Making signs for the classroom or your home by cutting out your own letters is a great way to express yourself. However, sketching out each letter individually can be time-consuming, especially if you’re cutting out a lot of them. Thankfully, you don’t have to spend hours using stencils or a pattern to make your letters look even and uniform.
Part 1 Cutting out Rectangles
1. With a ruler and a pencil, draw a 1 in (2.5 cm) grid on your rectangles. You don’t have to use a grid on your letters, but it helps a lot if you want them to be perfectly symmetrical. On all of your letters, use a ruler to measure 1 in (2.5 cm) blocks and lightly trace a grid with a pencil.
You don’t have to use a grid if you don’t mind your letters being slightly uneven or if you have a lot of letters to cut out.
Make a pencil outline of your grid so you can erase it later.
2. Rectangles that will be an O, C, G, or Q should have their corners rounded. Take your scissors and place them on one of the corners of a rectangle. Cut the corner point at an angle so that it is rounded and smooth, then cut the rest of the points off. You can do this with any rounded-edged letter.
Curve the corners of your rectangles if you drew a grid on them so that half of one grid square is cut off on each corner.
Part 2 Shaping the Letters
1. To make things easier, try to stick to upper case letters. Lower case letters have more curves that make cutting them out difficult. If you’re okay with it, try to use all upper case letters for a chunkier, blockier look.
This will also make your sign look more consistent.
2. To get started, cut the edges of your letters. Once you’ve decided which letters to cut out, begin with the ones that only use straight lines, such as E, N, and A. To begin making the shapes of your letters, cut straight lines off the sides of the paper.
To make the basic shape of an A, for example, make two diagonal cuts on either side of the rectangle.
Cut out two small rectangles on the right side of your paper to cut out the lines on the right side of the letter if you’re making an E.
If you’re using the grid method, you can use the grid lines to ensure that your cuts are even on each side.
3. For smooth letters, keep your cuts rounded. Smooth corners can be found on letters such as S, G, C, and O. When you begin cutting them out, don’t cut in a single straight line. Instead, when cutting out the shapes for these letters, make your cuts rounded and smooth.
Use the boxes to ensure that your curves are even on each side if you drew a grid on your rectangles.
4. Fold your paper in half to cut inside pieces. For letters with a chunk cut out of the middle, such as A and O, gently fold your piece of paper in half, being careful not to crease it too much. Then, cut a small hole in the centre of the paper with your scissors. Unfold your paper so that it is flat, and then cut out the inside of the letter using the hole you made.
This trick works for any letter with a cutout in the centre, such as A, B, D, O, P, and Q.
5. If you used a grid, remove it from your letters. To remove the grid, take a large eraser and gently rub it over your letters. Take care not to rip any of your letters accidentally.
If you’re making a sign for a math class, you can leave the grid in place to make your letters look more like graphing paper.
Part 3 Mounting the Letters
1. To make your letters stand out, glue them to cardstock. If you used construction paper or felt, attach your letters to some cardstock with a glue stick or liquid glue for a thicker, more eye-catching back. You can leave your cardstock as is, or cut it out in the shape of each letter about 0.5 in (1.3 cm) larger so that it stands out.
Adding cardstock to your letters is a great way to keep them around for a long time.
2. Glue your letters to a poster to hang them on the wall. Choose a thick piece of paper, such as cardstock, and arrange your letters in order to make a sign. Use a glue stick to secure them in place for a cute label, activity guide, or example question.
Add a decorative piece of paper behind your letters to make your sign more visually appealing. It can be floral, with bold stripes, or with polka dots.
Tip: Once your sign has dried, laminate it to make it last longer.
3. Outline your letters in pencil to make them stand out. If you’ve glued your letters together and they don’t stand out as much as you’d like, try drawing a thick line around each letter with a pen or dark pencil. This gives them a more defined shape and draws attention to them.
This is ideal for highlighting signs in the classroom that you want your students to pay attention to.
4. Make a banner out of your letters by tying them together with twine. Cardboard should be used to reinforce your letters, and twine should be hung between two push pins. Hang up each letter individually with clothespins to spell out your phrase or saying.
This is an excellent method for displaying letters above a whiteboard or corkboard.
You can also use a hole punch to make holes in the top of each letter before threading the twine through the holes.
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