Primitive Country Themed Bottles or “Single Stem” Vases

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all my fellow Irishmen & women! :) Before I get to today’s craft project, I thought I’d share an update on the primitive crate shutter I made. I finally found a little pip berry wreath at my friend June’s antique store, and it was the perfect size to place right in the center of the shutter! Woohoo!

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I used some thin green floral wire to tie it on the shutter, sliding it between the slats of the crate boards, and securing on the back.

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I then used some jute twine, knotted through the pre-existing holes (from where nails held the crate pieces together) to make a hanger.

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It’s heading over to my co-op this week. I am putting $22 on it. It only cost a few bucks to make – the pip berry wreath being the only expense. The rest of the supplies were on hand, and I was able to re-use an old dilapidated crate that may have otherwise gone in the burn pile! :)

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Ok, and not for the single stem bottles project. It’s a “dollar craft” because these awesome little bottles are only $1 at Michael’s craft store! The rest of the supplies I had on hand.

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You can accent the bottles with whatever you’d like! I decided to use rusty tin stars, little enamel number plates, and some skeleton keys. You could also use buttons, twine bows, little pip berry sprigs, faux berries or flowers, sea shells, antique broaches…be creative!

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Took a strip of torn homespun fabric and used a hot glue gun to secure it in place.

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Here are the finished bottles! They could be used for general decor or as single stem flower vases! :)

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I am going to price them at $4 each and see how it goes!

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And last but not least, some great thrift store finds! It’s quite a random collection of items, but cool nonetheless! I found a mint condition 1957 Chevy model car, a chunky primitive candle, a beautiful vintage brass and enamel bowl, and an old brass Eiffel Tower bottle opener!

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I also found a colorful enamel pot, a wooden wall decor/candle holder, and another little brass elf dude that I could not resist. Vintage brass seems to sell really well on Etsy and in te co-op.

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The major score of the trip was a bag of vintage brass horse buckles / tack medallions, in a variety of designs and shapes. I thought they were trivets at first, but upon further research I found that they are used to decorate horse tacks and bridles. They are collectible and are oh so cool!!! Some will go to the co-op and some on Etsy!

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Hope everyone has a fantastic St. Patrick’s Day! Cheers! :)

Reusing Old Crates for Primitive Crafts

If you’re like me, you buy a bunch of stuff at garage sales, barn sales, thrift stores, etc. with some “project” in mind…and then it sits in your basement for two years and collects dust. I have a habit of hoarding anything remotely primitive, especially crates and wood items. I pick them up where ever I can, in whatever condition I find them, even ones that are pretty much falling apart. After a massive cleaning of the craft area last summer, I decided to break down some of these old apple crates and use the weathered wood as a base for some craft projects.

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This one had no bottom and was pretty much useless, and was a perfect candidate to be recycled. One crate yields up to 16 strips of wood (or more, with a bottom) that would work for a variety of primitive/country themed projects! I used a screw driver and just worked it under the wood joints to east them apart. Some pieces broke but most came off without a problem. Obviously, the older and more dilapidated the crate, the easier they come apart!

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These pieces have been sitting in a pile in the basement until this past week, when I finally found some motivation! I decided to make the first batch into country signs. I cut off the broken ends with a table saw, resulting in many different lengths. If you have complete pieces, you could leave them as is and go with larger words or sayings! I practiced my lettering on scrap pieces (I kept those scrap ends for just this reason) and pretty much just winged it.

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I free-handed these words using regular craft paints. When I was mixing colors, I used a heavy acrylic white to thicken up the paint a bit. You could also use a stencil or letter stamps if you’re not comfortable free-handing.

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I then used the pre-made holes (already there from where the nails held the crate together) and drilled a small hole in the other corner. Then using black wire, I made little hangers and tied on some fabric & twine accents.

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They are heading to my co-op this week priced at $5 each. Here are some close-ups. For “welcome” and “wine,” I used a paint pen to accent the letters.

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I messed up the accents on this Beach sign and ended coloring in the letters with a blue paint pen. I’m not crazy about the BRIGHT blue, but maybe it will be a nice pop of color for someone’s beach or cottage decor.

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The next project was making a hanger for my collection of enamel dippers. I simply hammered in a few small nails, spaced out evenly down a full-sized piece of the crate wood.

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I used sawtooth hangers on the back.

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Done! That was easy. Then to hang it up I use my trusty toothpaste method that I just have to share. It’s a genius Pinterest life hack that everyone should be aware of! Just dab a small bit of toothpaste on the middle of the hangers…

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Then position it on the wall where you plan to hang it, and press it against the wall. You will then have two small toothpaste dots on your wall indicating exactly where to place your nails. See them there, those little green dots just below the top cabinets?

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Woohoo! I love it! Literally 2 minutes of effort for this project; it doesn’t get any better than that! It fills that blank wall space perfectly and looks pretty cool displaying my dippers! :)

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And lastly, I wanted to make a “shutter” style wall hanging. I laid them out and then cut down the two horizontal pieces to get rid of the overhang. I scuffed up and sanded the sawed off edges to minimize the “freshly cut” look.

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Then I tried nailing them in place but my nails were either too long or not long enough (pieces are fairly thin) so I used a crap load of wood glue along the horizontal pieces. It seems to be pretty solid now that it has dried.

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I haven’t figured out what to do with it just yet. I was thinking of getting something to hold a mason jar on the front to use as a flower holder. Also contemplating a pip berry wreath in the middle, or putting one more horizontal piece laid flat along the bottom as a small shelf. Hmmm…decisions, decisions. I shall post the finished product when I decide what to do with it. :)

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Have a great day and please feel free to send me any of YOUR up-cycled crate crafts to list here! Hope everyone is staying warm….thinking SPRING! :)

Fun & Easy DIY Ornament: Vintage Toy Car & Christmas Tree

Another Pinterest inspired craft has taken over my kitchen counter, this time in the form of cute toy cars toting Christmas trees! Some are table top decorations and some are hanging ornaments for the tree; it is up to you which kind to make. They are fun and super-duper easy. Here’s my version!

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First I went to the Christmas section of A.C. Moore to get some bottle-brush trees, but being so close to Christmas, they were sold out! Luckily, I was able to find some in the dollhouse section where there is a variety of miniature items. I found a package with different sized trees and snow-covered branches…perfect!

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I got the vintage themed cars at Walmart. You could use any cars you want, but I just love the vintage look of the VW’s and old Chevy’s!

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To tie them atop the cars, I used red & white baker’s twine and thin hemp that I had on hand. This particular type of hemp is found in the jewelry-making section of the craft store.

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Then, simply tie them on top! Some tutorials said glue the tree in place, but I didn’t find that necessary.

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With the Chevy’s, I was able to slide the hemp through the windows. For the buses, I had to tie them all the way around. Both look pretty cute!

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Great for stocking stuffers, craft shows, small gifts, or for decorating the house! I just love these and can’t wait to make more!!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my friends, family, and blog buddies! :)

Salt Dough Snowman Pops

Hope everyone is having a great holiday season so far! All of the festivities lately have gotten me in the mood for some Christmas crafting so I decided to try my hand at recreating the “snowman pop.” I bought this snowman pop ornament at a craft show years ago, and used it as my guide for this project. Here is mine on the left, and the one I got from the craft show on the right. I might be biased, but think I like mine better. :)

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Start with your standard salt dough recipe. I used 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cup flour and 1 cup water (which you’ll add slowly – you may not need the full cup). It made a small batch, so double it for larger quantities! Mix the ingredients til your dough is firm but not too sticky.

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Treat them like sugar cookies! Use flour if the dough sticks, and roll them out to the thickness you want. Mine ended up being about 1/3 inch thick. I would suggest making them on the thicker side if you plan on inserting the lollipop stick; otherwise they crack or bulge.

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I did not have any round cookie cutters on hand so I improvised with this wine glass. It was the perfect size!

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These are the lollipop sticks I used. They can be found in the baking/candy making section of any craft store.

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Don’t forget to pre-poke your lollipop holes before baking!

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I also made some chunky little noses. I made them after I was all done with the snowman faces. When I went to stick them on, the faces had already dried a bit, and they would not stick. I decided to glue them on after baking. If you want to stick them on, do it while the dough is still a little sticky.

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Bake at a VERY low setting (100-150 degrees) for 3 hours. Flip them and bake for another hour. Too hot and they will burn, so be careful! Once dried, I used some artist acrylic paints. These will also help seal the ornaments.

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For the faces I did a white wash (watered down white paint), as these acrylics are really thick. It soaked into the porous surface quite nicely. I then glued on the noses with regular craft tacky glue. I’d recommend doing this BEFORE painting the faces white, as they did not stick well with the layer of white paint…oops. Now I know!

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I decided to stick with rosy cheeks and little dotted eyes, and that’s it. These are the more “prim” looking snowmen that I love!

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Next, insert the sticks. Put a dab of craft glue on the end of the stick, and carefully stick them in the pre-made holes. Use a gentle twisting motion to stick them in; be careful not to crack the thin walls of the snowman head.

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For the tags, I used heavy stock kraft paper from A.C. Moore. I used our regular ink jet printed and Microsoft Word to write “Snow Pop, 5 cents.” You could write any holiday wish you’d like, or even put someone’s name on the tag!

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I hand cut them into little tag shapes and punched a small hole.

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For the wrapping, I used pretzel baggies, which are also found in the baking/candy making isle at the craft store. They are actually made to package chocolate covered pretzels, but my snowman pops fit in them perfectly!!! They are tied up with homespun and twine, and each have their own little tag. I also made some candy swirl ones where I just free-handed a red swirl. I like the snowmen better but I guess they’re kinda cute too.

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The other lady had inserted a string through the top plastic wrapping to hang them up. I decided to leave them as is and just prop them up in a jar of buttons or marbles. They’d made great favors for a Christmas dinner with all of the guests names on the tags!

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So what do you think? There are many directions to take these. Try different faces, use other types of tags or ties, or try gingerbread men or Santa faces!

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I will probably sell them in my Etsy store, for around $3-4 each. If you give these a try, please send me a pic and I will post it here! Thanks and hope to be back soon!!! :)

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Halloween Cupcakes 2013

I must apologize for my major lack of craftiness lately. It has been a very busy Fall and I have had a bit of “crafters block.” In the meantime I thought I’d share the results of this year’s Halloween Cupcake Spooktacular; a big annual event at my office. Two of my co-workers and I went nuts and made some fun new creations (the devil, evil clown, new owls) in addition to our old standards (the mummy, bat, pretzel skeleton). Here are some pictures! :)

The new Reece’s cup owl…

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We work with eyeballs, so we HAD to incorporate these bad boys…

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Lindt truffle bat with chocolate wafer wings

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The bloody murder scene

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White chocolate pretzel skeleton with marshmallow head

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A personal favorite, the evil clown

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Fall scene with a spooky tree; hand-drawn with melting chocolate

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The classic “EEK”

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Another owl night scene

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White chocolate zombie rising from the dead

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Peeking candy corn haired monster

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The BRAIN

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Another cute Fall owl scene

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The cute candy corn ghost

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Another zombie

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The devil

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The classic mummy

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Another Lindt truffle bat

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Creepy crawly gummy worms and bugs

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And good ol’ Frank

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A new addition this year were also cake pops!

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The whole display

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And a few mini’s!

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Myself, Melanie, and Amanda…the cupcake crew!

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Thanks for stopping by and hope you enjoyed our creepy creations! Hope everyone is having a super Fall! :)

Marble Magnet Wedding Favors

I know I have done marble magnet posts before but I really haven’t had much else going on in the crafting department, so I thought I’d do a step-by-step post again as a “refresher course” if you will. I also came up with a new and different way of packaging them, which I thought may be an option for those wanting to make these for craft shows! :)

First you have to decide what your content will be. I created 1″ customized images for a friend’s wedding, using Photoshop. You can really use anything to create your magnets – magazines, scrapbook paper, or create your own themed images.

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Here are the main supplies I used. Magnets (Walmart), clear silicone (Lowe’s), clear plastic cabachons (allstarco.com) and a plastic tool thingy that I found in my utensil drawer. You can use anything to apply the silicone – a toothpick works just as well.

You can use different supplies, like clear glass marbles (from the Dollar Tree) instead of the plastic cabs, but I highly recommend that you use the silicone shown here. Others use Mod Podge, craft glue, etc., but I have had absolutely awesome results using this clear silicone. It is also very strong and will make your magnets last for years.

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I also used a 1″ hole punch to make my images the exact correct size. You can cut them out if you’d like, but this is definitely a great tool if you’re planning on mass producing these things.

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Put a pea-sized dab of silicone on your image…

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And smush down the cab or marble, applying even pressure. Any excess silicone that spills out the sides can easily be wiped off with your finger or a paper towel. The image is instantly magnified.

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I use the same silicone to apply the magnet. A little less than a pea-sized dab will do. It is very strong!

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Next, for the packaging, I used a large tag-shaped punch and some heavy stock craft paper (both from A.C.Moore). The tag punches are very expensive, so I will always wait for a 50% off coupon before purchasing something like that. It is well worth the money though, because it’s a great tool.

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Again, you could use a heavy scrapbook paper or whatever material you’d like. I printed out a poem on mine, which will be the back of the tag. Use the open side of the punch to line up your text/image before punching.

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In the mean time, let your marble magnets dry thoroughly before packaging. I let mine sit overnight.

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To get the magnets to lay flat on the tag, and not cling together, I used removable Glue Dots. Simply stick them to the backs of the magnets and stick them to the tag. This way you won’t have a nice package with a little ball of magnets that are all stuck together.

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You could leave them as is, or bag them up. I used candy-making treat bags because they come in a variety of sizes and are very inexpensive.

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Unfortunately I could not find the exact size I needed, so I had to improvise. I folded the excess bag over to the back and applied a small piece of clear scotch tape.

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Then finish off with ribbon, jute, homespun fabric, or whatever you’d like. For these I did purple ribbon and a jute twine bow.

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I got a chance to swing by the thrift store yesterday and boy am I glad I did! The key is to go often, because merchandise changes a lot in those places! I got some goodies that are already priced and ready to go in my booth. Cast iron candle holders, a counter top glass container, and some cute little country decorations. I also got some great brand-new rubber stamps, which will go in my Etsy store.

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We all know how expensive stamps are, so this was a major score!

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I also picked up some apple pie casserole dishes. They are not exactly my cup of tea, but these types of things sell very well around Fall time. People are thinking about Thanksgiving, comfort foods, etc., and always seem to be looking for casserole dishes.

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Have a great day and hope to be back soon! Happy crafting! :)

Making a Custom Sign: Trial and Error

Hello my crafty friends! Summer has kept me quite busy, but I have been able to squeeze in some junkin’ and a few little projects. My latest project is a custom sign I made for a co-worker, with the phrase “Endeavor to Persevere”; a quote from an old Clint Eastwood movie. I haven’t made a sign in a long time, so I had a little bit of a rough go. I thought I’d share my trial and error, and a few tips for sign making.

To start out, spray paint your board with your color of choice. I got this pre-cut board at Lowe’s for $3.

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Sand it to your liking. Go heavy on sanding for a more distressed, country look. There’s no way to mess this up, so just sand away.

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For custom signs, I always use foam stamps. I have had a lot of people ask where I get the large foam alphabet stamps from. They are hard to find, and to be honest, I get them where ever I can find them! All of the stamps I have were ordered online after Googling “large alphabet stamps”. I got them from various sources, such as random online craft stores and people selling gently used stamps on Etsy. Craft stores generally do not sell large stamps like these, so your best option is going to be online.

I use artist grade (thicker, more pigmented) acrylic paint, and I’ll tell ya why in a minute.

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Do not dip the stamp into a big glob of paint. It will be WAY too much and will splurge out the sides when you press down on the stamp. To apply paint to the stamp, use a small piece of slight moist sponge to gently dab on the paint. It seems like a pain, but I promise it’s the best way!

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This was my first attempt. I did not like the way it looked. It looked uneven and my spacing was horrible. I do try to space it out ahead of time by marking the board with little pencil dots, but spacing can be hard to perfect.

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Here’s why I like to use spray paint for the board and heavy grade acrylic paint for the letters. Before the acrylic dries, you can actually wipe off the stamped letters completely.  After stamping many crooked letters, I simply wiped them away with a moist paper towel. Then, when I was done, I still did not like the way it looked. I used a wet sponge to wipe off the entire phrase. It came off quickly and easily. I immediately dried the board with a kitchen towel to avoid saturating the wood. It’s definitely nice to know you have this option should you mess up!

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I decided to use a different set of stamps with a clear back. I highly recommend stamps with the clear backing, as it makes it significantly easier to line up your words! You can SEE the spacing and exactly where the letter will land. Again, these are hard to find…I got lucky and found these online at some random craft store.

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I like this wording much better and the spacing is more even after using the clear backed stamps! No need to worry about the excess board on the right. I will saw it off and even it out.

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To clean the foam stamps, run under water and use a sponge (or your fingers) to rub the paint off the surface of the foam letters. Place on a paper towel to dry. This is important, or else the acrylic paint with harden on the stamps and make them difficult to use.

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I cut down the board using a small electric hand saw that I got at Lowe’s ages ago, for small projects just like this. They are inexpensive and great tools to have on hand. I then re-sanded the edge to keep the distressed look even on both sides.

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To finish off the sign, I used a dark brown gel stain to give it a bit of an aged look. I liberally squirt it right on the sign, and then rub it around with a paper towel. Then wipe off the excess. It’s a subtle effect, but it softens the bright white of the lettering. I find gel stains and antiquing mediums in any craft store, next to the craft acrylics in small bottles.

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For the hanger, I always use these easy-to-install metal hangers. They are found in any home improvement store. The little prongs press right into the wood and make for a strong hold.

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Finally, I sprayed it with a clear poly to seal it. Here is the final result. Hope she likes it!

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In junkin’ news, I hit up a barn sale recently and got this incredible stack of old historical photographs. I listed them in my Etsy store and they have already sold!

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I also picked up a small enamel bed pan, a fun brightly colored vintage tin, and a glass flower frog.

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I got this awesome old bowling pin set, complete with a bunch of brightly colored wooden pins and a yellow ball. I LOVE these for country decor. I now have them listed in my Etsy store. :)

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Lastly, I got these gems at the Goodwill thrift store recently. The Peter Rabbit coin bank is silver-plated and very heavy. I polished him up and he is now for sale in my Etsy store! I also got a bunch of tin molds that always seem to sell well.

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Can’t wait to give my friend her sign. She plans on hanging it in their cottage up on the lake. Hope everyone has a great week and Happy Crafting!

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