Reclaimed Wood Signs

So after many months of cold miserable winter weather and NO motivation whatsoever, I finally got around to doing a little crafty project this weekend. When inspiration strikes, you gotta run with it! The inspiration came from this old, weathered piece of wood that I found in the woods while walking the dogs. It’s chippy blue paint screamed country/primitive signage, so I broke out the foam stamps and went at it!

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First I had Greg cut them into strips. We have a big saw in the basement, but you can easily pick up a little electric hand saw from Lowes or Home Depot for $30 or so, and have it on hand for projects like this.

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I did a couple posts on foam stamps many moons ago, so here’s a little refresher. First, I laid out the letters of the word I wanted to stamp (the word is actually faced down; these stamps have letters on both sides) to get an idea of the spacing. I wanted to make sure the word would fit before I started.

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The most important thing I have learned when using foam stamps is do not ever dip the stamps directly into the paint. If you do, you’ll have way too much paint on the surface of the stamp. The minute you press down, it will overflow out the sides of the stamp and make uneven, messy letters. The best method I have found is to use a small piece of sponge and just dab on the paint onto the surface of the letter. Give it a couple of practice runs if need be. For this project, I used white acrylic paint.

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Go ahead and stamp out your word. Then, once dry, I applied some saw-tooth hangers on the back of each sign. These types of hangers are easy to use because you simply press them into the wood, but I hammered them down in for good measure.

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My last step was to spray them with a clear acrylic coat so the paint would not continue to chip off. The wood was really old and brittle and the paint was a bit loose, so I wanted to seal it in place.

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Here are the finished products, but I need your opinion. Should I add a coat of antiquing gel to tone down those bright white letters down a bit? I wasn’t sure if I should or not. They have kind of a “beachy” feel.

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I added a little star fish because I felt like it went with the cottage theme and filled up the space on the right that was a bit uneven from the space on the left. FYI those star fish are only $1 at AC Moore’s.

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So here they are. They are going over to my booth at the Carriage Place this week. I’ll probably price them around $7-$8 each. With “found” wood, it’s 99% profit, so no need to mark them up with a high price and let them sit in my booth for months!

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Part of my motivation also stemmed from an awesome estate sale that I went to on Saturday. I got tons and tons of great country/primitive themed items, including some nice antiques. This picture only shows a fraction of what I picked up there. It was half off everything so I literally loaded my car! It’s the first really great sale I’ve been to in a while, so this really got me excited! I love “pickin” season!!!

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Earlier in the week, I also got really lucky and picked up this old wooden butter churn……wait for it……off the side of the road!!! It’s amazing what some people throw away. I cleaned it up and now this cool piece will go to the co-op this week with the rest of the stuff from the sale.

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Well, let me know your thoughts on the signs. They are already really “distressed” looking, which is why I’m not sure on adding the antiquing gel. Have a great week and happy crafting!

Easy Country Decor Ideas: Filling Old Jars

Happy Independence Day to all my crafty friends out there! A day off work meant a little time to do some thrifting this morning, and boy did I score some great stuff! It also got the crafty juices flowing and I decided to do a little bit of tinkering with some left over mason jars and jar-filler ideas. I always seem to have an abundance of mason jars from other projects, garage sales, etc. I can never resist buying them if the price is right, because I always seem to find a use for them! 🙂

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Forgive me if you’ve seen similar pictures and content from previous posts – this is just a recap of all the jar filler ideas I’ve done in the past few years! 😀

The first set of jars I filled with glass marbles. They look great as is, but would also look nice with a twine bow or homespun ribbon tie. I like them just plain!

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Where did I get the marbles you ask? You’ll never believe it…

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The dollar store!!! Not the Dollar Tree, but a random dollar store called “Real Deals.” That’s why I say you have to stop at all different kinds of dollar stores whenever you see them, because you just never know what kind of great crafting supplies you’ll find! I love these because they look genuinely vintage, but were a fraction of the price!

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Vintage buttons make for another great jar filler. These two particular jars are for sale in my Etsy shop. Old buttons are so beautiful and interesting to look at, so why not display them as art? 🙂 I also like to use other types of glass jars like this one on the left, which I think is a vintage jam jar. Not sure though, but I love its textured look and weathered tin lid.

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I filled the next set of jars with some “fixins” which I had lying around, waiting to be scented. I decided to put them in the jars unscented and will tie on a small vial of scenting oil to go with them, so people can refresh the scent now and again. I took out the flat metal lid that goes under the screw cap and replaced it with a square of homespun fabric. I think I will do a big batch of these for Fall and tie on a little tag with a crow or pumpkin on it. I buy these rosehips/putka pods in bulk from various suppliers online.

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Here are a few jars I have filled that are already decorating my house. More vintage buttons and clay marbles from a flea market.

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Dang I love those old clay marbles! I think it’s the palette of earth tone colors that gets me. 🙂

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Here’s how I have some jars displayed, just to give you some ideas.

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Another easy and cheap bowl filler idea are old Christmas tree bulbs! I find them at every freakin garage sale and estate sale I go to, always buried on the big table of Christmas crap that no one wants. Therefore, they are often very cheap! Obviously these would be great sellers at Christmas craft shows. Accents with a little jingle bell or Christmas themed fabric ties would look great too!

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My last idea for today’s post are old keys. I buy lots of skeleton keys where ever I can, and they often include random other types of keys (more like “modern” key shapes and generally more boring/run of the mill keys) which I usually toss to the side. This is the jar I found at the thrift store today and I thought they’d go perfect together. I really like how it looks and think I’ll keep this one. 😛

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Well here they are all together! I am obsessed! I love them all!!!

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Some other ideas that come to mind are:

  • Acorns
  • Cool lookin’ seed pods
  • Potpourri
  • Sea Shells
  • Sea Glass
  • Wax tarts
  • Jacks (the old children’s game)
  • Old pins, brooches, or vintage clip on earrings

What other jar filler ideas can you guys think of? Send me pics of your jar decorations and I’ll post ’em here! Have a great 4th!

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Here is a picture of some mason jar center pieces filled with lovely black & white family photos, created by reader Susie! Here is the link to her full post: http://www.susiewittwer.com/2013/01/mason-jars-family-photos.html. I just love the idea of using vintage papers/photos inside the jars!  😛

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Wooden Primitive Country Flags

Hello my crafty friends! So I was out and about garage sale-ing last week, and I found this box of wood pieces for super cheap. My craft mo-jo slowly came back to me as I was flooded with ideas on how to use them. My first thought was little flags, kind of similar to the wood, country-style, flags that people make out of old fence posts. They came out so cute and are going to my booth at The Carriage Place next week. Here’s the “how-to”!

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First I spray painted them red and white and let them dry for a few hours. I then glued the pieces together using Elmer’s Wood Glue and let them dry over night. They are solid as a rock!

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Then I hand painted on the blue part using some acrylic paint I had on hand.

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I sanded them a bit and then used a gel stain to get a more primitive look. Basically you just squirt it all over and rub it on and then wipe it off with a paper towel. It gives it a more rustic, weathered look. You could also do this with plain brown paint if you can’t find the gel stain.

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I experimented with hand painting stars and did not like the look of them. I got really lucky and found some white metal stars I had stashed away and they worked perfectly. If you don’t have access to the tin/metal stars like these, you could easily stamp them or paint them on. Here are the finished pieces!

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Finally, the last step was to install some sort of hanger. I went with my trusty saw tooth hangers that you can pick up at any hardware / home improvement store.

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Ok, now I need your help! I also painted these ones below pretty beachy colors. I had planned on doing kind of funky row of houses, where I’d paint little windows and doors on these. It was a great idea in my head, but after starting to paint the windows, it looked kind of dumb. What else could I do with these? I was thinking maybe turn them to the side and do a “beachy” kind of flag? I have a huge pile of them and am drawing a blank. Any suggestions??

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Before I go I wanted to share some pictures of my booth that I just did a major overhaul on! There really aren’t a lot of hand made crafts in my booth right now; mostly antiques and vintage items. I hope to get some more hand made items in there soon! A lot of my new inventory I found at thrift stores, garage sales, and Craigslist. I found some real treasures and wish I could keep them all! If only I had more room in my house to decorate!!!

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Hope you have a great day and thanks for stoppin’ by! Happy crafting!

Mini Jar Candle Wedding Favors

After a loooong miserable winter, I think it’s safe to say that Spring has finally sprung! Just as I knew it would, the nicer weather has motivated me to get back into the crafting groove and also do some “pickin” at the local thrift stores. Lately, my big project has been mass producing these country jar candles as wedding favors ~ 120 to be exact! You may remember them from one of my very first posts, and they are still just as fun, easy, and inexpensive to make. They are somewhat time-consuming (when doing a large quantity like this) but each jar only costs $1 at Wally World, making for a very economical set of favors!

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I like to use these particular jar candles because they come with an “Easy Peel” label, which allows you to very easily take off the label for crafting. They also smell really great and come in a variety of colors.

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For mass production, I found its easiest to tear all your homespun strips ahead of time. Mine were about 1″ wide and I just tore them, to get that raggedy primitive look. For those who don’t have fabric on hand, I usually get mine by the yard at Joann Fabrics.

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I then use a glue gun to apply the homespun strips. Just a little dab will do ya!

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I don’t worry about having perfectly clean seams where the fabric comes together, because I plan on wrapping them with twine which camouflages the spots that were glued.

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I then pre-cut a bunch of pieces of twine and wrapped them around the candles a few times and tied them in little knots on the back. I glued on rusty stars and hearts on the front of each candle using E6000 glue. I do not like to use hot glue for the rusty pieces because I find they very easily pop off – hot glue doesn’t stick well to the rusty tin. It also melts as the candle heats up!

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This person also wanted the candles wrapped and tagged for her special day. I laid out the text in Microsoft Word, and used my regular ink jet printer to print them out on sheets of brown kraft paper (from A.C.Moore’s). I used a tag shaped punch, but you could also just cut them out into squares or tags and hole punch them!

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Here is the finished product! The baggies are actually candy/baking treat bags.  They are a perfect thin cellophane. I these favors will be just perfect with her country themed wedding!

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I have to share my latest thrift store score because I got some AWESOME items! It just goes to show you that you have to stay persistent and keep going back, even if you seem to have no luck.  After many trips finding nothing at all, I got all these great items that, after a little cleaning up, are some real treasures! Some repro enamelware, tea pots, a crock, and a very cool, vintage looking “Bird Watcher” sign! All will go to my booth at the Carriage Place!

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I got this other amazing group of antique medical items off of Craigslist. I can’t even tell you the incredible freakin low price I paid for this lot because you will literally die!!! I plan on keeping some items for my “oddities” collection, and selling the rest via Etsy and my co-op. They are all from a pharmacy in northern NY. All of the funnels, beakers and bottles are glass, and the mortars & pestles are cast iron and brass. Simply amazing.

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Have a GREAT Easter and happy pickin’ & craftin’!

Single Stem Vases

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all my fellow Irishmen & women! 🙂 Before I get to today’s craft project, I thought I’d share an update on the primitive crate shutter I made. I finally found a little pip berry wreath at my friend June’s antique store, and it was the perfect size to place right in the center of the shutter! Woohoo!

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I used some thin green floral wire to tie it on the shutter, sliding it between the slats of the crate boards, and securing on the back.

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I then used some jute twine, knotted through the pre-existing holes (from where nails held the crate pieces together) to make a hanger.

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It’s heading over to my co-op this week. I am putting $22 on it. It only cost a few bucks to make – the pip berry wreath being the only expense. The rest of the supplies were on hand, and I was able to re-use an old dilapidated crate that may have otherwise gone in the burn pile! 🙂

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Ok, and not for the single stem bottles project. It’s a “dollar craft” because these awesome little bottles are only $1 at Michael’s craft store! The rest of the supplies I had on hand.

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You can accent the bottles with whatever you’d like! I decided to use rusty tin stars, little enamel number plates, and some skeleton keys. You could also use buttons, twine bows, little pip berry sprigs, faux berries or flowers, sea shells, antique broaches…be creative!

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Took a strip of torn homespun fabric and used a hot glue gun to secure it in place.

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Here are the finished bottles! They could be used for general decor or as single stem flower vases! 🙂

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I am going to price them at $4 each and see how it goes!

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And last but not least, some great thrift store finds! It’s quite a random collection of items, but cool nonetheless! I found a mint condition 1957 Chevy model car, a chunky primitive candle, a beautiful vintage brass and enamel bowl, and an old brass Eiffel Tower bottle opener!

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I also found a colorful enamel pot, a wooden wall decor/candle holder, and another little brass elf dude that I could not resist. Vintage brass seems to sell really well on Etsy and in te co-op.

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The major score of the trip was a bag of vintage brass horse buckles / tack medallions, in a variety of designs and shapes. I thought they were trivets at first, but upon further research I found that they are used to decorate horse tacks and bridles. They are collectible and are oh so cool!!! Some will go to the co-op and some on Etsy!

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Hope everyone has a fantastic St. Patrick’s Day! Cheers! 🙂

Reusing Old Crates for Primitive Crafts

If you’re like me, you buy a bunch of stuff at garage sales, barn sales, thrift stores, etc. with some “project” in mind…and then it sits in your basement for two years and collects dust. I have a habit of hoarding anything remotely primitive, especially crates and wood items. I pick them up where ever I can, in whatever condition I find them, even ones that are pretty much falling apart. After a massive cleaning of the craft area last summer, I decided to break down some of these old apple crates and use the weathered wood as a base for some craft projects.

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This one had no bottom and was pretty much useless, and was a perfect candidate to be recycled. One crate yields up to 16 strips of wood (or more, with a bottom) that would work for a variety of primitive/country themed projects! I used a screw driver and just worked it under the wood joints to east them apart. Some pieces broke but most came off without a problem. Obviously, the older and more dilapidated the crate, the easier they come apart!

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These pieces have been sitting in a pile in the basement until this past week, when I finally found some motivation! I decided to make the first batch into country signs. I cut off the broken ends with a table saw, resulting in many different lengths. If you have complete pieces, you could leave them as is and go with larger words or sayings! I practiced my lettering on scrap pieces (I kept those scrap ends for just this reason) and pretty much just winged it.

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I free-handed these words using regular craft paints. When I was mixing colors, I used a heavy acrylic white to thicken up the paint a bit. You could also use a stencil or letter stamps if you’re not comfortable free-handing.

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I then used the pre-made holes (already there from where the nails held the crate together) and drilled a small hole in the other corner. Then using black wire, I made little hangers and tied on some fabric & twine accents.

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They are heading to my co-op this week priced at $5 each. Here are some close-ups. For “welcome” and “wine,” I used a paint pen to accent the letters.

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I messed up the accents on this Beach sign and ended coloring in the letters with a blue paint pen. I’m not crazy about the BRIGHT blue, but maybe it will be a nice pop of color for someone’s beach or cottage decor.

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The next project was making a hanger for my collection of enamel dippers. I simply hammered in a few small nails, spaced out evenly down a full-sized piece of the crate wood.

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I used sawtooth hangers on the back.

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Done! That was easy. Then to hang it up I use my trusty toothpaste method that I just have to share. It’s a genius Pinterest life hack that everyone should be aware of! Just dab a small bit of toothpaste on the middle of the hangers…

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Then position it on the wall where you plan to hang it, and press it against the wall. You will then have two small toothpaste dots on your wall indicating exactly where to place your nails. See them there, those little green dots just below the top cabinets?

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Woohoo! I love it! Literally 2 minutes of effort for this project; it doesn’t get any better than that! It fills that blank wall space perfectly and looks pretty cool displaying my dippers! 🙂

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And lastly, I wanted to make a “shutter” style wall hanging. I laid them out and then cut down the two horizontal pieces to get rid of the overhang. I scuffed up and sanded the sawed off edges to minimize the “freshly cut” look.

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Then I tried nailing them in place but my nails were either too long or not long enough (pieces are fairly thin) so I used a crap load of wood glue along the horizontal pieces. It seems to be pretty solid now that it has dried.

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I haven’t figured out what to do with it just yet. I was thinking of getting something to hold a mason jar on the front to use as a flower holder. Also contemplating a pip berry wreath in the middle, or putting one more horizontal piece laid flat along the bottom as a small shelf. Hmmm…decisions, decisions. I shall post the finished product when I decide what to do with it. 🙂

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Have a great day and please feel free to send me any of YOUR up-cycled crate crafts to list here! Hope everyone is staying warm….thinking SPRING! 🙂

Making a Custom Sign: Trial and Error

Hello my crafty friends! Summer has kept me quite busy, but I have been able to squeeze in some junkin’ and a few little projects. My latest project is a custom sign I made for a co-worker, with the phrase “Endeavor to Persevere”; a quote from an old Clint Eastwood movie. I haven’t made a sign in a long time, so I had a little bit of a rough go. I thought I’d share my trial and error, and a few tips for sign making.

To start out, spray paint your board with your color of choice. I got this pre-cut board at Lowe’s for $3.

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Sand it to your liking. Go heavy on sanding for a more distressed, country look. There’s no way to mess this up, so just sand away.

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For custom signs, I always use foam stamps. I have had a lot of people ask where I get the large foam alphabet stamps from. They are hard to find, and to be honest, I get them where ever I can find them! All of the stamps I have were ordered online after Googling “large alphabet stamps”. I got them from various sources, such as random online craft stores and people selling gently used stamps on Etsy. Craft stores generally do not sell large stamps like these, so your best option is going to be online.

I use artist grade (thicker, more pigmented) acrylic paint, and I’ll tell ya why in a minute.

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Do not dip the stamp into a big glob of paint. It will be WAY too much and will splurge out the sides when you press down on the stamp. To apply paint to the stamp, use a small piece of slight moist sponge to gently dab on the paint. It seems like a pain, but I promise it’s the best way!

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This was my first attempt. I did not like the way it looked. It looked uneven and my spacing was horrible. I do try to space it out ahead of time by marking the board with little pencil dots, but spacing can be hard to perfect.

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Here’s why I like to use spray paint for the board and heavy grade acrylic paint for the letters. Before the acrylic dries, you can actually wipe off the stamped letters completely.  After stamping many crooked letters, I simply wiped them away with a moist paper towel. Then, when I was done, I still did not like the way it looked. I used a wet sponge to wipe off the entire phrase. It came off quickly and easily. I immediately dried the board with a kitchen towel to avoid saturating the wood. It’s definitely nice to know you have this option should you mess up!

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I decided to use a different set of stamps with a clear back. I highly recommend stamps with the clear backing, as it makes it significantly easier to line up your words! You can SEE the spacing and exactly where the letter will land. Again, these are hard to find…I got lucky and found these online at some random craft store.

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I like this wording much better and the spacing is more even after using the clear backed stamps! No need to worry about the excess board on the right. I will saw it off and even it out.

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To clean the foam stamps, run under water and use a sponge (or your fingers) to rub the paint off the surface of the foam letters. Place on a paper towel to dry. This is important, or else the acrylic paint with harden on the stamps and make them difficult to use.

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I cut down the board using a small electric hand saw that I got at Lowe’s ages ago, for small projects just like this. They are inexpensive and great tools to have on hand. I then re-sanded the edge to keep the distressed look even on both sides.

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To finish off the sign, I used a dark brown gel stain to give it a bit of an aged look. I liberally squirt it right on the sign, and then rub it around with a paper towel. Then wipe off the excess. It’s a subtle effect, but it softens the bright white of the lettering. I find gel stains and antiquing mediums in any craft store, next to the craft acrylics in small bottles.

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For the hanger, I always use these easy-to-install metal hangers. They are found in any home improvement store. The little prongs press right into the wood and make for a strong hold.

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Finally, I sprayed it with a clear poly to seal it. Here is the final result. Hope she likes it!

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In junkin’ news, I hit up a barn sale recently and got this incredible stack of old historical photographs. I listed them in my Etsy store and they have already sold!

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I also picked up a small enamel bed pan, a fun brightly colored vintage tin, and a glass flower frog.

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I got this awesome old bowling pin set, complete with a bunch of brightly colored wooden pins and a yellow ball. I LOVE these for country decor. I now have them listed in my Etsy store. 🙂

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Lastly, I got these gems at the Goodwill thrift store recently. The Peter Rabbit coin bank is silver-plated and very heavy. I polished him up and he is now for sale in my Etsy store! I also got a bunch of tin molds that always seem to sell well.

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Can’t wait to give my friend her sign. She plans on hanging it in their cottage up on the lake. Hope everyone has a great week and Happy Crafting!

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