I am kind of obsessed with numbers and letters. I don’t even know why, but my eye is always drawn to them. The amount of monograms we have in this house is a bit concerning.
So why not add some more? I thought a number 3 would be cute on the boys’ dresser (that they will soon have). Just a 3 because there are three of them. Very deep and significant, right?
I’ve been seeing metal letters around for a while now, but they are usually a bit pricey. Finding an authentic old letter or number from a vintage store sign would be amazing, but I’m not lucky enough to live where we have cool flee markets or awesome junk stores.
Hobby Lobby abounds where I live though, and they have some reproduction metal letters that are kinda cool. They’re pretty affordable when they’re 50% off, but I really wanted a number.
We’ve had an Anthropologie in the metro for two years now, but I’ve yet to make it down there (I am a firm believer in avoiding temptation). I keep seeing on Pinterest that they have zinc letters for $18. Which is not horrible, I suppose. But there again, I wanted a number.
I also kept seeing on Pinterest that Restoration Hardware had some metal letters for up to $69. Whoa. I guess no one is buying them, so they’re clearancing them out now. They’re down to $27 for the largest size.
The blogosphere is full of people making faux metal letters using wood or paper mâché. A quick Pinterest search will reveal several if you’re interested. They’re all pretty much the same, just with differing versions of metallic paint. I’m not doing anything much different here, but I wanted mine to have a rust effect.
I got a paper mâché number from Hobby Lobby. It was 50% off of $2.47.
I sprayed it with metallic paint that I already had. I know, I know. I always say I already have the paint, but it’s true y’all! I think this can is about six years old. Haven’t they changed the lid style since then? (It’s the same paint I used for these dresser pulls.)
I was liking it just like this. I could have left it this way and been pleased, but I had a vision in my head so I wanted to continue.
I sanded the surface ever so lightly with a sanding block just to knock down a bit of the sheen.
I gathered up paints that I had on hand that looked kinda rusty. I just played with mixing the colors until I liked it. Then I dry brushed it on in a few random spots and smeared it with my finger and/or wiped it with a baby wipe.
Once the rust color dried, I very lightly sanded again. I loved it, but was doubting how authentic it looked (I’m always a major critic about faux paint finishes). I showed it to my oldest son the next morning and asked him what he thought it was made out of. He said metal so I called it a success.
Super simple, right? You could do this in under an hour (that includes paint drying time) for less than ten bucks. If you had to buy metallic spray paint and rust-colored craft paint, one letter/number would cost about $8. But you’d have enough paint to do several, so your cost would be considerably less per letter if you wanted to spell out a word or phrase.
Or just come visit me. I have all the paint you need.