The walls of my home are decorated with propaganda art. Not the “Loose Lips Sink Ships” variety though. We gravitate towards a subtle and steely push to maintain your good hygiene and manners. My particular favorite is a series called Character, Culture, and Citizenship. It’s a classroom series that came out around 1935. The colors are brilliant and the messages uttered aloud today have an almost ironic, guiding sweetness to them.
My most favorite propaganda style acquisition was inspired by the blogger Sweet Sweet Life. Etsy recently featured her pretty home – where she used vintage alphabet blocks and a wooden doll to create a fantastic vignette. I recommend taking the time to browse Sweet Sweet Life’s Flickr set. But do it after you read this because once you see it you won’t be able to stop nuzzling your screen it’s just that cozy and cute.
Step 1: Think about your message! Be kind and offer your guests or seat. Tell people to put the toilet seat down. Remind yourself to breathe deeply. Say whatever you like, and it will look all the nicer for being spelt out in alphabet blocks. I chose “Keep Calm Carry On” an expression from a wartime poster created by the British Government’s Ministry of Information.
Step 2: Find your blocks! If you’ve got the time, hunt down some great old blocks at a garage sale or swap meet. I ordered mine directly from an Etsy seller because they already spelled out my message. And, well frankly I gained about 10lbs eating corn dogs the last time I went to a swap meet so I’m a little scared to return. You can find them by searching the Supply section of Etsy with keywords like, “Block, words, sign”.
Step 3: Get some glue! I had a hunch that any blocks left lying around would be claimed by one of my children. So I opted to glue them together so they were an obvious decorating item, and not part of the general block miscellanea. This is slightly sadistic, but effective. I recommend using E-6000, but truly any wood glue will do just as well.
Step 4: Apply a small dab of glue to the middle of each block that you are joining. Wait a minute for it to set and then smush together. Sounds obvious, but if you smush too soon you won’t get a good bond. After they’ve been joined – lay them bottom side down and press gently. It’s ok if the letters are misaligned – it adds to the look in fact. But if they aren’t flat on the bottom they won’t be stable when you are ready to display.
Step 5: Join in sections, and then join those sections and so on. I made rows, but didn’t join the rows to each other. That way I can stack or make a long message on a windowsill.
Step 6: Allow them to dry overnight and display!