Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Nursery Name Art

A couple of days ago one of my friends (who is going to have the world's gorgeous baby girl this November) asked me where I got/or if I made, Eliana's name art in her nursery. Well considering that it would probably have cost more $$$ then I was willing to spend, I most definitely made it. And the best part is it cost me zero dollars. I happened to have all of the items currently lying around my house/garage/bedroom/trash can etc. So if your a hoarder of craft supplies, frames, junk and other miscellaneous items then you too can make this for zero dollars. But have no fear, if you need to buy the supplies I am positive you can do it for under $10.

For my particular project I gathered the following items:
A large frame
Muslin Fabric - enough to cover the inside of the frame and use as a backing for the name art
Staple Gun - if you don't have one you can use hot glue for this part as well, its just more difficult
Hot Glue Gun
Tacky Glue - or any kind of basic craft glue (elmers will definitely work)
Lots of fabric scraps- size and color doesn't matter

Okay so here we go. The frame I used was previously wall art in the living room at our old condo, but since our color scheme changed in our new house I couldn't use it anymore. Luckily, it was the perfect frame for this project. And just for some background knowledge I picked this beauty up at a thrift store for like $5 and it was already painted the perfect shade of ugly green (my favorite color).

Before I jump too far ahead, let apologize for not having pictures for the "name" part of this project. My amazing friend Esther (she works for Anthropologie and thus has an amazing eye for design) made this sign for me below for my baby shower. I of course kept it because it was beautiful and I even though reusing a sign in E's nursery that said, "Welcome Baby Perea" wasn't necessarily gonna work I thought for sure I could find a way to re-purpose it. I love when I prove myself right.


So as you can see above (click on it to enlarge) Esther took strips of scrap fabric and braided them into long ropes. Then she hot glued the ropes onto canvas into letters to spell out the wording. Honestly this part is probably the most time consuming portion of the project, but you can literally do so much with it. I suggest looking at fonts on word or anywhere online and figure out what sort of design you are going for in your particular space. A huge part of typography also has to do with the name your are spelling out. Not all names look good in cursive, not all names look good written in lower case letters and the list goes on etc. etc. etc. So before committing to something and making it permanent test drive your name and font here. It isn't an exhaustive list of different fonts, but it will give you the general idea of what looks best with the name you are designing. I am a lover of all things typography and so before we actually decided on E's full name, I stumbled upon's build-a-name website and was seriously in love. I mean what parent doesn't want to know how their child's name will look on a varsity letterman's jacket or on their future business card? Yeah I know the padded walls and straight-jacket are calling my name, but seriously someone else thought knowing such information was valid enough to create a website... so there. Let's move on...

This is a picture of where the frame previously resided before coming shacking up in E's nursery. I like to show evidence of my claims so that people don't think I am lying when I said I just had this stuff laying around the house.

So I took the frame and placed it next to E's crib just to make sure the color combo was gonna work and (in my opinion) it was perfect. 

Next I cut along the back of the frame and removed the paper so that I can open up the hinges and get the actually art work out of the frame. This part was difficult. My frame was probably circa 1973 (hence the awesome shade of green) so the little metal clasps were difficult to pull back, but after some severe man-handling I got the picture out. 


Next I turned the picture so that the back was facing my fabric. If I had it the other way you would have seen the picture coming through my muslin fabric. I used a grainy muslin fabric that looks organic and vintagey. Muslin is great because of the various shades it comes in, its availability and its price. I generally always have a few yards in my fabric bin because I use it for just about everything. 

Then I took my staple gun (I use a cheapy one from walmart and it works just fine) and stapled the fabric around into what is technically the front of the picture. Since I never plan on using this artwork again I decided this was okay. If you want to be able to reuse whatever picture happens to be in your frame at the time then don't do this it will ruin your artwork. 

So here it is with the picture covered in muslin fabric and relocated securely back into the frame.

So this is where I got chintsy on the "how-to" photos. E's name didn't just appear out of thin air, but I didn't have my camera charged at the time so you will have to use your imagination. I destroyed the original "Welcome" sign from above and then re-wrote E's name out using Esther's braided fabric ropes. I lightly penciled her name down in cursive on a piece of canvas and then did a test run with the rope to see how it looked spelled out. Once I was happy with the look/design I hot glued the pieces down over my original penciled letters. If you click on the photo to see a larger version you will see that I cut her name out from the piece of canvas that I glued it to. ***This is extremely important. You don't have to use canvas like I did. A piece of the muslin fabric will work just fine and match better. So the reason you want to do this is that you can align it to your framed muslin board and have it perfectly centered. If you glue it directly to the board you risk the possibility of it being off-center or crooked and that will look ugly. If you glue it onto a separate piece of fabric first then you have the freedom to place it on the board and move it around until its perfect and then glue it on permanently. Trust me doing it this way will save you the headache of having to re-cover your frame and start from scratch if its crooked.

So this is what it looked like when I had finally attached her name with glue to the board. I thought it was still too plain so I took it one step further and cut out little pieces of bunting from some fabric scraps I had lying around from making her crib sheets. I wasn't 100% sure if I was going to like this or not so I just placed a few pieces on the board to see how it looked. I liked it enough to continue so I cute out about 60 different bunting pieces in 2 different sizes to give it some variety. 

I then placed them out all around the board BEFORE gluing them down permanently. I wanted to make sure I liked the way it looked before being stuck with it.
When in doubt, test it out!
I love rhyming ; )

By the time I was half-way around I realized I was in love with the look.  It just added that little something extra so it didn't look soooo plain.

And then finally after taking a little bit of tacky glue to each piece of bunting I was done.

TA DA!!!

To see the detail click on the photo

Now before you get all critical on me there is only 1 thing I wasn't happy with... the "n" and the "a" are too light :( I didn't realize this until after I had placed it up in her room because up close it looks fine, but from further away its too hard to see all of her letters. So I will be fixing that later, but since I have a million and one other things going on its at the bottom of the list. The other idea I had was to do some embroidery stitches around the "n" and "a" in a dark thread to make them stand out more. It would also give another layer of texture to the piece and make it look even more vintagey. But for now I will keep it how it is and just deal with the light letters even though I am DYING to perfect it. 

So this is another reverse project where....

I made it. Then pinned it. And totally love it!

Remember to link back under the comments if you make your own version!!!

Oh and this is how it looks hanging in her room (at an angle over her crib - more pictures of her total nursery design to come). You see what I mean with the "n" and the "a" too light :(

If you enjoyed this project leave a little love below!! :)


  1. This is one of my favorite projects you've made!


  2. Many great points and things to think about here. It’s pretty nice to read this article. Very interesting to read! I completely agree with this.


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