This is a simple and relatively cool DIY project to add a bit of style to your kitchen – E, A, T mounted boards. The boards are quite versatile in style, which is a bonus as well. There’s an industrial element with the metallic letters, a rustic element with the stained wood, a farmhouse element with the combination, a contemporary element with the sans serif font, and more.
Of course, as with any DIY project, you can customize as suits your space and style, so you can really make this DIY home décor into anything you wish. Here’s how.
DIY Level: Beginner to intermediate
- One (1) 1×6 board, 6’ length
- E, A, and T letters (cardboard, metal, wood, whatever)
- Six (6) 1-1/4” wood screws
- Spray paint for E, A, and T letters in color of your choice (shown: flat antique nickel)
- Wood finish of your choice (shown: antiquing glaze and polyurethane)
- Super glue or black mounting dots (not shown)
- 3M command strips for hanging (not shown)
Begin by spray painting your letters. Recommended: a paint + primer to cut down steps.
Spray paint all sides and front surfaces of the letters, working in light strokes (instead of heavy ones). Recommend two or three coats until letters are coated satisfactorily.
Let dry thoroughly.
While letters are drying, it’s time to prepare the mounting boards. Because a 1×6 board is actually only 5.5” wide, your square mounting boards will be 11”x11”. Measure and mark 11”, then cut the board.
Cut six (6) boards that are each 11” long.
Although you are a precise measurer, there are times when cuts are not precise. Stand all six cut boards on their ends close together and match them into three pairs where their lengths are the closest to each other. (If you are a perfect board-cutter, feel free to scoff and skip this step.)
Use your trusty kreg jig (this tool is invaluable to wood working, I highly recommend it), drill two holes into three of the board backs. These holes will be used to attach three sets of two boards together.
Your kreg holes should be about 2” from either end of the board.
It’s imperative, when attaching boards together with kreg holes, that the boards (a) stay in place, and (b) stay flush with each other on all sides. For this reason, I recommend clamping the ends-to-be-connected together onto the corner of a work table, with the kreg-holed board facing out. (So you can drill easier.) Double clamp the second board if it alleviates any stress before you screw.
Use 1-1/4” kreg screws to attach the two boards together.
If you’ve clamped them perfectly together, your boards should now look like one 11” square board…with differing wood grains on the two halves. Repeat this for all three board pairs.
Use medium- to fine-grit sandpaper (example uses 120-grit) to smooth the edges, corners, and front surface of your board squares. Wipe clean with a damp cloth and let dry.
It’s time to finish your boards. You can paint them, you can stain them, you can simply polyurethane them. Whatever you want to do! One recommendation: pick a finish that will allow the E, A, and T letters to stand out. That is, if you spray painted them dark, you may opt for a lighter finish on your board squares. I used antiquing glaze here, simply because I wanted to keep the boards simple and relatively light.
To apply this glaze, use a damp cotton rag (like an old t-shirt), and grab a bit of the glaze. You’ll want smallish bits of glaze at once, rather than one huge glob, so that you can work it into the wood evenly. Recommend doing a trial run on the back side of one of your board squares to give you a feel for the application process.
Apply the glaze either in a circular motion or with the wood grain, whatever feels most comfortable for you. The idea is to get the glaze into every possible part of the wood so you don’t have random pale-wood spots peeking through. Lighten it with the damp part of the cloth if you get too much glaze in one spot. Work quickly.
Be sure to glaze the edges of your board square as well. Wipe the front perimeter after doing the edges to erase any stray drops of glaze that may have escaped the edges and found their way onto the board front. Repeat for all three board squares.
Let everything dry thoroughly.
When the board squares are completely dry, it’s time to apply a clear protective coat such as polyurethane. Brush it on in a thin coat, on the sides and front.
Always apply polyurethane in the direction of the wood grain for maximum absorption.
Let poly dry for 4-8 hours, then reapply for a second coat if desired. Allow final coat to dry completely for at least 24 hours.
When your wood finish is thoroughly dry, it’s time to attach the letters to the boards. You can do this one of two ways, depending on your preference of depth. Option #1 is to take super glue…
…and apply plenty on the back of one of your letters.
Flip the letter over and hover it above the board until it is centered and square, then press the letter down. Recommend placing something heavy on top of the letter until the super glue has fully dried.
Option #2: If you want a slight space between the letter and the board (for a little more 3-D look), you’ll want to use some black double-sided mounting foam pads. This is the option that this example ended up using.
Simply apply as many mounting dots as you want; there might be a science as to how much weight the dots can handle, so feel free to research that if you want. Because this example uses cardboard letters (therefore, not that heavy), I just did a bunch of dots and called it good.
Hover the letter over the board until it is precisely squared and centered, then press down firmly around the entire letter. Be sure, no matter which method you use, that your wood grain is running the same way for all three letters when you place them – either horizontally or vertically.
You can just make out a bit of space between the letter and the board, which is perfect.
Grab your 3M command hanging strips.
Each of these boards plus letters weighed approximately 1.5 pounds, so they were fine with just one heavy duty hanging stripper board.
Hang them up with the hanging strips, and you’re done!
The wood grain looks great on a horizontal plane.
It’s a graphic component that adds to the kitchen décor, but in a subtle, almost organic way.
The 3-D spacing between letters and boards is one of my favorite aspects. That simple step really takes this DIY project finished product to a new level.
I love the simplicity of the lettering, the squareness of the boards, and the faux metal letters. Enjoy creating your own reminder to EAT! (As if we needed reminding, I know…)