Follow along if ya wanna make something similar (not that ya couldn't figure this out on yer own, I mean really. How easy could a project BE?)
Paper Covered Wooden Alpha Wallhanging
Choose your letters and papers. I'd wanted the word CREATE to hang above my artspace, and my kids got me the letters for like my birthday or Mother's Day (LAST year.) and so I already had them here. Mine are white-painted wood and about 7" tall. If you've been to the craft shop or discount store you KNOW they have a dozen styles to choose from, so just get whatever size or type you like! Then I collected up some semi-complimentary scrapbookpapers, but you could use bits from your scrapbox, vintage book pages, wrapping paper - whatever!
Apply adhesive to the FRONT of your letters. I used gel medium, but you could use whatever type of glue ya want - even a gluestick. Yep. Gluestick.
Lay your letter facedown on the paper - I'd precut mine to about the size of the letters, and lined up at least one edge, just to make the cutting easier and to not waste too much of the paper. You can also hold it up to the light and see if you like the "arrangement" of pattern on the letter and if not scoot it around - if ya use repositionable glue - that, or figure your approximate placement before applying glue. I didn't care so I just went with the "however it lies" approach :D
Press down real good! You want your paper to be really well adhered to the letter, so make sure you press out any bubbles & wrinkles, and really get the edges good too.
I had a sort of assembly line process, so once I did the previous steps for each letter, I stacked'em up to let them dry. I actually let them dry/cure overnight, but not for any benefit - I just ran outta time to work on them any further the 1st day :D But yeah, they should be completely set & dry before ya cut.
Cut away the excess paper. Now, the way you do this is kinda up to you & however you find it to be easier. I used a craft-knife and laid the letter flat & facedown on a cutting mat, and trimmed around the edges. I found it to be a little hinky 'cause the wood was pretty soft and my blade kept digging into it. So on some I tried using scissors on the edges, and the blade to cut out the middles (like on the A and R) - I say it's your choice because no matter how you trim the paper away, you are still going to have to do the next step:
(for which there is no picture cause I was so busy and focused on it I forgot to take one.) But you need to sand all the edges now - both to remove any leftover hangy-bits of paper, and to sorta age the edges a bit (if that's a look you wanna go for). I used a foam sanding block - I think it was actually a nail file thing for fake nails, but it works great cause it's flexible and can mold to the shape of the letters plus it's got a few different "grits" of sanding material. So anyway I just used that to rasp off whatever paper was uneven or leftover along all the edges of the letters. I also took this time to reglue any loose paper along the corners and edges. There weren't many 'casue I'm a pretty good gluer :-p
Now you can skip this step if you want, like if you used really pretty coated or fancy papers or something - but I went ahead and sealed mine with some acrylic sealer - I used matte finish here but you could go gloss or spray it with glitter or whatever the heck!
VOILA and FINI!
You are now ready to hang your fab new motivational phrase (or kids name or house numbers or whatever you made!) on your wall - go for the funky haphazard "drive a nail and hang the letter" approach or do the anal retentive thing and use a laser level and snap a chalkline (hello! - waves to all you Type A's out there - hehe) All I really ask it that you #1) don't wait a year to complete this super simple project like I did, and B) ENJOY IT!
*plus I dig that if you mess up or just wanna do a different look later- you can just yank'em down and recover with something else! Like you don't have about 169 pounds of random scrapbook or saved papers lying around to pull from. You know you doooo. And they're just sitting there. Mocking you.
SO MAKE THIS CRAFT. TODAY.
or at least this weekend ;-)
*** UPDATED APRIL 2014 ***
Just to show you - I've since re-papered those letters (a couple years ago actually) and moved them into a different spot: