I don’t know about you, but I hate the die cut lettering machines at school. First of all, they are old and they never seem to cut the paper all the way through and secondly, all the letters look the same! Two different sizes but the same boring serif fonts. As a first year teacher, I want my bulletin boards to stand out from the rest of the school – and to excite the kiddos that I teach! (And me, too!) I know that you can buy die patterned letters from the store, but who has money for that all the time? Not this first-year teacher, that’s for sure! However, an idea came to me this afternoon and I haven’t been able to shake it… so I got to work.
I have a ton of old scrapbooking paper that I never use and got to thinking about cutting letters out of the paper for my bulletin boards. But I was worried about my freehand skills not being quite up to par, so I decided to take some of the wonderful scrapbooking fonts that I’ve found online (like “Wish I Were Taller” at www.kevinandamanda.com and use those and my handy laminating machine to make…. FONT STENCILS! Yay!
I’ll admit.. it took me some time. But I think they turned out very well and I’ll definitely be able to use them for years and years to come. Here’s how I did it:
First, I downloaded the font I wanted from www.kevinandamanda.com. I chose “Wish I Were Taller” because the letters are thick, all one height and I think they would look really good up on a bulletin board.
Then, I typed up the alphabet on Microsoft Word and set the font to outline so that only an outline of the letters would show up. I could have printed it normally, but that would have used a lot of ink and those cartridges can be expensive! To set it to outline, all your have to do is click on the small arrow to expand the font options and click “Outline” – simple!
I printed my letters and cut them apart. I will say this – they printed very lightly, so if you use colored paper (which I did) make sure you use a light color. I did mine on a bright pink.
Then, I used my small laminating machine at home to laminate the letters I had cut out. This worked out well considering the laminating sheets are very think and will hold up for years and years to come. (I used Scotch Thermal Laminating pouches that I bought at Walmart for around $14, if you’re wondering.) After I laminated the letters I cut them out again. Again, time consuming, but WORTH IT. If I had not cut the letters out before I laminated, the lamination would not last nearly as long.
And there we have it – brand new, long-lasting, font stencils. I cannot wait to cut out my first set of letters from the scrapbooking paper! The process took some time and hard work, but I think it will pay off in the long run and will be a sight for sore eyes after looking at those boring die cut letters for so long! When I get my first bulletin board put up with the letters, I will let you all see. I know the kids will love it too!
Is there any special tips you have – things you’ve done that might take some time in the beginning but eventually same time later on… I’d love to hear them!