Medieval Letters

Illuminated letters can be used to decorate book covers or boxes. Children can make their books look appealing with their own initials. Only the most educated people in medieval society would be able to write and monks could work on individual letter for weeks! This project is a good introduction to medieval culture and is flexible with diversity of style and colour.

Skill Level

Beginner; Key Stage 2 (Age 7+)

Time to Make

1 hour + drying time for paint

Adult Supervision Needed


How to Make

  1. Paint a box with metallic colours, including the inside section and around the sides. Leave the box to dry.
  2. Use a pencil to draw a letter outline (approximately 7cm x 10cm) onto the top of the box then fill it in with white paint. Paint some areas of the letter with a colour, leaving some of the white showing through. Leave to dry.
  3. Draw a border around the edges of the box with metallic pens, or stick down some patterned paper strips.
  4. Draw patterns around the letter with deco pens or metallic pens, then outline the letter in a black deco pen so the design stands out more clearly.
  5. Glue acrylic gems onto the box, glue or tape a piece of ribbon to the underside of lid and another piece on the back, so the ends can be tied at the sides.

Top Tip

Before you start, draw around the box onto a piece of paper then roughly work out the design for your letter to fit inside the middle area. You could trace down the letter outline onto the painted box.

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