Today’s post is a tutorial, but it has a back-story first. So bear with me until we get to the pictures!
I read a blog about a year ago about creating a mission statement for your family, and I knew immediately that I wanted one for our family. We had some big decisions to be made at the time, and we needed something concrete against which we could hold our decisions to determine whether or not it fit for our family. Read the post here.
So Ty and I decided to create a mission statement. It involved a long process that started by asking our family and friends to define us (which was risky, but necessary). We wanted to know how other people saw us and then from there we could decide which of those things were good and bad and change or embrace them accordingly.
Our friends and family were nice enough to put a lot of thought into their responses and were very helpful (not to mention kind). From there, we took the list and added the things that we wanted to make sure our kids felt from within our family structure.
We had a pretty good list. But it was a lot of words. Just a list of words. We were having a really hard time making sentences out of our ideas. I’m not sure why, but we just had a lot of words floating around.
That’s when I saw a picture on Pinterest. It was a picture of 15 blocks of wood made to look like Scrabble letters that someone had hung on the wall.
Find this on my Pinterest board here.
Poor Ty. I saw the 15 blocks and said, “Why not 100?! We could make a Scrabble board out of all the words we have!”
So that’s what I did!
We have a game room downstairs that I was unsure what to do with until this moment of inspired insanity creativity. Now I had a plan! I was going to use the whole wall as our “mission statement” wall.
Now to be completely honest, we had way too many words for even my insanity. So I grouped some together by similar meanings or goals and picked the best ones to encompass the most meanings in one.
Then, I had to arrange them into a crossword-like diagram. I started with our last name in the middle, and then expanded from there. It took some configuring, and a little bit of time, but it finally all fell into place! Thank goodness our last name is 12 letters long! I quickly counted how many letters total, and then made a list of how many of each letter I would need (i.e. a-7, b-2, etc.) and headed to Home Depot!
There I decided to find some 2x4s to cut into squares. I know that Scrabble tiles are more rectangular, but I didn’t feel like trying to measure different heights and widths on the wall. Call me lazy, but I liked the idea of quick and uniform measurements.
So anyway…I needed 99 squares. I figured out that 2×4 doesn’t necessarily mean 2 inches by 4 inches. Turns out it’s 1.5 inches by 3.5 inches! I picked out four 8 foot long boards and then picked out a natural stain to make them look the most like the light-colored wooden tiles used in Scrabble.
My dad was very gracious and cut all of the tiles into 3.5 inch sections with his table saw for me so that they would be squares. He set the guard to 3.5 inches and went to town! Taking into account that the saw uses up less than .25 of an inch cutting through the wood, the four boards each gave me 25 tiles with one little chunk left over. Perfect!
Next I had to sand all the rough edges from being sawn into pieces. It turned out to be a lot of sanding by hand, so I borrowed my dad’s power sander. It’s not that this can’t be done without the power sander, but if you have access to one, it was much quicker to use that instead.
Once they were all sanded, it was time to stain them all! I stained the edges, as well as the fronts and backs. I did it in the garage with a fan to dissipate the fumes, as well as allow me to do it in the shade – midday sun was too hot!
After the blocks dried on all sides, it was time to work on the letters. I used my Silhouette to cut the letters out of 12×12 black cardstock. The font I used was 72 point Franklin Gothic Medium. I used my letter count and arranged them as close as possible to get as many letters as possible on the page. As a side note, I left one block blank, so that I could use it like in the real game of Scrabble.
After I used the spatula to take the letters off of the cutting board, I laid the blocks out and used my own homemade Mod Podge (equal parts water and Elmer’s glue). I glued the letters to the blocks and let them dry completely.
Once they were all dried, it was time to start hanging. Now to be honest with you, this was the hardest part!! I have used Command Strips ALL OVER my house for various things. I have used them for various weights, materials, and locations. So it was a very logical choice to use them for this. However, I apparently used them improperly this time. They all kept falling! It was so disappointing to hear the letters fall throughout the day (and night!).
So let me jump ahead in the process so that you can skip the mistakes I made. I have finally settled on using mounting squares since I absolutely love the wall and won’t take it down for a very long time – if ever! If, however, you plan on taking them down sooner than forever, the Command Strips are an awesome choice!
Let me tell you what I think I did wrong. I was sticking the strip on a block and sticking it straight on the wall. After I had already switched to mounting squares, I read the back of the box (duh!) it said that you should let it sit on the item that you’re hanging for at least an hour. Whoops! So if you use Command Strips, don’t forget this very insanely long important step!
***CONTINUE TO THE HIGHLIGHTED ROUTE***
So once you’re ready to hang your blocks, however you’re going to hang them, it’s time to grab your level, measuring tape, and a pencil. Because this was the only thing I wanted on the wall, I measured to the middle of the wall both horizontally and vertically.
Once I had my points on all the sides, I measured to the intersection of the lines and marked that, too. Then I hung a piece of yarn so there was a line right through the middle of the wall. This is where I started with the blocks that spelled our middle name.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the picture from this step — I’m not sure what happened to it! In any case, it’s not anywhere to be found and the tiles are all already hung….so I can’t really recreate it. Just imagine a line in the middle of the wall and then I hung the letters on top of that. If you can. 🙁
I wanted to hang the blocks about 1.5 inches apart and used the extra block on its side to space them apart. I then used the level on top of both blocks so that I made sure they were along the same line.
I did the same thing with the vertical words. I just held the level to the side of the blocks.
Continue with all the blocks, and there you have it – our Scrabble wall!
I’ve gotta say…I love this wall! It embodies everything we hope to teach our children, and everything we ourselves strive to be. It’s a reminder every day of the things that are most important to us in raising our sons into Spartans.
Do you have any words that you would HAVE to have on your own Scrabble wall? Share them in the comments!