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3-D letters

Q: I’m building a diorama with a couple of storefronts as a backdrop for photographing my models, and I need an assortment of raised, three-dimensional letters.

Decals are flat; cutting out individual letters is beyond my capabilities; and wooden craft-store letters just won’t do.  

Any suggestions?                                                       


Doug Byrnes
via E-mail


Ken: Doug, it just so happens we do have some ideas for you.  

A British company called Slater’s Plastikard has an assortment of raised, molded letters in various sizes, and a few different fonts that might help.

I haven’t seen too many hobby shops over here that carry them, but they accept online orders worldwide and can be contacted through their Web site: www.slatersplastikard.com.  

Scroll through the product listing to “Moulded Alphabets” for their selection.

Here’s another possibility:  Back in the Stone Age (the late 1950s and early 1960s) when 8mm home movies were popular, a company called Hernard made a series of 3-D self-adhesive letters that were used to make titles.  

I remember my father sticking these letters to a board, illuminating them with countless 150-watt floodlights, and making titles for our home movies.  

Believe it or not, these lettering sets are still available on eBay and a few other sources. Do a search for “Hernard 3-D Letters” for a wealth of inexpensive, unique letters.

One item we saw in a craft store could be useful to you, too. The “Walnut Hollow” company makes what’s called a Clay Text Embossing Set. This set contains individual letters that are mounted backwards on small tabs. The letters are meant to be pressed into clay.

Since this is one of those techniques that lends itself to an illustration, we made it our Tip of the Month in the February 2013 Scale Auto. Take a look

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