Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day Present Project

This year, I was looking for something to get my beautiful bride for Valentine's Day.  While shopping, I found a cool sign that I thought she would love.  I decided to get it, but when it got to the shipping, it was nearly as much as the present.  Well, I just couldn't do that.  So, I kept looking, but I kept going back to the sign, but there was no way I was going to pay that much money.  So, I decided I'd just make it myself.

Here's what I did.

First,  I took 2 boards of pallet wood that I had broken apart last year.
(These are 2 stand in's, I didn't think to take pictures till it was too late.)

After cutting them to 2 boards 12" long from each board, I think found a slat from some shutters my wife had used for a project a year or so ago.  Then I took the staple gun, and attached everything together.

I had been considering leaving the natural wood look to this, but after thinking about it, I decided to go ahead an paint it.  The inspiration piece was painted black, but I wasn't sure I wanted to go that way.  So, I looked around at some of the paints we had, and I liked the way this green looked.

I purposely did not paint it with a paint brush because I wanted some of the old wood to show through.  I was wanting a rustic looking piece when I was done.  I actually used a paper towel.

I then decided it needed something more.  So, back to the left over paint to see what magic I might create.  I found this whitish colored paint, and decided to add some to it.

Again, I used a paper towel, and I wanted to just add another layer, not completely covering everything I already had done.

So, while that dried, the hard part began. I needed to put the words on this piece.  But how to do it.  My penmanship sucks, and I'm sure it would be worse at the scale these letters were going to be.

A year or 2 ago, my wife made a really cool project where she painted some words onto a fence.  So I decided to follow her lead.  I printed everything off, and made sure the fonts and size I was going to use were correct.  After a little experimenting, and some reprints, I had everything I needed.  Now, I just needed to cut out the letters.

Before I even got around to that, I decided that "Ain't nobody got time for that!"  So, I made a trip to Hobby Lobby to see about buying some stencils.  I bought 3 sets, some black paint, paint brushes and some hardware for hanging.

I came home from work and started using a pencil to stencil the outlines of the words onto the boards.

It took me a couple hours that day, and 2 lunch periods at work, but I finally got the words stenciled.  Once that was done, it was time to color between the lines (aka fill in the letters).  Thursday when lunch ended, I had them filled in.

While working on this at work, I had commented to one of my coworkers that I had considered having some chicken tracks go across it (under the lettering) in some red paint.  Well, she thought it was a great idea.

I still wasn't sold.  But the more I thought about it, I really thought it would be a nice touch.  So Thursday night, on the way home from work, I stopped at Hobby Lobby again.  This time, for some red paint.

That evening, I worked on finding just the right chicken feet to use as templates.  I never found a great one.  I found one that wasn't bad, but after printing it, and cutting it out, it didn't work too well.  I had considered having one of my chickens walk across it after I put her feet in red paint, but decided against that.

So, with pencil in hand, I started sketching in some chicken tracks.  Up to this point, I could still back out with the red paint plans.  I could get an eraser, and go to down.  But with the way I painted the background, the only way to "fix" any mistakes this red paint might be would be to start over.

I locked myself into our bedroom with the red paint and a brush.  I took a deep breath, and put brush to board.  I loved it.  I put 2 coats of red paint on it Thursday night.  Then it was time to go to bed.

Friday at work, I put 2 more coats of red paint on the feet, and when it was done, I was impressed.  It looked exactly like I wanted.  Not exactly like my inspiration piece, but really good.  Better even, (in my biased opinion)

Friday night, I wrapped the present, and Saturday morning, after breakfast, we exchanged presents, and she opened it.

She loved it!  The look on her face, made every hour I put into this worth it!
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