If you know me, if you know anything about me, you know that I have a deep love for words and anything to do with words. That includes games about words. Mostly Scrabble. So when I saw an idea for large Scrabble tiles to display on the wall, I knew I had to put the idea on my short list.
The first thing was to define the specific words that I wanted to display. My and the Kid sat down and came up with a few words that reflect our interests and who we are. There were a couple of inside jokes that we wanted to use, but they were phrases rather than words and I wanted to stick to the rules of the game.
After defining the words, I made a list of the letters and the number of times that they appeared. Then I bought several 1×6 lengths of pine, but nicer pieces that didn’t have too many knots and had a pretty clear grain. Then I had them cut into squares, based on the width (since wood isn’t actually the measurements listed, for example when it says 1×6, it is really more like 1/2 x 5 1/2. So I cut the boards into squares and ended up with enough tiles plus 2. I sanded the cut edges and wiped all the sawdust off the pieces.
To mimic the Scrabble letters, I used the font Franklin Gothic Book. Next, I printed out each letter that I would need on a sheet of paper. It took a little to get them to the right size, basically I just ‘eye-balled’ it until I had the size that I was happy with.
Over the course of many episodes of ‘The X-Files’, I sat and using a stylus, I traced the letters onto the block. Using Elmer’s Painters pens, I outlined each letter using a fine point. Then using a medium point pen, I will fill each letter in.
I then added the Scrabble value on the lower right hand corner, just using a photo of the real Scrabble tiles. I just freehanded the numbers onto the tile. Usually, each letter would require at least two coats of paint. I would rotate the grain from tile to tile to mimic the actual tiles found in the game. Once they are displayed on the wall, the randomness of the grain direction will appear much like it does when you’re playing the game.
In total, I created 32 tiles. I do plan to mount them on the wall using either magnets or velcro. This way it will allow me to move the tiles around although I don’t have the proper number of tiles included in the actual game. I had thought about painting a Scrabble board on the wall in my home theatre, but have since changed my mind. I thought about painting the board with magnetic paint and then could mount the tiles with magnets.
However, I think I am going to wait until summer and build a board in the backyard. I may go with slightly smaller tiles, using 1×4’s so that the tiles are 3 1/2 x 3 1/2. I think it would make for some great summer backyard parties and cookouts.
Here is a photo of the finished tiles. I think they came out pretty good. I am not sure if I am going to finish them with clear sealant or not. The wood did soak in some of the paint and I want to see if the paint fades easily. If it doesn’t look like it will require another coat of paint, then I may seal the tiles to maintain them for the long term.
This has given me some ideas for future projects. With one of the two leftover tiles, I stenciled a more elaborate letter. I had a little more paint bleeding, so I may need to seal or paint the tiles before stenciling. I thought about using this format for names or addresses. It is a relatively inexpensive project and it could really lend itself to a lot of opportunities. Even the use of multiple colors. All while being able to spend time with your family or watch television.
I would love to see variations on this from other artists or crafters. This definitely will be an oft repeated craft for me. I hope you check back to see more.
Happy crafting y’all!