Sometimes I’m clever.
Sometimes I’m cheap (OK, a lot of the time).
Sometimes those two qualities come together and such was the case with Use What You’ve Got Project #….? (I can’t remember where I am in this series).
So, like many of us, I have, for several years, been digging all the cool stuff people are making using old, vintage yardsticks.
Also, perhaps like many of us, I have been unpleasantly surprised by the current cost of vintage yardsticks.
I mean, I get it, market demand and such but, no, dear antique-mall shop owner, I do not want to pay $10 for a HOME Depot branded yardstick. Or any yardstick really.
So what is cheapo me supposed to do?
Well, I do have a couple of rulers, scrap-wood, a scanner, rudimentary Photoshop skills, Envirotex and a deep desire to (yard) stick it to the man!
Welcome to my faux yardstick tray tutorial!
I started out by scanning two yardsticks and a ruler I have on hand. I used Photoshop to change the colors, add and subtract text etc until I had a good number of “vintage” yardsticks.
So, with print outs of my rulers, a thrift store tray, some scrap MDF and Mod Podge I was off and running.Of course -because this is the ONLY way the universe works – my tray is 14 inches long and I can only print 13.5 pieces of paper. But I was not to be deterred!
I cut the MDF into 1.5″ wide by 14″ long strips and and sliced and diced the ruler prints so they covered the entire length of each strip.
I left tiny, little gaps between each ruler and darkened that gap with a black sharpie – so it would look like two rulers butted up against each other rather than just one continuous print out.After they dried I trimmed away the excess and fit them into the tray. It was a pretty snug fit (I actually measured correctly the first time! This is a rare event, similar to seeing a unicorn or discovering that your appliance broke down while still under warranty so let’s take a moment to celebrate) and I just used a little glue on the bottom of the tray for security. Also the Envirotex is very strong and will hold them in place as well.
Envirotex starts out as a liquid and like any liquid it will find any tiny crack to pour through. So using a squeeze bottle I squoze (?) a good line of Mod Podge around the edges of the trayand then sealed the rest.
I did two sealing coats of Mod Podge – if you miss a spot the Envirotex will discolor the paper.After giving the Mod Podge overnight to fully dry all that was needed was to pour the Envirotex and let it cure.
I love Envirotex and find it easy to work with – but you do have to follow their directions very closely.
And there you go. A “vintage” yardstick tray that doesn’t break the bank.
If you’d like to use my yardsticks you can click on the links below to save 300 dpi versions for yourself.
Free Printables – Colorful Yardsticks by Cheltenham Road
Yardstick Graphic Print Sheet by Cheltenham Road