Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Make Your Own Letter Rack


If you're one of the one hundred and eighty lovely people to have joined #PostCircle, you're hopefully getting a lot more happy post than you used to. But what do you do with your post once you've opened and admired it? How do you keep track of the people you need to reply to, and if, like me, you don't live alone, where does new post wait for you until you have time to sit down and enjoy a good read? 

Enter your very own handmade letter rack!



You will need: 



  • 2 sheets 1/8" x 4" x 36" balsa wood - available from craft shops (I went to Hobbycraft)
  • Wooden letters (optional) - I got mine from the kiddies' craft section in Hobbycraft for £1 for a pack of 20
  • A glue gun or wood glue
  • A craft knife and cutting mat
  • Paint in your chosen colour - I used white gloss spray paint for easy, even coverage but this is entirely up to you. I find spray paint is less likely to warp your wood when wet. 
  • A pencil and ruler - use a metal ruler for cutting if you have one
  • Decorations of your choice - washi tape seemed like a fun idea for my letter rack

1. Measure and cut five pieces of wood, 22cm long. Your wood is already about 10cm wide, and we're working with this width right the way through, so no need to measure that. 




2. Cut two squares, 10 x 10 cm. These will be your sides. Take one of your squares and make a pencil mark one cm in from the left, and 4cm down from the top, on the right, as shown below. Draw a line between these two marks, then cut. Repeat with the other side in exactly the same way. 


3. Hooray, that's all your pieces cut out! Now we just have to give them a trim so they fit together. Set aside two of the lengths you cut out. They will make the back wall and the base of your rack. Take the other three and one of your side pieces. Line up the bottom edge of one of your lengths with the bottom edge of the side piece, where you would like the first slot of your rack to be (my first is 3.5cm from the back of the side piece). Where the length sticks out from the top of the side piece, make a pencil mark. (See image below). We're trimming the slots of your rack to line them up with the sloping diagonal of the sides. 

Draw a straight line across the top of the length at the height of the pencil mark, and trim. Repeat for one of the other lengths, again around 3-3.5cm apart from the last slot. The last length will be your front, so that will line up with the height of the front of the side piece. 




4. Next it's time to glue the letters onto the front panel! I used my trusty glue gun for this bit. 



5. Paint time! Cover your work surface in newspaper, and work outside if you're using spray paint. Give all your pieces an even coat of paint, on both sides, repeating if necessary. Try not to let your wood get too wet - it's better to do more thin coats - so you don't warp the wood. Go and have a cuppa and a cheeky biscuit while that lot dries. The paint has now strengthened the wood so your rack will be nice and sturdy. 



6. All we have to do now is assemble the letter rack! You can use a glue gun or wood glue for this bit. I used a combination of both because a glue gun got me strong, fast results, and the wood glue gave me more time on those joins that needed a bit of adjustment. Glue the front on first, placing the front piece on top of the base, not in front of it. The same goes for the back. If you need to do a little trimming at this point don't worry, we're going to give everything a last spray of paint to clean up any raw edges. 



Construct the actual 'box' first to give it structure, then glue in your slots last. Once you're happy and the glue is dry, give everything a last coat of paint. I chose to spray my finished rack with a coat of clear varnish too, but that's up to you, depending on the type of paint you used. 

7. The fun bit! Decorate your rack however you like. I used washi tape and printed some labels for the slots. You could paint flowers onto yours, or add stickers or stamps, whatever you wish!





I've chosen to keep my rack on my desk, but it's also lightweight enough to use sticky foam pads to attach it to a wall, bookcase or door.

Another way I'm displaying my post is with a baker's twine washing line in my workspace!



Have a well organised Wednesday,




21 comments:

  1. Fantastic DIY Anna and such a good idea for keeping all those post circle letters organised!

    Lotts x

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    1. I'm the sort of person who has to stay very organised otherwise everything descends into chaos, so this had to be done! x

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  2. What a great tutorial, Anna! Thanks for sharing! :-)
    Carly
    x

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  3. So cute! I have something a little similar, but not at all as fancy. :)

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    1. I really struggled to find reasonably priced letter racks when I did some research. This way it can match my desk! x

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  4. Fab idea, and all those lovely letters to look forward to.....great washi tape edging! :) x

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    1. Thanks Ada, washi tape has soooo many uses :) x

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  5. Replies
    1. Thanks Lauren, it's nice to have a cheery receptacle for cheery post! x

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  6. Your talents are never ending! Just so that I know - when you have rsvp'd where do they go then?

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    1. Oooh thank you. Well, I hang them on my washing line for a few weeks so I can admire them lots, then finally keep them in a special box under my bed :) x

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  7. This is just beautiful! I would say you've inspired me to make one this weekend, but I think I should write some lovely #postcircle letters back to my fellow owls first :)

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    1. At least if you make one you'll then have somewhere to put all that lovely post :) x

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  8. What a brilliant idea! I love it.

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  9. love it!and loving postcircle too.btw, is it still open to new ppl?i have two friends who keep seeing what im giving and recieving on instagram and they're pretty intetested...

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    1. Yep! #PostCircle is always open though there's a short waiting list just now while I get through applications!

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  10. This is lovely! You are so super crafty. I need one of these & immediately thought I should make one... but it does bring back slightly painful memories of making a tape cassette holder (yep, I'm that old) in school, which took me a whole term while everyone else had moved on (to such joys as a steady hand tester - you know that beeps if the hoop touches the wire?) and which got smashed on the day it was completed. Admittedly it was repared with ultra strong glue and lived on the floor of my mum's car for many years after that... But am I ready to tackle wood again?!

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  11. p.s. forgot to say how chuffed I am to see my postcard on display ;) x

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  12. Anna you are such a clever thing! I would never have thought about making something as lovely and functional as this! I imagine the letters would also look lovely in a floral decoupage :) xx

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