Shit. It looks like shit now.
It's hard to tell in the pictures but the curve on the outsides of the J is all jacked up and now I'm pissy about it. So I decided to start again. And document a better way how to do a wrap a letter J in yarn.
Obviously while I'm doing a J, this approach would probably work for letters you want to cover in yarn that have curves like B, C, D, G, O, P, Q, R, U and any other letter that depending on your font, would have curves.
What you need
cardboard or wooden letter
hot glue sticks and gun
Half an hour, if you you do it during your toddles nap time and your cat is asleep
My Cost Break Down
$2.49 - cardboard letter; mine was from Meijer but I've seen them at Michael's
$0.30 - cheap yarn, I used barely any at all of the $2.99 yarn I bought
$0.00 - *ribbon - I took the picture with the original ribbon but used purple in the end
$0.00 - hot glue sticks and gun, already on hand, but tiny ones run for around $6.99
My Total cost = $3.00ish dollars
The first step in covering a letter J is accepting that this letter is a pain in the ass to cover because of all the curves and straight across lines noted above. Also accept that the first layer or two will look yucky but keep going, it will come out okay at the end.
The biggest issue with wrapping letters with curves is that the first layer or so wants to keep slipping around the curves. This is annoying. The first time I just tapped it as I went but as I have now learned, tape + hot three season porch = bad idea. The tape started letting go and with it the tension I needed to keep my curves looking nice.
Solution? Hot glue. You can use it two different ways, both to bond as well as to create a gripping solution. First we'll use it as a gripping solution. Start by putting a thin zig zag, weavy layer on all of the places indicated in orangish-yellow above. You're trying to add texture here, not smoothness, so it's fine if your hot glue pattern isn't perfect. Let dry.
I didn't try this approach but I wonder if you could use rubber bands wrapped around the curves too for gripping? Maybe? I don't know, I don't own any rubber bands so I didn't try this. Someone let me know!
Start by wrapping your yarn over the top part of the hook. Start at the inside and wrap down. The first few wraps will go vertical but then begin wrapping around the curve. You may need to tack the yarn in place with some more hot glue.
After about four or five initial vertical wraps, you need to start wrapping the top of the hook and the outside bottom curve at the same time. This serves to cover both while securing them in place. Wrap vertically down from the top of the hook in the front and loop back around the back.
Now just keep going back and forth wrapping vertically and lopping around the curve. It will look messy.
Now we need to start wrapping the outside curve. Start from the bottom of the curve and wrap up the J. The best way to keep the yarn from slipping is to wrap at the bottom, then the top and then the middle. Keep going with filling in the gaps on the curve.
Now wrap the easiest part of the J, the straight part. Just wrap around it smoothing out that first layer you did on the curved parts. I don't know how many layers I used, I just kept wrapping until the top layer was how I wanted it to look.
Now comes the top of the J. I don't know if this would be easier or harder it it didn't have the line across the top of the J, but mine did. If your J doesn't, well your on your own from here.
If your J looks like mine, keep following along. The top of the J was honestly the biggest pain out of the whole letter and where I used the most hot glue. I also took the most pictures during this part to try and help explain what I was doing. I'm sure there's a better way but here's my way.
I started by wrapping the two pieces on the outside like above.
Then taking the piece of yarn from the front of the letter, I looped it behind and pulled it forward so it crossed on a diagonal.
So when I pulled the yarn tight, it looked like this. Side note, yes my nail polish is all chipped to hell. I considered taking it off but was too lazy.
Then I wrapped it around the back again, going in the opposite direction with the same kind of loop. This made an X on the front with my yarn.
I kept going back and forth in this X pattern until the top of my J was covered in yarn. The front ended up looking like this.
And the top of the J ended up looking like this.
Now that the top was covered I focused on covering the front. I was able to get this much yarn on before I had to bust out the hot glue gun.
I pretty much added a small layer of hot glue where ever I was going to put the yarn next. The last few wraps of yarn are fairly covered in hot glue. Be careful not to glue your fingers to the yarn. Not that that happened or anything.
Finish wrapping your letter in yarn and secure the back side with more hot glue. Now if you plan on just placing it somewhere, you're all done! If you plan on hanging it up like I am, then take a strand of yarn, tie it around the front so that it doesn't stand out and make a loop for your ribbon to go through.
Ta-da. And now you have very own DIY yarn wrapped letter J you did all by yourself! I'm sure someone else has a much easier way to wrap curved letters in yarn, but this is how my brain works.
*** Update 8/2013: And can we talk about how my brain doesn't work. This has been up for almost a year, BACKWARDS. My J was backwards in that last picture. Wow. I fixed it in real life but never fixed the picture. Oops. So not gonna lie, just went in and flipped the picture in photobucket. I promise I know how to write my J's!