How To Make a Large Monogram Cutout The Easy Way

Monograms – I love them and now that it is Autumn and time to change the decor on my front door, I wanted to make a monogram cutout to go on my Fall wreath.  I bought the best plywood, got a new scroll saw blade and set to work – after two failed attempts – all those thin curlicue areas were way too hard to cut… I gave up.  Then I asked myself, “Why don’t I do this the way I know best… in my own style.

As many of you know I used to work as a display designer. In a day in the life of this profession I had to make lots of lettering, logos, and other decorative stuff – I did it all with foam or FomCor boards and a hot wire cutting machine.    Since I no longer work in display and don’t have access to such a machine anymore, I found the next best thing to cut Foam Cor is a very sharp craft knife and/or a Hot Knife. Unlike a foam cutter, a Hot Knife is made to cut easily through the paper that sandwiches the foam, too.

So after two failed attempts of trying to make a wood monogram that took me all afternoon, in less than 1 hour I had not one, but two monograms cut out and it cost me only $2.00

I made one white.

How to make a large monogram with Foam Core

 

The second one I added a pattern to. I am not sure what I am going to do with it yet – probably frame it, but I did want to experiment to see if it could be done.

How-to-cover-a-foam-monogra

Anyone can make these even if you don’t have Photoshop on your computer – plus no power tools are needed.

 

Step-by-Step-Instructions-2

 

 

Dollar Store Foam Board $1.00
Monogram enlargement – $1.99
Craft knife and replacement blades
Optional – Hot Knife
Transfer paper
Colored Pen or pencil
Glass or craft cutting mat
Computer and monogram lettering printout
 

How To Create Your Own Monogram on a Computer

If you have a computer and printer then you can create your monogram easily.  You have three options that I know of – 1.  Photoshop or Photoshop Elements  2.  Microsoft Publisher   3.  The old-fashioned way – cut and paste.  I will explain how to do this further down in the post.

No matter which method you choose, you will need to download a monogram style font.

I used KK Monogram for mine.  You can download it at Dafont.com.  If you don’t know how to download a font, it is easy. You can read my post – how to download a font – here.

For this tutorial I am using PSE.

1.  Make your center letter 600 points using Monogram KK font.  For the left and right letters use 450 point size.

How to make a monogram for your front door

 

2. In a separate layer in PSE or a separate text box if using Microsoft Publisher add your first letter using 450 pt. size type.  In another layer or text box add the last letter – 450 pts.   You should be able to move each letter around on your screen by themselves. If not –delete the letters that are connected and create it again in its own layer or text box.

Monogram-making

3. Move the letters so that they are evenly spaced and lined up.  Make them bold – which helps give the curlicue areas a bit more thickness – helps when cutting.

How to make a monogram on a computer

Print it to fill a 8 x 10 sheet of printer paper.

4. Take your printed monogram to a copy shop. I went to Office Max. For $1.99 they made me an enlarged copy to my exact size specs – which was 18-inches wide.   You can have it sized as big or small as you want.  It is on a vinyl sheet so it can be used over and over again.

Make-a-Monogram-on-a-comput

 

How To Make the Monogram Using The Old-Fashioned Cut and Paste Method:

If you don’t have a program on your computer where you can create separate letters and then put them together in an image, you will have to do it the old-fashioned way.    In your word processer, create your 3 letters using the sizes mentioned above.  Print each one out.  Lay the center letter face up.  Cut the other two letters out. You don’t have to be exact – just make sure not to cut the actual letters. White paper can be left on the outer sides of the letters.  Lay each letter down on either side of the center letter. Arrange and then use a glue stick to attach to the center letter.

How to Transfer the Monogram onto Foam Board

You will need transfer paper. They sell it at crafts stores. Martha Stewart sells it along with her paints.  Just ask if you can’t find it.

1.  Lay your foam board on a cutting surface – glass or a crafters cutting mat work the best.  On top of that lay the transfer paper – graphite side down.  (My paper was smaller than my image so I pieced it together with tape to get one large piece of transfer paper.)  Place your enlarged monogram on top of the paper. Tape it to the foam board so it won’t move.

How-to-make and enlarge a monogram

2. With a colored pen, trace around the image.  Trace your line right outside the letter – not on it.  This bit of extra space will keep your monogram to size. If you trace right on the edges of the letters – when you cut it – you will lose some of the letter.  ( I used a different color pen or pencil for each new monogram I made. This way I can see where I traced around all the letters completely. )

Note: My center letter H has a pretty thin center.  I made it larger when I was tracing.  If your center letter has a thin part like this – beef up the line thickness in that area as you trace. If it is too thin your monogram will break apart.

How to make a monogram for a wreath

3. After tracing around all the letters, remove the copy and transfer paper from the foam board.  You should be left with your traced letters.

How to make a monogram sign

4.  Plug in a hot knife or use a craft knife with a very sharp blade. Have extra blades ready. I like the knives that allow you to snap off the dull blade and expose a new one quickly.  When cutting out the two monograms I made, I changed my knife blade 3 times to make sure I got nice clean edges with every cut. I only used the hot knife to get around some of the tighter curves.  I did not change that blade.

How to cut foam board to make a monogram

5. It should look like this after you cut.  On some cuts the corners can be stubborn. If necessary – flip the foam over and you will see the cut lines of the area you are working on cutting out.  Place the knife blade into the corner areas where the cut did not go through all the way to cut the back paper.   Dollar Store foam is easier to cut as the paper that sandwiches the foam is not a thick as brand name FomCor.

After you are finished, trim any raised edges carefully.  I had a few around curved areas.

Foam-Board Monogram-Tutorial

To hide the smudge marks and transfer lines I sprayed my cut out with a few very light coats of white spray paint.  Normally you cannot spray paint foam, but if you just do the top – it will be fine.

If you want to paint it a color –including the sides which will be white,  I would use craft paint.  Depending on the quality of the foam board  – the paint may warp the board.  I have painted tons of foam boards and have discovered that the thinner ones have to be weighed down as they dry. We did this by pinning the boards down with straight pins into the work surface.

How to make a wood monogram

Hang it up.  I looped orange ribbon through one of the loops on the center letter and tied it around the top of the wreath.

I wanted mine for my front door and know that hanging it outside will shorten its life, as it is only made of thin foam. Inside – yes, it will last a long time.  My front door is exposed to all the elements – no roof over it. Everything, including the door – takes a beating from the elements – especially the wind.   I have lost lots of wreaths, bows, and decorations over the years. To help this stay put and straight –  I tied the bottom of the left and right letters with clear fishing line to the wreath.

Monogram-Wreath-For-Fall Decorating Ideas -DIY tutorial

How to Add a Pattern to Your Monogram

I made two monograms. After I cut out the first, I used that as a template and traced a few more onto dollar store foam boards for future use – like a Christmas wreath.      The second one I covered with a decorative paper napkin. I found the pack of napkins at Michaels in the clearance aisle.

1.  Gently remove the 2-ply paper backing from the napkins.  Spray the monogram with spray adhesive – let it get tacky – about 2 minutes. Place the napkin over one half of the monogram. Smooth with your fingers.  Repeat with a second napkin on the other side making sure to line up the pattern.

Cover-with-napkin

2. Flip it over and use a pair of scissors to cut the paper in the open areas. Leave about 1/4- inch of paper all around the letters.  I thought this would be harder than it actually was. The paper is very thin so it was easy to form to the letters.  Cut tabs into the paper to make it easy to fold over to the back of the letters. Once you have it all cut out – it does not have to be neat. Spray a light coating of spray glue over the back.  Wait until it gets tacky and then, with your fingers, smooth the excess paper that you cut into tabs to the back of the monogram.

Cover-a-foam-monogram-with-

 

How-to-make-a-foam-monogra

Foam-Core-Monogram-Wreath
How to make a foam monogram wreath

Make-a-monogram-using-foam

 

 

 

Comments

  1. says

    I LOVE this idea! I followed the link to the Hot Knife–950˚ is kinda scary! I do want to try this! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Martha/Marty says

    I WANTED one of these!! Leave it to you to come up with the easy and cheap version. Hurray!

  3. Rachael Miller says

    Whaaat?!? And to think, I was about to spend $30 or more on a monogram JUST LIKE THIS! Genius. Pure genius.

  4. says

    This is brilliant! I have been eyeing the wooden monograms for awhile now, but wasn’t ready to spend $50 on one.

    Your foam core one looks just as a great. I will have to remember this. Thanks for sharing!

  5. says

    That is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! Your whole entrance are is so nice and adding your wreath really looks so classy! Thanks for sharing the tute!

  6. Mara says

    Very pretty, I have always thought that this would be super hard to do, but you make it look so easy, love the napkin idea.

  7. Linda says

    Thank you! Thank you!! I have been wanting to do a wreath with this type monogram forever. I am not very good with a computer but your directions are so clear that I think weven I can do this.

  8. says

    Diane, I LOVE this! I’ve been looking at those monograms for awhile and thought that I’d never have one. I have a “hot knife” that I use for carving foam pumpkins…Can’t wait to try it out on foam core! Thanks for a fabulous tutorial! xo, Kimberly

  9. says

    I LOVE The leaf wreath with the monogram. I wish I had seen this before I posted a blog about fall wreaths. It would have been at the top of the list.

    Where did you get the leaf wreath? Did you make it? I want to recreate this for y fall wreath this year!

    • says

      Hi Amanda – I made the wreath years ago and tweak it every year. It is just a grapevine wreath that I wrapped a few strands of raffia around. Then added dollar store fake fall leaf stems pushed into the grapevine on an angle. I then evenly spaced 4 purple hydrangeas around the wreath. Every year it gets beat up from the wind and rain so I refresh it with some new leaves. I posted a photo of it last year on my back door. Here is the link -
      http://inmyownstyle.com/2011/09/friday-at-momtastic.html

    • says

      Hi Melinda –
      I measured my wreath and wanted the monogram to fill the center. I told the guy at Office Max to make it 18″ wide. The height was kept in proportion when the monogram was enlarged using the width measurement.

      • lori caldwell says

        Hi Love the initials I went to office max they told me that .it would be 17.00 to enlarge the initials .Could not believe it.I had to say no.

        • says

          Hi Lori – OH no! The guy at my Office Max went to a book he had with all the prices and sizes of enlargements. I told him how wide I wanted it and he looked it up asked me a few questions and came back with $2. I either got a deal or the pricing structure is not being used the same in each store. :(

  10. says

    nice job! you could also do the text editing in Inkscape very easily, or in Scribus, and quite possibly Gimp as well (those are all free open-source programs that are great alternatives to Adobe products)

  11. Sheryll & Critters. says

    I so love this. I hope I can do it. My problem now is with not working, I can not afford ink for my printer. I wonder if I can someway trace them out with a dull pencil over my monitor? I hope so. I did some butterflies that way that I want to put on a wall. You are so patient, not only to do these, but to give such great instructions.

  12. says

    I love all things monogram…and, I’m definitely going to give this a try! I am enjoying your tutorials, and am not following to see what tip I can learn from you next!

    Erin @ Chronic Christian Crafter

  13. Michelle says

    Thanks for this idea! I saw this in Siuthern Living & was prepared to spend $45+ to order the wooden version. After pinning for almost a year, this is the first project I am actually going to tackle!

  14. Debbie says

    So Excited! I have everything ready to make my first cut. I did want to let everyone know that Office Max would NOT enlarge my design for $1.99. They were going to charge by the foot, so I went to Office Depot and they did do for $1.99 but it was not on vinyl. Anyway, will let you know how it turns out. Doing mine in black with white graphite paper.

    • says

      Hi Debbie -

      I am so happy to hear that you got the enlargement for $1.99 at Office Depot- $1.99 is affordable and doable. It doesn’t matter that the enlargement is not on vinyl – as you are just using it as a pattern to trace. Thanks for taking the time to tell us.

  15. Cami says

    I am trying to monogram a pumpkin but not sure how to get an online font ONTO my pumpkin! :) Can you give any advice?

  16. Tiffany says

    I am also planning on doing this project! I am in Office Max now waiting for my monogram to finish printing.. They also want to charge by the square foot here. I love the pumpkin idea as well… Makes me want to do that also. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Tiffany says

    I am also planning on doing this project! I am in Office Max now waiting for my monogram to finish printing.. They also want to charge by the square foot here. I love the pumpkin idea as well… Makes me want to do that also. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Kayla LaRocque says

    Hi i had a question i download PSE and Monogram kk.
    the install button doesnt not show up on the monogram kk so how do i get it to install or show up on PSE

  19. Melissa D. SC says

    Would you be able to tell me the size of the new background tht you opened up in PSE to make the monogram? Did you make your bkgrnd an 8×10 on the computer or a smaller size? I would like to make a special 50th wedding anniversary monogram for my parents.

    Thank you for your time and for sharing your tutorial.

    • says

      Hi Melissa – I made it a little smaller than 8 x 11 so that when I printed it out on my home computer it would fit the the paper. When I took it to Office Max I told them how big – (wide) I wanted the final size. They used a proportional scale to figure out the percentage or the enlargement needed to get it to the size I wanted.

      You can print it out at home any size. Just know how large you want the enlargement and the copy shop will be able to figure the percentage.

  20. Jazmin says

    THIS IS THE BEST EVER!!!!! I’ve spent the last 2 hours trying to figure out how to do this and your tutorial is the best I’ve seen! So easy to follow! User friendly! I’m being super redundant but that’s how awesome this tutorial was! Thank you so very much!

  21. kathleen says

    Hi – this is beautiful. I have photoshop, but I don’t know how to use it. Your tutorial is wonderful and I was wondering if you can tell me how to pull the letter up on the PSE program.
    Thanks in advance!

    • says

      Hi Kathleen -

      I think you want to know how to move the text? or do you want to know how put text in? I should first tell you that each letter has to be in it’s own layer. Once they are, then you can move them around separately.

      When the text tool is active, just move the cursor away from the text/letter and it will change to the move tool icon. Now simply click and drag the text/letter to reposition the text/letters where you want them.

      If this is not what you wanted to know, the best thing you can do is watch a YouTube video on working with text in PSE. There are many of them. Type in “Working with text/type in PSE” into a Google search. I also subscribe to the blog: EverydayElements.com Amanda has a lot of easy to follow tutorials. I have learned so much from her blog.

      Happy New Year

  22. Sandy says

    I have downloaded the font, but I can’t figure out how to get it to my document. Is there a secret?

    • Char says

      Open MS Word and look in your fonts list. My list shows it as “monogram kk” and it has a double “t” on the far left instead of the list.

      • says

        Hi Char – the double “T” stands for True Type – it is the type of font it is. Monogram KK is the name it downloads as – not sure why, but it is the same font. If it comes up in your Word font list -it should open up to use when you click on it.

  23. Pamela Sanders says

    This is awesome! I love monograms and knew how to do them in PSE but didn’t know how you could increase the size as large as you had it. Now I know. Can’t wait to try this.

  24. says

    Oh my gracious! I have been looking for a tutorial for this all weekend! I do like the monogram font, however I can’t seem to get them to connect together. I have a licensed monogram font and I know how to make that set connect. Is there a secret to this free one?
    Thank you for sharing!!

  25. Lauren says

    I made one of these for my little sister’s room, it’s beautiful and was so easy to make! It took me about half a day to do it and it was so worth it. Thank you for this idea!!

  26. Jo Mims says

    I am unable to find Martha’s hot knife. Can anyone recommend one that is not so expensive. I see a few out there that are reasonable, but unable to find reviews for them.
    Love your monograms, thanks.
    Jo

  27. Janice says

    Hi Diane – I’ve just discovered your site in the past couple of days and I’m already addicted – you are a genius! I have a daughter who will be moving into her first ‘off campus’ home in the Fall and you have provided me with some wonderful decorating ideas! Thank you for the clear, concise instructions and creative inspirations!

    • says

      Hi Staci – not a silly question at all. The proper etiquette: Wife’s first initial, initial of husband’s last name larger in the center, then husbands’ first
      initial. I sometimes do it the other way around, though, as I like the way my husband’s initial looks first :)

  28. Jessica says

    I love this!!! I’m buying all the supplies and I want to try and use wood instead of foam. Do you know if the transfer paper will work on wood? Or would I have different steps? Just curious if you have tried to use wood!
    Thanks!!!

    • says

      Hi Jessica -

      Yes, the transfer paper works on wood. Steps will be the same, except you will need a jig saw to cut the wood instead of the craft knife. I would get the finest jigsaw blades, so your cuts and scrolls will be super smooth. I have tried making a monogram on wood, but it did not turn out so great, that is why I came up with the foam version. :)

  29. says

    I love monograms and I am planing to use them in my next project. Thank you so much for sharing your tutorial. I have already pinned almost all your monogram tutorials.
    Thanks again.

  30. Htoles says

    Hi!
    I went to Office Max to get an black and white enlargement and they told me it would be $30-$40 dollars! Which office supply store did you use to do an enlargement and what did you tell them to do so that it would only be $2?

    • says

      I went to Office Max. Another reader a few months ago has the same problem. Others have not. Not sure if their pricing booklets are the same in each store or someone is not reading the pricing charts correctly. When I had mine printed, I showed the copy guy what I wanted to do and he went to a book and read me the sizes and types of paper and films it could be copied onto along with the prices. I am not sure what else could be the reason for the price difference. If you really want to do it and can’t find another place. Cut your monogram into four. Get each one enlarged on a regular machine to the same enlargement size. Tape the enlargements together to create one your enlargement. It won’t be on the vinyl, but you can still use it to trace. I hope it all works out for you.

  31. Teresa says

    When you have completed the cut out do you then remove the paper of the foam board? We were wanting to paint the letters a color. Thanks a million for your help on this.

    • says

      Hi Teresa – I left the paper on. The paper is what gives the nice flat surface. If you remove it, the foam will have texture and won’t be as smooth as the paper. If you paint it, it may curve depending on the brand of board you have. You will have to weight it down to flatten it after it is dry

  32. Tammy says

    Ms Diane
    How does this monogram using foam craft board hold up to the weather all year long? Any problems you’ve had or suggestions on what I can do especially for Southern weather? Thank you in advance.

    • says

      Hi Tammy – I had mine hanging on my front door that is open to the elements. I had it up for about 5 months. It bowed slightly from getting wet, other than that it is fine. I plan to use it again in the fall.(For the summer, I have a metal basket filled with hydrangeas on my door.) If your door is protected from the rain – you should have no problems with it. The humidity may effect it, since it adds moisture to the air, but I am not sure since mine was hanging in the less humid cool fall air.

  33. Ann says

    So cute but I was unable to download the KKmonogram font…that’s okay because my monogram is AGE anyway (LOL). I always use my last initial because of that…

  34. Susan says

    Thanks for this great tutorial. I was trying to talk my husband into cutting the wood, but he said it would take forever. This looks much easier!

  35. Allie says

    Thank you for taking the time to put this up last year… I’m just finding it, but I am printing out your instructions so I can do this this Fall.

  36. Chelsea says

    SUCH a great idea. I was trying to figure out how i was going to do this with plywood and it seemed like an immense undertaking. This seems way more reasonable! I downloaded the font this morning, and designed and printed out my monogram and it looks fantastic…going to get it blown up this afternoon! Doing one for our wreath, and one for our master bedroom! Thank you!

  37. Annette K. says

    Just a quick questions- you said you have the monogram on vinyl so that you can use it again and again. Did they print it on vinyl at Office Max when you enlarged it? Just the only thing I’m confused about… Thanks for your help!

    • says

      Hi Annette -

      The machine that they used to enlarge my monogram to the size I wanted printed on a vinyl type of paper. I had no idea it would be done on it, I was expecting a blue print type of paper. Another reader went to her Office Max and was told it would cost a lot more to print out on the vinyl. I either got a deal or the store she went to used different pricing.

  38. Kathy says

    You are one smart lady! I’d love to try this! Not sure I have the skill of hand or the patience. Your step by step guide is awesome. Thanks for sharing.

    • says

      If you hold the knife in one place for too long, you might end up getting a brown edge, but a Hot Knife is made for cutting through foam. It is a quick and swift way to cut any foam. I have a hot cutter that is a wand, but I like the control you get with a hot knife better.

  39. says

    i would love to do this., and have been trying to figure it out ,how to use pse but everytime i try to go one this on my computer it says that it is no longer available.
    can you tell me what else i could use
    would love to do this.
    thank you for sharing
    bobbi

        • says

          Hi Bobbi – It does not matter what the length is. As long as you have one measurement when you have it printed out just tell the print shop to keep the length in proportion. You can buy a hot knife at Michaels and on Amazon.com. I have a link to it on the “SHOP” page on my blog. You can find it under the “CONTACT” tab under my blog logo. Once on the shop page, click on Crafty things on the upper right to open the page where the hot knife is.

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