Pop’s Top 10: Artistic Letters

Yes, there is a National Letter Writing Day, and it is today! Katie and I decided to celebrate with a very broad, very liberal take on what it means to put letters into the world. There’s a bonus one at the end of the post. We couldn’t resist.


#10 ICE TOPOGRAPHY BY NICOLE DEXTRAS
From My Modern Met

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#9 BALTIMORE BUS STRUCTURE BY “MMMM…” COLLECTIVE
From Inhabitat

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#8 ARMENIAN ALPHABET MONUMENT BY J. TOROSYAN
From Atlas Obscura

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#7 PERIODIC TABLE, UNIVERSITY OF MURCIA, SPAIN
From Chemistry World

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#6 FLOATING SENTENCES, TREVISO, ITALY
From Spudart

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#5 TYPOGRAPHY COSTUME CONTEST
From Parsons School of Design

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#4 THE ALPHABET CHAIR BY SARAH PETERS
From Sarah Peters Sculpture

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#3 HANDMADE STAPLES FONT BY RAFAEL FAGULHA
From Bēhance

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#2 “LOOK CLOSER” INSTALLATION BY CHARACTER
From boredpanda

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#1 OPTICAL ILLUSION CALLIGRAPHY BY RYLSEE
From deMilked

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BONUS! AMERICA’S MOST FAMOUS LETTERS…
From Hollywood Sign


If you’re interested in doing a bit of letter art in your own home, library, or classroom, may we humbly suggest the letter art project we blogged about here? See also our topiary letters, letter fishing, magic floating letters, our favorite fuzzy crinkle letters, custom neon letters, or the result of inflating 130 giant alphabet balloons and stuffing them in the entryway of your library.

Blue Skies Ahead

blue skies ahead

We’re zooming into the wild blue yonder with this amazing aviator hat AND a pair of custom airplane wings and propeller belt. The sky is the limit!

plane costumeWe read Pilot Pups, written by Michelle Meadows, and illustrated by Dan Andreasen (Simon & Schuster, 2008). Join a pair of enthusiastic stuffed dogs as they fly through the house in a toy plane. Dodging mountaintops (Dad’s head), encountering fog (tea kettle), and careening past the creek (kitchen sink), and returning to the bed before anyone notices their daring adventures.

You’ll need:

It took a little tweaking, but I finally came up with a single piece aviator hat template that works. Here’s what the template looks like with its various dimensions:

aviator hat template with measurments

And here’s an unmarked shot of it, so you can clearly see its shape:

aviator hat template blank step 1First, fold the rounded part of the template upwards and inwards, so it tucks under the back of the template. Later, this will be the bill of your aviator hat.

aviator hat template step 2Hold the template to your forehead and curve the long ends around your head. Secure the ends together with staples. This is the headband of your hat (and, if the template band doesn’t go all the way around your head, just add a little extender piece in the back).

aviator hat template step 3Next, fold the right and left flaps over the top of your head. Secure them together with staples. Note: you want the flaps to form a bit of a “dome” over your head, not fit super tight on top of your skull.

aviator hat template step 4Fold the the center flap down over the top of your head, gently tucking it into the back of the hat brim. Trim off any excess flap sticking out from under the brim.

aviator hat template step 5

Turn the hat over and squish and round the edges of the center flap to make the hat look more rounded. Decorate the goggles (yay steampunk story time!) and buckles from the template, then attach them to the hat like so:

aviator hat template step 6That’s your hat, now for the rest of the costume! The wings are super simple. We cut pairs of 9.5″ x 16″ wings from white poster board, which the kids decorated with markers, color masking tape, and star stickers. Add poster board wrist and shoulder loops to the undersides of the wings. You can see the placement of the loops in the photo below (most kids chose to grasp the wrist loops in their fists while “flying”):

wing loopsThe propeller belt is a strip of poster board with holes punched in each end. Wrap the belt around your waist and secure it in place with a snippet of ribbon (decorate with markers and color masking tape of you like to) threaded through the belt holes. You can simply attach a poster board propeller to the front, or you can make it spin by using a brass fastener.

You’re ready to soar!

So FLUFFY

so fluffy

He’s big. He’s soft. He’s…so…FLUFFY. This simple box kitty is also incredibly stylish.

We read Papillon: The Very Fluffy Kitty by A.N. Kang (Disney Hyperion, 2016). Papillon is a big, fluffy kitty. In fact, he’s so fluffy, he can float on air! Miss Tilly fears her cat will fly away and get lost, but then she discovers that clothing keeps Papillon on the ground. She begins designing costumes for Papillon, each outfit more ridiculous than the next. Papillon finally puts his paw down and refuses to wear anything. And, just as Miss Tilly fears, he floats out the window and gets lost in the scary woods. Papillon tries fashioning a hat, scarf and belt out of leafy vines so he can walk home, but they don’t work! Luckily, a friendly bird tows Papillon home. When Miss Tilly meets Papillon’s new friend, she has her best design idea ever…a birdhouse hat to keep the friends together, and Papillon somewhat grounded.

You’ll need:

  • 1 large box (ours was 4.5” X 4.5” x 9” – a large tissue box works too)
  • White poster board
  • Cotton balls
  • Black construction paper
  • 1 paper cup
  • Hat decorating supplies (more on this below)
  • Scissors, tape, and glue for construction
  • Hot glue

cat box

Basically, each kid started with a cat box, as shown above (it’s remarkably similar to this one, but we used a box instead of an oatmeal container this time). Definitely use hot glue to fix the pieces down, and use poster board for the hind legs, front legs, tail, and ears. Anything less sturdy is going to buckle under all that glue and cotton balls. Because you’re going to use lots and LOTS of glue and cotton balls…

fluffy catBasically, just cover the box with cotton balls! The fluffier, the better! For the face, we used large, 1.5″ eyes stickers from Oriental Trading Company (a roll of 100 pairs is $2.50), and a bit of self-adhesive foam for the nose. You can just use construction paper to make these, though. The whiskers are construction paper as well.

Once the fluffy cats were finished, the costuming portion of the project began. We made hats. The basic hat was a 5.25″ circle of white poster board with a paper cup hot glued to it. Kids could choose the color, and height, of their paper cups.

cat hatThen, out came the Bling Bin, as well as sparkle stems, duck quills, patterned paper, and fabric flowers. And things got FANCY.

When the costumes were finished, each cat received his/her very own bird friend. This was a little wooden bird whistle, left over from this epic robot story time. Tweet tweet!

cat hat bird