Tuesday, November 10, 2015

String Art DIY

Over the toilet at a friends house is a string art picture of a deer I absolutely love.

It's a little bit funky, a little bit strange - considering it's location, hanging above a potty - and totally fun. I thought about buying the same one she had (a Target special, natch), but decided that, like most other things...I could make that.

But a deer, while fun and apropos (the Hubs is a hunter), wasn't exactly what I was envisioning. What picture did I value most? What idea or image meant the most to me - to us as a family?

Then it hit me.

Hmmm..what could I do with this??

I began with a wood plaque piece I had rescued from a garage sale for $1. At the time, I had no idea what I would do with it, just that I needed it. Six months later, I was finally putting it to use.

I was able to print a 12x12 image of my desired picture.  Can you guess what it is?


I couldn't get the pic to turn but it's pretty recognizable, right?!

That's right. My Arizona home is decorated with my love of Texas. This among others.

I grabbed about 600 nails and started hammering them in around the image. Okay, okay, so it was really only 200+ nails, but it felt like a million. I winged it, hammering oh, about every 1/2 of an inch or so, and oh, maybe 1/2 inch into the wood. I wasn't really worried about getting it perfect.

You can take the girl out of Texas....

**Next time, I will use fewer nails, with a bigger space between them. Adds a little more depth to the piece.

After the hammering was completed, I grabbed some thick red string and wound it around the heart I had placed in the city that still owns mine.

Ah, Lubbock. 

Lubbock, Texas, in the panhandle of West Texas. The place that Mac Davis sang is happiness in your rear view mirror, but to me will always be the place I found my husband and my future. It's a good ol' town filled with good ol' people.

After the heart, I grabbed a deep blue string and began wrapping around the rest of the nails. There wasn't a pattern to this except that there was no pattern. I wanted to make sure each nail was wrapped at least once, and hopefully twice, but in no particular order.

Home sweet home. 
It sits on my fireplace, a reminder of my roots.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Pallet Sign

Remember all those pallets we had lying around that we didn't use for the Man Cave Wall?  I finally had The Hubs take two of them apart so I could use the boards for projects. Because I didn't have enough projects already half finished......

I decided to start with a pallet sign for Bjorn's room. For years, I have wanted a sign in his room with a particular quote, and since I knew I could make one, I had put off buying it.

Time to git 'er done.

I started with three pallet wood strips. I sanded them down by hand, trying to preserve their wood look, but still taking out all the splinters and roughness. I had to hammer down a few nails, too.

Then I grabbed my ever-faithful chalk paint (to see my first try with chalk paint, go here), this time in primitive gray, and mixed it 1:1 ratio with water. I was hoping for a whitewash finish, to see some of the wood underneath. I will have to tweak the formula a little, for it was still a little too thick for my taste. It was less a whitewashing and more of an all-out painting.

Americana Decor chalk paint. From Home Depot, I think?

I struggled as to how I would put the writing on the piece. Should I have a friend print it on her vinyl printer? Should I hand paint and wing it? I finally decided to print off the quote on my cheap-o printer for tracing. I chose a random font and text size (Times New Roman, 150 font size) and printed away.

Pretty high-tech, eh?!

Once the paint was dry (Which, seriously, took less than an hour - I LOVE chalk paint!), I taped it to the wood. I had to move it around a bit to get the spacing and centering right, and I could have used a ruler, but I don't mind imperfection. Then I took something sharp to etch the letters into the wood. I started with a pencil, but that broke from how hard I needed to press down.. I finally settled on an unclicked ballpoint pen, which worked great. With a faint outline able to be seen on the wood, I was ready to paint.

The hardest part of painting the letters was getting the paint into the nooks and crannies of the wood. It's not a smooth surface, and it took sometimes three coats of tracing in order to get all the niches filled in. But I'm very happy with my first try.

The first of three small pieces to secure along the back

Next, I cut down another piece of pallet piece into smaller pieces to attach to the back of the sign. This allows all three pieces to stay together, and gives me something to hang a wall mount onto. The most important part of this step is to find a nail that is LONG ENOUGH to go through both pieces of wood but not TOO LONG that it comes out on the front side of the sign. It needs to be secure without marring the look.

Strong words. 

When my Hubs gets home, he will hang it in Bjorn's room (And I'll add an updated wall picture then.) I am not allowed to hang things anymore. Something about when we moved the last time and he found the six silver dollar sized holes I had conveniently hidden behind our wall shelves. In my defense, it's hard to hit the exact spot right every time. Or every six times.

Oh, yes. We rock a lava lamp.

While the quote comes from A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh series, so it can be considered babyish to some, I find it applicable for a 6 year old.  Even at six, in the first grade, he struggles with peer pressure, and with academic pressure. He is caught between a little boy and a big kid. This is a reminder to him each day that he is so much more than he thinks he is, that he can do and be something bigger. It says that I believe in him. I believe in his ability to do great things and be a great person.