Kathy Stanczak.ca
Photography and Digital Art
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I receive many requests for Custom Alphabet Art names on a Photoblock.  Unfortunately I don't have the time or the manpower/womanpower to produce these blocks on demand in a timely or cost effective manner.  The blocks that I have for sale on  my Cash and Carry page are made in batches a few times a year by me.   The process to make them is fairly time consuming but quite easy and I am happy to share that process here.  I will still be able to design your Custom Alphabet Art for you and print it to the correct size for you to CREATE  your own Photoblock.
 

 
 
First you will want to buy your wood.
 
 
 
I use a 1x4 pine for my blocks. 
I like this size since the letters are easy to read and the block sits nicely on it's side.
If you want to use a piece wider than 4 inches, you may want to also use a piece thicker than 1 inch so that it won't topple over on it's side, if you choose to stand it on a shelf.
 
 
 
Even though it is called 1x4, if you measure the width of the wood, it is actually only 3.5 inches.
You should definitely measure the width of your wood before you order the print from me to make sure that I print it to the correct size for you.  It is much easier for me to print the size that you need than it is for you to trim down the wood to fit the photo!
 
 
 
Here are some words that are printed and cut and ready to be adhered to the wood block.
The letters are printed together, and the height matches the width of the wood.  
So in my case, since I use a 1x4 piece of wood, my letters are all 3.5 inches tall.
The length of each word, of course varies depending on the length of your name.
 
 
Next you will cut your wood to the correct length.  I just lay the words onto the piece of wood and mark the correct length with a pencil, This will be where I cut.
 
 
 
After the block is cut, you will want to sand all over, especially the rough edges.
Now you can either paint or stain the wood, or leave it as is if you want.
I use a walnut stain for my sepia words or I paint the block with a white trim paint that I usually have on hand from projects around the house.  I think black paint would look good too although I've never tried that.
 
 
 
Painting is definitely the most time consuming as it takes a few coats and of course it has to dry between coats.  Staining can be done in one fell swoop!
 
 
 
Once the block is stained or painted and dry, I dry fit each of the words on it's block to make sure it fits perfectly.  I may have to trim off a bit of the photo using a straight edge and exacto knife to ensure that none of the photo overhangs my block.
 
Now I can glue the photo to the block!
 
 
 
You can use any white glue that will not yellow, modge podge can also be used.
First I squeeze the glue onto the block and then I spread it with an old paint brush, being sure to cover the entire surface from edge to edge.  Don't put too much glue or it will squeeze out the edges after you attach the photo. Also check that there are no clumps of glue, as this will show as a bump under your photo once it is attached.
 
 
 
Now that the block is completely coated with glue, I can attach the photo.
Be sure that your fingers are clean and dry. 
I like to start at one end and then smooth it out as I go, removing any air bubbles along the way.
 
 
 
Obviously you want to lay the print down flat and straight.  If you have enough glue you will be able to reposition the photo so that it is perfectly centered and straight on your block.
 
 
 
Now carefully smooth the photo, again with clean dry hands to remove any air bubbles that may have been trapped under the photo.  Now you can let it dry.  I always wait a couple hours or overnight.
 
 
 
Now you can apply the sealer.  I have used DuraClear in a matte finish in the past, but now I use Modge Podge.  I definitely recommend a matte finish as it will hide any imperfections unlike the glossy finish.   I suppose you could also use a spray sealer, but I don't like the fumes and the water based sealers are more environmentally friendly.  Apply a generous amount, but not so much that it will drip down the sides of your block once you start to spread it. 
 
 
 
Like the glue, you want to spread the sealer in a smooth even layer, checking for and removing any clumps of sealer or brush hairs as you go.  Also check the sides of the block because you don't want to see the excess sealer dripping down the sides,  If you do see some, just smooth that out with your brush also.  Once the sealer is dry, you can inspect the blocks and if you missed any spots or it looks a little thin,  then you can apply a second coat.  
 
 
 
Here is the finished product!  This process also works on canvas although I found it more difficult to get the air bubbles out from underneath a larger photograph like 5x7.
 
 
 
I hope this works for you and if you would like to create your own Photoblock, I will be happy to design your Custom Alphabet Art name for your own block!  Email your request to kstanczak@sympatico.ca












All images are (c) Copyright 2000-2016 by Katherine J. Stanczak and may not be reproduced without the express permission from the photographer.