Reclaimed Wood Signs

So after many months of cold miserable winter weather and NO motivation whatsoever, I finally got around to doing a little crafty project this weekend. When inspiration strikes, you gotta run with it! The inspiration came from this old, weathered piece of wood that I found in the woods while walking the dogs. It’s chippy blue paint screamed country/primitive signage, so I broke out the foam stamps and went at it!

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First I had Greg cut them into strips. We have a big saw in the basement, but you can easily pick up a little electric hand saw from Lowes or Home Depot for $30 or so, and have it on hand for projects like this.

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I did a couple posts on foam stamps many moons ago, so here’s a little refresher. First, I laid out the letters of the word I wanted to stamp (the word is actually faced down; these stamps have letters on both sides) to get an idea of the spacing. I wanted to make sure the word would fit before I started.

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The most important thing I have learned when using foam stamps is do not ever dip the stamps directly into the paint. If you do, you’ll have way too much paint on the surface of the stamp. The minute you press down, it will overflow out the sides of the stamp and make uneven, messy letters. The best method I have found is to use a small piece of sponge and just dab on the paint onto the surface of the letter. Give it a couple of practice runs if need be. For this project, I used white acrylic paint.

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Go ahead and stamp out your word. Then, once dry, I applied some saw-tooth hangers on the back of each sign. These types of hangers are easy to use because you simply press them into the wood, but I hammered them down in for good measure.

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My last step was to spray them with a clear acrylic coat so the paint would not continue to chip off. The wood was really old and brittle and the paint was a bit loose, so I wanted to seal it in place.

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Here are the finished products, but I need your opinion. Should I add a coat of antiquing gel to tone down those bright white letters down a bit? I wasn’t sure if I should or not. They have kind of a “beachy” feel.

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I added a little star fish because I felt like it went with the cottage theme and filled up the space on the right that was a bit uneven from the space on the left. FYI those star fish are only $1 at AC Moore’s.

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So here they are. They are going over to my booth at the Carriage Place this week. I’ll probably price them around $7-$8 each. With “found” wood, it’s 99% profit, so no need to mark them up with a high price and let them sit in my booth for months!

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Part of my motivation also stemmed from an awesome estate sale that I went to on Saturday. I got tons and tons of great country/primitive themed items, including some nice antiques. This picture only shows a fraction of what I picked up there. It was half off everything so I literally loaded my car! It’s the first really great sale I’ve been to in a while, so this really got me excited! I love “pickin” season!!!

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Earlier in the week, I also got really lucky and picked up this old wooden butter churn……wait for it……off the side of the road!!! It’s amazing what some people throw away. I cleaned it up and now this cool piece will go to the co-op this week with the rest of the stuff from the sale.

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Well, let me know your thoughts on the signs. They are already really “distressed” looking, which is why I’m not sure on adding the antiquing gel. Have a great week and happy crafting!

Simple Winter Snowman Signs

Here are some very simple winter signs that I made using some wood plaques I picked up at the thrift store a while back. They were half off, making them a dollar each! Even if you’re not great at painting free-hand, these snowmen are really easy!

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First I painted the plaques black using a basic craft acrylic paint. They weren’t covered completely with one coat, but that’s okay because the next step is to distress them with sandpaper.

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Just take a small piece of sandpaper and give them a good once-over.

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I speckled some white paint to make the “snow” effect, using some slightly watered-down white paint and a firm paint brush. I just pulled the bristles back and flicked it over top of the plaques. I then free-handed the words and painted big white circles for the snowman heads. You could also use foam stamps or stencils for the words.

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Next, paint big orange noses, little pink circles for the cheeks, and black dots for the eyes and mouths.

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Once dry, I did one coat of sparkle mod podge. It acts as a sealer but also give them a little sparkle. This step is not necessary though if you’re going to be keeping them inside.

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For hanging, I simply used two small nails to tack down a strip of torn homespun.

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Here they are, all finished. You can’t really appreciate the sparkle in this pic, but they look quite festive in person.

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And here’s a pic of them hanging up in my booth along with some of the Christmas crafts I made in the last few posts!

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Hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving!

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! πŸ™‚

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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. πŸ™‚

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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! πŸ™‚

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.Β  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. πŸ™‚

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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!

“I Love You Because…” Dry Erase Frame

Control your gag reflex because you’re about to experience a super sappy craft, fit for Valentine’s Day. It’s also a great “everyday craft” in my opinion. It’s the “I love you because…” dry erase frame! It’s kinda dorky but I think it’s really cute and wanted one for my new house. After all, my boy does a lot for me and I am so very grateful to have him. πŸ™‚ It’s soooooo easy and could easily be a “Dollar Store Craft” if you are to purchase your frames at the dollar store! Buy cheap wood frames and spray paint perhaps?

This craft can be done in a variety of ways. For my version, all you need is a frame, paper of your choice (plain white, brown kraft paper, scrapbook paper, etc.) and a printer.

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Just print out “I love you because” on your paper.

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I used the paper frame insert to trace for the correct size.

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Cut it out, insert in frame, and DONE!

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Thanks to Pinterest and the interwebs, you can find a huge variety of variations on this project. Making a chalk board instead of dry erase, using scrapbooking letter stickers instead of printing, etc. So many options! πŸ™‚

Β It’s just a cute, fun thing to have on the counter. You could make one as a gift, for your kids, or even mass produce them to sell at a craft booth with a little dry erase marker tied on. I love SUPER EASY projects like this! Happy crafting and hope everyone has a great weekend! πŸ™‚

A Few Last-Minute Projects

Wow! Only 3 days until my craft show up in the North Country! I have been working my @$$ off getting things ready and finishing up some last-minute projects, including using up some of the excess supplies I have had lying around. Remember those “vintage” style keys I found at Michael’s? I decided to make more decorative tags with them, since they have been selling well at the co-op. Whatever doesn’t sell at the craft show goes right back to the booth!

I also found some smaller keys with words on them in the scrapbooking section and thought they’d be super cute on the tags.

Another fun little project are these “Santa’s Key” signs. I had all these square red pieces of wood, that were left overs from “The Stockings Were Hung” signs. I didn’t want to throw them out, so I glued on some left over knobs (using E6000) and wrote Santa’s Key with a silver paint pen! I’ve seen this idea using hang tags with a key attached, but I thought a little wooden sign might be fun hanging next to the door!

You may have seen my little snowman clothespins, but I decided to change it up a little and try some gingerbread men. These have been sitting in a pile on my craft table for months because I didn’t like the way they were coming out. I finally figured out a simple face and I think they ended up being sort cute. I still like the snowmen better. πŸ™‚

A last-minute trip to the thrift store turned up some cool folk-artish Santa’s! The one on the left had green and blue crayon marks all over it which were easily cleaned off with a scrubby. The one on the right had a little chip out of the center (the little white spot in the middle of the red robe) which was quite noticeable in person. I mixed up some paint to match the red robe and touched it up. Good as new!

I also found a few little vintage kitties, a cute little choir boy, another fun Santa, and this little wooden box. Just a few fun knick-knacks. πŸ™‚

My favorite find was this wooden type set tray. Not sure if it’s a real old one or not but it’s still cool! I’ve always wanted one of these!

Guess that’s it for now…and I probably won’t be back til after the show. Hope everyone has a great weekend! Wish me luck!

“The Stockings Were Hung” Signs

So…my basement is an absolute disaster getting ready for my craft show next weekend! Every where you turn, it kinda looks like this…Christmas CHAOS!

And it continues to be a homespun candy cane sweat shop…

Anyway, this year I attempted some signs that were at the request of my friend Christine. I think they a are great idea for those of us who don’t have mantles to hang our stockings on! They came out very cute, but it was a total experiment. There are some things I’ll probably do different if I make them again next year.

So I started by purchasing these pieces of wood at Lowes. You could use any scrap wood you have lying around too. I spray painted them red and brown, but in the future I’d like to do a hunter green or a light green I think. I lightly sanded the surface and the edges. I used foam stamps for the letters. I find it’s easier and way faster to stamp them in bulk. Stamp the first letter on all your boards, then the second letter on all the boards, and so on.

After the stamping was done, I (Greg) trimmed the excess edge off. He drilled some holes for me, slightly larger than the width of the knob screws I was going to use.

Before doing the knobs, I wanted to do a few things while the board was still flat! I used a gel stain (Deco Art) to give it a bit of an aged look. It’s a subtle difference in the picture but is more noticeable in person.

Next I used these “push in” picture hangers (Lowes) because they’re easy to work with.

I used this metal punch to make sure the edges were all the down way in. Line it up with the edges and hammer them flat!

My favorite part…the KNOBS! I LOVE these knobs from Hobby Lobby! I always wait til they are 50% off (which is often) and buy them in bulk for projects. I had fun picking out the color combos for these signs! Anyway, I lined them up with the width of the board to see where to trim them, so that the sign will lay flush against the wall. I used a white paint pen to mark where they needed to be cut.

I had to buy a bolt cutter for this project ($14 at Lowes) but it’s a GREAT tool and I know that I’ll use it again. Totally worth investing in it.

It cut the knob screws with virtually NO effort! SO AWESOME! πŸ™‚ Forget hours of sawing with a hack saw!!!

I covered the knob screws with E-6000 (super-duper strong glue) and pushed them down into the pre-drilled holes.

And then waited oh so impatiently while they dried…

I am wondering if I should put a “…” after the work hung, like I have seen on some other similar signs online? Either way, I love them!!!

Some things I’d do differently are add more knobs and space the knobs farther apart. I’d also not do the brown, but maybe a light olive green or a dark hunter green. I was originally thinking that I wanted to do something neutral incase red didn’t fit someones color scheme, but I guess it doesn’t really matter around Christmas…cause everything is red and green! Maybe a blue & white one? Oh the decisions!!!

I am SOOOOOO excited for my craft show, mainly because I get to spend a weekend with my best friend. It’s always so much fun! Have a great weekend all you crafty super stars! πŸ™‚

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