Custom Fabric Letterboard

Have you ever wanted a letterboard that fit your decor perfectly? One that wasn’t just made from plain felt? Do you have a favorite fabric that would make a perfect letterboard but no idea how to make it happen? Well, here you go! Step-by-step on how to make your a custom fabric letterboard out of your favorite fabric!

I do want to mention that it is the texture of the felt that helps keeps plastic letters in place. Using a quilting cotton like I have here makes them more likely to slip out if the board is hanging up. But it is still perfect for flat-lay photos.

To make your custom fabric letterboard, you’ll need:

1/2 yard of main fabric
1/2 yard of fusible fleece
1/4 yard of border fabric
Cheap or old letterboard
Hot glue and hot glue gun
Rotary cutter and ruler
Marking tool
Plastic cards such as gift cards or hotel key cards

Start by taking apart the old/cheap felt board. Usually they are just glued together, so it is pretty simple to do.

Once you have removed the frame and felt, you’ll have a wooden board with grooves on it. If you have access to a woodshop (or access to someone who has access to a woodshop) they could probably make one of these base boards for you. But, for most of us, just buying a cheap letterboard and taking it apart is easier.

Cut your chosen fabric 1-2″ wider than your board. You want to give yourself a little room. Keep the length of the fabric, don’t trim this down. You can trim it down at the end.

Then back the fabric with fusible fleece.

Then, start tucking the fabric into the grooves. I found this was easiest to do with a plastic card – you could use a gift card or a hotel key card or a store loyalty card. Just something sturdy that will help press the fabric down into the crease.

Keep going, inserting the fabric into each crease. I found that holding the previous crease in place with one card while pushing in the next crease was most successful.

Keep going, inserting the fabric into all the creases.

You may find, if you always start from one side, that the fabric starts to “creep” in that direction. To prevent the creeping, alternate the directions in which you make the creases. Crease one from right to left, and the next from left to right.

When you’re done, trim off the excess around all four sides.

Glue down the edges with hot glue.

Use a fabric marking tool to mark a border around the letterboard. I went with a 1/2″ border, but you can choose what feels right for you.

Measure from this border line all the way to the back, with a 1/2″ overlap. Then double your measurement. This is the width you need to cut for your border strips. Cut a strip this width. Fold the strip in half so that it is just as long, but half as wide (as you would for quilt binding).

Cut a length of this strip as long as the side. Glue this strip to one side of the felt board, with the fabric fold right on the line you drew marking the edge of the border.

Wait for the glue to set, then wrap the strip around to the back. Glue in place. You’ll need to glue down both layers. You can trim the corners on the back to reduce the bulk.

Repeat for the other side. Then repeat for the top and bottom. If you like, you can fold the edges of the top and bottom in to create more finished corners.

That’s it! Your custom fabric letterboard is complete!

Make a custom fabric letterboard in whichever fabrics suit your mood! Once you know how to make it for yourself, it will be hard to make just one!

Organizing Holiday Cards: Christmas Card Book

Holiday Card Storage Book

Every year as I take down my holiday decorations, I take down the display of Christmas Cards, put them in a pile, and want to DO something with them. I love getting Christmas Cards each year (and I love sending them out, too), but after the season is over, I have no way to store them… until now! Several years ago I saw a similar idea to bind Christmas Cards into a book that can be enjoyed for years… and thanks to the inspiration brought on by this week of cleaning and organizing that I’m hosting with Angie from The Country Chic Cottage and Gina from the Shabby Creek Cottage, I have my First Annual* Christmas Card Book!

Holiday Cards

chipboard book coversTo make your own Christmas Card Book you need:
Chipboard Covers (with rings)
Mod Podge Hard Coat
Washi Tape (optional)
Scissors
Paintbrush
Hole Punch
Pen or Pencil
Ribbons (optional)
All your Holiday cards from this year
The Card you sent out this year
Your holiday letter (optional) shrunk down to size

I started by Mod Podging my card to the front cover. It was a little bigger than the cover size I chose. I could always go with a bigger cover, but I liked this size. After Mod Podging the card on, I just trimmed off the excess.

Mod Podge onto Chipboard

I had some of the chipboard showing over on the side where the holes were. I could have just left that part plain, but it felt… well… too plain. So I covered it up with some Washi Tape. Then I put Mod Podge over the washi tape to really secure it – Washi Tape has a habit of becoming un-stuck over time, and I want this book to really last.

Washi Tape and Mod Podge

I used the back cover as a template to mark where the holes needed to go on the cards.

Use cover as template

Then punched holes in the cards. I had fun with this part. I knew some of the cards were going to stick out – so I embraced it. I let cards stick out on the top, bottom, and right. Not all the cards are perfectly centered. I think it adds to the fun.

punch holes in card

I always think it is a shame that I don’t store a copy of our holiday letter somewhere. Sure, I could look it up on the computer, but what fun is that? I shrunk down our holiday letter to 60% so that it would fit on the back cover, then Mod Podged it in place. I used Mod Podge Hard Coat because I find it dries less tacky, and that will keep it from sticking to the cards as it goes into storage for the next 11 months or so.

Christmas Letter shrunk down

Once my covers were dry, I put it all together. For a little extra flair, I tied ribbons to the rings.

Store and Organize Christmas Cards in a cute book

I’m looking forward to keeping up this tradition each year, creating volumes of Christmas Cards from all of our family and friends that we can look back at.

 

*Yes, I know “First Annual” isn’t an actual “thing”. But I’m ok with that.

Organizing 2014: A Thoughtful Kit

About 4 years before I had my first kiddo, a co-worker told me that I was going to be a great mom. She had three little boys, and judged my mom-ness on my ability to focus on the details – baking Halloween cookies from scratch (and frosting them with scratch-made frosting), sending out cards and notes for special occasions big and small, and always wearing a clean shirt. As she said it I remember thinking that I had time for all of these things because I wasn’t a mom. And I was right. Although I get the clean-shirt thing down most days, I don’t have the time to do all the little things I used to. And I want to fix that. This Thoughtful Kit is one step towards a more organized 2014. And since I’m getting together with Angie from The Country Chic Cottage and Gina from The Shabby Creek Cottage this week to share cleaning and organizing tips, I thought I’d share this with you today.

Make a Thoughtful Kit

Before Facebook and Twitter, I actually sent out notes to people. Fun cards with a little note inside – nothing fancy, but always appreciated. Just because we have the electronic means to greet our friends doesn’t mean we have to forget the personal touches, right? This little bag has everything in it to whip out a quick note to a friend, celebrating a success, sharing a fun thought, or just because.

Here’s what goes into a Thoughtful Kit:

1. Some kind of folder or pouch to hold everything. Once filled, this will get tucked in the car so I can easily write a note while waiting at school to pick up the kiddo, or if the baby has fallen asleep on the way to the grocery store. Being organized will help me take advantage of these formerly lost moments.
2. Cards. I have a wide variety here, but the basics are Thank You notes, Birthday Cards, and cards that are blank inside.
3. Pens. Because you never have one handy when you need one.
4. Extra envelopes. Each of my cards has a corresponding envelope, but sometimes you find a magazine article that you want to tear out and mail, or find something at the store you want to send, or you want to mail off some photos (there is something awesome about printing off and mailing a photo versus texting it, don’t you think?).
5. Stamps. Because you can’t mail without them, and having them handy is key.
6. Address Book. If you have all your addresses saved in your phone, you can skip this part. I’m not that fancy. I keep an old-school address book. Actually, I have more than one. This mini one fits perfectly in my Thoughtful Kit.

TIP: Grab all the envelopes from the Christmas Cards you were sent, and double-check the return addresses for any updates so you can have an updated Address Book. If any of the cards you sent out come back returned, update the address in your address book right away so you never have to second-guess yourself when sending out a card!

7. Optional Stuff. I like to have fancy seals or stickers for sealing envelopes. If you use return address labels, tuck those in. Maybe you like sparkly pens or tucking a little confetti inside your cards… tuck that stuff all inside your Thoughtful Kit so you’ll have it ready to go!

What to put in a thoughtfulness kit

Now I’m organized and ready for a super-thoughtful 2014!

Oh, and in case you’re stuck for how to write a thank you note, I wrote a little post on how to write a thank you note that should help you out!

How to Write a Thank You Note

Writing a Thank You Note is a lost art. With all the technological ways we have to give our thanks – Facebook, Twitter, Texts, e-mails… the hand-written thank you note is dying.

How to Write a Thank You Note

I’m not saying that every thank-you needs to be hand-written. Sometimes, a simple text message is best. Sometimes, giving the person a shout-out on Facebook so that all your friends can share in the awesomeness is the perfect touch. And any way that you reach out to thank someone is better than not thanking them at all. But there are times that a hand written thank you note is the best way to express your gratitude.

Starting your Thank You Note

You can start with a salutation of some kind. “Dear Auntie” might sound stuffy, so you can start with “Hello” or jump right into your note.

Thank them specifically

Start your note by saying thank you, and give the reason why. Say “Thank you for the wonderful gift” or “Thank you for sharing your time.” “Thank you for taking time out of your day.” Be specific as to why you are thanking them.

Tell them why you are greatful

Don’t stop at thanking them for their action. Tell them the significance of their actions or gift. Phrases like, “It meant so much to me that you took time out of your day to help me with my project, having you there made it go much more smoothly, and the finished result was better than I could have imagined.” tell the recipient that they mattered. When thanking a person for a gift, tell them what you love about the gift. “I love the sewing kit and have it tucked in my bag – it is so helpful for small projects on the go, and it has already come in handy on several occasions.”

Thanking someone for money or a gift card

Thanking someone for money or a gift card calls for special attention. Let them know what the gift has been used for, or will be used for. “Thanks so much for the check. I’ve deposited it in my savings account so that I can use it on my upcoming vacation. I’ll be sure to think of you when I’m relaxing on the beach!” “The Target gift card has already come in handy – I bought some cute and colorful new tops for myself.”
When thanking someone for money or a gift card, don’t mention the amount. The value of the gift is not measured in dollars, it is measured in your appreciation for their kindness.

End the thank you note with a forward-looking message

If you can, use a forward-looking message to end the thank you note. Tell them you look forward to seeing them soon, or at a specific upcoming event. If you have no plans to see the person in the future, tell them you look forward to seeing them online, or seeing their photos on Facebook. Make a final, shared connection with the recipient of your thank you note.

Use an appropriate sign-off

End your note with a sign-off that feels appropriate. “Sincerely” might feel too formal for a situation like this, so try “Love”, “with thanks”, “thanks again”, or (my favorite) a symbol like a heart or a smiley face.

 

Remember that the most important part of writing a thank you note is saying thank you. If someone gave you a gift – a present, time, money, they gave it because they wanted you to have it. Showing your appreciation for what they gave – in whatever form you can show that appreciation – is the way that you value that gift.