DIY Decor Kitchen


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!

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  • Reply
    [email protected]
    May 15, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Cute! I’ve been wanting to make big silver EAT letters for my kitchen – love this tutorial; so easy. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    May 15, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Looks great! I love the details you added to get that metal look. The contrast between the letters and the white subway is perfect. Can’t wait for the reveal!

  • Reply
    May 15, 2012 at 10:29 am


  • Reply
    Emily M
    May 15, 2012 at 10:30 am

    This looks so good in your kitchen! Great choice!!!
    Now on my way to Hobby Lobby…

  • Reply
    May 15, 2012 at 10:31 am

    The perfect touch for your stove area. Definitely doesn’t look like paper mache!

  • Reply
    Ashley {GirlyObsessions}
    May 15, 2012 at 10:37 am

    This is a great, and cost effective, solution! I have one zinc ampersand from Anthro and have thought about investing in more, but I just can’t get around to it! Maybe I should opt for the paper mache options!

  • Reply
    [email protected] Our Home from Scratch
    May 15, 2012 at 10:53 am

    We find ourselves looking at people homes on TV as well now. Especially now that we’re doing wainscoting.. we look for it EVERYWHERE!! I love that EAT you added. Perfect for the room. Great contrast with the tile. Nice work!

    • Reply
      May 15, 2012 at 10:58 am

      Oooh, I have a weak spot for wainscoting! Love it!

  • Reply
    May 15, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Love this! I want to do some letters for a bookshelf and this is a great idea. Thanks!

    @John – Same on the wainscoting. It looks like the previous owners TOOK IT OUT of our dining room and repainted which makes me so sad!

  • Reply
    May 15, 2012 at 11:56 am

    This is great! I’ve seen quite a few tutorials for faux metal letters in blog land, but you gave some great tips I hadn’t thought about (like sanding before it gets dry!) and made it yours by going dark, rather than silver (which is what all of the other tutorials seem to do). Great job!

  • Reply
    May 15, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    too funny! that’s what I did this weekend too!

    I bought oversized wooden letters that were on sale at joanns and spray painted them bright yellow! I got a J to go over my husband’s desk and an M for mine.

  • Reply
    May 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Wow! They look great. So inexpensie and CUTE!

  • Reply
    Ashley from Life Begins @ 23
    May 15, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    I’m totally stealing this idea for my kitchen! Love it!

    • Reply
      Ruth Ann Anderson
      September 26, 2012 at 7:31 pm

      You stole it first…I’ m second in line…looks like iron but just pennies to make….this couple does the RESERCH and the rest is history….a long list of admirers!

  • Reply
    May 15, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    This does look really cute, I just hate the trend of putting one word up on a wall. Like “believe” or “kitchen” or “laugh”…. I mean are you really going to forget to eat? Or laugh? Or forget to believe? But like i said, it does look cute, and the paint is awesome, i just dont like the trend πŸ™

    • Reply
      May 16, 2012 at 9:13 am

      Well, we won’t forget to eat, but I’m a font geek while Greg likes weathered-looking accents, so this was a good mesh for us. For a minute, we thought about making it say “tea” because we make tea a lot, haha

  • Reply
    May 16, 2012 at 3:05 am

    I love these and have been thinking of making some myself, though I am not sure about hanging them above the stove top. I have a clock in that position, a little higher maybe, and it gets covered with grease and grime from the cooking fumes. Granted, we don’t have a hood, and you do, so maybe you won’t have my problem.

  • Reply
    Ash @ HumberHomeProject
    May 18, 2012 at 10:59 am

    love it!
    I’m always eyeing the word signs and individual letters at Hobby Lobby…
    I like the idea of the cardboard letters so they’re lighter and won’t fall down and break πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    May 18, 2012 at 11:45 am

    I LOVE this idea! I’ve wanted “EAT” letters in my kitchen for some time now….I’m stealing this idea. πŸ™‚ Thank you!! I have to ask…where did you get your cutting board? I’ve been looking for something like that and just can’t find it. Thanks!

    • Reply
      May 18, 2012 at 12:00 pm

      Thanks! We got it at Bed Bath & Beyond a while back. I couldn’t find the link, but here’s something really similar: Hope that helps! : )

  • Reply
    August 3, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Wow – I did a VERY similar project (and even mentioned Cougar Town) just two weeks before you did this. Yours look better, though πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    August 4, 2012 at 5:30 am

    These look brilliant! I actually just did the same thing in our kitchen but we finished ours in red. That’s how I came across your blog! Really enjoyed reading it.

  • Reply
    mattress only
    September 4, 2012 at 6:26 am

    That was a great idea. Less cost to a metal like letters. I’ll try it out.

  • Reply
    Judy @ Cleaning Junkie
    January 8, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    I LOVE this! And I love your white kitchen! Such a good and easy DIY. I would love to put it somewhere in my house… May be at the entrance – “WELCOME”? May be that’s too long of a word…

    Anyway, thanks for sharing this!


  • Reply
    February 5, 2013 at 5:51 am

    I made letters like this and absolutely love them! Can you tell me where you found your stove? Make and Model? Thanks!!

    • Reply
      February 5, 2013 at 10:02 am

      Very cool! It’s an Electrolux Wave Touch Electric Range. Here’s the link to the actual one:
      Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    February 9, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    LOVE!! i’m going to try my hand at something like this…thanks for the inspiration!!

  • Reply
    May 2, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    but where did you get the letters?

    • Reply
      May 2, 2013 at 12:48 pm


    • Reply
      May 2, 2013 at 1:26 pm

      Hobby Lobby : )

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