Monday 12 January 2015

How to Make Padded Letters

I love anything monogrammed or personalised, so when my nephew was born, I immediately got started on adding his initials and name to all manner of presents.  One item I made for his nursery was a simple padded fabric letter – a great excuse to use up any fabric, add a little accent colour to a room and get out the hot glue gun again!

What I Used:
Decopatch Cardboard Letter/Number
Wadding / Toy Stuffing
Strong/Fabric Glue / Glue Gun

  For the base of this DIY, I used a Decopatch letter – but you can either make your own, use a wooden letter or up-cycle any letter accessory. The Decopatch letter has a depth to it that will allow me to hide all the raw edges of the fabric, but if your letter doesn't have this and is a flat shape, I’ll mention the alternative a little later on.

To start, I selected my fabric and ensured it was ironed flat.  I needed to mark three separate pieces of fabric: one piece for the front, one for the back and one for the sides.  If you have a distinctive pattern, bear in mind the placement of your letter if you want this centered.
Drawing around my letter on the reverse side of the fabric, I then added a 2cm outline.
I then marked the lines where the fabric would need to fold over the shape and would allow me to hide away the fabric edges and create a seamless finish to the front and back.  Folding the fabric, pattern sides facing, I cut around the marked outline, creating a piece for the front and reflection for the back.
I then made small cuts, around 1cm deep where I had marked the folds would be made:
Next, I measured the depth of the letter.  The final section of fabric to be applied would be around the edges, hiding all the attachment of the front and back sections.  Marking the depth, I then added a 1cm hem to each side so that these could be folded and create a neat, concealed edge.
Once all my fabric was marked and cut, I moved on to creating the padding.  If you have wadding, this can be cut by tracing around the letter, cutting and then gluing to the letter.  Add as many layers as you want, depending on the 3D effect you want [please consider this also when cutting your fabric - you may need to add extra hem length but the smaller the size and depending on the shape of the letter you are decorating, the less margin you will may have to work with].  However, I had toy stuffing to hand and the loose nature of this padding would mean I could add or take away as much as required as I went along, giving better flexibility to the overall look.
I started in sections, molding the stuffing into the shape of the letter by twisting it and then fixing in place with my glue gun:
[P.S - I promise I cleaned my glue gun after seeing these photos. Apologies.]
I padded just the front of the letter so that the sides would remain level and allow the letter to be rested on a shelf or displayed with a little help on the underside.  Next, on to adding the fabric.
I started from the top of the letter and worked down [this would help prevent any uneven pulls to the fabric, misalignment with the pattern or bulky areas over the padding].
As the hot glue dries quickly, I ensured I fixed in place in sections and waited for each to dry to ensure it was fixed securely in place before continuing:

following the shape of the letter, I removed any excess padding to ensure the fabric was fixed in place with consistency and didn't look like it was trying to break free, bursting at the seams!
[If you have a flat letter, you will simply attach all your fabric at the back, which will then be hidden by the next step].
Once this section was over, I could breathe properly again and although, being honest, it all looked a bit of a mess, the next two parts were finishing the look and creating a neat finish.  Apply a next layer of glue to the back and fix the second letter piece of fabric in place, using the edge of the letter to fins the material securely.  If using the hot glue gun, work in sections again to ensure the glue doesn't dry before you get to it.
[If you have a flat letter, this will be your final step - before gluing the fabric, fold over your hem and iron in place, continuing this around the entire letter.  Make more, deeper cuts if required to create a neat line around the fabric.  Once completed, glue in to place.  This will create a neat and finished look to the letter].
Finally, with the length of material cut to hide all the fixings, glue around the sides of the letter.  For some letters, there will be an underside that would be the perfect place to start and finish this attachment, hiding where the edges meet.  However' with this letter, it was a little more difficult, so I decided to choose the top right edge of the letter, with a little trick to make the join more seamless.
As with the previous steps, work in small sections.  Also try and spread your glue as close to the edge as you can to really secure the fabric and create a neat finish.
Continue for the length of your letter and when coming to the start, neaten the join by trimming the fabric to around 1/2cm longer than the edge, folding the corner in and then tucking the extra 1/2cm in to create a neat line that sits flush with the edge of the start.  Glue in place securely and as close to the edges as you can.  Finally - with fabric glue preferably, but any clear drying glue will do, coat the edges if they are sitting away from each other with a modest amount of glue and fuse the edges together as securely as you can:
Once fully dried, your letter is complete:
There are numerous ways to display it and it's a great accessory for the home:
see you next time x

Additional Ideas:

  • Use different patterns, colours or shades of fabric to create a unique and colourful letter.
  • Create any name, word or phrase - vary the sizes of each letter.
  • Use as a fun wrapping embellishment, display in a frame, on the wall or as an accessory on a shelf or windowsill.
  • When attaching the edging, use bias binding if you do not want to create your own [a darker shade will add even more depth to your letter.
  • For added detail, select bias binding in a contrasting colour and attach this at the same time as the edging fabric.  Have a little of the bias binding positioned so that it is showing from under the edging fabric, so when glued in place, it provides a beautiful edging.
  • Embellish your letter [such as buttons or embroidery - add this to the fabric before gluing in place]


  1. I love this!
    I'm currently using these letters and covering with comic books decoupage pieces and it's taking ages (I'm being picky with the images).
    I may start using fabric instead.

    1. The Things She Makes14 January 2015 at 14:29

      Sounds fab - I love that idea - great way to personalise them!

  2. Cute!! I've got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for later this morning that links to your tutorial:

    1. The Things She Makes14 January 2015 at 14:31

      Hi Anne, thank you so much - honoured to be included on the site!

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  4. Thank you very much for this great post.
    Birthday Images

  5. This is really wonderful. I found another wooden letters store which is Build A Cross.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. This is the way street signage has gained prominence over the years. A good and well-designed 3D letter signage can get you a lot of attention from passers by. These signs can also be seen as decorative elements for shops or buildings. The 3D letters provide businesses with a unique opportunity to make an impression on their customers and potential customers.


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