you go.
Cut into the corners and clip just like you are covering school books with contact. Hot glue the overhang down at the back.
Take your 3 LED strings and join them together using a spot of solder. If you don’t have skills and a soldering iron or (like my husband often threatens me with) you have had your hot-and-burny-things privileges taken away due to clumsiness you can either of the following:
- Use one longer string of lights
- Use the three strings and just have three battery packs on the back.
I’ll endeavour to have a separate post for soldering the lights together within the week and link to it.
Cut a notch in the star just large enough for the light string to poke through on the backing A you cut earlier. Cover over the edges of the backing piece with red card.
Flip your monogram over and grab your thin pokey thing again. Punch the holes you made earlier all the way through the card you glued over the original guide holes.
Now turn it back to the front and widen those holes so they are just smaller than your LEDs. I used a philips head screwdriver for this. You want to push it through from the front to make the cleanest hole. It will minimise the ragged edges to be cleaned up later.
Alternating the red, white and blue lights, push the LEDs through so just the tip of the light is showing. Once they are all in place, secure them with a spot of hot glue. If you have a few LEDs left over without holes, it is no big deal. Just leave leave them loose and entomb them inside the body of the letter.
With the battery back on the outside, glue the thick cardboard backing piece in place.
Cut an 8 cm strip of blue card, securing two together if needed as you did with the red card. As with the red stripping, draw a line 2 cm in from the edge and score. Line the star in the middle the same way you did around the outside with red card. Swear a little and try not to drown your frustrations in wine.
Fail, drink wine and continue on.
Fold the scored edges to theback and glue in place.
Cover the back with the red backing card you cut earlier.
All there is left to do is to secure the battery pack to the back of the letter with hot glue and you can drink the rest of your wine without fear of having to explain your hot glue gun accident at the emergency room.