DIY Giant Cardboard Letters

Grenada’s Save the Children Foundation (Grensave) holds an International Food and Drink Festival every year with booths from different countries around the world. I volunteered to help out with the decorations for the America table, so my awesome decorations team and I whipped up these red, white, and blue pinwheels, flags, firecrackers, and giant letters. A lot of people asked me how I made the letters, so I wanted to share this tutorial with you.

You should be able to make them with supplies that you already have in your house (and that you can find even on a tropical island):

cereal box
cutting mat
Xacto knife
printed block letters
hot glue gun

Step 1: Cut generously around your printed block letter and staple to the cereal box (cereal box brown side up, printed letter right side up. The orientation didn’t matter for my letter “U,” but it would with letters that aren’t symmetrical.

Step 2: Cut out the letter and cereal box with an Xacto knife or with scissors.

Step 3: Flip the letter over and trace it again (cereal front sides facing each other) and cut out.

Step 4: After you’ve finished cutting out your letter shapes, cut out a couple stripes of cardboard roughly the same width of your letters.You’ll need a different amount depending on the letter.

Step 5: Begin glueing the strips to your letterform. I purposely lined up the folded part of my cardboard strip with the corner of my “U” so that the crease would fall in the right place. You’ll want the strips of cardboard to sit on top of the letterform so that from the front and back, you’ll see no glue or edges.

I used two strips for the outside of the “U” here. I joined them at the bottom with some glue on the inside.

Step 6: Repeat the same steps for all sides of the letter.

Step 7: After all the sides have been glued, go ahead and place the top on. This part is a bit trickier to glue. I flipped my letter over so that the extra face that still needed to be glued on was lying on the table. I then put hot glue on small sections at a time and then lined up my sides to the bottom.

Here’s a close-up to show you how the letter is constructed and a little cross-section diagram here for you:


Step 8: And when your letter is all done, it’s time to paint! I used 2 coats of tempera paint for each of my letters. Make sure to let them dry before you put the second coat on.

Let dry overnight before you use them!

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8 thoughts on “DIY Giant Cardboard Letters

  1. I LOVE this idea !! I am going to make the word EAT,spray paint the cardboard copper,hot glue pennies on it & hang it in my kitchen.

  2. Oh my goodness Becca I am so glad I found this! I also moved to the West Indies (St. Vincent) with my husband and I have been dying for craft projects. I was just sitting here trying to figure out how to make cardboard letters when I found this tutorial. I am using the exact same cereal boxes and poster paint you have! I guess they have the same products on the islands. :) Thank you for posting this!!!

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