Home decor

DIY Custom Sized Ampersand

How to make a custom-sized ampersand | The Chelsea Project Blog | www.thechelseaproejct.com

“We love decorating with letters……

….and……and…. ampersands.”

“How do you make a custom-sized ampersand?”


How could I forget ampersands?

Sorry, ampersand lovers.

I don’t know what I was thinking.

So… I made this quick post as an addendum to the highly detailed How to Make Custom Sized Letters

and will again use graph paper and number two pencils

to show you how to create the size ampersand that’s right for you.

Step 1:  Doodle Time

Take your graph paper (one square = one inch high and one inch wide) and number two pencils……. Make a sketch.  The drawing used for my ampersand….which is 15 blocks high and 13 blocks wide……. can be adjusted to any desired size.


Step 2:  Go Big 

The graph was then drawn to size on my fav brown paper bag paper.  The 15 blocks high translated to 15 inches high.  And, the 13 blocks wide translated to 13 inches wide.  Making this template is a little more difficult than making letters, but is accomplished with carefulness, persistence, and a good eraser for that number two.  Just lay down a ruler and convert blocks to inches one at a time.  I really had to pay attention.


Step 3:  Cut It Out

Trace the template onto your favorite medium.  Wood?  Fabric?  Paper?….. ……..Then cut or jigsaw.

I wanted to stick my ampersand to the wall so I used 1/2 inch MDF.  This creates a bit of dimension, but is still basically flat against the wall.


Step 4:  Lay On the Color

It’s paint time…..that is….if you used a paintable surface.  After I coated my amp with primer…..only to later realize…..that it needed more sanding.  Sometimes latex paint/primer will lift wood fibers and roughen what had appeared smooth.  A bit of elbow grease with a piece of 150-grit sandpaper should take care of that.  This is also a good time to smooth out any wayward moves by the jig.


I planned to paint the amp white and not have any distressed edges, but changed my mind.  I really liked the distressed areas on the finish.  This is when I pulled out the polyurethane and gave it a sealer coat.


It’s so perfectly imperfect.  I just love it.

Step 5:  Put in Place and Enjoy


Wall color:  Sherwin-Williams Distance 6243


The bottles are about 18 years old.  Recycled from another decor era.  I know, it’s difficult to never throw anything away, but some things are wonderfully grand when upcycled.  Don’t you agree?


This is part of the bath vanity makeover in my son’s room…..

 I pulled up the carpet and painted the subfloor.

It is amazing how fresh and clean it looks.

I do hope you will visit again as the full reveal of this bed and bath makeover continues.


Until next time…

Please…….don’t forget to PIN……

Easy make Oversized Ampersand for Walls and Shelves

Happy Decorating,


No Comments

  • Reply Jeanne Melanson February 4, 2015 at 1:02 am

    I love the ampersand. What a cool idea. The distressed edges was a great way to go too. Excellent. Why didn’t I think of that? Yeah, right. 🙂

  • Reply maggiemaysgifts February 4, 2015 at 1:48 am

    Hi there, I found your blog when you added your link in the Inspired Bloggers comment thread. Love your ideas. so fun! Looking forward to more!

  • Reply caribsurf February 4, 2015 at 1:55 am

    Great ideas and execution

    • Reply thechelseaprojectblog February 4, 2015 at 2:05 am

      TY so much. Such kindness is inspiring. Thx also for the follow…I promise to keep fun and stylish posts coming. All of my really good stuff is coming…:-) and I’m delighted you will be getting it as it posts.

  • Reply discoveringlorna February 4, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    Love this. It fits with the new decor ideas I am working on.

  • Reply dena February 17, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    I am seriously in love with your home!! It would be awesome to go on a picture tour of every room!! Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas!

    • Reply thechelseaprojectblog February 17, 2015 at 8:08 pm

      TY so much…I’m working my way through. I just posted a refinished furniture piece. I just made a Farmhouse wall unit to use when you don’t have room for a mud room (post coming soon), plus more. Tarps and ladders are every where. Hope you can stop by again..I’d love to share everything with you.

  • Reply 10 Tips for Making Pottery Barn Inspired Bookcase Accessories | The Chelsea Project March 30, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    […] The first dash showed up in the Jack and Jill bath vanities. Here. And here. […]

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