It all started when I saw these awesome oversized paper mâché letters on Pinterest. It seemed so simple, and it would be totally free to make! I could have a huge white “C” for my dining room.
Lord knows I spend enough money buying ceramic and wooden letter Cs from the craft store, right? My little sister often jokes, “You know what this wall needs? ANOTHER LETTER C.”
Well, it turns out that I might be better off buying them. Paper mâché is a fickle, fickle foe.
I started by cutting two large Cs out of bristol board. You need to be sure they’re exactly the same size, because they’ll be serving as a top and bottom of your finished letter.
I grabbed a package of mini paper cups, and used my trusty hot glue gun to attach them to one of the letters. The paper cups act as the ‘filling’ to give your letter depth, and keep it nice and strong.
Then I put the second C on top, and wrapped masking tape around the entire thing. The tutorial on Pinterest called for paper tape, but I didn’t have it — and I have a personal (stubborn) rule about not running to the store once I’m into a project. I just make do! (Spoiler alert: this was totally a mistake.)
I was skeptical of my little C, once it was wrapped in masking tape. It was bumpy and ugly-looking, but I figured paper mâché would hide that (spoiler alert: nope).
I cut strips of newspaper, filled a measuring cup with water, and started stirring the water and flour together until I had a nice gloppy paste.
If you haven’t done paper mâché since you were a kid, it’s really easy and fun. You just dip your paper strips into the goop, use your fingers to remove the excess, and wrap it around your piece — in this case, the tape-covered C.
After two frustrating layers of paper mâché, my C still looked terrible. It was really bumpy and uneven, and I didn’t even think it could pass as “rustic.”
I painted it with a few coats of white, but that only make it look worse.
I thought maybe it the C wasn’t white, the imperfections might not be so obvious. So I used a tester pot of turquoise, but it still looked awful. It was time to come up with a way to salvage it!
I grabbed a $4 skein of grey yard, and sat down one night in front of the TV to begin wrapping my C. I used dots of hot glue here and there to keep everything in place, but it basically consisted of wrap, wrap, wrap, repeat. I was really careful to keep the yarn even at first — without any overlapping — and then I realized it was going to need several layers anyway. So I started wrapping it any way that looked good!
When my C was fully wrapped, I felt vindicated! It wasn’t the shiny white C I had originally wanted for my dining room, but it was a soft grey C that added texture and warmth to the basement playroom. A project that had started off so lumpy and bumpy was now something I felt happy to hang on the wall.