Chances are, you’ve seen really cute felt letter boards floating on around Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook in posts from other bloggers and cool brands. Sounds easy enough to shop around for a felt letter board and buy one, but, have you ever looked at the price tag on one of them? A small board can run you $50 and a large one could be $100-$120. That’s a lot to pay for a message board, even a cute one.
Since I didn’t want to pay $100 dollars for a board that came in a cute pink felt, I wanted to try a DIY version. There were a few roadblocks and no, the board is NOT perfect, but I actually prefer that imperfect handcrafted look for some reason. Maybe it’s because I built something with my own two hands…and it required a saw.
Anyway, here’s more about the project!
Cost of the project:
To be frank, I don’t think I cut a lot of costs for this project, but that’s because I really wanted to use a vintage frame. You can find much cheaper frames at thrift stores and get good ones on sale at craft stores.
- 11″x14″ Vintage Frame -$22 (I supported a small local business so I wasn’t too upset about paying a lot for this frame.)
- Felt – $6
- Dowels – $12
- Quartet Letters – $17
- Total Cost for a 11″x14″ board: (22 + 6 + 12 + 17 = $57)
There was actually a lot of felt and there were enough dowels left over to make another board. You could actually make two boards if you purchased another frame and another set of letters, which would make it far more cost effective.
Here’s how to make it!
- Frame with about a 11″x14″ opening, or smaller.
- Felt in the color of your choice (I purchased 1 yard but didn’t use all of it)
- Wooden Dowels ( I purchased 3/16″ x 36″ dowels and used a hacksaw to cut them down to size. It was pretty damn tedious, but I have enough dowels to make another board)
- Hot glue gun and glue
- Hacksaw (depends on if your dowels are the right size)
Note: Select a frame based on how long the dowels you purchase can be. If you want to have a really large board, say 24″x32″, you’ll need to make sure you purchase a bunch of dowels that will fit!
If the dowels aren’t the perfect fit for your frame, saw all dowels to fit the opening of the frame from the back. I wanted my board to be vertical so I made sure all the dowels fit horizton
Make sure you have enough dowels to fit your board! Lay them over the frame. Since the felt takes up room, you won’t need to fill up the entire open area with dowels, but you should aim to cover 2/3 – 3/4 of the open area with dowels to be safe.
Turn your frame over so the back side is up. Use the hot glue gun to glue the felt to the frame on the back of the frame at the bottom edge. Place a dowel over it and position it to to where you can see a sign of the dowel in the opening of the frame. Pull on the felt until it is taut against the dowel and make an accordion fold. Glue in place. You’ll need to glue the dowels to the felt and the felt to the frame as you go. Keep repeating until at the end of the board. You’ll have to keep pulling the fabric taut and gluing. It’s difficult to explain but basically you’re sandwiching the dowels between the felt and gluing in place.
Another approach you can take to build the board is to create a frame with the dowels that will fit within the dimensions of the opening of the frame. Then, place the dowel frame into the real frame.
It’s all complicated but basically just do what you’re comfortable with. This is by no means an easy project. It’s actually pretty tedious and frustrating but at the end of the day this board rocks.
That’s it! You’re done! Put the letters in place and you’re good!