Thursday, April 4, 2013

Babies are almost here... time to finish up the nursery with one more craft!

I love the painted signs you can find at craft shops. I always admire the pretty paint jobs, but I some times gasp at the price. I came across a link on Pinterest to a tutorial for printing your own professional looking letters. 

I decided I could make my own sign for the nursery using this method. Best of all? I had all the supplies I needed, so the project was essentially free!

First, I found a nice scrap board in the garage. I cut it down to the approximate size I needed and proceeded to stain it.

Like my staining bench? It's a big cardboard box in the basement that I use so I don't get paint or stain anywhere. I started on the back of the board, then I did the sides. This way, I was doing the front last, so I could make sure it blended in well with the sides.

I'm kind of impatient, so I barely let the stain dry 15 minutes before I moved on to the next step. In Microsoft Word, I typed the phrase, "We love you to the moon and back." I used the font Optima ExtraBlack in size 110. I printed it off and was ready to proceed.

I cropped the bottom of the page off, so there was an equal margin at the top and bottom of the page, and then I centered it side to side and top to bottom on the board. I secured it with scotch tape. As you can see, my stain wasn't quite dry, because it bled through the paper, but it didn't affect anything.

I was skeptical of the next step, but it worked like a charm. I used a normal ball point point and traced over the letters. It was really hard not to peek, but I didn't want to risk pulling up the paper to look and then not getting the letters lined up again!

If I was going to do this step again, I might trace over each letter twice. It made a good imprint in the wood, but because the stain was dark, it was challenging to see.

I filled in the letters with acrylic paint and a small paint brush. After all of the letters were painted, this is what I had:

I decided it needed something else, so I found some star and moon clipart online, and I repeated the imprint process at the top and bottom. And here's the finished product:

This was seriously a super-easy project. From start to finish, it took a little over an hour. The technique is fool-proof! The sign is now hung on the nursery wall, so these babies can come at any time!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Nursery crafts numero tres

I was inspired by this link on Pinterest. I thought it would make a cute addition to the nursery wall. Like many things on Pinterest, it was easier said than done. However, a few headaches later, I completed my own take on the sunburst mirror:

Here's how I did it.

First, the tutorials on the web called for paint sticks. I felt straight-up weird going to the Lowe's paint counter and asking for 50 paint sticks. I considered swiping them from the unattended counter at Walmart, but a few months ago, I took about 30 paint swatches for another craft project, and I still feel a twinge of guilt. So, I started thinking of other options. I considered wood shims, which is what the link above used, but I wasn't sure how smooth of a finish they would have. I also thought about buying $.50 yard sticks at Wally World and cutting them down. Then, I realized I teach shop, and I have an endless supply of scrap 2x4s! So, as luck would have it, I had a couple of students who had nothing to do, so I put them to work. They used the table saw to rip the scrap boards into approximately 3/16 inch thick pieces. Then, they used the miter saw to cut them to 9 inch lengths. Voila! Problem one solved.

Next, I took the pieces home and painted them with acrylic paint, using the four main colors I'm decorating the nursery with. I started with 40 sticks, because I had no idea how many I would need to go around my 9 inch mirror.

I knew I couldn't glue the sticks directly to the mirror, so I decided to lay out the sticks on a cardboard cake circle. I used an 8 inch circle, since my mirror was 9 inches, but I later put a 10 inch circle behind it for reinforcement, and you can't see the extra cardboard behind the mirror once it's on the wall.

During this step, I also cut every other stick down to 5 inches. This helped free up room and gave the project some dimension. I used a ruler to divide the cake circle like a pie. The long sticks went down two inches on each line, and the short sticks went in between.

I used some hefty craft glue to glue the sticks to the circle, then I placed some heavy books on top while the glue dried. I repeated the same process to glue the mirror on top of the sticks. Two days later, I called it good!

So, here's how that wall of the nursery looks now:

I'm going to attempt one more craft project tonight. Details coming soon!