make 3D letter from cardboard

How to Make a 3D Letter of Paper

We’ve been seeing a lot of typography in home decor these days, and in this tutorial I’m going to show you how to make a 3D letter of paper. It’s not as difficult as you might think and you don’t need any expensive materials. You probably already have these materials in your home. You can make any letter – like the first letter of your name, or you can even make a whole word like “love”, “hope”, etc.

Materials needed:

  • Cutting knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Card stock
  • Paper
  • Printer
  • Glue
  • Masking tape
  • Steel ruler
  • Gift wrap

First print out your chosen letter. I typed the letter H at the size of 749pt in a document in Microsoft Word. This will be about 18cm (7 inches) high when printed. As you can see, it’s going to use a lot of ink. But…

the letter H typed into Microsoft Word

…no worries, we’ll just create an outline. Here’s how: select the letter, right-click and choose Font from the menu. In the Font window, select “Outline” from the Effects section.

changing font to outline in Word

changing font to outline in Word

A-ha! There’s your letter with only the outlines. Now print out one copy.

outlined letter

Get two sheets of cardboard. It needs to be a thicker paper so that your letter is sturdy. These are going to be the front and back of your letter. It can be any colour, because we’re going to be covering it with gift wrap later. I’m reusing two old sheets of cardboard.

Place your printed letter on top of two sheets of cardboard and a cutting mat. Your printed letter serves as a guideline. Here is my H on white paper and my blue and green cardboard.

materials needed for making 3D cardboard letter

Take your cutting knife and ruler and start cutting out your letter. Here are my finished letters.

cut out letters

Now cut out strips of cardboard that are 4cm (1.5 inch) thick and any length. These are going to be the sides of your letter. The quantity you need depends on your letter.

cardboard strips

Now start attaching the strips to your first letter with masking tape. Fold it every time you get to a corner. If you run out, just attach a new strip.

making a 3D paper letter

Here are the front and sides of my letter finished:

one side of paper letter

Now attach your other letter to the back:

finished paper letter

We now have a letter box. But it needs a little decorating. You can use gift wrap, scrapbook paper, magazine pages, newspaper, different coloured tape, etc. I first pasted the same gift wrap on the front and back of my letter. I slightly overlapped it to the sides. Then I pasted a different paper on the sides.

It look quite long to make this letter. But if you have the time, the results will be worth it! I made this H for my mom, and I am going to make a C for myself soon!

You can put this letter on a shelf in your home or give it away as a gift.

3D cardboard letter decorated with wrapping paper

How will you be decorating your 3D letter? Please tell us in the comments.

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