Monday, February 19, 2018

DIY Scrabble Tile Wall Decor

Make your own Scrabble style letter tiles for your family names

Make Your Own Over-Sized Letter Tiles Wall Decor
Hubby and I are recently empty-nesters. Well, not exactly. Our older daughter has moved into her own place in a city about 40 minutes from us. And our younger daughter is currently traveling with a missions group. She will return this summer for a month before leaving again for another year. So, basically Hubby and I are on our own.

It was really hard at first. Both our kids left within a month of each other. We went from being a family of four, to a couple again. As young parents, we'd dreamed of the day when our kids would be independent, and Hubby and I could finally have a chance to travel and "date" again. But I never realized how much a family dynamic changes when the kids grow up.

I decided I wanted to celebrate the fact that we're still a family, even if parts and pieces of us are scattered a bit. So, I'm working on a gallery wall above our basement stairs. Part of that wall is our names in over-sized Scrabble style wood letter tiles.

You've probably seen these on Pinterest. If you've thought about doing them, I say go for it! These turned out even better than I'd imagined. Here's how I did it.

Cut Your Tiles
Hubby cut the tiles from 1x6 boards. They measure 5.5 x 5.5 inches. He even sanded the edges for me. Gotta love that man! I goofed on how many tiles we needed. I counted each letter in our names, but forgot that some of the letters would be shared (like the K in the girls' names). So I ended up with a few extra tiles.

Paint Tiles
Next, I had a decision to make. I've seen these tiles in many different finishes, and I really like ALL of them. Should I leave the wood natural? Stain it dark brown? Gray? Paint it black with white letters? The possibilities! I decided to do a combination style for a distressed grayish-white look that would match my farmhouse decor. I began by painting the tiles with white latex paint--just the front and sides. The back I left plain wood.

Make your own Scrabble style letter tiles for your family names

Print & Trace
Next, I printed the letters/numbers out on paper and colored on the back with a pencil. (I'll include the printable letters at the end of this post). I then traced these onto my tiles. I filled the letters in with black matte craft paint. The numbers were so small, I decided to fill these in with Sharpie. The marker dries out pretty fast. Each letter/number takes two coats of paint.

Make your own Scrabble style letter tiles for your family names

Sand The Edges
The next step was to sand the edges of each tile. I used a sanding block, but you could use an electric sander, too. I wanted just a bit of raw wood on the corners and edges for the next step, which is gray stain.

Make your own Scrabble style letter tiles for your family names

Stain Over The Paint
You'll need rubber gloves for this next part. I wore an apron, too. Using a brush, I applied Rustoleum wood stain in Carbon Gray to the sanded edges, and all around the sides of the block. With a cotton towel, I wiped the stain away and also rubbed it into the wood, spreading it lightly around for an antiqued finish.

Make your own Scrabble style letter tiles for your family names

How To Hang Your Tiles
Now I had all my tiles, and they looked even better than I'd hoped! But I had a dilemma. How do people hang these on the wall? One at a time? That seems crazy! I came up with a plan to use a thin piece of wood to connect the tiles and create one giant piece of art. Hubby agreed and did all the hard work. He then attached a couple saw-tooth hooks to the back for hanging. Did I mention I love that man?

Make your own Scrabble style letter tiles for your family names

Make your own Scrabble style letter tiles for your family names

Make your own Scrabble style letter tiles for your family namesAll Done!
I did a quick layout on the floor to see where other pieces would fit with my tiles. I am planning to add a few more things, like the word "family" and maybe the letter S or number 4. But I love how it looks on the wall!

So, what about you? Think you'll give this project a try?

Make your own Scrabble style letter tiles for your family names

Make your own Scrabble style letter tiles for your family names

Want more ideas? Check out my post on How to Transfer an Image to Wood.
To download the printable letters, click each one and right click to save the image or print it.


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Valentine Gifts That He Actually Wants

Gift ideas for a guy... that he really wants!

Valentine Gifts for Him 
It's not easy shopping for a guy on Valentine's Day. Pink hearts and stuffed animals don't really appeal to most men. So, what does a guy really want? Here are some ideas that are sure to put a smile on your man's face without taking away his man card.

Knife Cabinet | ReclaimerDesign on Etsy
My own hubby has an ever-growing collection of knives. For years they were kept in an old box in the basement. What better way to say you care about his interests than helping him to display them in a classy handmade case?

Engraved Pocket Knife
And speaking of knife collections, add a personal touch with this engraved knife.

Beard Balm
I bought this for Hubby. At first he was resistant to the idea, but it just smells so good and is perfect for keeping those bristles in check! No more scratchy kisses.

Give him the gift of comfort with these soft, cozy slippers.

Docking Station | GretaOtoDesign on Etsy
Wallet, watch, phone, keys, glasses... have you ever heard your man reciting this list as he frantically searches his nightstand? No more! Give the gift of organization with this personalized docking station.

Engraved Compass | SFDizayn on Etsy
Love is a great adventure! Inside every man is an explorer. Bring out his adventurous side with engraved compass!

Chocolate Oreos Gift Box
What Valentine's gift would be complete without a box of chocolates? But don't settle for just any candy. Indulge him with these decadent Oreos!

Treasure Chest of Coffee
Show him he is your greatest treasure with this trunk filled with delicious coffees!

For that very special Valentine's Day... If you're really looking to WOW him, check out these Bose headphones.

A Sensual Valentine
Finally, this fun DIY gift is full of possibilities! Show him how exciting love can be with a collection of gifts for all 5 senses!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

How to Make New Wood Look Weathered

How To Make New Wood Look Weathered & Old

So, I bought Hubby a new saw for Christmas, and boy what a good investment it turned out to be! It's so easy to use, and he was so excited to try it, that I somehow managed to talk him into building me a farmhouse console out of pine 2x4s! What a deal!

I knew beforehand that I wanted to give the console a weathered wood look. So, I experimented with some techniques. Here is what I ended up with.

I started by trying to decide if I wanted to stain the wood with a dark walnut or a weathered gray. After painting swatches on the back of my console, I decided to start with the dark walnut. The gray looked too much like gray paint to me and it wasn't the look I was going for. I wanted a layered look so ultimately the console would look as if it was made from wood that had been painted and left out in the elements.

The first step was to stain the entire console with Dark Walnut Minwax Stain.

How To Make New Wood Look Weathered & Old

When the stain was dry, I dry brushed a layer of the weathered gray stain over it. To dry brush, I lightly dipped the brush in the stain, then wiped it on a cloth to get most of the stain off. Then I lightly wiped the brush across the wood, letting the texture pull small amounts of stain from the brush. The point is to get a light, layered look, NOT to cover the piece completely. This left plenty of dark stain showing through. You can play around with this on the back of your piece or a practice board to see what works for you.

Finally, when the gray stain was dry, I dry brushed white acrylic paint over the other two layers, again letting the wood grain pull the paint from the brush very lightly.

How To Make New Wood Look Weathered & Old: Farmhouse Console Table

How To Make New Wood Look Weathered & Old: Farmhouse Console

Overall, I like the effect, but the piece seems a little busy to me. I think I will probably paint the entire bottom of the console white and just leave the top weathered. What do you think?

How To Style Industrial Farmhouse Bookshelves

How To Style Industrial Farmhouse Bookshelves

I'm a sucker for what many people call "junk." Give me something old and rusty, and I swoon. So, it's no surprise that I would use it to decorate my bookshelves. Here's a little look at some of my found items.
How To Style Industrial Farmhouse Bookshelves

One of my favorite finds, my vintage Underwood typewriter was all but buried in the basement of an antique store. I couldn't pass it up. As a children's author (check out the Villain School Books), typewriters are near and dear to my heart. This one had so much character, too!

How To Style Industrial Farmhouse Bookshelves

The roller skates came from a thrift store, as did the antique books, tackle box and clocks. The wooden crates were junk-day finds... people left them on their curbs with the trash.

How To Style Industrial Farmhouse Bookshelves

The "Cooper" street sign came from a town we lived in for a while. The city was replacing old street signs and had a huge pile! I talked one of the street department employees into giving me one. I asked for the whole pile, but they said it was already promised somewhere else. Bummer!

How To Style Industrial Farmhouse Bookshelves

How To Style Industrial Farmhouse Bookshelves

Do you collect vintage items? What's your favorite "junk" piece?