I felt so clever with my plan to alter my letterboard. As I gathered supplies, did the steps and took pictures as I went, I fully expected to knock your socks off with the finished product.
I’m sorry to say that instead of making something wonderful, I destroyed my letterboard.
It was absolutely a Pinterest fail.
Let me back up a second and explain why I tried this in the first place.
This is the letterboard in its natural black felt state:
It bought it initially to keep in the kitchen.
But I just didn’t like it in there. Our house is already pretty dark and with the dark cabinets, the black letterboard felt heavy and a little stark.
I loved having it in our main living space because the kids like playing with the quote and I think its funny to have a sarcastic saying or joke or inspirational quote nearby.
I came across an idea when I was collecting images and resources for my post all about letterboards (read that one here) that mentioned painting the felt to get a custom color. They used hot pink or something like that and while that was not the direction I wanted to go, I did learn that I could use a paint additive to make the paint usable on fabric.
My great idea was to use a neutral warm gray to paint over the black felt and tone the whole thing down. Can’t you imagine how pretty that would look to have a wood frame, warm taupe background and white letters? I liked the idea in my head very much.
I ran to the craft store and found the fabric medium and picked up two different colors of acrylic craft paint to use.
Here’s where I think I went wrong: I switched up the paint.
Instead of going with the craft paint, I pulled out leftover latex paint. My main reason was that neither of the craft paint colors was exactly right and I worried that if I made a custom mix I wouldn’t be able to exactly match it for second and third coats. So I went with a color of latex paint that I like (Rushing River by Sherwin Williams – it is what I used to paint the bathroom vanity seen here). The fabric medium says to mix one part medium to two parts paint. I just eyeballed it.
Once the paint was ready, I taped off the frame with painters tape and got to work painting.
I started with a foam brush, but switched to a flat craft brush (pulled from my watercolor supplies) because it seemed like the foam brush was ‘scratching’ the felt and creating pills (is that the word?). The paint soaked in quite a bit and was very blotchy after one coat.
I waited overnight for the first coat to dry and added a second, then a third coat of paint.
After all was said and done, the final result was terrible.
The paint dried super stiff and scratchy and uneven. My tape lines are terrible and you can see black peeking through around the perimeter. The color looks blah and sort of clashes with the frame. The letters are nearly impossible to poke into the grooves.
Basically, I ruined a perfectly good letterboard.
I wonder if where I went wrong was with the paint choice. Perhaps if I stuck to acrylic craft paint, it would not have dried so stiffly. Maybe I should have added more fabric medium (like a 1:1 ratio). I wonder if I watered down the paint in addition to the fabric medium, if it would have been smoother.
Or maybe if I would have just left the poor letterboard alone, everything would have turned out better :)
This one was a real pinterest fail.