• Caroline

Acrylic Table Names

Updated: Mar 27, 2021

Today's blog post is about these hand-painted acrylic table names I created. This is an easy craft for anyone who wants to add a handmade touch to their wedding signage but maybe doesn't have the luxury of a Cricut or Silhouette machine; the result is a slightly more 'rustic' look but any wedding guests are sure to appreciate the handmade charm. No artistic talent required - however a steady hand is preferable!

I was lucky enough to receive a donation of a big box of acrylic signs of many sizes - one of my close friends got married back in August and she had the most beautiful decor throughout the reception venue including a gorgeous table plan, table numbers and menus; she very kindly gave these to me to re-purpose for my own wedding. I have plans to use the signs in various places throughout the wedding, and started off the crafting process by first making the table names. We've decided to have names instead of numbers as a fun and easy way for keeping the Japan theme - each table will be named after a different destination we visited on our trip to Japan, and the name will be accompanied with one of our favourite snaps from that place.

Before I could recreate the acrylic pieces, I had to remove the existing designs. There were vinyl stickers on the front of the pieces, and fairly thick layers of paint on the back. The vinyls came off pretty easily - I used my embossing heat tool (though a hair dryer would also be effective) to warm the stickers and make them easier to lift, and then gently peeled them off - this took a little while because of the amount of individual letters, however it was pretty satisfying doing the peeling! There was some sticky residue left behind after removing the vinyls, but this came off with some ethanol and a tissue. I also used the ethanol to remove the paint from the other side; this was slightly more difficult and required a lot of elbow grease, therefore I didn't do all of them in one go or I think my wrists may have dropped off! I found the easiest way to go about this was to start at the edges and work inwards.

You'll be left with the acrylic looking a little smudgy at the end of all the scrubbing, but a fresh tissue with a tad more ethanol and it'll be perfectly clear.

See? good as new!

Next, it was time to plan out my designs and create a template. I cut a scrap piece of paper roughly down to the size of the acrylic piece and drew out the table name in the correct position, using a calligraphy-style font; you could always print your template out instead of drawing free hand, if, unlike me, you actually own a home printer! I placed the template behind the acrylic and held this in place with white tack, then, using a thin paint brush and acrylic paint, I painted the word directly onto the acrylic using the template as a guide.

It may take a couple of layers of paint for the design to appear bold enough, depending on the paint you use. Don't worry too much if you make a mistake - I found that you can gently scratch the unwanted paint off without any damage to the acrylic piece.

Next, I wanted to add gold paint behind the lettering to make the names stand out a little more and create a little more interest. It can take a few layers to build up the paint to achieve the right level of opaqueness. I first used a large brush with wide, coarse bristles - this had the effect of creating very obvious brushstrokes, which I wanted to appear around the ages of the patch of gold. I then used finer brushes to build up the next layer of paint over this to ensure there were no large gaps behind the text where too much light would shine through, as this can look messy and distracting.

After leaving this to dry for a few hours, I attached the polaroid photo with white tack. I chose to use white tack as I thought glue would look too messy from the other side, and also - as I was generously gifted these acrylics - I'd like to pay it forward again after my wedding and gift them to someone else, so I didn't want to do any permanent damage.

I absolutely adore how these turned out - so simple yet so effective! The only thing I had to pay for was getting the polaroids printed, which I think cost me around 10p per print from Photobox.

Using second-hand materials is a great way to reduce cost for the wedding and to be more sustainable. If a close friend has had a wedding recently, don't be shy to ask if there's anything that they're getting rid of, or would consider selling to you at a reduced rate. Facebook marketplace is also an amazing place to find used wedding stuff that can be re-purposed for much cheaper than buying new!

Thanks for reading x

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