{DIY with style} Restoration Hardware Inspired Vintage Industrial Letters

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I have a major thing for typography, so I can't get enough of letters and words in home decor. From the moment that we decided on the Vintage Preppy theme for Beckett's new room, I have had my eye on the Vintage Industrial Wall Letters from Restoration Hardward Baby & Child. My original thought was to spell out Beckett's entire name, but that would have cost me over $100, and I just wasn't willing to spend that much! As the plan for the room evolved, I decided that it might be better to include just Beckett's initials on the narrow wall next to the closet door, which would bring the cost down to $45. That was a much more manageable price tag, but the letters continued to sit my RH Baby & Child shopping cart and I just couldn't bring myself to click the order button. While $15 per letter really isn't that bad, when you are decorating an entire room every cost adds up! Nonetheless, I was still crazy for the combo of wood and metal on the letters, so I started brainstorming ways to get the same look for less.


I am pretty proud of how my knock off version turned out! The total for my three letters rang in at less than $10.00 (about $3 each), and the entire project took me less than an hour. That's a win in my book!

Here's the supply list:
  • Paper Mache Letters ($2.47 each at Hobby Lobby, frequently on sale for half off)
  • Wood Grain Scrapbook Paper (1 12x12 sheet per two letters, $.59 each at Hobby Lobby, frequently on sale)
  • Metallic acrylic paint (Already owned; currently on sale at JoAnn's for $1.74 per bottle)
  • Krylon Spray Adhesive (Already owned; available from numerous stores for about $5)
  • Approximately 40 half inch finish nails per letter (Already owned; available at any hardware store for a couple of dollars)
There are tons of options when it comes to purchasing craft store letters, but I selected paper mache letters from Hobby Lobby for this project because they are so similar in shape and size to the originals from Restoration Hardware. 


The Restoration Hardware letters are made of solid wood, so to achieve a similar look with my paper mache letters, I picked up a couple of sheets of barnwood scrapbook paper (you'll need one sheet of paper for every two letters). I began by using a pencil to reverse trace each letter onto the back of the scrapbook paper, keeping in mind that I wanted the wood grain to run vertically.



One of the benefits of the paper mache letters (besides the great price) is that they take paint extremely well without the need to prime or do any other prep work. The Restoration Hardware letters are trimmed in an industrial metal edging that (at least in the online photos) appears to be a dark steel color, not a shiny silver. To mimic this look, I wanted to use metallic paint that I already had on hand (all Martha Stewart brand). After deciding that the Gunmetal color was a bit too dark, and that the Titanium color was too light, I began mixing the two colors until I achieved the shade I was going for. The final proportions were approximately 1 part Titanium and 2 parts Gunmetal. {I always save plastic baby food containers because they work perfectly for mixing acrylic paint!}


I painted the front and sides of each of the letters. I could have also painted the back, but since I'll be hanging these letters on the wall, it was necessary.


While the paint was drying, I returned my focus to the barnwood scrapbook paper. Since the paper would be added on top of the metallic painted letters, I needed to trim down the paper letters to give the appearance of a metal edging all the way around. I decided to reduce the each letter by a quarter of an inch all the way around. I used a ruler to measure and mark a quarter of an inch toward the inside of each letter, making marks every inch or so, with additional marks around the curves of the B and the R. Then I simply used the edge of the ruler to connect the marks along the straight sides of the letters, and free handed the curves by again connecting the dots.


I cut out each letter using my favorite Cutter Bee fine-point scissors, which are especially great for cutting detailed areas, like inside the B and the R.


With the scrapbook paper letters cut out and the paint dry on the paper mache letters, I was ready to put it all together.


I used the Krylon Spray Adhesive that I already had in my craft closet to finely coat the reverse side of each paper letter, and then placed the paper letters in the center of the paper mache letters, pressing down firmly around the edges to ensure a good hold.


At this point the letters were looking pretty good, but to make them look as similar as possible to the original Restoration Hardware letters, I needed to add the exposed nail heads. I raided my husbands tool box and discovered that we had plenty of half inch finishing nails with small silver heads that were perfect for this job.


Hammering the nails into place along the inner edge of the faux metal "trim" could not have been easier - just a couple of taps pushed the nails through the paper mache. To keep with the raw, industrial look of the original letters, I tried not the space the nails out too evenly.


I am so happy with the end result! I think my knock off version really captures the vintage industrial vibe of the original letters, and you can't beat the price! I saved about $35 by making these three letters on my own - that's more than a 75% savings! Not bad for only one hour of my time.  I just love a good knock off project, don't you?!



I can't wait to hang these letters in Beckett's new room, which should be complete in just about five weeks {thanks to the One Room Challenge, I have a deadline to stick to!}. Check back later this week to see updates on some of the other projects that are starting to come together for his Vintage Preppy menswear inspired big boy room!

The links below include all of the other projects that went into the creation of the Vintage Preppy Little Gentleman's Lounge:



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35 comments :

  1. Wow I thought these were real wood when I first clicked on your link up on The Makers Link party. Fantastic job and would love to share it on my weekly roundup with a link back.

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    1. Thanks, Erlene! I would be honored for your to include it in your roundup. Will you send me a link once it's up? Thanks!

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  2. Hey it's Deonna from the Child at Heart blog. I LOVE this and would love for you to link up at our link party this week! I also have a super great spring necklace to give away so come on over :)
    http://www.thechildatheartblog.com/2014/04/link-party-with-morganize-with-me.html

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  3. Oh my gosh I love how these turned out! These are so awesome and I especially love the real nail detail you added. Thanks so much for sharing at The Makers!

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  4. AMAZING!!! Denver blogger here too, new to your blog via Pam @ Simple Details. I'm so glad to have been introduced to you. Hope you are enjoying the great weather :)

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  5. I adore these! This is an awesome knockoff! Thanks so much for linking up to Hit Me With Your Best Shot! You're one of my Knockouts for this week!

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  6. These look sooooo great! The are better than the RH letters

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  7. Stopping in to pin, they turned out excellent!

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  8. These are so awesome!!! Truly you did an amazing job, even better thank the original! Pinned!

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  9. You did such an amazing job with these! I'd love to try this:)

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  10. Hi Angela! You've been FEATURED at The Makers! Thanks so much for sharing your awesome knockoff with us, and we hope you will stop by to grab a button and link up :) Have a great week!

    ~Katie @ Upcycled Treasures

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  11. These are great and look even better than the RH ones!

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  12. These are awesome and perfect for a boy's room.

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  13. Oh my goodness I love these! I like yours better and was shocked that they weren't the RH originals and only $3 each!!! AWESOME!

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  14. Super awesome knock-off! Great explanation as well. :)

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  15. Visiting from Upcycled Treasures. I love it! I would never in a million years thought to use the barn wood scrap paper. They look better than the originals. Great work.

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  16. These are amazing! I can't wait to some. They look so much better than their $15 counterparts. Thanks for linking up at the Lovely Ladies Linky. I wanted to let you know that I'll be featuring these at Wed's party :)

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    1. Thanks, Emily! You ladies really are lovely :)

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  17. These are great! I think your version looks even better than the Restoration Hardware version - I couldn't believe how easy yet perfect this knock off is! Great job!!!

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  18. I seriously LOVE this!! I can't believe how much they look like the RH pieces. Great job. I wanted to say thanks for linking up to our Lovely Ladies link party last week and to let you know I've included these in my features this week, you can find it here if you'd like to check it out- http://www.justalittlecreativity.com/2014/04/lovely-ladies-linky-party-31-six-blogs.html
    Thanks, hope to see what you have this week too :)
    -Molly from Just a Little Creativity

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    1. Thanks, Emily!! I'll stop by and link up again! And I have a few projects that are almost done that I can't wait to share next week!

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  19. Your knockoff is amazing! I actually like it better than the Restoration Hardware version! I'm definitely pinning and making these! I'd love for you to link them up to the Thursday S.T.Y.L.E. Link Party! It just went live last night. http://addicted2diy.com/2014/04/17/thursday-s-t-y-l-e-link-party-16/

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  20. This is a great idea. I've seen those letters at Hobby Lobby before, and thought that the possibilities were endless. I know of several places I could put these if I made them. They would look great with some of the other stuff I've done. Check it out if you're interested.
    http://sangstersurfaces.blogspot.com/2013/07/going-greenpaint.html

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  21. I like yours better! Great Job, thanks for sharing

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  22. These are so stinking clever! Love the idea to use the distressed wood scrapbook paper. Super smart!

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  23. I just saw this on Pinterest and they are fabulous! I love a good knock off and yours are SO MUCH better! Pinned!

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  24. Wow! This looks amazing. I can't believe they're paper!

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  25. Just found this photo on Pinterest, so clicked for the source because I literally couldn't tell which was the 'original' Restoration Hardware letters! These look fab! Thank you for sharing! Even if I don't make these, they have inspired me to think outside the box!

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  26. Excellent job and tutorial on your knockoff RH letters! I love typography as well in my decor. Going to see if I can create some to put up in our guest room.

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  27. Just saw this on DixieDelight blogspot...and this is one of the best knockoff's I have seen! Great job!

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  28. These are fantastic! Super easy to follow instructions, and an awesome finished product. I will definitely be pinning this to remind myself of when I start working on my son's "big boy" room! I will also be sharing this on my Re-Fabbed Facebook page.
    Brooke Riley~Re-Fabbed
    http://www.re-fabbed.com

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  29. I cannot believe that is paper, awesome job!

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