DIY Letter Art

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So, I poached this idea from a friend of mine.  She did her last name out of architectural features, had it framed and gave it to her husband for an engagement present. It’s absolutely beautiful. What makes it even more special is that she took all the pictures herself, from buildings or structures that have personal meaning to them.

I wanted to do something similar for Oliver. But because he has an enormous affection for trains (one might almost call it an obsession) and hasn’t exactly created any attachments to architecture, I decided to go with a train theme.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t really feasible for me to take the pictures myself so I had to scour Google images trying to find train parts, or things related to trains that look like letters in his name. The “O”, “I” and “V” were easy. I had to stretch my imagination a little bit for the other letters. In case you can’t tell what they are the “O” is a train wheel (from an old steam train, like Thomas, of course), the “L” is the corner of a train window, the “I” is a funnel from a steam train, the “V” is a section of tracks, the “e” is a coupling and the “r” is part of a train bridge.

Oliver recognized that most of the letters were train related, which was very satisfying. 🙂

To make your own you’ll need:

  • photos of letters in your name from objects, buildings, etc. (see below for more details)
  • foam board
  • twine
  • mini clothes pins


Here’s what you need to do…

Find the letters you need:

You can do this either by taking the pictures yourself or finding images on Google. If you can take them yourself then you’ll have more control over the quality. It took me a long time to find the right pictures, at the right angle and size. Check out Alphabetical Architecture for ideas. Or just choose a theme and see what you can find. 🙂

Create Uniformity:

Once you have your images, make them a similar colour. This helps make the name more legible. Sepia or black and white look great. I used the blue tint in Photoshop Elements to compliment the blue window frame of the “L”. I think you  can add colour tints in iPhoto as well.


Printing them out can be an issue because not all letters are suited to one orientation (portrait or landscape). I wanted my letters to be the same shape and size so I chose to print them as 4X4s. Black’s offers this size now, meant for Instagram photos.

Mounting or Framing:

Depending on how manly letters are in your name or how you choose to print your photos, you’d most likely have to get it professionally framed, as my friend did. Framing looks brilliant but it’s costly. For this project I decided to tape some twine to foam board and use mini clothes pins to hold the pictures in place. I figure this look suits a kid’s room or playroom. For a different look, you could modge podge it onto the foam board. See a similar example here. This would be more durable and I may end up doing that in the future with Oliver’s train name.


I’m really pleased with how it turned out. And Oliver loves it, which is the main thing. For a two year old that adores trains, it doesn’t get much better than this. 😉


3 thoughts on “DIY Letter Art

  1. This is very creative and a great visual tool for children, as they have to match the image to a recognizable letter and make associations between the letters as well. Lovely work!

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