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DIY Wood Silhouette Decoration

Friday, November 27, 2015
With my kids getting older I needed to update the silhouettes I had of them on our wall, plus I wanted to switch over to oval frames.  I had the hardest time finding them - especially ones within my price point!  I was walking through our local craft store and noticed wooden oval plaques and I decided to give them a try.  I'm very pleased with how they turned out and thought I'd share how I made them!


Materials Needed:
-Wood Plaque* (any size/shape will work)
-Side-shot Picture of Person
-Black & White Acrylic Paint
-Foam Brush
-Foam Stencil Brush (Preferred)
-Wide Painter's Tape (Frog Tape Recommended)
-Hook of Choice for Hanging (Optional)
-Clear Coat of Choice (Optional)

*The plaques I got measure 6-3/4" x 9" and were only $1.99!

Tools Needed:
-220 Grit Sandpaper
-Xacto Knife
-Printer & Paper


Prepare Picture:
You'll want your picture just like the one above; with your subject looking straight ahead (not up/down) and your camera directly in front of the middle of their head (cross-hairs right in front of their ear).  Take a bunch of pictures so you can pick the best one.  For anyone with long hair, consider pulling it up to expose the neck for the silhouette.  The more contrast between your subject and the background the easier it is to see details and make your outline (ie if the subject is fair-skinned with blonde hair have them stand in front of a dark background).

Upload your picture(s) on your computer and figure out approximately what size you need your silhouette to be.  Try to re-size the picture on your computer to the finished size you'll need to fit on your plaque.  For me, I was able to draw an oval on my computer (in Adobe Illustrator) the size of my plaque and resize my picture inside of that to what I wanted it to be - makes it so easy!  If that's not possible just mess around with the print settings by changing the scale of the print when it comes out.  For example, if you need to make your picture bigger, try changing your printer settings to scale the image to 150%.. when it comes out write what you scaled it to on the corner for reference if you need to change it slightly later on.

Now that you have your picture the size you want it's time to outline how you want your silhouette to look!

Hardest part is over.. you can breath now!

This gives you an idea of what my son's picture looked like and the shape of the silhouette I made for him.  I figure 80% of people won't have a program to do this digitally, so use a pencil and lightly trace around your subject for the silhouette you want (yellow line for me).  Once you have it how you want you can trace around it with something more noticeable than a pencil.

Prepare Plaque: 
 Sand all sides and edges of your plaque.  Remove dust.

 Use your foam brush and do 2-3 coats of white paint.  Let dry completely.

 Lightly sand surfaces smooth.  You can see in the picture above the difference between the sanded & un-sanded plaque.  TIP: The water in the paint raises the end grain in the wood and makes it rough - don't skip sanding!!!

Create Silhouette:
 For this process you'll need everything above.  Your picture (again, yours probably won't be digital like mine.. no worries), your painted plaque, painter's tape and an Xacto knife. TIP: Frog Tape is the best because it seals well between the tape and wood to avoid paint bleeding under.

 Completely cover the top of your plaque in tape.  Make sure you have the tape edges tight against each other so there's no gaps.

 Tape your picture over your plaque in the position you want it to be.  Use your Xacto knife and carefully trace around the edges of your silhouette.  Make sure to push hard enough to go through the tape (it's okay if you cut into the wood a bit)!

 Slowly remove the tape inside the silhouette.  You may need to use your knife and cut the lines better if you didn't press hard enough in the previous step.

 Use your stencil brush/sponge thing to dab black paint inside your silhouette.  You don't need very much paint!  It will be a little bubbly like above...

 ...let it dry for a minute then you can dab back over it and get rid of the bubbles.

 Let the paint dry for at least 2 hours before peeling the rest of the tape away - this is the best part!

 Doesn't it look awesome!?  You can put a clear coat on to protect your plaque and make it easier to clean.

 Here's a close-up.  I chose to distress my edges when I sanded the white paint smooth.

 If you choose to hang your plaque you can pre-drill a hole in the top-center and screw a c-hook in, or...

...use one of these picture hangers in the back!

It can get tricky finding the center of an oval or a circle... here's how I did it:
 Trace around your plaque on a regular piece of paper.  Use a window to fold it in quarters so you can overlap the pencil lines perfectly.  When you unfold it, mark where your folds are so you know those are your centers.

 Then you can align your plaque again with the traced outline and mark your center on the plaque.

Wasn't that easy!?

 After thinking how I wanted to hang my plaques I decided to use a thick cotton cording I had.  I used about a 4-inch piece to line up with my center mark and I taped it in place to make sure I liked how it looked and that when I held it up, it was indeed centered.

 Next I used my staple gun to staple right over the tape - 2 staples preferred.

I removed the tape and trimmed the cord slightly shorter than the picture.

Farmhouse Style Queen Headboard

Monday, November 9, 2015

While visiting my family in Utah my mom was trying to decide how to make the guest room look better.  I immediately told her "I'll make you a headboard!"  I've had my eye on the farmhouse style bed plan from the Ana White website and was excited to try it out.  I didn't make the whole bed frame, plus I made a few tweaks of my own and will highlight them below.  For the wood I spent about $65 and another $40 for Stain and Polyurethane.

**This plan is for a QUEEN headboard**

Shopping List:
(1) 4x4x8' post
(4) 1x6x8' tongue & groove boards
(4) 1x4x8'
(1) 2x4x8'
(1) 2x6x8'
(14) 5-1/2" lag bolts
3/4"-diamater dowel
(28) 2" Screws
(48) 1-1/4" Finish Nails
Wood Glue and Brush
Wood Finishing Products of Choosing

Miter Saw
Sander & Various Grit Papers
Drill (+ Bits) & Impact Driver
Socket (fits lag bolts)
Flush Cutting Saw
Rags & Fine-Bristled Brush

Cut List:
(2) 4x4 @ 48" (6" shorter than plan) - POSTS
(12) 1x6 TG @ 30" - PANEL BOARDS
(4) 1x4 @ 60" - PANEL TRIM
(1) 2x4 @ 67" (cut last) - TOP OF PANEL/POSTS
(1) 2x6 @ 69" (cut last) - TOP OF HEADBOARD

After cutting your wood, sand everything with 100, 120 & 150 grit paper. Layout your TG boards to create your panel.  Once they are together, each board has a finished measurement of 5" wide.  You will need to cut the tongue off the last board using a table saw.

 I used glue and finish nails to attach the trim to the top and bottom of the panel boards.  I did 2 nails in each TG board end.  TIP: Use a square to make sure you are putting the trim square with the panel!

Next, flip panel over and use 2" screws (pre-drill holes) to attach the other trim boards on the top and bottom (make sure they match up with the trim pieces on the other side).

I used scrap 1" board pieces to put under the sides of my panel to raise it up so it is centered with the posts.  Once it's centered and the post is where it needs to be, mark where to screw your lag bolts (through the post and into the panel).  I did a lag bolt through the top and bottom of panel and the center for a total of 6.  I first drilled out the recessed hole needed for the lag head with the forstner bit (about 3/4" deep) and then used a 1/4" bit in the center for the rest of the lag screw.  To get through the 4x4 post and part of the panel you will need a LONG 1/4" bit!  Use your impact driver with a socket attachment to drill the bolts in.

Once your posts are attached it's time to measure the top for the 2x4 and 2x6!  You want the 2x4 to be an exact measurement of the top and the 2x6 to be 2" longer.  Once they're cut sand with 100, 120 & 150 grit papers.  Clamp 2x4 in place and use a few 2" screws to hold in place.  Center 2x6 over the top and clamp in place.  Do the same process with the forstner bit & 1/4" bit like you did for the posts to attach the 2x6.  I did 4 lag bolts total for the top.  Use your impact driver with a socket attachment to drill the bolts in.

 Next cut 10 2" long pieces from your dowel.  To plug your holes, use a small brush with glue to butter the holes and end of dowel.  Tap in place; let dry.

While you're waiting for your plugs to dry you can work on the blocks for attaching your bed frame!  To do this, measure the distance from the floor to the top & bottom of the metal bracket on your bed frame.  You'll want to center your 8" wood block on your post according to your measurements.  For instance, the metal frame bracket measured 5" from the bottom edge to the floor and 10" from the top edge to the bottom floor.  That means I measured 8-1/2" up from the bottom of my posts and centered my 8" blocks over that.  TIP: You'll want your blocks to be flush with the front side of your posts (my bed frame metal brackets overlapped the posts and brackets).  I used the same process with the forstner bit, 1/4" bit and lag bolts to attach the blocks... using 2 bolts on each block.  I didn't plug the holes incase we needed to move the blocks for whatever reason.

 Now that your plugs are dry you can use a flush cutting saw to cut them away and sand smooth!

Remove dust to prepare for finishing!

Because my posts were Douglas Fur and the rest pine, I was worried about the woods taking the stain differently and first did a coat of seal-a-cell.  However, looking back I think I could have saved $20 and gone without this step.  Since the General Finishes Gel Stain mostly sits on the surface without penetrating the wood it probably would have turned out just fine!

This is the product I used.

 Here's the first coat...

 ...and here's the second coat.

I left it to dry until the next day and did 2 coats of Polycrylic (sanding with 320 grit in between coats).

 We held the headboard up to the metal bedframe and marked 2 spots on each bracket where we could attach bolts.  We drilled holes through the wooden blocks and used bolts/nuts to secure.

 It adds so much warmth & character to the room!  I love it!

DIY Tutorial on Making a Wooden Checkerboard

Friday, November 6, 2015


Your options are endless when it comes to making your own board (check samples at bottom).  In these instructions you will need to choose what size board you want to make, how you're going to finish your board (i.e. paint, stain, keep natural), if you want an embellishment and if you want to use vinyl squares or paint your own on.

Dimensions: Before you can do anything, decide if you want a small board (12"w x 16.5"t) or a large board (16"w x 21.5"t).  The small board has 1" checker pieces and the large has 1.5" pieces.

1) Basic Materials Needed:

-Paint Grade Panel* (sm- 12" x 36"; lg- 16" x 48")
-24 Wooden "Wheels" (sm- 1"; lg- 1.5")
-Leather Cord (at least 30" long)
-Paint and/or Stain (recommend wearing gloves)

*These panels are $5-9 @ Lowe's and you can make 2 boards

out of each one!  Best of all they're already the width you need!

2) Choose a Design to Add (optional):

-Wood Applique (need wood glue)
-Wood-burned Design (need wood-burner tool, xylene + blender marker, laser printer, downlaodable designs*.. sm & lg)
-Painted Design (not shown) - (need paints & brushes)

*Important: designs MUST be printed on a laser printer for transferring to wood.

If you don't have laser, print at home and COPY page with a laser copier.

3) Choose Checker Squares:

-Vinyl (purchase HERE)
-Paint Your Own (download template.. sm & lg; need Xacto knife, craft paint & sponge)

4) Tools Needed:

-Saw (or have Lumber Shop cut when you buy)
-Sand Paper (various grits)
-Orbital Sander (recommended)
-Drill with 1/4" Bit
-Painters Tape
-Rags (for Stain) & Fine Brush (for Clearcoat)

General Instructions:
I advise you to read through entire plan before beginning. Take precautions to work safely and in a ventilated area when working with chemicals.

Gather all supplies & tools needed from sections 1) through 4).  Remember you can make this project as simple or fancy as you'd like!

Print out all necessary downloads from sections 2) & 3).  Piece & tape pages together as necessary.


-Part 1- 


For small board, cut your 12"w panel to 16.5"; for large board: cut your 16"w panel to 21.5".

Round corners with sander as much as you'd like; sand all surfaces with 100, 120 & 150 grit papers.  Wipe off dust.


-Part 2- 


  If using a wood applique, mark placement by marking center of board at least 1.5" down from the top edge.

  Brush wood glue over back side of applique and place over center mark.  Hold in place with painters tape and use wood clamps or a heavy object to press down.  Let dry for a few hours.

  If wood-burning your design, print using a laser printer.  Cut design out and center and place face-down against board. Tape in place.

  Use your blender marker dipped in xylene to wet the back or your design.  Press hard and keep re-dipping marker to make sure image transfers.  I even do a second pass just to make sure.

 You can pull the paper off immediately after transferring.  Let xylene dry off wood for a few hours before proceeding.

Make sure your wood burning tool is hot and get to work burning your image.  It takes a little patience!


-Part 3- 


Stain or paint your board according to manufacturers directions.

Stain or paint 12 of your "wheels".

For General Finishes brand I always do 2 coats.

Let dry completely and sand lightly with 220 or 320 grit paper.


-Part 4- 


If using vinyl, peel squares from the backing and press over board.  Make sure it's centered on your board!

Scrap across the masking with a card or other stiff-flat object.

 Peel masking off slowly and at an angle.

If painting your squares, use an Xacto knife to cut out squares from the template you downloaded.  Center and tape template in place over your board.

Using your sponge and craft paint, dab paint over open squares.  TIP: don't put too much paint on sponge or it can seep under template easily.


-Part 5- 


Mark center of board, about 1" down from the top and drill a hole with your 1/4" bit.  TIP: To prevent tear-out, clamp your board to scrap wood behind the area you'll be drilling.


-Part 6- 


Using a fine-bristled brush, brush your preferred clearcoat over board in a thin coat.  Let dry; sand with 320 or 400 grit paper; add another coat.


-Part 7- 


 Fold your leather cord in half and stick the fold through the hole, starting from the back to the front.  Pull cord ends through the loop and pull tight.  Thread your checker pieces on and tie a single knot where you want your checker pieces to rest.  Cut off excess cord.

Below are pictures and descriptions of

how I achieved different looks:
 Added wooden applique, used "General Finishes" Whitewash Stain,
wiped on brown glaze, brown vinyl squares

  Wood-burned design, used "General Finishes" Whitewash Stain,
painted black squares

 Wood-burned design, used "Minwax" Jacobean Stain,
painted 2 coats "General Finishes" Whitewash Stain over that
and sanded back down to stain, white vinyl squares

  Wood-burned design, used "Minwax" Jacobean Stain,
painted 2 coats "General Finishes" Whitewash Stain over that
and sanded back down to stain, black vinyl squares

   Wood-burned design, used "General Finishes" Gray Stain,
painted white squares, wiped brown glaze on

 Added wooden applique, used "General Finishes" Gray Stain,
painted black squares, distressed/antiqued board by sanding

Wood-burned design, used "General Finishes" Brown Mahogany Stain, rubbed thinned-creme paint over design (to stand out), painted blue squares

Wood-burned design, used "General Finishes" Brown Mahogany Stain, rubbed thinned-creme paint over design (to stand out), white vinyl squares

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