By LEAH VAHJEN
Settling in to your home-away-from-home for the new academic year is exciting but can also be a budget-buster when it comes to finding decorations and designs that bring both comfort and style to your new space. This D.I.Y. statement piece costs under $20 and will instantaneously liven up your residence hall or apartment. Use this neat technique to create an oversized monogram, a wreath for your door or a simple one-word headboard like I did here. A bonus feature of this project is that you can customize your expression to truly define you and your space. I chose the timeless word “LOVE” in all-white to create a crisp, classic feel in my space.
Pack of glue sticks for gun
2-3 Packs of coffee filters
1 pool noodle
Broken-down cardboard boxes
Scissors or craft knife
Pen or pencil
Begin by slicing the pool noodle in half, length-wise on one side, as if you are creating a hot dog bun. Mirror the cut on the other side to end up with two, long noodle halves. The hollow inside of the noodle should be completely accessible. You may use scissors or a craft-knife to achieve this. Next, cut along the seams of the boxes to create flat panels of cardboard, which will provide the base for your letters. Tip: Check your local liquor store for free cardboard boxes.
Decide how large you want your letters to be and cut the noodle accordingly to form the letters of your word or monogram. Then, use these to stencil the letters onto the cardboard. The letters pictured here are 12 inches tall. Note: if you choose to make larger letters, you may need a second pool noodle.
Use your scissors or craft knife to cut the stenciled letters out of the cardboard and then use the glue-gun to attach the foam letters to the cardboard cut-outs. You may choose to put the glue directly on the noodle or directly on the cardboard, but be aware that it dries quickly. For contoured letters, feel free to use scraps to fill in awkward holes.
Now that you have the base for your masterpiece intact, it is time to break out the coffee filters. Wrap a single filter along the stubby end of a pen or pencil and slide the filter upward about a quarter of an inch. Twist the filter tightly and snip the end to provide a clean edge.
Now use the hot-glue gun to punch a hole in your pool noodle, and as you pull the glue gun out of the hole it punctured, squeeze glue into the hole. Use your pen to push the coffee filter into the hole securely. Repeat until your letters are adequately covered. Use scissors to trim any imperfections in the height of the filters.
When you have completed all your letters, you may secure them to the area of your choice using an appropriate adhesive. You now have a fabulous, economical and handmade art installation.