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Category Archives: Tutorials

Yardstick Tray and an Easy Image Transfer Tutorial

Easy Image Transfer on WoodOK, I realize, this project sorta falls under the  “yes you CAN do that but..why?” category.

And I wouldn’t argue too much with that.

BUT!

I have my reasons.

OK, to start at the beginning.

My sister who was either trying to inspire me or make me insane pinned  this terrific project from Betsy at My Salvaged Treasures  to our shared Pinterest board.tray tutorial from My Salvaged TrasuresLike all of her stuff it’s super cool and very creative.  And, of course, I immediately HAD to make one.

Stumbling block?  Not enough yardsticks.

And unfortunately, I live in an area where anything remotely inexpensive, cool and popular instantly goes from affordable to crazy.  So old, beat up yardsticks in LA cost $12 each which sorta takes the fun out of it.

BUT!

I had just learned a new image transfer technique via The Oracle at Delphi The Graphics Fairy.  It’s quick, easy, pretty affordable and GREATLY lessens the chance of me burning down my house!

I’d tried it on my new, stained, candle holders and it worked greatTea Light Holder by Cheltenham Roadand I wanted to try it out on a painted surface so why not make my own yardsticks?

Here is what I used

  • 5″ Poplar craft wood from Lowes 2 pieces 16″ long and two pices 11.5″ long
  • 1/4″ MDF for the base A piece of 1/4″ MDF cut to 16×11
  • a section of metal roof flashing (also from Lowes)
  • E6000 Glue
  • Red craft paint
  • Wood stain
  • A scan of a yardstick
  • Polycrylic
  • Wood glue
  • Metal shears
  • Pin Nailer (not absolutely necessary)

I painted the craft wood with some slightly watered down red craft paint and then, when it dried, I went over it lightly with a bit of wood stain just to give it an aged look.  Here is the before and after.Painted Slats for DIY Ruler Tray

A light sanding blended the two even better.

I then cut my roof flashing to size and, using the E6000 glued it to my MDF base.Image Transfer and a Rustic Ruler Tray by Cheltenham Road

I scanned the yardstick that I had and, using Photoshop removed everything but the numbers.  Then, for fun, I added my own text.  RULER NO BACKGROUND 4TH STREET MASTER

Here is the blank version if you’re keen on doing something similar.  Just right-click to download the high res version

ruler no background appliances

I reversed it and printed it out on legal sized paper using my laser printer

Now the new transfer technique.

It’s the same as all the other ones except you use PolycrylicPolycrylic

You simply brush on the PolycrylicImage Transfer Technique Using Polycrylic by Cheltenham Road

Lay your image downEasy image transfer to wood technique by Cheltenham Road

Use a roller or an old credit card or whatever to smooth out and get a good seal between the paper and the wood, and set it aside to dry.

It’s sunny and hot here so I just left it outside for 3 hours.

Then you just use a damp towel and rub away the paper to reveal the image (I forgot to take a picture of that part.  Trust me.  It’s just like all the other wet paper rubbing I’ve done.  Like this)Image Transfer using Wall Lenk Tool

After that  I just glued and pin-nailed my sides into place around the base and gave the “yardstick” a sealing coat of Polycrylic and I was done.DIY Yardstick Tray by Cheltenham Road

So, I know what you’re thinking.

“You just went through all that to make….a yarrstick?  I mean, it looks exactly like a yardstick.  You just made something you can buy.  Your sister has succeeded.  You’re insane”Image Transfer Yardstick Tutorial by Cheltenham Road

And you are correct.

BUT!

This told me that the transfer technique works great on painted surfaces.

AND I am no longer subject to the tyranny of the Yardstick Pickers of Los Angeles.  HA!!! I can make my own yardsticks and I can make them say whatever I want them to say and I  can make them whatever color suits me!Image Transfer Technique Tutorial by Cheltenham Road

See?  Victory!

Actually, I just like that I have another easy  technique in my arsenal for image transfer.   Polycrylic is readily available and pretty affordable (you don’t use much) and it really allows the wood to show through.  This could be used for any kind of graphic transfer and, trust me, I have a lot more ideas coming down the line with this technique.

 

Vintage Sign Coat Rack Version 2.0

DIY Vintage Sign by Cheltenham RoadI hope everyone had a fun, safe 4th of July.

The ball is rolling on Plaid Ambassador projects but in the meantime a few other ideas are coming down the pike.

However, I do apologize.

You may experience a bit of deja vu as we go along.  For instance this is yet another:

  1. vintagy sign
  2.  coat hanger
  3.  project involving slats
  4. project involving diy knobs
  5. Lenk tool graphic transfer

OK, here’s the deal.

I need some new products -both for my own sanity (possibly too late) and to keep the shops that sell my wares interested.

New products are kinda tricky to develop because whatever they are they need to be: unique,  easy to replicate, in keeping with what I already make, affordable (both for me, the shops and the final customer) and….not a nightmare to put together.

Oh, and people have to love it.

Easy!

So, over the next few weeks I want to zero in on some options, refine the ideas and figure out better techniques.

Won’t you join me?!

Thanks!

Up first is Coat Rack 2.0.

Folks responded well to that Santa Monica sign I madeDIY Vintage Sign by Cheltenham Road but I need a version that is a bit more affordable.

So I’ve played around with this smaller version to see what I could do.

The actual sign-making process was the same as the Santa Monica sign (click HERE for the full tutorial and image transfer instructions).

The size is a bit smaller (14×12)

The new(ish) thing here are the knobs so I thought I’d share how I did them this time around.

I found these little spools at Michaels and thought they had possibilities.DIY Wood Hangers

I added a piece of of 1/4 dowel in the bottom of each one.DIY Knobs by Cheltenham Road

I then glued a wood disc to the front (I made the disc by using my chop saw to cut slices off a dowel I had but they also sell just plain wood discs)Inexpensive DIY Knobs by Cheltenham RoadI pained them out with white craft paint and sanded/distressed the edges.

I used the  Lenk tool to transfer the graphics (I was going for the signs on a pool that tell you depth of the water).

And they are sealed with polycrylic for durability.Handmade Knobs by Cheltenham Road

To assemble it I pre-drilled holes for both the shelf and the knobsVintage Sign Coat Rack Cheltenham Road Tutorial

And then simply drilled the shelf into place from the back

And glued the knobs in place.Image Transfer Vintage Sign

I’m happy with the design and ease of assembly.  The knobs are easy to make and looking pretty good.Handmade Knobs by Cheltenham RoadThere are some minor tweeks to make (the knobs need to be a bit lower, I need to stain the MDF slats before I paint them.Coat Rack by Cheltenham Road

My brain is already whirring on different design ideas.

Maybe a typewriter graphic with typewriter key knobs?

Or a dairy (sorry) graphic with milk label (sorry) knobs?

Baseball with baseball knobs?

Soda with soda pop knobs

etc etc.

More to come.  And thanks for bearing with me during this.  I assure you I will  mix in new stuff with the reruns!

 

Easy Father’s Day Wall Art Tutorial

My dad is the best.

However he’s a bit hard to shop for for Father’s Day and I always get sorta stuck for unique gift ideas (the man needs another book like I need to bump my head on something)

But this year,  I had two  ideas!  TWO!!!!!

The only problem was that I had to make them both and being me (oh-so-very-me) I left it until just a bit late to get going.

Happily, my first idea came together so fast, so easily and so inexpensively that  I thought it might be useful for others and so I made it into my latest Mod Podge Rocks tutorial.   Father's Day Gift Idea

A simple scan of an old baseball ticket

An oversize Engineering print from StaplesEasy DIY Father's Day Wall Art Tutorial

And BOOM! A super-fast, totally customize-able piece of potential Father’s Day Wall Art!DIY Fathers Day Wall Art

I think it’s……..JUST THE TICKET!!!!!

(sorry)

(there’s actually a worse one of those puns on the MPR post)

If you’re keen to make your own head on over to Mod Podge Rocks for all the details.

Oh! and if you’re local don’t forget to visit me at this weekend’s Long Beach Patchwork show (click on the pic for all the details)!Patchwork Long Beach Craft Show

Super Simple Craft Show Display Stand

Simple Craft Show DisplayI know some of you long-time readers saw the title of this post and said to yourselves “OK,  nutjob, that’s it.  It’s time to stage an intervention.”

And while it’s true that I’m sort of addicted to making craft show displays I can totally justify this one (and I can stop anytime I want to!).

See, here’s the deal.

I’ve tried a bunch of different ways to display my candle blocks:Candle Block DisplayHalloween Candle Blocks by Cheltenham RoadDIY Product Display Towers for Cheltenham Road Unique LA Craft BoothEach has worked out just fine at the shows and I’ve used and re-used them.

However each has also posed a transport and storage problem.

As you know due to the size of my car (Honda Fit) all my stuff needs to be as compact as possible.  My goal is to have everything fit neatly into boxes so that loading/unloading the car is simple.   I needed (see! it was a NEED!!!) a new display that was compact to transport, sturdy, versatile and easy to set up.

I’ve seen great, beautifully made, collapsible display  stands on Etsy but I just couldn’t afford them.

I was getting ready for the Jackalope Show when I had a brainstorm for a simple, compact, pack-able option.

It came together very quickly, it’s sort of embarrassingly simple (I hesitated to post about it because it’s so…..basic) but I think it will serve me well and variations of it would serve others well too.

I used:

  • 4×4 pine post lumber
  • 1×4 pine strips
  • Tite Bond Wood Glue (and clamps)
  • White paint
  • Teacher’s Tape

I cut my 4×4  lumber down into two  4×4 blocks and two 4×8 blocks.Easy DIY Craft Show DisplayTo make the base gs sturdy I just glued the blocks together (using clamps to hold them in place as the glue dried) and then I painted them white (not very well I’ll admit – I was in a hurry and “rustic” was kind of what I was going for).DIY Craft Show Display StandAnd with two more more 1x4s cut to length and then paintedSuper Easy Craft Show Display Stand

I was, essentially, done.Easy to make DIY Display for Craft Shows by Cheltenham Road

I wanted it to be easy to set up and take down but I also wanted to make sure it didn’t come apart if a customer jostled it or something.

Have you heard of Teacher’s Tape?  0012670_removable-teachers-tape-roll-of-2000It’s my big craft-show lifesaver – I never do a show without a big supply on hand.  It’s inexpensive and super strong but also easily removable.  It’s great for sticking up signs or, as as I did here, just adding that little extra grip that will prevent the stand from coming apart until I’m ready to pack it up.  To pieces on the bottom of each end of the the shelves and that sucker isn’t going anywhere.Simple Display Stand for Craft Shows by Cheltenham Road

The display worked out greatEasy to make, portable, Craft Show Display Stand tutorial by Cheltenham RoadIt only takes seconds to set it up and it’s sturdy.   Easy, Portable, Versatile Craft Show Display Project by Cheltenham Road

It’s versatile enough that if I need it to be longer someday I can just cut some longer.

And, best of all, the whole thing breaks down and fits neatly in a box for transport and storage.

I’m looking forward to using it again at the upcoming Patchwork Show in Long BeachPatchwork Long Beach Craft Show

If you’re local please do come out and see me (and see my display in action!).

It’s a Sign! Take 2 – A More Detailed Tutorial

Image Transfer TutorialI feel that I owe you an apology.

I was so happy with that Santa Monica Beach Sign that I rushed a bit getting the post up and created, I think, a pretty un-useful “tutorial.

So please allow me to revisit it with a slightly more detailed approach.

This will also give me a chance to provide a more in-depth explanation of the Lenk tool and how (and why) I use it.

Warning: This is gonna be a pretty lengthy and detailed post/tutorial so if you never plan to do a transfer using a Lenk tool you might want to sit this one out.

Here is what I used for this project:

Lumber:

  • 1/2 Inch Plywood measuring 18×18 inches for the backer
  • Five (5) strips of MDF wood 18″ x 2.75″
  • 1/2 inch plywood 18″ x 4″ for the shelf

Paint:

  • White, flat-finish, latex paint
  • Blue, flat-finish, latex paint
  • White spray paint
  • wood stain
  • Spray-on Polycrylic

Tools and Sundries:

  • wax (just an old candle)
  • Lenk tool
  • 3 coat hooks
  • wood glue
  • wood screws
  • sandpaper/sander
  • jig-saw (for rounding the corners of the shelf)
  • hangers

Painting and Aging (the title of my yet-to-be-released, scandalous autobiography)How to Distress Wood

To age the scrap MDF here is what I did:

1) stained the edges with gel stain.

2) After the stain dried I rubbed a chunk of wax along the edges

3) painted the slat with flat, white latex paint  and let it dry.

4) went back in and sanded the edges.  The paint won’t stick to the wax so you end up with a nice, distressed, edge.

I repeated this process with the remaining strips painting them alternating blue and white.distressed wood techniqueFor the plywood shelf I used a jigsaw to round off the corners, sanded the whole thing and used the same wax/paint/sand process on the edges for an authentic, worn look.

I also painted the backer board blue and sanded it’s edges.

When everything was dry I glued all the strips into place (I didn’t attach the shelf till the very, very end).

Wall Lenk Tool Process:Lenk Craft ToolOK, as you know, I’m loving the Wall Lenk Tool.  But it does come with pros and cons

Pros:

  • I think it produces results very much on par with the various transfer mediums I’ve tried.
  • It’s quicker (you don’t have to let it dry overnight or anything).
  • It gives a very authentic “aged” appearance.
  • Because only the graphic is transferred you don’t have to cut out the image right along it’s edges nor do you end up with any lingering edges or visible outlines where the paper ended.
  • It’s pretty inexpensive (I got mine from Amazon) and, of course, if you do a lot of transferring, you’ll only have to buy it once.

Cons:

  • It takes some trial and error to get the hang of it.
  • The results are a bit unpredictable but really no more so than using any other method (and I’ve found that it’s easy, as I did on this sign, to go back in and re-transfer if needed).
  • It has no heat-control mechanism so I will inevitably set something on fire one of these days.

Tips:

I’ve found it’s very important, if you your using the Lenk with a painted surface,  to let the paint cure as much as possible.  If I can, I let it dry for 48 hours – even longer is better (although for this project I think I over-did it waiting 6 months).

Flat paint works better than satin or semi-gloss and if I want a shiny finished product then I just use a glossy sealer at the end.

I also like to give the painted surface a light sanding with a 220 grit sandpaper before I begin.

OK, the Actual Image Transfer Process

(I’m mixing and matching new and old photos here so don’t be thrown by the lettering changing colors)

For this sign I gathered my graphics (the woman is just an image isolated from an old matchbook) and printed them, in reverse using plain, legal size copy paper on my laser printer (I don’t know if ink jet prints will work) Reversed Graphics

I let the tool heat up for 8 minutes as the manufacturer instructs.

It actually gets a bit too hot initially and if pressed into the paper right then it will just burn it.Wall Lenk Tool TutorialSo, I  “burn off” some of the heat by pressing it to a wood block.  There is no set time or amount of heat or any way to check the temperature so I just do it until the wood quits smoking.

I then rub the lenk over the graphic.  Image Transfer TutorialAgain there is no “set” amount of time for this.  The more you rub the more image will transfer so it depends on how “aged” you want it to look. I went over this line of text for about 4 minutes and then paused to let the Lenk heat up again a bit (it loses heat as you go) and then rubbed for another 4 minutes.

I just go back and forth sort of slowly, keeping the tool in motion.  If you stay in one spot too long you risk either burning the paper or getting paint so heated up that it bubbles and melts (not good).

This is the real “learning-curve” part.  There is no way to tell how well the transfer has worked at this stage.  I’ve taken to peeling away just a little bit of the corner of the paper just to get a sense of how it’s going and to determine if I should go over it a few more times or not.

Once I’m satisfied I let the paper cool thoroughly and then go back in with a fairly damp cloth and rub away.Image Transfer using Wall Lenk ToolThe paper comes off fairly easily under light-to-moderate rubbing.

I find that I have to do this process a few times.  I’ll do it once, it will look awesome but then it dries and there is a light, white, film of left-over paper visible, so I just go back in with the damp cloth and give it another round.

I’ve also found that it’s pretty easy, if I decide the transfer wasn’t good enough, to go back in and do it again.  I wasn’t thrilled with my first go on this sign so I just reprinted and tried again.  Here is the “A” in Santa Monica image transfer technique(I’ve got to be honest, I’m a bit stunned that it’s possible to successfully line the images to re-do them but I’ve done it with graphics large and small and had no problem.)

Once I’m satisfied with the results I seal it with a spray on polycrylic

Finishing Steps:

After marking where the shelf was to go I drilled pilot holes and then glued the shelf in place and screwed it in from the back.Attach Shelf

I had spray painted the coat hangers and screwed them into place as well and added hangers to the back of the board.DIY Vintage Beach Sign

I hope this helps with any questions about the tool or how to use it.  But feel free to fire away if I’ve left out some step or been vague about some process.

Happy image-transferring!

It’s a Sign! It’s A DIY, Vintage, Beach Sign

Image tranfer vintage sign tutorial

UPDATE:  I’ve done a slighly more detailed tutorial on how I created this sign.  You can find it here

 

I learned something new!  Or, rather, I tried a different way to do something and it worked better!

OK, the backstory.

I’m not particularly good at planning.  I tend to get excited about an idea, launch into it with a  sorta half-formed concept in my head and then hope inspiration strikes.

It usually does……eventually……..

So, for instance, I wanted to find a use for the MDF scraps that result from coaster making and I wanted to see if I could make them look authentically aged and distressed.

So I stained their edges, did my wax-and-paint trick and nailed them to a piece of scrap plywood.distressed wood techniqueCool! It looked exactly like what I had in mind.

And?

And…..that was it.

It seemed beachy.  I knew I wanted text or an image or something but couldn’t figure out what that would be.

So it sat there all stripey and distressed for, oh, about 6 months.

And then, just the other day, while in the midst of doing something else entirely I suddenly knew exactly what I wanted to do.

I grabbed a graphic I like, wrote out some text and got to work with my Lenk tool (go here for a full Lenk tutorial – but then come back cause there’s an update).DIY vintage sign tutorialMy usual method for using the Lenk is to rub back and forth slowly,Lenk Tool for Image Tranfer on Wood Projects then gently peel back the paper to check my progress and then, if needed, rub a little more.Image transfer onto woodIt works well, and, although I liked the distress, I just wasn’t getting the depth of color I wanted and I was spending a LOOOONG time on each element.

But sometimes the paper doesn’t peel away and you have to rub it off with a damp cloth,image transfer using Lenk tooland I found that if, instead of lifting the paper up to check, I just let it sit there till it cooled and then, using the damp cloth method rubbed it away – I got much richer colors along with the distress.

So here is how the sign looked on the first round:DIY Vintage Sign Tutorial by Cheltenham RoadAnd here it is after I went back in and used the “leave the paper there and then rub it off” technique:Vintage Sign Tutorial by Cheltenham RoadBingo!

There is still plenty of distress but the colors are much more vibrant.

I did find I had to go back in a couple of times with the damp cloth and gently rub away a film of white, leftover paper.

When I was happy with the look I sealed it with some spray on polycrylic.

After that I added a shelf (just a piece of plywood glued on and screwed in from the back) and some hangers and had myself a fun little vintage beach sign coat hangerDIY Vintage Sign by Cheltenham RoadI’m excited about this improved technique.  It’s pretty fast, the colors are rich and the distress is exactly what I likemake a vintage sign tutorial by Cheltenham Road and the sky is the limit as far as what design to use.

Trays.  Coat Hangers.  Signs.  Pretty much anything!DIY Vintage Beach SignOK, now I have to get back to what I was actually doing before I suddenly knew what I wanted to do.

Post-Jackalope and a Mini Tray Makeover Tutorial

The Jackalope show was awesome!   Beautiful weather, great crowds and lots of sales – you couldn’t ask for better.  And thank you all for your good wishes and positive thoughts – they totally paid off.

Jenni requested a closer look at the ashtrays (seriously people?!) terra-cotta coasters I had in the booth.  I snapped a quick  pic Sunday morning and I was glad I did because by Sunday evening they were gone.Ceramic Coasters by Cheltenham RoadI’m really digging these.  They open up a whole new world of possibilities.  For this round I supplemented the soda pop ones I shared previously some of my much loved vintage dairy labels and, going for the man-cave crowd, vintage oil can graphics (question: can man caves have coasters?  Seems kind of antithetical).

In my crazy lead-up-to-Jackalope week I also had a major thrift store score.  Rummaging around I found, in their manufacturer’s package, these nesting traysDIY Wood Tray Makeover by Cheltenham RoadThe cost?  $4.50!

I had been toying around with a tray idea for a few weeks and this seemed perfect.  I had planned to do a full-on tutorial but, um, I sold it before I could get the beauty shot.  So, herewith is a mini version.

I first, sanded, primed and painted one of the smaller trays.

I cut some thin wood (pressboard really) down into slats that were wide enough to fill the bottom of the tray but just leave little space between each strip.  I also printed out an enlarged version of one of my favorite vintage Los Angeles postcards and cut it into strips.wooden tray tutorial by Cheltenham RoadI attached the graphics to the pressboard using mod podge and painted the bottom of the tray black.thrift store tray makeoverAfter gluing the strips in place and sealing them with another coat of Mod Podge I poured in a good layer of Envirotex Lite.Thirft store tray makeover by Cheltenham RoadI used a couple of the other trays in the group as well – using my other vintage postcard collage but I have a couple left and I think I want to make more like this.

Also, during my crazy week, I finished up my latest Mod Podge Rocks project.  It’s a very easy to make coat rack that uses plaques from Michaels, Mod Podge Transfer Medium  and some of my favorite vintage luggage tag graphics.Easy Coat Rack Tutorial by Cheltenham Road(side note: if you want to see a super cool, totally charming coat rack visit my friend Julie’s blog Follow Your Heart Woodworking and check out her latest work.  I think they are awesome!)

In slightly more unsettling news….whatever critter that had died in the Blair Witch room is, um, gone.  On Monday when I steeled myself to open the garage door there was nothing, no smell, nuthin’.  I feel like I’m in a Hitchcock film.  “I SWEAR the body was here a second ago!” * I’ve now pulled everything out and haven’t found a thing.  And while I guess that’s good it’s also a bit creepy.

So, Jackalope went well!  Dead Animal Disappeared!  Garage is now clean and organized (almost)!  What is there to complain about?  Well, I’m afraid I have to reset the board:0 DAYS

stupid, low, door frame……

 

*does this scenario make me Cary Grant?! I’m totally down with that then!

 

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