I LOVE drawing words! As a junior higher I would draw people's names for them and color them (usually with flames because.....the 90's). I've been obsessed ever since. I started dreaming up a cursive letter backdrop and pool noodles came to mind somehow. I for sure thought that this would already be a thing, but once again, my researcher brain kicked in and I couldn't find anything for them online. I came up with a gameplan, but in true DIY fashion, it dramatically shifted throughout the project. It wasn't until after I completed this, that I thought about how cool these would look actually floating in a pool! So I have some ideas for how to make that happen too! This project is inexpensive, super customizable and makes such a fun statement! Let's get into the details!
Pool Noodles (vary depending on the size and length of the word) I used 10. Found at Dollar Tree. Try to use thinner noodles so that it is easier to bend them. Target has slim ones for double the price at $2 a piece.
Floral Wire to secure the letters together. Also can find packages of these at Dollar Tree.
Duct Tape or Packaging Tape to connect the noodles together
Crepe Paper (optional) I used different colors to cover the noodles. It's inexpensive, and great for backdrop impact. If you actually wanted to use these in the water for a party photo-op, I would stick to picking out noodle colors that you actually like so that you don't have to cover them.
Light Thread or Fishing Wire to create bends in the letters.
1) Connecting the Noodles
Decide on the word that you want to create and start bending the noodles to get an idea on how big you want the word to be. If you need some calligraphy inspiration, check out chalkfulloflove. I'm working through her calligraphy book right now and love it! I found that the more you can get the letters to connect, the easier it will be to hang. I ended up making my "h" separate to give some height dynamics to the word. This large scale "hope" took 10 full pool noodles. Once you map out size, start connecting some of the noodles together using duct tape or shipping tape (use shipping tape if you don't plan on covering the noodles).
Press both noodles together and securely wrap around multiple times with tape.
When you need to secure loops in the calligraphy, use the floral wire to connect the noodles. If you are going to cover the letter eventually with crepe paper, you don't need to worry as much about neatness at this step. If you want to leave the noodles uncovered, place the wire more discreetly. Poke the wire through the top noodle and secure underneath by twisting the wire tightly. You could even plan to use wire that is similar in color to the noodle, or paint the wire with a sharpie to hide more.
Pictured below is the back side of the "h" loop.
When making tight bends in the noodles, use floral to poke all the way through the bend and secure underneath with multiple twists.
Shown below is the bend for the "p"
4) Noodle Ends
When working with the ends of the noodles, try to map them out to connect in good spots. Even if you need to cut the noodles to achieve this. Use the floral wire to secure, pulling it through both noodles to connect.
Below is the end loop of the "p".
When you need to make arches like for "h" or the bottom of an "e", use light thread or fishing wire to wrap around the arch and tie a knot to secure in place. You can also use tape to keep the thread from slipping
Below, thread is used to secure the "h" arch.
6) Covering the letters
Below is how the letters looked before they were covered. Since it was always in the plans to cover them, I didn't worry too much about what the connections looked like. With use of only clear tape, same color noodles and more discreet wire work, these would work great uncovered.
I used alternating crepe paper colors to cover the letters in a color block pattern. To eliminate time, you can use one color crepe paper/ spray paint the letters/ or use colored duct tape. I secured the crepe paper to the noodles with a clear piece of tape on the back. Use double sided tape to make even quicker work of this step. Overlap by a 1/4 inch when using multiple colors.
7) Hanging the Letters
I used light thread to hang the letters from nails above my garage. Pick thread color that is similar to your backdrop and you won't notice it at all!
This probably is my first of many pool noodle word art projects. I had so much fun with this, and the result made me genuinely happy. I love the impact it makes!
I can't wait to see how you use this tutorial! Always tag me at mallory.erin.makes with your creations!