That title kind of makes it sound like this post is about the sort of letters lovers send each other, doesn’t it? As for the rustic part . . . maybe they are very outdoorsy types? And the letters are composed in a cabin in the woods somewhere? I’m sorry to disappoint you, but these rustic love letters aren’t those rustic love letters. I’m talking about these ones:
I made these to go with my neutral, rustic Valentine’s display, and I really like how they came out. Although I can appreciate and enjoy Valentine’s décor that screams glittery red-and-pink greetings in your face, I wanted something a little softer for my place. This little display only cost a few dollars, it’s going to be reusable for Christmas next year by switching out a letter, and it’s not too traditionally loud for Valentine’s day, I could definitely get away with using it year-round as regular décor. Win-win-win.
To make these letters, I just picked up a few items from Hobby Lobby—a mini-twig wreath to stand in as the ‘o’ (it was $2.50 if I remember correctly), and a few paper mache letters (also $2.50 each, but wait for them to go on sale before you buy—they were 30% off when I bought them a week or two ago!). I picked up an L, V, and E, as well as an N. That way, I can scramble the letters/wreath to make ‘Noel’ to use in Christmas displays next year. Smart, eh? I have my moments.
Now, back when I was searching for a nice gray wall color for my house, I bought something like a dozen gray sample paints. So I just popped out one of those tiny sample size paints to use on my letters. It’s a very soft gray, but mostly reads as white, which is fine. Go ahead and paint your letters.
(Don’t you paint on your stovetop?)
Now, I wanted them to have a rustic ‘worn’ look. But sanding paint off a paper mache letter to get that distressed look didn’t seem brilliant to me. I don’t know, maybe it would work fine, but I wasn’t willing to try it and potentially ruin my super-expensive $2.50 – 30% off letters. So I tried a different route. I just grabbed some brown craft paint, got the teeniest tiniest bit on my brush, and ‘flicked’ it over the edges of the letters to make them look worn out and distressed.
I’m not sure how best to describe this. Just make sure there’s not much paint on your brush (I barely dipped it into the paint, then dabbed most of it off onto a piece of paper so it was just barely barely barely moist with paint), placed the brush right on the edge of the letter and ‘flicked’ it forward/upward. It’ll give it a sort of bristly, worn-off, splattery look. The important points here, I learned by sad experience, are to 1) make sure there is not much paint on your brush—too much paint and it’ll look sloppy instead of shabby chic, and 2) if you make a mistake, just forget it and keep going. You’ll do more harm by trying to rub it off and reapply than by just moving on. Really.
By focusing your faux-distress painting around the corners, it’ll look more natural, so go a little heavier around the corners and a little lighter on the other edges.
I used a tiny picture frame easel/plate stand thing to prop up the ‘O’ and just pulled the sides open a little wider so they’d essentially be hidden by the ‘O’. It worked out just fine. There you have it!