Name Signs and Craft Fumes: Mod Podge and Alcohol Ink

In the true tradition of siblings, since time immemorial, what one has, the others want. So now that Audrey has had her room redecorated, her sister and brother want the same. Blythe’s room is in the process of getting a bit of an update, although not as dramatic as Audrey’s – she doesn’t want to change her wall colors yet. Carter (4 years old) has detailed his room makeover specifications as “make it lots cooler.”

As a starting point for both of their rooms, I decided to make them name signs, much like their sister’s. Of course, these kids have wildly different personalities, so everyone needed their own style. Plus, I just like trying new methods for making stuff.


As stated, Carter is 4, and like most 4 year olds, is constantly falling in and out of IMG_1111obsession with various cartoons and characters. I decided to incorporate his wide variety of interests by Mod Podge-ing fabric to cardboard letters.

I found all my supplies at Joann. The cardboard letters are 8″ tall and surprisingly sturdy. The fabric is novelty quilting weight, mostly from the licensed characters section of Joann. I got one half yard of each fabric per letter.

I traced my letters on the the back of the fabric, right side down, and marked a strip the IMG_1114IMG_1113
width of the fabric and a little wider than the depth of the letter. This gave me a long strip to wrap around the edge of the letter. (You could easily skip this step and paint the cardboard or leave it the natural brown color.) I put a layer
of Mod Podge on the outside of the letter, then wrapped the fabric around, keep one edge of the fabric strip lined up with the backside of this letter. This left me with some extra fabric on the front. I snipped any curves and corners, added Mod Podge to the front of the letter and pressed down the extra fabric. This ensured that no cardboard would peek out once the top layer was added.

IMG_1115IMG_1117To add the top layer, I roughly cut the traced letter out of the fabric, Mod Podged it down onto the cardboard, then cut away the excess fabric. At first, I tried cutting the letter out precisely but gave up on that pretty quickly – this way was way easier.

Once the underlayer of Mod Podge was dry, I covered each letter in an exterior layer to seal any loose threads. Because these bad boys are so light, we could hang them with simple 3M strips stuck to the backs. Now, when Carter decides that Ninja Turtles are passe, his “T” can be swapped out with whatever the new flavor of the month is. (Except I won’t change these every month. Maybe in a year or so. We’ll see how nice of an aunt I’m feeling.)

Yes, the C is out of line with the rest of the letters. Yes, I did fix it right away. Yes, it’s still bothering me that I didn’t retake the picture after I fixed it. From left to right: Star Wars, space, Batman, TMNT, airplanes, Spiderman.


Blythe’s name sign was a tricky one to figure out. I knew I wanted to do something to match her more theatrical personality, and her room is definitely moving in a much less structured, more bohemian direction than her sister’s. But it took me a while to figure out just how to make anything that looked like “her”. I loved the look of alcohol ink crafts I found on Pinterest, and finally figured out how to incorporate that stained-glass-crossed-with-tie-dye look into something for her.

IMG_1119I started with this frame from IKEA and cut a piece of contact paper the same size as the
glass to create a stencil. I searched high and low for a font that was (a) fairly heavy, so there’d be enough space cut out to see the inks; (b) not too formal, because that is so not Blythe; and (c) not too fussy to cut out, so as not to tax my short attention span. I ended up using this gorgeous Splandor font for inspiration, adjusting it to not be italicized and tweaking some of the flourishes to fit her name.


I measured two sets of lines as guides – one for the B and T and one for the rest of the letters, sketched them in, then redrew them with a Sharpie and a ruler to get the cleanest lines possible. I affixed the contact paper to the glass and used my exact-o knife to cut out the letters. (This probably would’ve been way easier with a Silhouette, but, you know, I’m cheap.)


With the stencil in place, I could apply the alcohol inks. I made these (again, cheap) by pulling the ink reservoirs out of Sharpie markers and soaking them in little mason jars of rubbing alcohol (50% because that’s what I had) overnight. I tested out some different methods on some spare glass (thanks, hoarding!) and ended up with this method. Using an eye-dropper, I dropped one color of ink on a square of felt wrapped around a scrap of 2×4, then stamped it onto the glass in a sort-of random pattern. Repeat with additional colors. I ended up using purple, green and light blue. Alcohol inks are messy and fumey and stain like nobody’s business, but they do produce pretty and unique results. With my handy-dandy food prep gloves and plenty of ventilation, this part went surprisingly quickly and easily.


After I pulled off the stencil, I decided to make the lettering pop a bit more by edging the letters with a purple paint pen. I also had some textured wall paper sitting around (waiting for me to ever finish the never-ending hutch), so I lined the inside of the frame to add some additional interest.


Both were hits with their respective children, so all in all, success!


2 thoughts on “Name Signs and Craft Fumes: Mod Podge and Alcohol Ink

  1. Megan says:

    Great post, as per usual (man, I can’t figure out how to shorten that spelling-wise….usua?…usuge?). The kids do love their name signs/letters!


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