I just loved learning how to make Montessori Sandpaper letters with my cutting machine. My kids have used these for years!
I’m a huge fan of many of the Montessori teaching methods and try to implement many of the exercises throughout the day for both of my boys. One unfortunate thing about Montessori, however, is the cost of materials.
It’s like shopping for clothes during pregnancy, once a tank top label has “maternity” on it, you’re going to be paying three times the normal price. Same goes for Montessori. So, whenever possible, I try to make my supplies and not only do I save money but I have fun doing it!
Before we get to the tutorial, I should disclaim that I’m absolutely positive the Silhouette people would not advise using their machine to cut sandpaper so you know, proceed with caution. Here are my two arguments on why I think using a cutting machine in this manner is ok:
1. I’m using an old Silhouette blade that I don’t mind destroying to cut out the sandpaper letters and
2. The super fine sandpaper I bought is thinner and smoother than most of the glittered cardstock and there’s already a setting for in Studio so I know that’s ok to cut.
As always, if you don’t want to use your Silhouette or don’t have one, you can always choose to hand cut this project with plain old scissors and a whole lot of patience/time. Perfectly doable. Just pop in a season of Dr. Who and you’re good to go!
Montessori Sandpaper Letters
– Free Montessori D’Nealian Alphabet (01, 02)
– Extra Fine Sandpaper
– 4.5×3.5 Unfinished Wood Plaques (I ordered two packs (48 plaques) from The New Image Group and bought another pack of four from Michael’s to have enough to make upper and lower case letters)
– Spray Adhesive
– Mod Podge
– Spray Paint (I chose a red/blue combination for the consonants and vowels but you can always go with the traditional pink/baby blue)
1. Paint five of the plaques blue and the other 21 red with a few coats of spray paint.
2. Cut out the letters either by hand or with a Silhouette machine. I used the glittered cardstock setting on my Silhouette Cameo. I had to tape the sandpaper down around the edges because it wasn’t sticking well but I think it was because my mat was somewhat old. Working with only a few letters at a time, apply a fine layer of spray adhesive to the back.
3. Use previously centered letters (like “u” in the picture above) to align ascenders and decenders. I was also consulting a picture of the D’Nealian alphabet to make sure the letters were angled in the right direction. I placed a few heavy books on the cards to decrease curling as much as possible.
4. Once glue has dried completely, apply an even coat of Mod Podge over the cards to seal and protect. If any of the letter edges are curled up, use a little bit of Mod Podge to set back in place. Allow to dry completely.
5. Watch and enjoy your child interacting with these beautiful handmade Montessori Sandpaper Letters or…
Try to avert a full blown meltdown when your one year old wants a set of his own! Poor baby, your time will come, Sweet Max. Hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to make Montessori Sandpaper Letters.