Fall Festival DIY: “How Tall Are You” Scarecrow

Happy Summer! Over the last few months, my crafty days have been few and far between. However, I recently managed to find some inspiration in this wooden scarecrow man that I found at a barn sale. I am on the committee for a local small town scarecrow festival, so I’m always on the hunt for cool scarecrows. For 25 cents I could not leave this guy behind! Parent love snapping pictures of their kids at festivals so I thought I’d make his long torso a ruler so kids can measure how tall they are!

This isn’t an everyday craft tutorial per sey; it’s kind of geared specifically for a Fall festival or party. The end result was too cute not to share though!

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As you can see, his face was already painted. My original plan was to re-paint his face, but I LOVE vintage style characters and cartoons, and I kinda love his face as is! I decided to leave it and just spruce up the rest of his body.

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Here he is when I got him:

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First I painted his torso yellow which will soon become the ruler!

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For projects that will be outside in the elements or need large areas of coverage, I’ve been using paint samples from Lowes. They are around $3 each and you can get them in virtually any color you can imagine. Just go to the paint counter in Lowes, give them your swatch, and ask for a sample. They come in these little screw-top containers that are great for keeping them on hand for your next project.

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Anywho, I measured it out and used black paint to make the tick marks and foam stamps for the numbers and “ft.” The foam stamps can be hard to find, so alternatively you could use number stickers or just free-hand them.

The arms are just painted blue with little green squares to give him the country flannel look. I used a small square piece of kitchen sponge to dab on the green. I then added some dollar store garden gloves, a bright handkerchief around his neck, and a little faux flower on his hat!

Lastly I added the sign, which says “How tall are you?” dangling from his hand. He will stand up on a metal stake that he will be securely zipped-tied to with yellow zip ties.

It will make for a simple decoration at the scarecrow festival and maybe a fun memory to look back on and see how much the kids have grown!

Have a great holiday and I hope to be back soon! πŸ™‚

 

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! πŸ™‚

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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. πŸ™‚

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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! πŸ™‚

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.Β  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. πŸ™‚

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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!

Super Easy Primitive Key Hanger

I still haven’t unpacked my craft stuff yet, so I had to improvise for this Pinterest-inspired key hanger I wanted to make. I started out with this shallow crate / shelf thingy that I already had. Any shallow wood crate or tray would work!

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I bought these little screw in hooks at Wally world…4 for $.97!

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Making sure they won’t be too long…these are perfect! If they are too long, you could file down the excess, or put some felt dots / tape over the little protruding screws. These are a great small size and will probably work fineΒ  for most crates / trays out there.

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Just screw them in by hand. No tools necessary.

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There she is, one hook short (oops). I figure I can get more hooks the next time I go, or just set a small figurine or decoration in that space.

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This is where the improvising came in. Since all my hardware is packed, including all my hangers and wall hooks, I used two pop tabs nailed on either end. They are surprisingly strong. I simply nailed them down, nailing right through the small, flat metal part of the tab. Another Pinterest idea to the test, and it works great!

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I love it!!!

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Not only did I work on my first craft project in a while, but I also hit up my first great barn sale of the season. I got a super deal on some primitives that have already made their way to my booth at The Carriage Place. I got these two 10 foot antique shutters for….wait for it….$3!!! That means $1.50 each. Probably the best deal EVER, in the history of the world!

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I also got this old ladder back chair and big blue swirly enamel tub. I thought they’d both make great garden pieces.

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Two small unfinished shutters and an old tool carrier, both which I plan to eventually paint & distress.

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And lastly, I got this old wooden army trunk from the 40’s. Great army green color and original hardware. Trunks always seem to sell well in my co-op.

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Along with all my thrift store / garage sale “smalls”, I like to sprinkle in some really nice antiques and quality pieces here and there. This improves the overall quality of my my booth and shows dealers that come through, as well as customers, that I am “legit”. LOL. I got this beautiful antique cabinet on Craigslist. My personal rule is: only buy a piece if I know I can double my money. I know I’ll have no problem selling this beautiful cabinet for more than twice what I paid.

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The same goes for this other Craigslist find; an antique oak ice box. These go for BIG money around here, so when you see one at a decent price, you gotta get it! It’s in excellent condition and was a real steal!

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I am headed to the co-op for a massive over-haul on Wednesday night, so I will get some updated pics and share them with you soon. If you try out the key hanger, or any variation of it, I’d love to see a pic! Hope everyone has a super-duper week, and Happy Crafting! πŸ™‚