Thursday, February 12, 2015

Wax On Wax Off Photo Transfer

Ever had a project where you did a ton of research,
were still a little unsure of the result,
but decided to just go for it and hope for the best?
And a little prayer too?
That was this photo transfer project for me.

I have seen them all over pinterest,
and they all say use laser printed images.

Unfortunately the client wanted an image that was
2 ft by 3 ft.  My home printer doesn't print that big.
I asked at Staples and Office Max and their engineering prints
which would meet the size critera, weren't laser printed.

Originally I thought the client was going to get the image 
printed for me so I wasn't going to worry about it,
but she didn't.
Now I was getting nervous.

All the other tutorials said Laser prints only.
I was getting really nervous.
So I decided to go to the source.
I went to Liquitex's website and scoured their information
on doing photo transfers.
No where did it say it had to be a Laser print.

So on a wing and a prayer, I decided to go for it.

The client wanted a gray-blue background heavily distressed.
I knew I couldn't do the transfer of a photo like this on pallet wood.
Too uneven.
So I headed over to Lowe's and picked up a sheet of birch plywood.
It was $25 for the sheet.  I had the guy cut it down a bit for me.
I think it ended up being 3 1/5 by 3 1/2 feet in size.

Then I needed a way to finish the edges so you didn't 
see the crappy plywood layers.
I found a small piece of moulding that was rounded on one side.
It fit the edges perfectly.

I got the image from the client and flipped it horizontally
before getting it printed.
Then I saved it to a flash drive and took it to Staples for the print.
It was less than $5 for the print.
Turns out you don't need it Laser Printed!

The Liquitex Gel Medium was around $10.  I used a coupon at Joanns.

After I got all the supplies, painted the board and let it dry, I was ready to get started.

First I laid the print out on the board and decided where it was going to be.

Then I used Frog Tape to tape off the edges around where the paper would be.

This step is to keep the gel medium where it's supposed to be and
I don't have to worry about wiping off any escaping drips.

Next, move the image out of the way and get a large brush.
Start going to town brushing the Liquitex Gel Medium all over the board
keeping inside the tape lines.
It should be a good thick coat of medium.
Try to keep things as evenly thick as possible.

Then carefully place the paper face down on the gel medium.
I used my vintage rolling pin to smooth the paper out.
I did get a couple of creases in the paper that wouldn't come out,
but it added to the vintage feel to the image.
A brayer would work too, the rolling pin just covers more surface area.
Keep rolling until you get it as smooth as possible.

Then set the board aside and let it completely dry.
At least 24 hours.
I let mine go 48, partly because I didn't have time to get back to it until then.

Not it's time to face the music.
Will it work or wont it?

I grabbed a couple of dish towels and soaked them.
Ring it out so they aren't dripping but very wet.

Lay them on top of the image and let sit for at least 20 minutes.
You want the paper to be wet all the way through.

I removed a section of rag at a time and started wiping in circular motions.
This step totally reminding me about Karate Kid.
Wax on. Wax off.
And for as long as it took me to get all the paper off,
I totally could have taken Daniel-son.

Wipe and wipe and wipe some more.
Ring out the rag and start again.
It took several passes to get all the paper off.

Then I would walk away and let it dry, but when I came back,
there was still more paper. Ugh!
My shoulder was super sore after that.
It would be much easier with a smaller image,
but I really love how it turned out.

Pull the frog tape off and wipe a little more.
The edges were a little raw and uneven, but that added to the vintage feel.
Wipe it one more time and let completely dry.
I finished it off with a topcoat of ModPodge to seal the image.

The quote was a custom scripture the client wanted in High Tower font.
I painted it on, then added the trim painted in the same creamy white.
The trim was glued and staple-gunned in place.
Then I used some filler to cover the nail holes and painted and sanded the edges a bit more.
It's amazing what a little sand paper can do.

I definitely had to take a bunch of photos of the finished project.

I will do one for me sometime soon.
Maybe when my shoulder forgets all the work of wiping the paper off.


Monday, February 9, 2015

Some X's and O's

I'm a little slow when it come to keeping up with technology. 
I still have an iphone 4.
I don't do Twitter.
And as of last week I'm an Instagram newbie.
You can find me @seeshellspace.

So for my inagural progect, I made these XO's.
I got the idea from Beyond the Picket Fence here.
She's my hero!

I love browsing her projects and someday I will be
as good of a builder as she is.

But as of now I'm keeping things simple.
These XO's were so cute!

It took a while to get the angles right for the cuts.
And I was super excited to find a good use for the
left over cross pieces of pallet wood.

One caution though, there are nails throughout the wood
and since I cut through the nail when I take the pallets apart,
the stem end of the nail is embedded in the wood with
no good way to take them out.
So you have to be careful when you put these together
and make the cuts.
Watch out for Nails!!

I'm also not super good at drawing diagrams in Photoshop,
but I hope this schematic helps.

I didn't give the lengths because these can be made to your desired size.
I made a big one and some little ones.

I started with the O and cut that first to the size I wanted.
Then laid it out and decided how long the X cross piece needed to be.
It's not a precise science, but we are working with pallet wood after all.
Nothing on those is precise!
Maybe that's why I love working with them so much!

I made 3 of them for the store and one for me.
One got painted gold, one white, and one natural.
I am going to paint mine silver so I can keep it up year round,
and not just for Valentine's Day.

This was my quick attempt at styling.
My sweet SIL wanted me to make her a heart for her Craft Night,
but wanted it unpainted so she could finish it herself.
So this version is au-natural!

I pulled out my burlap bunting and put this quick vingette together.

I think it turned out perfect!
I'm so loving the chunky XO!
I think I'm going to try some more letters that way.
I will definitely keep you posted!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Sweet Little Fox

{J} over at Twigs and Twine asked me to look for a fox to paint.
I definitely think I scored with this pair of sweet little foxes.
I have also been thinking about adding some framing around the slats rather
than using 2 slats in the back to hold things together.
The framing only took 2 more pieces of wood,
and the effect is super cute!

I've also been wanting to do more ombre pieces.
Coral seems to be a super hot color right now and I thought it would be
a good combination.

I think they turned out awesome!
In fact they have already sold!
Even better.

All I can say is that I'm glad I snapped a few pictures before they 
found their way into someone else's home.
I will definitely be making more of these.

A pair of sweet little foxes.
Love them!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Pallet Herringbone Arrow

I'm kind of loving this herringbone look for my pallet art.
Arrows are always a good choice.

I came up with this design while sitting in the Doctor's office
waiting to see if my #2 boy will get his finger "freshened" again
or if the break is healing.
(Freshened means re-agitating the break so it will heal properly,
a disgusting and super cool procedure where the Doctor numbed his
finger and then jammed the break over and over with a large gauge needle.)

I know.  My inspiration comes in the strangest places.

Usually it comes in the early morning or late night hours when I wish
I was sleeping but my brain is in overdrive.

I loved putting together the hearts and wanted to try a different shape.
Gotta love arrows!

It took me a little while to decide how to put together the point
and then work my way down.
Each piece was put in place, marked and then cut.
I had to use the jig saw to cut the small piece around the arrow point.
Too close for comfort using the mitre saw.
I still need all my fingers. ;)

After all that, I sanded each piece and painted some of them.
I made 2 arrows at the same time, my normal MO, and it made
the process that much more productive.

I've got another one I'm working on now that is a custom order.
She wants it all grays and white, with a touch of blue.
I will definitely share when it's done.

After the paint dried, the pieces were glued in place and let sit overnight.
A good sanding all around the edges and some hanging hardware finished things up.

Herringbone Arrows!
This design will definitely be going to Junk in the Trunk in May.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Pallet Herringbone Heart

I know its been a while.
A few months to be exact.

But September was my first Junk in the Trunk experience.

I was super excited and nervous.

Would my stuff sell?
What is the competition like?
How many pieces are enough?
How am I going to get everything done in time?
Do I have enough wood?

The booth looked amazing! 
{M&J} from Twigs and Twine took a whole lotta
pallet wood and made these walls.
Like 42-ish pallets worth.

The pallets I cut up for the walls were from a Solar Panel company
in Mesa, AZ.  They looked like this, with my sweet and patient
hubby modeling it for me.

They aren't heavy and the wood is more like plywood with layers.
But it is uniform in size, width and length.
If you use pallets with any kind of regularity, that never happens.
Luckily for me I stumbled upon these on Craigslist.
It's always amazes me how that happens.
I need a specific type of pallet wood and a batch
nearly drops in my lap.
It happens again and again.
For that I know I'm extremely blessed.

Anyway back to business.
Since we took apart so many pallets,
we had all the cross pieces left over.
I have a hard time throwing any good wood away,
and I had to think about how to use the leftover wood.
It was easy to cut them apart with a skill saw but
it left me with about 8 inch pieces.
Now what?

I'm a secret Tetris and Dr Mario girl at heart.
Give me anything else and I'm a complete Klutz.
My kids don't let me play because I'll just kill of the character in about 10 seconds.
But give me pieces that have to fit together and I'm all about that.

So these hearts were a natural fit for me.
I love herringbone and chevron shapes.
Why can't I do that with my little pieces of leftover pallet wood?
So I did!

Before Junk in the Trunk opened, they posted this little beauty
on their instagram site.

I was stunned.
My project.
My art.
Honored and humbled to say the least.
{J} said that the woman who bought this piece waited in line for a long time
to be the first one in the show to run and buy it before anyone else could.

Now I know I should have made more.
This one was 3x3 but I also made some that were 2x2.

Here's a few pics of everything that went to the show.
Everything but 2 pieces sold.
I should have made more.
Did I say that before...
Yep. I should have made more.

So now you want to know how I did it?
I cut up the pallets and got a bunch of about 8 inch pieces.
These work well for this heart because they are all the same width and thickness.
It would be hard to do with varying sized wood.
Probably not impossible, but it would be a little more
than my math challenged brain could handle.

After getting the pallets cut up, I used my mitre saw and cut them at
22.5 degrees.  Both sides.
It's Ok that they aren't exactly the same length.
I didn't want the herringbone to be perfect.
Sand and paint the slats.
A little of this, a little of that.

My sweet SIL wanted one with gold so I spray painted some of the pieces
with shiny gold paint and let them dry.

Once the pieces are ready, I need a back.
I buy a thin-ish piece of plywood from Lowe's or HomeDepot
and have them cut it for me.  It needs to be sturdy but not too heavy.
I can get 2 3x3's and 2 2x2's plus some extra
for arrows out of one 4x8 sheet.

I used my jigsaw to cut out the shape.
You can sand the edges at this point, but I usually don't 
because I give the whole thing a good sanding when it's done.

I usually try to start with one side cut straight and start arranging the pieces
alternating colors.
Once it's all covered,
I start gluing, one line of slats at a time.
Be careful to press them into place and keep everything even
and as straight as possible.

I love this part because it really is like a giant game of tetris.
It's ok if the curved part of the heart has pieces hanging over.
You will cut them off when the glue is dry.

I lay whatever I have that is heavy on the slats and let it dry overnight.
Usually it's horseshoes and hand weights. 

Once the glue is dry, flip the heart over, check for any pieces that may have not stuck.  
Re-glue if necessary, then and use a jigsaw to cut around the edge.

I come out about 1/4 inch from the plywood.

Once it's cut, give both sides a good sanding around the edges
and anywhere else you think might need it.
You can add a spray of polyurethane to seal it,
but I don't always do that.
Add hanging hardware and it's done!

My Herringbone Heart!
Love it!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Bits of Everything

I've been crazy busy lately with projects, Christmas and keeping up with custom orders.
(which I love doing by the way!)
Ever since the Junk in The Trunk show in September I've loved making these hearts. 
Someday I will do a tutorial on how they go together.
After making so many of them, I've got it down to a science.
They are so fun and versatile and can be completely customized.
The super unique thing about these are that the wood comes from
solar panel pallets.  The wood is lighter and more of a plywood type.
But the best part is that the wood is all the same thickness and width.
Normal pallet wood isn't at all.
So this design wouldn't work with normal pallet wood.
You could easily buy pine boards to get the same effect
but I like the color differences and texture I get from the pallet wood.
So here's a few pics of what I've been working on.

These hearts are a snap to put together once the pallet slats have been dismantled.
Simply beautiful.

I saw these snowflakes on pinterest and definitely had to make some.
Plus it uses up all my scrap pieces.
They are super cute and I haven't
taken mine down yet from my front door.
Maybe I'm secretly hoping there will be some snow
here in Phoenix.
I think the closest I will get is this wood snowflake.

Of course I needed a forest to go with it.
Again super easy to put together and it uses my scraps.

I did these signs as my take on one my friend bought at a boutique.
They all sold and I've got another custom order for another one.
I may do one for me.
Love them!!

This last batch are a couple of custom orders I had for Christmas.
I love the challenge of doing a custom piece,
plus having the opportunity to make someone's idea become reality.

And it's back to work.
I promise I will do better and photographing my work and sharing.
Happy New Year!

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