Anthropologie sells some pretty cool zinc letters. $18 each for letters that are 8 inches tall. That can get pricey if you are spelling something out. I paid $33 each for the metal letters in my office which measure 15×17.5 inches (you will see them a little further down in the post).
My cheaper alternative to metal letters is to paint cardboard letters (12×9 inches) to look metal. Super easy! Below is one that I painted and will show you how to do the same.
The idea came after I bought the three, afore mentioned, metal W’s for the office from Razamataz. They were originally painted green and black.
I painted over them in blue to match the office’s color scheme.
Then, I painted over that with a pearl paint to create a brushed metal effect. And, distressed them a bit. Note that pearl works better than metallic. This is the specialty paint combination that Valspar sells.
These metal letters were $33 each! Super cool, but still, that’s a little pricey if you are buying more than one or two. I realized later that I could buy cardboard letters of a similar size from Joann’s for $4 each and just paint them to look metal. And, ironically, that I could use the same paint technique I used on the metal letters.
- Black acrylic paint.
- Pearl acrylic paint. I used Folk Art’s Pearl White.
- Cardboard letter.
- Paint brush.
I know this image looks backwards, but I’m showing the side of the “K” that I had not yet painted. That way you can see it’s cardboard and what it looks like unpainted.
I simply painted the letter black. I used Folk Art’s Licorice color. You don’t need much. I poured it into a plastic cup and used it from there with a cheap chip brush. I watered the paint down very slightly so it went on smoothly.
I painted all sides black. Use very little paint so that your brush is fairly dry and does not saturate the cardboard too much.
Then, once that dried, I went over it with the pearl. This is where it’s important to have a dry brush with very little paint on it. It will dry very quickly, though. But, brush and rub however you want. I tried to go all in one direction.
I’ve found that pearl works better than a silver or metallic paint.
Do this on all sides. And, then, you are done!
Looks like metal to me! Yet, so much cheaper! Cost: $6. Let me know if you try it!