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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!

Triumphing Over Childhood Trauma! And a craft show. And a Birthday!

Well, it had to happen.  I’m just glad it waited until now.

I’ve been very lucky over the years.  I have had great success at craft shows.

Pouring rain?  Made a profit!  Only a few customers?  Made a profit!  Windstorm blows half my stuff onto the ground?  Made a profit!

Last weekend in Santa Monica?

Not so much.

I don’t know what happened.  Not a big turnout but those who came just, were not there to buy stuff.  Or even take business cards.  It happened to all the vendors and it was weird.

BUT!

The event was held outside the very cool Museum of Flying at the Santa Monica airport.15776516228_7067342873_oAnd since I……..had some time on my hands….. I checked it out and ended up facing and defeating a demon from my childhood!

“Tell us more, David” I can hear you murmur.

OK,

My dad is an aviation nut and always has been.  He builds model planes.  He learned to be a pilot and flew Cessna’s.  His second career was running the Airline Safety Reporting System.

Planes!

So it was appropriate that, when I was six we took a family vacation to Dayton, Ohio and the Air Force Museum there. (yes, we lived large when I was a kid!).

I was good with this plan. I was a little boy.  I like planes, cars trucks and stuff.

Well, I was good with it until I saw this:

DAYTON, Ohio -- Curtiss P-40E Warhawk in the Air Power Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

This is  a Curtis-40 War Hawk.

And Mr. Aren’t-Planes-Awesome decided he wanted a picture of his only son standing in front of it.

Well, I may have been six but I was not an idiot and I WAS NOT GOING TO TURN MY BACK ON THAT THING!!!

Was he crazy?  Was he trying to kill me?!  Whatever.  It was not happening!

But it did happen.

So, there is a famous-in-my-family photo of me screaming crying in front of this plane.

But I can now put that shame behind me.

Because at the Santa Monica Museum they had thisAirplane

Yeah.  I took that picture.   I stared down that monster and triumphed!  I even got close enough to read the sign! (it is a North American Navion)

Modern kids?….no common sense.trusting foolsAnd, feeling flush with pride, I wandered over and checked out the reproduction of the Wright Brothers PlaneWright Brothers Plane and I was reminded of this great quote:Wilber Wright Quote

Nailed it!!!!!!! (OK, my dad may have had some dubious photo opportunity ideas but, otherwise, great guy!)

And also, today is Dad’s 94th Birthday!!dad(this picture was taken a few years ago)

Still going strong!  Still all about planes (although he was in the Navy – go figure) and woodworking, and book club, and taking continuing education classes and generally making me feel fairly lazy.

So, that was Santa Monica and now –

Onward.

This next weekend is the big Jackalope Show in Pasadena.3f6dde38-e134-4175-903d-746c5a8520f8I am very excited about the show (I love Pasadena) and I had, um,  a lot of time last weekend to ruminate on new ideas that I’ll be sharing them this week.

Back soon!

 

Salted Caramel Nutella S’Mores and Inappropriate Use of Shop Equipment

In my defenseDid you know that Costco sells giant, two packs of Nutella?nutella twopack

This is knowledge I probably shouldn’t have been made privy to.

I mean, how could you NOT buy that!?  Even if you don’t like Nutella someone else you know might! (such as, just brainstorming here,  perhaps a blogger whose work you admire or your mom.  One of those.  Probably the former.  Your mom told me she would prefer to buy her own.)

So my giant, two pack of Nutella was just, you know, THERE.  In the pantry.

And then it rained today.

And s’mores sounded like a really good thing to do.

*Important confession.  It occurred to me to do this as a blog post as I was contemplating s’moredom.  And, while I was truly looking forward to sharing it with you all I was not about to delay the time it took to actually consume the s’mores by setting up pretty pictures of the process.    I mean, you are all totally awesome and worth it but.  S’mores.

So I grabbed graham crackers, aforementioned Nutella, Jet Puff Marshmallow stuff and salted caramel sauce.

I plopped some nutella on one side of the graham crackers.Salted Caramel Nutella S'mores

Added some caramel sauce and  a little extra sea salt (for some reason I never quite get the “salt” in the salted caramel stuff I buy so I add more).salted Caramel S'mores

Jet Puff Marshmellow stuff went on the other sideSalted Caramel and Nutella S'mores

and then……

OK, so I work with Envirotex Epoxy Resin a lot.  I mean A LOTEnvirotex Lite Projects by Cheltenham RoadIf you’ve tried it you know it’s a terrific product but it does produce bubbles as it cures and the only way pop them is to blow on them.  So I spent a lot of time blowing on the bubbles through a straw.  This works great until you are momentarily distracted, forget what your doing but remember there is a straw in your mouth and accidentally inhale rather than exhale and epoxy your tongue.

So

I purchased this little mini blow torch gadget.mini blow torch

It works amazingly well and saves all sorts of time (and your tongue)

AND

whattyaknow! it works on s’mores too!Nutella Salted Caramel S'mores

Question: Is it wrong to claim the blow torch as a business expense if I also used it for s’mores?  I SWEAR it’s only this one time……..

Pro-tip: do not try to take pictures of yourself using a blow torch on marshmallows.  You will note that the corner of that upper-right graham cracker is, perhaps, a bit….redder then they usually are…….1330993075_Fire_Bad_

Moving on!

One good smoosh and.Salted Caramel Nutella S'mores

SALTED CARAMEL NUTELLA S’MORES!!!!!!Rainy Day Snack S'mores Salted Caramel and Nutella

The perfect rainy afternoon diet busting, guilt inducing, tax compromising treat!

The Customer’s Always Bright. And a Small Favor!

So, as you know I’ve been noodling around with new ideas.

I like noodling!  It’s fun!

But while I’ve been noodling my customers have been coming up with concrete requests.

Susan wondered if I could work on a line of coasters with a sewing theme.Sewing Room Coaster Set by Cheltenham RoadYes!  Yes I can!

I’ve been meaning to do something like this for a long time so I truly appreciate  Susan getting me in gear.  And they are now listed in my Etsy shop

Sewing Drink Coaster Set by Cheltenham RoadGeorge – who should probably stay away from sharp needles – had a slightly boozier request.

Could I make patent art bar ware coasters?

Why yes!  Yes I can!

Coaster Set Barware graphicsDwayne changed gears and inquired if I could put together a HOME sign for his home state of Mississippi

Yes!  Yes I can!HOME sign for Mississippi by Cheltenham Road

Mississippi HOME sign on EtsyAnd I have, of course, always had my retro 50s “Advice for Women” coaster set – because they crack me up as they were all written by a man (of course). Retro 50s coaster set by Cheltenham Road

But Theresa wondered if there were a few more options to round out the party favors for an upcoming bridal shower?

Why yes!  yes there are!

Retro 50s Advice Coaster Sets by Cheltenham Road

Because why be content to “have a more successful personality” when you could also,

Make Up – and LIVE!!!Vintage 50s coaster set by Cheltenham RoadAnd now for the favor that was foreshadowed in the title of this post

The FavorPinterest is one of my favorite sites and a huge (actually, main) source of traffic for this blog.  This is awesome!  I love the group that has sprung up here. I love that it’s growing and your ideas, suggestions and feedback really keep me going.

However, Etsy is where my income is generated and, for some reason, I get almost no Pinterest traffic headed to my Etsy shop and Pinterest is kind of a key to success in this scenario.

So, here’s the favor.

If each of you could go to my Etsy shop and just pin a couple of things it would be a huge help!

Just to be clear – I’m not asking you to purchase anything – I’m hoping for the “ripples in the pond” effect where you pin it and your followers see it and they pin it etc etc.

Please pin directly from Etsy (ie not from this blog) so that potential customers are taken directly to my store.

Thanks so much!  I can’t tell you how much I truly appreciate it.

Coming up soon a (minor) return to working on furniture!!  I’ve really  missed doing furniture but I got to work on a fun little project for my next Mod Podge Rocks tutorial and I’m looking forward to sharing it.Child Chair Makeover with Mod Podge Ikea Hack Tutorial

 

 

 

Easy to Make Soda Pop Coasters with Plant Saucers

Easy DIY Coaster IdeaAs you’ve witnessed I’ve been having a good time for the last few weeks playing around with new ideas.

My goal, of course, is to come up with new products. And, hopefully, new products that don’t require me to fabricate

Every. Single. Part

Don’t get me wrong – power tools are awesome. I truly enjoy wood working, sanding and painting but sometimes a guy wants to do something a bit less…..involved.

Also, I’ve been wanting to make round coasters.

Actually, when I first started out I made round ones

The sold well but they were tough to make and wasted a fair amount of wood.Vintage Dairy Label CoastersBut I think I’ve found a work around that has possibilities

So, after last week’s earth shattering reveal that my super clever super secret tool was water this week I ask you to bear with me as I proffer the amazing idea to use terra cotta plant saucers as coaster bases.

I KNOW!!!!!

Pick your jaw up off the floor people ’cause it’s just gonna get crazier from here as I use Mod Podge and Envirotex!!!!!

(remember my goal is to come up with new ideas but not reinvent the wheel)

OK, so I’m not the first person to come up with this (and I haven’t Googled it for fear of confronting my lack of uniqueness) but it turned out to be fun, insanely easy and, I think filled with possibilities.

I grabbed some saucers from Micheals and some gloss white spray paint.Easy DIY Coasters Tutorial(Note: I first did this with bases from Lowes but apparently those are much more porous. They sucked up paint like a vacuum. The ones from Michaels worked beautifully and cost the same).

After a good coating with the paint and some drying time I moved onto the graphics.

I figured everyone here is probably crazy super tired of me and dairy labels (I could hear you all muttering “yes, David, we get it. They’re cool. Buy a cow and move on with your life”) so I thought I’d go with something similar but different (it’s a theme!!)

I had purchased soda pop bottle top graphics from Digital Alice on Etsy a while ago (to use on the knob project) and thought they’d be fun as coasters.

After resizing the graphics I mod Podged them into place and when they were dry sealed them with another good coat of Mod Podge.Easy to make coasters by Cheltenham RoadOnce dry I added some Envirotex and I had myself some fun, round coasters!Soda Pop Label Coasters by Cheltenham RoadI’m thinking I could use these graphics or make up a few of my own.Simple DIY drink coasters

I was also contemplating ones that look like old postage marks.

Record labels would also work!

And, of course, they don’t have to be coasters. Maybe little dishes for keys and such.

Or since these come in all sizes maybe big dishes?

Lots of possibilities I think.  And I didn’t have to sand anything!

My Secret for Easy, Wrinkle Free Mod Podge Projects

Easy Wrinkle Free Mod PodgeI am not one to pronounce that I have the BEST way of doing anything.

You could call it nice, Midwestern humility or you could (more accurately) call it lack of confidence.

I just feel like the second you say “I have the best way” of doing something the natural next step is for someone to say “there is a better way.”

But despite that,  when Christopher asked me how I avoid wrinkles in my Mod Podge projects I thought to myself “I have the BEST way!”

I didn’t invent this and it’s not really earth-shattering or anything but I don’t see it mentioned very often.  (Also when, long ago, I included it in the steps of a tutorial people kinda freaked on me so I thought perhaps I was just making things more difficult.)  But I’ve been doing this for years and years and it works really well for me every time.

For the purposes of this tutorial I’m just going to make one of my 6×9 patent signs.

Here are the basics of what I usedPerfect Wrinkle Free Mod Podge Technique

  • Wood
  • Matte Mod Podge (in a squeeze bottle – explanation below)
  • Laser Print Out of my graphic
  • Roller tool (totally optional)
  • Foam Brush
  • Paper towels

and what is my big secret!?The secret to wrinkle free Mod Podge projects

a bowl of water.

Yeah, I wish it was a more exciting reveal too but what can I say?  It works!

OK to lay some basics out.

Printing: For this to work you must have a laser (or toner based) print. Ink jet prints wont work. I have a laser printer at home and for larger print jobs I go to Staples or Kinkos.

Paper: For most of my work I use Staples Brand Laser Paper, bright white 28lb. But I have also used just plain copy/print paper and all kinds of commercially printed paper like scrap book paper, wrapping paper etc without any problems.

The only paper that hasn’t worked? Tissue paper (too thin) and cardstock (too thick).

Matte Mod Podge: This is the formula I use to stick things down.  There are a lot of different Mod Podge formulas and I use may of them but I almost always start with Matte

Squeeze Bottle. I do a lot of Mod Podging. I mean A LOT. Every day a lot. So, I find it’s easier to just pour the Mod Podge into a squeeze bottle. It’s quick, simple, neat and I can control how much Mod Podge I use and I waste a lot less. (side note, I lost the cap to the squeeze bottle several years ago and it doesn’t seem to make any difference!)

Water: Soaking the paper in a shallow bowl of water for just a few seconds lets the fibers of the paper relax a bit which makes it much easier to smooth into place.

So, here what I do and the order I do it in for all my Mod Podge Projects.

1) Squeeze out the Mod Podge onto the surface of the woodEasy Wrinkle Free Mod Podge Projects

2) Drop the image into the water.avoid wrinkles in Mod Podge Projects

3) Spread the Mod Podge around in an even layer.Easy way to avoid wrinkles with Mod Podge

4) I pull the paper out of the water and (sorry I couldn’t take a picture of this) holding the paper in my left hand I use my right index and middle finger to gently remove any excess water. Just a couple of swipes.

5) I then lay the paper down on the wood and smooth out with my fingers. There is also plenty of slide-ability at this point so I can move the image around until I get it where I want it.

6) Once the paper is in place I use the roller to get rid of any air pockets.avoiding wrinkles in Mod Podge

The roller is a very recent addition to my arsenal and I only use it for larger items like this. For years I just used my fingers and that’s all I use on things like my coasters.

7) I then use a small section of a paper towel to lightly wipe away any excess water or Mod Podge.

8) Once the whole thing is thoroughly dry I go back in and trim away any excess paper and apply whatever sealing coat I’m using (Hard Coat Mod Podge, Gloss Mod Podge etc).

Soaking Time: I let the paper soak just as long as it takes me to spread the Mod Podge around – so maybe 10-20 seconds depending on the size of what I’m doing.

I’ve seen advice to let the paper soak long enough that it curls up and then uncurls. I find that makes it more prone to tearing – esp if you’re working with basic printer paper.

Sometimes my paper does curl up a bit but it I just smooth it out when I apply it to the wood.

THE ONLY DOWNSIDE

The only downside that I’ve found with this method is that as the paper relaxes it sometimes expands a little bit. That’s only a problem if I’m working on an inner surface (like a tray or the inside bottom of a box) and I have to be super precise.

Aaaaand……. that is my big secret!  Soak the paper in water for a few seconds.  It may take a few trys before you get the method down but I would say it works and works beautifully for me about 99% of the time.

I hope that’s helpful to you when next you Mod Podge.  If you have any questions fire away and I’ll do my best to answer.

 

Go small

So, last week was all about big and this week is all about smaller.

The good thing about this slightly slower time of year is that I have time to play around and experiment (look for Positive Thinking: The Upside of Making No Money by Cheltenham Road – coming to your local Barnes and Noble store)

The Muse came up with a smart idea (for newer readers “The Muse” is an actual person, not a voice in my head or some imaginary conversation I’m having with Olivia Newton John so don’t be alarmed).

She suggested that perhaps I could make smaller HOME signs that would work as key holders.

I really like the idea because I’m a big fan of making practical stuff.  I mean I’m all about decoration but if it can be useful decoration that’s even better.

So I started playing around.

I made 4.5″ HOME lettersHome Sign Keyholder by Cheltenham Road

Attached them to a base boardWood Sign Key Holder by Cheltenham RoadAdded little hooks (there would be more hooks of course – these were the only two I had on hand).Vintage Los Angeles HOME sign keyholder by cheltenham roadI like it!

Well, I sort of like it.  This is where the playing around comes in.

I think perhaps the base board doesn’t need to be as thick. Maybe two strips of wood rather than a big solid backer wold be better?

Some magnets along with the hooks?

I will re-consult with The Muse.

What do you all think?

Happy Super Bowl Sunday to all!

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