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Browsing all posts in: Monograms

Family Monograms for Upscale DIY Halloween Pumpkins

October 19

If you need help with the design concept for your own monogram go to my post on monogram resources HERE


Upscale Family Monogram Pumpkin


Supply list: Pumpkin (I used recycled foam pumpkin from last year), Monogram, Acrylic Paint, Graphite Pencil, Paint Brushes Scissors Painters Masking Tape, Ball Point Pen. Optional: Foil Glue, Gold Leaf, Silver Foil


Clean the pumpkin with a steel wool scrubby to both clean it and rough up the surface to prepare for painting and then gave it a prime coat of one of the colors you are going to paint the pumpkin with and let it dry thoroughly.


Once dry continue painting the pumpkin until you are satisfied with the results. Let this coat dry over night.


Have a monogram sized to fit the pumpkin. Pryor to taping the monogram to the pumpkin use a graphite pencil and THOROUGHLY coat the back of the paper with graphite using a graphite pencil.


Tape the monogram to the pumpkin with painters masking tape so that the fresh paint will not pull up when removed.


After positioning the monogram on the pumpkin using the painters tape to make sure it will not move, use a ball point pen and firmly go over the lines that need to be transferred to the pumpkin.


Make sure all of the lines have been FIRMLY traced.


After you have traced all of the lines, remain patient.  Only pull up one side of the paper to make sure that you can see the lines well.


If you will not be able to paint within the lines, tape it back down and go over it again a little harder.


To be honest, I could see the lines ok, but they did not photograph well so I went over them with a fine tipped black marker.


At this point you can paint your monogram any way, in any color, that makes you happy.



It may take 2 coats of acrylic paint to make solid lines solid.


I wanted to use gold leaf to fill in the outline lettering to make it really shiny but I did not have the gold leaf adhesive so I figured the Deco Foil Adhesive should work.


Instructions said to hold the bottle at a 45% angle.


The Deco Foil Adhesive went on REAL THICK so I had to let it dry/set up over night to get to the dry but still sticky point that you can put the gold foil on it.


I placed a sheet of the gold leaf over the sticky area I wanted foiled and used a soft dry paint brush to both press the gold leaf into the adhesive and brush away the leaf were it was not suppose to be.


The thick adhesive made for lumpy gold. If it were anything besides a Halloween pumpkin I would have been starting over. But on a Halloween pumpkin it looked pretty cool.


I did not want the silver foil eyes to be as lumpy as the gold so I tried something different. I used rubber cement and carefully put a thin coat where I wanted the silver foil and let it dry completely. The important issue is to use a glue that when it is totally dry is still tacky.


Foil works different than leaf. It is as thin as leaf but it is on a substrate that keeps it from tearing and floating away, so once the rubber cement is completely dry you place the foil over the area and rub it firmly.


Once you are sure you have rubbed every area you gently pull back the substrait and leaving the foil where it sticks to the glue or adhisive. The rubber cement worked as well as I had hoped.


Once I had finished putting the gold leaf and silver foil onto the pumpkin I went back with the fine paintbrush and cleaned it up a bit with the black acrylic paint.


Finished pumpkin !


Pumpkin on display

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My Favorite Monogram Resources

September 8

Even our ancestors were proud of their names and heritage and were probably decorating their clothing and home decor with their initials and family crest since before first set of guest towels were hung on a rod.

Seriously, the wealthy families had crest rings and medallions since before the average man had two names.

Today monograms still give us a sense of family identity. If it belongs to you, you can put your mark on it. Even if it is just your annual pumpkin. Click HERE for the pumpkin tutorial.



Decorative monograms can be incredibly intricate and designing your own can be quite a task. The simple solution is to not re-invent the wheel and use one of the many reference books available to either scan straight from the books (for personal use only) or use as a starting point.

While it has numerous Art Nouveau Initials in it “The Treasury of Authentic Art Nouveau Alphabets, Decorative Initials, Monograms, Frames and Ornaments” Edited by Ludwig Petzendorfer only has five complete sets of Monograms, every combination of two letters possible. However they have a Art Nouveau flare while still being simple enough for any craft project straight out of the book. This is my go to book as a jump off point when designing my own monographs.

I highly recommend The “Compendium of Ancient Artistic Initials For Vintage Style Monograms“,  well described in their Amazon description as “a collection of over 3400 intricate artistic initials largely drawn from Victorian, Art Nouveau and Edwardian eras”. Initials and designs are in larger format (most are 2 inches high or greater) to preserve detail.” With multiple monograms styles from between 1840 and 1850. Most of which are suitable for sewing and craft projects straight out of the book.

5000 Decorative Monograms for Artist and Craftspeople, Edited by J. O’Kane is filled with 2 and 3 letter monograms that have a Victorian (or older) feel and are well suited for embroidery as well as a nice way to add art to pedigree charts and family group sheets in family history books when photographs are not an option.

Monograms and Alphabetic Devices are to quote the preface are “Unabridged republication of the plates from the Dictionnaire du Chiffre-monogramme” published in Paris in 1881. They are ornate but the printing is clear and well suited for the family history book when photos are not an option and with minimal work, suitable for embroidery and craft projects.

The Encyclopedia of Monograms by Leonard G. Lee are elaborate monograms with a renaissance flair. most suited for inclusion in family history books or decoupage.

You can see inside of these books using the links.

I hope you find my reviews helpful.


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