From newly manufactured craft letters to vintage industrial alphabetical finds, decorative metal letters are gaining appeal. Noted for their ability to personalise a room and make statements both charming and playfully modern, metal letters are increasingly appearing in home settings.
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Metal letters are made from a variety of materials, including brass, aluminium, stainless steel, copper, zinc and chrome, with many being silver-toned or colourfully painted. Some vintage letters were at one time illuminated. These channel letters may be missing their internal lights and plastic covering, but they are purchased for their industrial look. As some letters are truly antique, if painted they may contain lead, and sellers may recommend sealing them before they are displayed.
Many vintage letters are from old store signs and theatre marquees, some dating back to the early 1900s. Others served an advertising function. Retail stores from Pottery Barn to Restoration Hardware have offered new metal letters, and craft stores may sell smaller versions for creative purposes.
Smaller letters can be purchased for under a dollar if new to a few dollars if vintage, as of 2010. Larger letters may sell for around £9 apiece, and it's not unusual to find substantial vintage letters in the £13 to £32 range, depending on the source.
Decorative metal letters can be found at a variety of outlets, including antique malls, thrift shops and home furnishing stores featuring both new and vintage items. An abundance of online sellers also offer these home design accents in a range of styles.
Decorative metal letters are frequently hung on walls or displayed on shelves, either alone or in groups. A single letter can serve a monogramming function, for example, "B" on the wall of the Boyd family. In groups, the letters may be arranged to spell out words, such as "EAT" on the wall of a kitchen. Letters can also be grouped randomly in rows or clusters, gaining power in numbers and showcasing a range of decorative styles.
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