How to Make 3D Letters

Making words out of three dimensional letters is a great way to decorate your home, office, or business. They can be arranged to form names or slogans. A popular use is to hang up just two or three to display a person’s initials. There are many inexpensive and simple ways for you to make these letters yourself, rather than buying premade decorations.

1. Gather your materials

You will need drawing paper, disposable paper cups, chipboard or cardboard, glue, a hobby knife, and adhesive paper tape cut into long strips. You will also need a method of dampening the paper tape without soaking it, such as a new clean kitchen sponge. Decorative materials, such as acrylic paint, are optional.

  • Keep in mind that the size of the cups that you choose will partially determine the size of your letters. How tall your cups are will roughly correspond with how thick your letters will be. Likewise, you will need to make each portion of your letter at least as wide as the mouth of your cups.

2. Draw your letter on paper and cut it out

Use the drawing paper to sketch out your ideas. Draw a letter that is at least the width of your cups’ mouth in all areas. Don’t worry about erasing mistakes or making it neat; this paper will not be incorporated into your finished letter. Once you’re happy with your letter’s design and size, cut it out using either your hobby knife or a pair of scissors.

3. Trace your letter cutout onto either cardboard or chipboard

Cut your letter out using a hobby knife. Do this twice so that you have two identical copies of the cardboard letter. Make sure that the two letters line up perfectly.

4. Glue paper cups to the cardboard letters

Stagger the cups right side up and upside-down to pack them in as tight as possible. The more cups you use, the more structurally sound your final letter will be. Do not allow any part of the cups to go over the edge of the letter.

5. Glue the second letter onto the opposite ends of the cups

Wait for the glue on the first letter to dry. Make sure to line up your second letter perfectly when gluing. Allow the glue to dry completely before moving on.

6. Cover the letter with paper tape

Take a paper strip and moisten its adhesive. Wrap it tightly around your letter so that it sticks to both the top and bottom cardboard faces. Repeat with more paper strips, one by one. Continue until your letter has been completely wrapped in at least two layers of adhesive tape.

7.Decorate your letter as desired before display

You may choose to apply acrylic gesso to give you a white surface to work on and to seal the tape edges completely. You can paint or draw over this layer using most types of media. If you are making multiple letters, try to decorate them similarly to create a theme.