Dumb Things I Did · Marriage

A Really Long Post About How I Made Jumbo Scrabble Tiles. Yep.

DUDES.  The most X-TREME project yet.  Brace yourselves for some… JUMBO SCRABBLE TILES! (I know! Extreme! Just stop now if you can’t handle the intensity!)

I undertook this as part of another Pinterest challenge, this time sponsored by the very talented chicks at Better Life Bags.  Seriously I’m loving these challenges! introducing an element of competition makes me so much more productive! Why aren’t there challenges for cleaning the house or scheduling dental appointments or getting my lazy patooty out of bed in the morning and jogging?! I would suck at life a lot less!

So, this Scrabble stuff seems to be all over the place lately, so I am not sure if it’s en vogue or if it’s already passed its peak.  Since I’m just now noticing I’m guessing it’s the latter.  Whatevs.  Here were the original jumbo tiles that piqued my interest…

Adorable! I had been looking around for something to put over the doorway in the kitchen and thus this idea was born.  Instead of individually mounting the letters (which sounded like a pain), I decided to fashion a ledge sort of thing to just rest them on top of.  I also modified the look in general so it’s more “inspired” by the picture above than a replica. 

To start at the beginning.  I mentioned a few posts back that Jeff and I had been at a wedding last week.  The Maid of Honor, in her toast, mentioned something that really stuck with me for whatever reason.  Her advice to the couple, as a married person herself, was to always remember that you had married a person you loved.  Anytime you were angry or frustrated or irritated, she said remember that you loved and chose that person, and that would soften your feelings.  Allegedly.  It sounds so unbelievably simple and obvious, but it really struck me as a sweet reflection! So, I toyed with a bunch of different things to spell with my little tiles, but settled on I-L-O-V-E-U.  Easy as that 🙂  Sorry that I have induced nausea here.  Enough of the mushy stuff and on to… CARPENTRY!

Measure. I mocked it up on newspaper to see if the size worked in the space. 

I measured the length (it was 25″), then subtracted a few inches to account for some space between the tiles and the edges of the ledge.  The remaining length I divided by the number of letters, and measured those increments.

Whoops! Started over with fresh newspaper when I realized my little catch phrase has 6 letters, not 5.  This step optional for non-morons 🙂

Ahh better.  Actually I’m going to flip this over so that child isn’t starting at me.

There we go.

Looks good! Not sure all of this step was totally necessary, but since I am not the most spatially intelligent person (like that time I thought “I love u” was 5 letters) it helped me visualize everything.

My final measurements ended up looking like this. And the ledge-thingy is less tricky, just a sliver cut out of the board.

Procure/Cut Lumber.  I went to Home Depot and got a plank of something called Red Oak… which looked pretty close to Scrabble color.  (Google tells me Milton Bradley uses Vermont Oak… fun fact). 

I traced the measurements onto the board and it was time to cut!  Oh, I will mention this for the good of the order- Home Depot does NOT make cuts less than 12″.  Neither do a bunch of other places I called.  So I, in my moronic glory, tried to do this on our back deck with a handsaw.  Not advised.  I just kept thinking “If what’s-his-face from 127 Hours can cut his humerus with a swiss army knife, by God I can cut these tiles myself!” Umm, no.  Not exactly precise enough for our purposes.


So, I admitted failure and had to ask for help.  My girlfriend Ashley volunteered her husband’s assistance and reciprocating saw to get this thing cut.  They came over and he cut the wood in my kitchen (since it just HAD to downpour at that time), and in exchange they left their sweet toddler with me and enjoyed a nice date night 🙂 Thanks you two!

The devastation.

They’re cut! (Needed sanded after too).  And bonus Chooch/Kiddie cameo!

Stencil.  I picked up some stenciling paper from Utrecht.  Oh man I LOVE Utrecht.  Sorry, this is already getting ridiculously long so I’ll save my art store love tangent for another time! I got this stuff…

So, allegedly it was supposed to be ink-jet friendly but mine turned out a hot mess.  It printed fine but the ink wouldn’t dry and it was all over the place.  So instead, I printed on normal paper, cut out the letters, traced onto the stencil paper, and cut out the letters again.  Yea this step was a pain and I’m sure there was a smarter way I could have done it.  Next time. 

Oh, and for the text, I used Arial Narrow for the letters and David for the numbers (size 260 and 100 respectively).  Google believes the font used on actual tiles is a variant of News Gothic, but I’m limited to whatever Word has 🙂 Oh and just plain black acyrlic paint for this.

Other dumb things I did during this step:

1) Had to start over on the numbers and the L when I realized I had transcribed the letters on the wrong side of the paper (such that when you turned them sticky-side down the letters were backwards)
2) Accidentally put the 4 number on the U letter (it goes on the V)
3) The fan I propped up to dry the paint toppled over and took a cup of OJ with it, spraying it all over the place (I really tried to clean all of it but I’m guessing word has already spread among neighborhood ants) and
4) Completely forgot to paint one of the numbers.  

Yea, my life is pretty much one big face palm.  Last step… hold your breath and pray they turned out!


WAH! Cute! A spray of sealer for good measure and we’re done here!

I love them! Worth the suffering! I will say they are perfect for where they are positioned.  Close-up, you can tell it was a hand-stenciled operation (the 4 on the V is particularly gnarly), so I’d be hesitant to display them closer to eye level.  But they are great above the doorway, which is where I needed to stick something anyway. 

As for the mounting- right now the ledge is just resting (somewhat precariously) on two long nails.  I plan to later drill holes into the ledge and hang them a little more firmly on the nails.  But the drill was acting up and I’m retiring for the night.

Gold medal if you made it all the way to the bottom of this! My parents and aunt and uncle are in town this weekend (Go Phillies!) so I’ll catch you next week! 🙂


5 thoughts on “A Really Long Post About How I Made Jumbo Scrabble Tiles. Yep.

  1. Omg I loooooooovvvveeee these but they appear difficult to make! I need to get on pinterest for decorating purposes!!!

  2. Wow. WOW! I love Scrabble, but I am not that into the DYI or crafting world so I had no idea such a Scrabble trend existed. And the tiles you made? LOVE! I only wish my husband or I had the skills to do something similar!

  3. This is freakin’ fabulous! My sister is a Scrabble nut and I refuse to play with her, but maybe I could make her something like this and indulge her love of the game a little bit! I have no idea how I stumbled upon your blog, but I love your writing style and everything else! And I lurve D.C.!! It’s one of my families favorite places for a quick little day trip!

  4. Hi Sarah. You could have used I LUV U. 5 Letters. Perhaps you need to brush up your maths skills with Numenko.

    I found you when I was looking for ideas to create images from Numenko tiles.

    How do I claim my gold medal? As the Olympics are on over here next month it would be appropriate. Regards.

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