I am amazed that we’ve had great weather for the entire two weeks of the DIY Talent Parade! Are you enjoying the parade so far?! Well, get ready to have your socks knocked off today. Our talented guest is an amazing multi-tasking mother of four. She cooks, she sews, she crafts and she makes everything she touches beautiful! Amy is beautiful inside and out which makes it no surprise that she has the talent to turn ordinary objects into gorgeous creations. Like this t-shirt turned bolero.

Wait, I think I see her coming this way…ummm…is she dancing? Why yes, she is! My goodness is there anything this girl can’t do?! Turn your heads this way and welcome the very lovely and very talented Amy from Positively Splendid. Read more

Y’all are gonna love today’s guest post! Hammer Like a Girl is in the HOWZZ! Check out that industrial book page topped table that they created.

Today’s guest post is brought to you by THREE handy gals! I’m seriously thinking about moving to Seattle just so I can be one of their friends and share in the DIY project co-ops. Heidi, Monica and Mary Jean make up the power trio at Hammer Like a Girl.

These ladies get together once a week to tackle a DIY project together. They rotate which house they will work in next. Check out some of their transformations like this oval to rectangle table transformation, rustic wood bathtub surround, or tile backsplash.

Read more

The other day I was wandering aimlessly shopping at Costco and spied an empty wooden wine crate. The angel stamped on the side was beckoning me to take her home. Actually, I read Funky Junk Interiors’s post about making tool boxes last year and have been looking for just the right wood to make one. The angel may not have calling me, but I wasn’t about to leave the store without her.

I thought about tucking it under my coat and making a break for the front door, as I was sure there were other crafty ladies eyeing up the lonely wine crate. But, I resisted the urge and asked the manager if I could have it, and he graciously let me take it home. I was exuberant because I’ve been missing my rustic wine crate that Cherie won. Read more

Hey y’all! I’m super stoked because I’m on my way to Blissdom in Nashville, TN for a few days.

I can’t wait to learn some new blogging tricks; network with a few blogging buddies; and listen to some inspiring speakers. Don’t you worry, I’ll be sharing everything I learned when I get back.

While I’m away, I will be leaving you in very capable hands. My good friend, Holly, is going to give you a tutorial for repainting and distressing a sad 1980’s chest of drawers. But, before she begins I have some news…

…I am really stoked to be partnering with Tomboy Tools, Inc. Together we’re going to bring you some serious DIY empowerment!This is such a wonderful venture for me because I love their tools; I love that their goal is to empower women; and I love that they are a company that gives back to women through the Avon Foundation.

Tomboy Tools and I are going to get YOU inspired to create more in 2012!

You may remember Holly from the Charm & Character Tour of her home. Many readers commented that they wanted to know how she distresses furniture. Holly was kind enough to create this tutorial for you:

Welcome Holly!

I’m so excited to be doing a guest post at Pretty Handy Girl! Brittany has been such a wealth of information to me as I have been working on growing my business and creating a web presence for Storywood Designs. There is truly nothing that Pretty Handy Girl can’t do and her willingness to share her knowledge and skill with the rest of us is so appreciated!

Several months back, I had a client approach me about painting an old chest of drawers she had. It had been given to her in her college years and had been painted to embrace the trends of the times. 😉 The chest itself wasn’t an antique or looked like it had been built by hand. However, it has a lot of sentimental value for my client. She wanted to pass it on to her toddler-aged daughter… and envisioned something that wasn’t too “baby” and not pink in color, and wanted to create a piece that might stay with her daughter as she grows.

Check out the chest of drawers in all her 1990’s glory! The chest itself was painted with a textured hunter green paint and the drawers were cream with hand-painted burgundy, gold and hunter green flowers. She was in dire need of a makeover! My client envisioned a more feminine color scheme and wanted the piece to look distressed. She was also itching to get rid of the brassy hardware.

I knew there was no hope of stripping the piece to the bare wood, staining it and distressing it. The piece had always been painted and I had no clue (and neither did she!) as to what was under all that textured paint. I also knew it would be cost prohibitive to her to try to get to bare wood in order to stain. I suggested painting the piece an base color that I could use in the distressing process and to create the overall look she was going for. With a plan in place it was time to get started!

The first order of business in any refinishing project is to prep the piece for refinishing. In almost all cases, this means sanding. Painted pieces require less sanding than pieces that are being stained… and in this particular case, I knew I had to sand enough to smooth out that textured paint surface. Forunately, my orbital sander made quick work of the texture and using 150-grit sandpaper, I was able to completely remove the texture without much fuss. A mask and safety goggles are important anytime you sand – you never want to breathe in the nasty particles sanding stirs up; nor do you want to get it in your eyes. But in this case, the eye and mouth protection were super important! That textured paint flew all over the place as it was sanded off. I lightly sanded the drawer fronts as well so that the hand-painted floral design would no longer show when painted. We have a scary, apocalypse-looking mask only because we use it often and for some pretty yucky stuff, but any disposable mask will work just fine!

Once sanding was completed, I wiped the chest of drawers down well using mineral spirits. I then checked for loose pieces of the chest; keeping a close eye on drawer bottoms, corner and bottom moldings, and around the top edge of the dresser. I made repairs using wood glue and clamps to hold the pieces tightly together until dry. If needed, I added a finishing nail or 2 to the repair. Before painting, I also eyeballed the dresser looking for chips in the wood that needed to be repaired with wood putty. This dresser had a large chip in the base molding, so I filled it in with wood putty, let it dry and sanded it smooth with the orbital sander. Once the repairs were made, it was time to paint!

This dresser was a little different than ones I had completed in the past because my client wanted a distressed look, but we wouldn’t be distressing down to the original wood finish. I knew that the royal blue paint we were painting over needed a strong primer to cover it, so I went with Glidden’s Gripper Primer in Gray. It’s super thick, hides well and I’ve found it to have excellent coverage.

Since I didn’t have to worry about sanding through it in the distressing process, I knew it was the paint for the job. The simple lines of the dresser and its drawers made it easy to roll most of the paint on. I did run my brush through the grooves in each drawer, but was able to paint the rest of it with a roller, which really sped the process along.

Once the primer coat was on the dresser and had thoroughly dried, I went to work on the base color. This is the color we would be distressing back to instead of the original wood finish. We wanted the dresser to look like it had originally been painted an antique white color… this would be the color that peeked through the final coat when the process was complete. I went with Benjamin Moore’s Navajo White.

Navajo White is great because it’s one of those paint colors that is not too yellow and not too beige. It is a true neutral and has served me on many, many painting projects. I was able to apply the Navajo White in the same manner I did the primer… rolled it on with my foam roller and touched up the drawers’ grooves and various places with my brush. Since the Navajo White was only the base coat and had a strong primer underneath, one coat sufficed.

The final coat of the dresser was to be a beautiful grey color. I decided to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Paris Grey for several reasons. First, Annie Sloan’s paints have great coverage and I knew that only 1 coat would be required. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint gives you a lot of control in the distressing process. That control was very important to me on this project because I only wanted to distress back to my base coat, not to the primer or original royal blue color. Finally, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint waxes beautifully and easily and that was important to me as paste wax would be the final coat on the dresser. I painted most of the Paris Grey on by hand with my brush. Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is expensive and I try to use it sparingly!!

Once the chalk paint had time to dry, it was time to distress. In my opinion, this is where Annie Sloan Chalk Paint really sets itself apart from other paints. Chalk paint allows you a lot of control in the distressing process. In fact, there is no sandpaper required to distress Annie Sloan Chalk Paint! All the distressing on this dresser was done using a wet rag. I simply dampened the rag and started rubbing in the places I wanted to distress. The more I rubbed, the more distressing I got. I didn’t have to worry about sanding through my base coat and with a wet rag, I was able to get to places that would be difficult to get to with sandpaper. As an added bonus, I was able to distress the dresser in the house without a fine powdered substance all over everything!

The last steps to complete the dresser were to wax the entire piece and add the new hardware. With any piece I wax, I always start with a coat of clear wax. I’ve tried several brands, from Johnson’s Paste Wax to Briwax to Fiddes and Sons. I have yet to try Annie Sloan’s wax, only because the others are readily accessible to me in local stores. In my opinion, I have not noticed a big difference in application and finish between Johnson’s Furniture Paste Wax (which is found at Home Depot) and Briwax or Fiddes (which I can only find at a local wood working store). But there is a big difference in price. I think that it comes down to personal preference… there are definitely people that prefer one brand over the other… I just have not noticed a big difference in them! I did not apply a darker wax to this dresser… we wanted to keep it light and happy for a little girls room and I didn’t want to add the color changes that a dark wax brings to a piece of furniture.

With waxing, the key is get thin, even layers of wax with each coat you put on a piece of furniture. I find the easiest way to apply the wax is to cut a clean rag, place a small amount of wax in the center and fold the rag around it. The wax will seep through the rag as you rub down your piece of furniture, keeping your coat nice and even. Once the wax coat is completely dry, you take another clean cloth and buff the piece. The result is a soft sheen and a smooth finish!

For new hardware for the dresser, we selected these beautiful glass knobs from Restoration Hardware.

They added a bit of bling to the dresser, gave it a definite feminine touch, but weren’t too fussy or ornate. They fit into the existing holes with no issues, and with that, the dresser’s transformation was complete!

A lot of prepping and priming, several quarts of paint and a lot of elbow grease later, this dresser was transformed and updated and ready for its new life in a little girl’s room!

Thank you Holly! Oh my goodness, can you believe that transformation? From hunter green hand-painted to…

…shabby chic in Paris grey! Ahhh, that’s much better!

Be sure to check out Holly’s Storywood Designs Etsy shop where you can purchase a framed monogram like this one!

Holly also recently started a blog, Storywood Designs, showcasing the furniture that she refinishes. You really need to check it out!

Storywood Designs

Would you like to be a guest on Pretty Handy Girl? Well, here is your invitation: View this page for all the specifics on being my guest.

Thanks to my Facebook fan, Heather H., for the ultimate compliment on this lantern. She asked if I got it at Pier 1! Nope Heather, I got it at the Habitat ReStore and it found its way into my hands in this condition:

After a Women Build meeting at the Habitat ReStore a month ago, I spied that dusty relic. An old discarded hanging light fixture. I grabbed it and promptly paid $5 for it. Then I got to chatting with the clerk at the ReStore and absentmindedly walked out without my lantern. By the time I remembered, the ReStore had already closed. It was sad… it was tragic… I didn’t know when I’d be reunited with my light fixture because the ReStore is about 25 minutes away from my home. But, there is a happy ending to my story, my mother-in-law (who gives a good name to all MILs out there) offered to swing by the ReStore the following day to pick up my lantern for me. Hugs to her for reuniting us. But, I had to laugh at the look of skepticism she gave me as she handed over the dusty light. She couldn’t see its true potential, but I could.

How about you? Would you have passed this light fixture by? Or would you have seen the potential?

Well, next time you see a light fixture like that, grab it and I’ll show you how to transform it.

Materials:

  • Old lantern style light fixture
  • Pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Two screwdrivers (at least one needs to be flat head)
  • Damp rag
  • Sandpaper
  • Plastic drop cloth
  • Kilz spray primer
  • Rustoleum Lagoon spray paint
  • Rub n’ Buff Gold Color
  • Paper towels
Difficulty: Easy
Step 1. Disassemble the lantern by unscrewing all the parts.

Step 2. Use wire cutters to cut the wire to the light housings.

Step 3. Pull the light sockets, bulbs and lighting out of the lantern.

Step 4. Remove the finial from the bottom of the lighting and set it aside with the lantern. Discard or keep the lighting parts for some other project.

Step 5. If there is a chain attached to the lantern, insert the two screwdrivers into the link attaching it to the lantern. Rotate the two screwdrivers in opposite directions as shown to pry the chain link apart.

Step 6. Pry up the tabs on the lantern that are holding the glass in place. Remove the glass panels and set them aside.

These are the parts that I kept for the lantern:

Step 7. Wipe all the parts with the damp rag to remove any dust and debris. Then scuff the lantern parts with sandpaper and wipe off any remaining dust.

Step 8. Set the lantern and parts outside on the drop cloth.  Spray them with Kilz primer, flip the pieces over and spray again.

Step 9. When the primer has dried, inspect the lantern for any paint drips that need to be sanded smooth.

Step 10. Spray paint the lantern and parts with Rustoleum Lagoon. Flip everything after the first coat is dry and spray a second coat of paint.

Step 11. After the lantern has dried thoroughly, reassemble the lantern.

Screw the finial onto the inside of the lantern where the lighting used to attach.

Step 11. Wipe a small amount of rub n’ buff on a dry paper towel. Rub it on the cross bars of the lantern.

Step 12. Clean the lantern glass with windex and a clean rag. Then insert the glass panels back into the lantern.

Admire your new aqua beauty!

The hardest part of this project was trying to decide where to display my lantern. I could see it in every room of our home!

But, ultimately I gave it a place of prominence on our mantle. And included an old picture inside it.

Have you seen these old light fixtures? Could you ever guess that they could be turned into beautiful decorating gems?
Have a great weekend y’all. I hope you make a trip to your local Habitat ReStore and search for your own lantern.

I hope you’ll join Heather and some other friends on Facebook so you can see what I’m up to next!

Sharing with Tater Tots and Jello Weekend Wrap Up Party

 

I know that no one likes to take out the garbage in my house. How do I know this? I know it because we seem to be able to push our 9 gallon trash can to hold 12 gallons! Don’t do the math, it is just one of life’s unsolved mysteries.

When this mystery trashcan reaches these epic proportions, the bag of trash resists all efforts to remove it from the can. It holds tight to the can liner bringing it up with itself. I’ve only known one other thing in this world that can hold on this tight. And that would be my son at age two as he death gripped my shirt while the babysitter tried in vain to remove him.

Releasing the trash’s grip takes some practice, I use the this little dance I call the Can Can Jig. (Not to be confused with your parent’s Can-Can.)

Here is what it looks like:

One foot on the floor, the other raised over your waist height trying to keep the trash can liner from coming with the trash bag as it is extracted from the can. Yeah, I’m still working on mastering the move myself. It is not for amateurs.

Okay, all kidding aside, I found the cure for the stubborn trash bag who didn’t want to be emptied. I’d heard about this trick a few times but never tried it until now.

Materials:

  • Drill
  • Drill bit – medium size (approximately 1/4″)
  • Safety glasses

Step 1. Empty the trashcan (less you drill holes in your bag of trash. Gross!)

Step 2. Take out the plastic trashcan liner if you have one. If not, this will work just as well if you have a plastic trashcan without a bucket liner.

Step 3. Drill 3-4 holes into the bottom of the liner (or can if you don’t have a liner).

Drill the holes about 1″ above the bottom just in case you ever have any leakage (just thinking about it makes me gag.)

Step 4. Insert the can liner back into the can. Put a trash bag into the liner. Now wait for that garbage can to fill beyond capacity again.

And voila! The bag slides out easily. I almost wish I had some kind of bet with Pretty Handsome Guy to see who could extract the trash faster. You know I’d time him before drilling the holes and then unbeknownst to him I would add this quick fix and let him time me as I whipped that trash out no problem.

And now for the dramatic before and after pictures! Ooooo and ahhhhh:

Which leads me to just one question: “How will I practice the Can Can Jig now?”

 

Welcome to our second Wednesday in 2012! Today I have a special guest for you: Bri from The Modern Parsonage is here to show you how she created that truly fabulous chandelier you see up there. But, before we get to the tutorial, let me tell you a little about this handy gal (and her partner in DIY crime!) Bri and her husband moved into a home that was previously a Pastor’s family home. They dove head first into the process of renovating the home to be more modern and fitting for the hip couple of professors that they are.

The Modern Parsonage showcases the renovation process, from idea to finished product, tossing in snapshots of design inspiration and everyday life.You can follow them as they transform their home one room (floor to ceiling) at a time. Check out their Staircase renovation, bathroom update, and installing flooring projects.

Okay, take it away Bri!

Let me begin by saying that I started this project thinking I needed a ton of prep work, money, and time to transform a boring, brass light fixture into a show-stopping (if I do say so myself) chandelier. O ye of little faith, I say to my former self. This is a beginner’s project and requires so little skill that I would go so far as to call it a fool-proof way to jazz up even the most tired light or lamp for significantly less than the cost of a new fixture. (Read: under $75)

Start with a cheap chandelier. I found one on my local Craigslist for $25, but I would recommend scouring your hand-me-down shop of choice since these brass fixtures are often the standard for apartments or new builds.

Next, I did some research online and adopted a few misconstrued beliefs that I will now dispel. First, it is perfectly fine to spray paint the plastic-protected electrical cord that runs up the chain. I was not aware of that and wasted quite a bit of time figuring out creative ways to protect the cord while spraying the chain. Second, either fully remove the plastic “candles” or spray paint them the same color as the fixture. I did not know that these were removable and you can still see the tape lines from where I thought I had to cover parts of the plastic. Learn from my mistakes, people.

After you have chosen a diamond-in-the-rough light, acquire the necessary resources. You will need:

  • A drop cloth
  • A place to hang your light (I hung mine in the basement, but you can just as easily use a tree if the weather is nice)
  • Two cans of the spray paint of your choice (it is always better to have extra on hand because spray paint has tricky drying times and you don’t want to run out in the middle of the project). I used matte white and it was just the cheap Ace Hardware brand.
  • A ventilator or mask. Always necessary when messing about with spray paint.
  • 220 grit Sandpaper
  • Deglosser. (This is only if you want to be super thorough. I wiped my chandelier down with just soap and water and the paint adhesion was still great.)
  • Beading of your choice. I used roughly 750 beads and got them at Michael’s, but it all depends on your taste.
  • White string (I got DandyLine brand and it is super strong).

For the optional chain cover:

  • Fabric of your choice (double the length of chain you want to cover and 7 inches wide).
  • Fabric glue
  • Iron-on Velcro
  • Thread
  • Also, an iron, that’s pretty important.

Now it’s time to get down to brass tacks. Get it? Because it’s a brass light? Anyway, lightly run your sandpaper over the fixture. Do not press too hard or the metal will scratch. The goal here is to rough up the surface so that the paint can form a strong bond. Next, give it a good once over with a damp cloth (soap and water will do, deglosser if you’re thorough) to remove any dust, grease, or grime. Let the light dry completely.

Don your mask. You will look beautiful, I promise, but more importantly, your lungs will thank you. Find a good spot to hang your light and start spraying.

As you can see, I tried to bundle up the electrical cord in the plastic bag, but that caused a lot of problems, including bare spots of brass. I also taped off the tops of the “candles” instead of just removing them and covering the exposed wire. So yeah, just don’t repeat my follies.

Spray painting is best in short, quick bursts. Long, sweeping motions are not your friend. It will take many, many thin coats so don’t be surprised if you have to use the entirety of two cans.

Once you have your desired level of coverage, let the light dry overnight. When the paint is fully cured, the real fun starts – beadwork. This part takes creativity and is really up to you. I did a lot of window-shopping for fancy-pants lights and finally decided I wanted a chandelier adorned with clear beads and small silver accents, embellished with teardrop crystals for extra pizzazz. I would say this is the longest part of the process; it took me about four hours to get all the beads strung and hung on the light.

With the hard part done, re-install or switch out your fixture (remember, black wire connects to black wire and white to white!).

At this point, if you’re happy with your light as is, you’re done! If you’re like me and have an awful chain and unpainted electrical cord, you may want to consider DIYing a chain cover. Much cheaper, totally easy, and no sewing machine required.

Begin with your fabric swatch and fold over about a 1/4 inch on each side, ironing the edges.

Apply a small line of fabric glue inside the seams to create a permanent hem. When the glue dries (15 minutes to a half hour), sew a running stitch on both long seams. I know this sounds complicated, but trust me, if I can do it, so can you. Pass the needle in and out of the fabric down the edges, knotting each end. (It allows you to scrunch the fabric, which is important.) Gently pull the knotted ends and push the fabric together to your desired length.

Once the scrunching is done, grab your iron-on Velcro and press it on. Run the iron over the whole cord cover to ensure a strong bond. Now all you have to do is wrap it around your chandelier chain, making sure the seam is on the least visible side, and admire!

Isn’t that chandelier beautiful?! I know people would pay a lot of money to bring that chic lady home. Thank you so much Bri from the Modern Parsonage for letting us into her home for the tutorial.

Would you like to be a guest on Pretty Handy Girl? Read my open invitation here.

You know that thing about your house that you really want to change, but it takes you a while to mull over how to change it? Well, that thing for me was our garage doors. They are the two giant doormen that greet me at least five times a day as I run errands and taxi my children to and from school. I always thought they could be a little more polished and more inviting. In this mulling over period I dreamt of painting the garage doors and boosting the character factor by adding grilles to the windows. I even created a paint preview to see what it would look like. I fell in love immediately and the hulking gray doors’ fate had been sealed.

I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to add the grilles (cross pieces in the windows.) I thought about cutting up paint sticks or just plain strips of square dowels cut to fit, but I REALLY wanted them to look as real as possible and I liked the router profile of the real deal.

A few months later I literally almost tripped on a stack of donated window grilles at my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. You know, the cheap ones that are pressed up against the window and always fall out. Grrrr!

That was when the “A-ha” moment happened and I figured that I could use them to dress up my garage doors. I carefully measured the panes on the garage then found a set of four grilles that would give me two cross pieces per window! Perfect! And the best part about those grilles is that they only cost $2 a piece. For $8, some paint and glue I was able to transform my garage doors from boring bland to cottage charm!

And here is the tutorial for how to add grilles to plain jane garage door windows!

Materials:

  • Reclaimed grilles from Habitat ReStore
  • Hand saw
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Paint
  • Loctite Outdoor Sealant Glue
  • Windex
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • 3M painter’s tape
  • Razor blade scraper
  • Paintable flexible caulk
  • Caulk gun
  • Wet rag
  • Gloves

Start by cutting the grilles down to size. This is how I got two crosses from each grille. First, cut the grille into two pieces as shown below:

No power tools needed. A handsaw works great.

Next, cut off the excess so you are left with two crosses that fit perfectly in the window panes of your garage door.

Test fit the cross. If your measurements are off, no worries, 1/2″ gaps can be filled with caulk.

After cutting all of the cross pieces, clean them off. Lightly sand and paint them the same color as your garage doors.

After the paint is dry, clean the glass with windex and then use rubbing alcohol to remove any dirt and debris from the glass.

Spread a bead of Loctite Outdoor Adhesive onto the backs of both the vertical and horizontal bars. Center and press the grilles onto the glass. Use painter’s tape to hold them in place.

Wait 24 hours for the glue to harden and dry. Then scrape any excess glue off the glass with a razor blade.

Time to fill in the cracks! Caulk all the seams. For the larger gaps, 1.) Apply painter’s tape on both sides of the void to 2.) keep the caulk off the window and give you a crisp, clean edge. (I’ll have a special caulk gun tutorial for you on Friday!)


3.) Remove the painter’s tape while the caulk is still wet. Let the caulk dry.


 And you’re done! How is that for adding instant character?!


I could kiss these beauties! They are definitely welcoming doormen now.

Speaking of welcome, I repainted our faded Welcome sign and hung it back up. Are you an eagle eye reader? What else changed in the pictures below? Five things have changed, can you spot them all? I’ll start you off:

  1. Painted doors
  2. Added grilles
  3. Refreshed welcome sign

Okay, one more lookey at my beautiful garage door windows and then you have to leave.

I want to give a big shout out and thank you to Waste Management and The Bagster who helped make my garage makeover a possibility. You can see more of my garage transformation here.


Today I have a special guest with a special holiday project. Laura is going to show you how to make those adorable tree branch ornaments! But, first, let me tell you a little about Laura.

This is Laura with one of her four fur babies!

Laura writes about making on her blog Laura Makes. She writes about a variety of projects including crafts from knitting to making mosaics (and everything in between), food & drinks (mainly vegetarian), baking, and home improvement projects with a focus on healthy living and environmentally friendly projects. She even faux tiled the concrete floors in her home using soy based concrete stain. The results are nothing short of amazing!

Laura's Stained Concrete Floors

Will you all please give Laura from Laura Makes a warm welcome!

Every year, I make some percentage of my gifts rather than buy them. At first I started out with grand ambitions and would pick one or two recipients to get a labor-intensive gift like a crocheted afghan. In the last few years, I’ve scaled my efforts back and now make small gifts for multiple recipients. I typically will make a handful of one style of gift to boost my holiday time efficiency.

This year I started thinking about what type of ornament I could make from materials I had lying around. I settled on ornaments made from branches we cut off our trees a few years back. Basically, I cut thin slices of the branches, added a painted Christmas design and a ribbon for hanging and they are ready to go!

So you’re probably wondering how you can do this too… Well, you’re in luck because I’m ready to share!

Step 1: Cut your wood slices

Find a branch with a diameter of 2 – 3 inches (or large enough to fit your design) and cut thin slices. I used a reciprocating saw with a 9” wood blade on it to cut slices about an inch thick.  I just have a photo of the saw, but remember to securely clamp your branch before starting to saw it and to wear safety glasses while operating the saw.

Step 2: Sand your wood slices

The reciprocating saw left a rough finish so I used sanding blocks to create a smooth surface. I first used a very coarse grain sandpaper to get the surface level and then a fine grain sandpaper to create a nice finish. The sanding blocks were very handy – I held the block still while moving the wood slice to sand the surface.

Step 3: Drill holes for small eyelets

This is as easy as it sounds. Use a small drill bit to drill a hole in the top of your wood sliced and then screw in a small eyelet. This will allow your gift recipients to hang your ornaments. You can pick up small eyelets at any home improvement store.

Step 4: Create your designs

I like to create my own linocuts (a print-making method) so I decided to create reproducible designs by basically making holiday stamps for my wood slices. You could also simply buy stamps or paint a design if cutting your own stamps isn’t your thing.

I started by drawing my designs on paper – a snowflake, a Christmas light bulb, and a Christmas tree. I traced the outline of my wood slices so that I would be sure to create designs that fit on the slices.

After that, I transferred the design onto my carving blocks.

And then I used my speedball cutter to carve out my designs.

Step 5: Get that design onto your wood slice!

Whether you make your own stamp, buy a stamp, or paint your design free hand, it’s now time to get the design on to your wood slice. Because two of my designs were meant to have two colors, I used a paintbrush to apply my paint to the stamp before stamping the wood slice. Of course, before doing any stamping I first tested my carved stamps to make sure they looked how I expected and also tested the amount of paint that need to be applied.

The snowflake design only used a single color so I used a small brayer instead of a paintbrush to apply the paint.

I found that it worked best to lay the stamp on the table, place the wood slice on top of it, and press down with firm (but not hard) pressure. This helped transfer the paint to the wood even if some small ridges remained after the sanding step.

The trick is getting the right amount of paint on the stamp so I recommend practicing on paper for a while before moving on to the wood slices. If I painted the paint on too thick, I would first lightly place the stamp on paper to absorb some of the extra paint. Of course if you are just painting directly on the slices you can just jump to that step! I made one freehanded design of a snowman for a particular snowman lover in my life.

Step 6: Embellish your designs

Because I felt that my Christmas bulbs and trees turned out a bit plain, I broke out some leftover red glitter glue to embellish them. For the red bulbs, I painted on the red glitter glue. For the trees, I added little dots to signify tree decorations.

Step 7: Seal your ornaments

I wanted to add some sort of sealant coat to my ornaments for protection. I settled on Mod Podge because I had some at home. Experimentation taught me that I couldn’t use a sponge applicator to brush on the Mod Podge or it would smear the paint even though it was dry. Instead, it seemed that using a paint bush to dab the Mod Podge on top of the paint worked the best.  When first applied, it looks somewhat white but it does dry clear.

Before drying:

After drying:

Step 8: Add a way to hang those ornaments

I used ribbon to create a small bow at the top of the ornaments and also to create a loop so that the ornaments can be hung. Hooray! They are complete and ready to be gifted!

Don’t you just love her ornament idea?! I was watching Celebrity Holiday Homes on HGTV last night. And one of the designers who was decorating Jo Dee Messina’s home, glued her family photos to the center of a wood cut out and turned them into ornaments. I bet Laura inspired him!

Thanks for sharing your tutorial with my readers Laura!

Do you want to be a guest on Pretty Handy Girl? Go ahead and submit your idea! I love having people over.


I had so much fun at the Habitat ReStore talk this past weekend. My favorite holiday decorations were these adorable beveled glass ornaments. Would you believe me if I told you that they began life as a dated octagon brass light fixture?

Well, they did! And here is the best part, for $5 you can score one of these fixtures at your local Habitat ReStore and make 16 ornaments from the one light!

Materials:

  • Beveled glass octagonal light fixture (the flimsier the brass the better)
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Small flat head screwdriver
  • Gloves
  • Glass cleaner
  • Soft cloth
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Printed photos
  • Mod podge
  • Paint brush
  • Screw eyes
  • E-6000
  • Wax paper to protect work surface
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors

 

Instructions:

Put on your gloves for this first task! To free the beveled glass, you’ll need to poke, prod and cut at the brass surrounding the glass. Inserting a flat screwdriver will help to pry up the edges. As the edges come loose, cut into the metal with wire cutters, and pull it apart using needle-nosed pliers. All the while, use caution so as not to break the glass pieces.

After all the glass is free, clean both sides of the glass with windex and a soft cloth. Scratch off any dirt with your fingernail (or a razor blade).

Cut photos to fit inside the middle of the beveled glass piece.

Trace around the glass and cut a piece of scrapbook paper the same size as the glass.

Coat the back of the photo with mod podge and center it on the scrapbook paper.

Gently coat the front of the scrapbook paper border with mod podge (do not paint mod podge onto the photo or streaking can occur.)

Press the flat side of the beveled glass on top of the scrapbook paper/photo.

Flip the glass over and put a dollop of E-6000 at the top center of the scrapbook paper. Lay one screw eye into the glue, then cover the screw with a small dollop of E-6000 glue to secure the screw eye.

After the mod podge and E-6000 has dried, cut some pieces of ribbon and thread them through the screw eye. Make a loop with the ribbon and hang it on your tree!

Or give them as gifts to the Grandparents!

I made another ornament using scrapbook paper and stuck a monogram letter sticker on top of the glass. I also added a small quote on another ornament. The possibilities for this project are numerous!

I had to share with you a few other transformations that I showcased during the talk at the Habitat ReStore:

I took an old chandelier and flipped her over, coated her with primer, heirloom white spray paint and then added some distressing and finished with some antique gold Rub n’ Buff.

Now she’s a beautiful candelabra for our dining room table!

I used the canopy (round flat disk that attaches to the ceiling) as the base for the candelabra. When you take apart a light fixture, you can get creative by flipping and switching around parts and pieces.

Old lightbulbs became adorable little ornaments with a few stickers and a coat of spray paint. My favorite is this clear bulb that I added a heart sticker to. When I peeled off the sticker a little heart shaped window remained. Peek inside to see the filament.

If you’ve ever wrapped an easter egg with rubber bands before dying it, you’ll recognize this pattern.

A $2 cabinet door and some chunky cabinet handles partnered to form a holiday serving tray. The handles also got a little Rub ‘n Buff for shine.

I’m sorry I don’t have the tutorials for you right now. Most likely at a later date, I’ll post them for y’all.

I have two announcements:

#1 – The winner of the RIT dye giveaway is: Judi! She said,  “Dye WOOD –really !!!! Can’t wait to see what all else you (and I) can dye !! Loving it !!”

RIT Dye

#2 – My son let me paint his cast like a candy cane! I used KILZ Clean Start (zero VOC) primer and a flat brush to give his cast the stripes. One of my facebook fans had the genius idea of asking Santa to sign it!


Let’s just hope that he can keep this cast for more than a week!

 

 

 

Linking up to Home Stories A2Z Tutorials & Tips TuesdaysCentational Girl’s Holiday Home Craft Link PartyNot Just a Housewife’s Show Me What Ya GotFunky Junk Interiors SNS

 

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