Slowly but surely, we’ve been trying to add dark elements to the kitchen here and there to ground some of the “light and bright”-ness. We added artwork with dark frames to the wall of white subway tile, but the stove wall was looking kind of bare.

anthropologie cougar town letters

I’d had my eye on these zinc letters over at Anthropologie for a while. On the other hand, I’ve always been a fan of the colorful fabric “EAT” letters on in the kitchen on the set of Cougar Town. By the way, if you haven’t seen the show, it really has nothing to do with either kind of cougars. The only problem was that the zinc letters from Anthropologie were too light (we have enough light already!) and the fabric letters (also from Anthro) aren’t available anymore. Plus, I think the colors/patterns would be a little much with all of the subway tile. Not to mention, having fabric wall art over a stove seems like a bad idea. So I decided to combine the two concepts and get my DIY on! Here’s what I ended up with…

I picked up these paper mache letters from Hobby Lobby for $2.47 a piece and gathered some oil-rubbed bronze spray paint, acrylic craft paint (gold and black), a couple of brushes and some satin finish polyurethane – which I already had on hand.

I started out by spray painting the letters with Rust-Oleum Metallic Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray paint

They actually looked really good after just this one step, but I wanted to distress them a bit to give them a weathered metal look. I added a few small dabs of black and gold paint here and there. I fully intended on using brushes, but for the most part, I just used my fingers. While the paint was still a bit tacky, I used some fine grit sandpaper to dull down the finish. By sanding the letters while they were still tacky, the finish ended up looking a lot less intentional.

You really can’t mess this up… just go with what you think looks good. If you mess up, just spray paint them again and start over. Come to think of it, giving them a light second coat of spray paint might make them look even more layered/weathered.

Since these were going in the kitchen right over the stove, I wanted to make sure they would be well-protected from possible food splatters. So I sprayed them with a light coat of Rust-Oleum satin polyurethane. This stuff dried super fast, and the letters were ready to hang within minutes…

We hung them on the wall using handy dandy 3M picture hanging strips (just like we hung the art on the other side of the kitchen).

You might not be able to tell in the photos, but the finish is really cool. It looks different at every angle (and in every photo) and you wouldn’t guess they were paper mache. Greg and I both really like the way they turned out! It adds some much needed darkness to the stove wall and keeps with the whole “clean lines with a few semi-rustic accents” thing we’ve got going on.

Speaking of the kitchen, we’ve got even more kitchen-related goodies coming your way tomorrow. We’re getting closer and closer to that big “Kitchen reveal” post. Ahhh, that will be a happy day for us!

Btw, have you entered the DENY Designs giveaway? They’re giving one lucky reader a custom duvet cover (a $183 value!). Click here to enter!