Sunday, December 11, 2011

Guest Post: A Thankful Home

A member of the Craft Club, Kathy, is here to share a cute project with us. I absolutely love a simple, hand-made project to spruce up a home! Kathy is the master of seasonal decor and her home is always fabulously decorated for the holidays! Check out a recent Thanksgiving project:

Hi readers of Chanelle and Tim’s blog! :)

Chanelle asked me to write a blog post about some projects at our house as she and Tim are posting every day in December. Naturally, I decided to write my first post based on a craft project I found on Pinterest. I’m sure many of you have discovered the wonderfulness that is the world of Pinterest. If you haven’t, just let Chanelle know and she’ll send you an invite!

Okay, moving on... Brian (the hubs) and I have a really nice mantel in our living room, but we have two very curious, rambunctious, and fat cats:

Tucker (black) and Toni (orange) looking innocent.

Thus, I have to be VERY cautious when I put anything on the mantel because the cats enjoy destroying our decorations. When I found this idea on Pinterest in October, I fell in love. Made out of wood and not damageable: check. Easy to make: check. Inexpensive: check. Terrific Thanksgiving d├ęcor: check.

Image from here.

I’m not sure how these Give Thanks blocks were created as the link from Pinterest was to an image and didn’t include step-by-step instructions. However, I figured it would be simple enough to make my own blocks like these, even without directions. Since I don’t have my own DIY blog, I didn’t take pictures at each stage of the process, but the instructions are pretty basic. Here are the supplies you’ll need:

Wood blocks
A saw … unless you buy/have smaller blocks that are already the sizes you want
Paint and paint brush
Scrapbook paper and scissors
Mod Podge and a glue stick

My goal was to do this project as cheaply as possible, so I decided to use stuff I already had around the house/workshop. Thankfully my husband saves basically every piece of scrap wood, trim, etc. he can find, so I didn’t have to buy any of the wood to make the blocks. I just cut up one of his old and beat-up 2x4s! This worked out really well because 2” thick was large enough that each block could stand on its own without tipping easily if a cat happened to jump on the mantel and bat at the block. I wasn’t sure at first about the height of the blocks, but I knew I wanted three sizes and for them range only a total of 2” from the smallest to the largest block. I settled on cutting the blocks in 3 heights:

6.5” tall (the Give, T, and K blocks)
5.5” tall (the H and N blocks)
4.5”tall (the A and S blocks)

I used Brian’s miter saw to cut the blocks to the correct height. Next, I sanded all of the edges using sandpaper to make sure the edges weren’t going to scrape up the mantel (or give me slivers). If you don’t have a miter saw, a circular saw, handsaw, or jigsaw would also work easily.

My next step was painting all sides of the blocks. I had some leftover dark brown craft paint that I ended up using. You could certainly use wood stain or any leftover paint from painting your walls. Crackle paint would be really cool for an antique finish… ah, the ideas! I put on a pretty thick first coat of paint to cover all of the crevices. Next, I applied a lighter second coat to make sure the entire block was well covered.

While the paint was drying, I cut out rectangles from the scrapbook paper to glue on the front of the blocks. I cut the scrapbook paper rectangles a little smaller than the block sizes so I could see some of the brown paint around the edges – 3.5”x6” for the 6.5” tall blocks, 3.5”x5” for the 5.5” tall blocks, and 3.5”x4” for the 4.5” tall blocks.

The next step was the most challenging part of the whole project – getting the letters to look proportional! To make the letters proportional so they filled the same amount of space on each block (though the block sizes differed), I used WordArt in Microsoft Word. Holy easy, batman. If you (are lucky enough to) have a Cricut, I’m told you could easily make the letters using this (seemingly amazing) product. If you decide to make something like this and you use WordArt, I would definitely recommend using the margins to make sure your letters are all the same size and, thus, evenly justified when they’re placed on the blocks. I used the font Lucida Calligraphy for the word “Give” and Copperplate Gothic Light for the individual letters.

After printing my letters and word, I cut them out and used a glue stick to affix them to the scrapbook paper rectangles. That way, I could easily re-position the letter if it wasn’t in the center, looked horrible, etc. The last step was mod podging (yep, it’s a verb) the scrapbook-paper-with-letter to each block. That’s it! Super easy!! You could do a million other phrases/words if this was something you’re interested in… Welcome, Home, your last name, Joy, etc.

Happy crafting!


Mr. Peanut (Kathy) and Allstate Mayhem (Brian) at Halloween 2011

Don't you just love that? While Kathy re-purposed many of these materials from other projects (i.e. the wood, mod podge, etc.), this project could easily be $5 or less. You could even have the home improvement store cut the wood to size for you. I'm sad we don't have a mantel to decorate in our home! This would be a cute project for a guest bedroom, gallery wall, kitchen, anywhere really. Kathy is so creative, just check out her Halloween costume! Thanks for sharing this cute DIY craft project Kathy.

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