Making Poppies DIY Tutorial

A quick post to share a new rustic poppy design.
Not too many supplies are needed for these fun flowers; salvaged thin metal sheeting, fiberglass window screening, thin wire, small flat bead, 8 to 10 mm glass bead, and paint. I went back to Lowe’s and bought one of those cute 8 oz Valspar paints again, this time “Oh So Red”.
Like many faux poppy patterns, stacking three layers of petal pieces makes this easy. The base piece is the largest and the other two get smaller in diameter as you go up. My base was about 2 3/4″ diameter.

Before getting started, some fiberglass window screen had to be painted.   This was my first experience painting screen and it took me some time applying the paint and getting all those itty bitty squares to stay filled in; when you brush over them, they open back up. I painted in layers, drying with a fan, and discovered laying the paint on was more productive than brushing most of the time. If anyone out there has a secret or helpful hints for painting screen please do chime in.

Flatten a piece of scrap metal sheeting (as in The Spirit of Christmas). Trace and cut out the base petal piece. Paint it red. Dry. Sand lightly with fine grit sandpaper to reveal some of the metal.

Hold the top two petal pattern pieces in place on the painted screen and cut around them.

Cut a small circle, a little larger than a quarter, from the window screening.  Darken it with black paint.

Sand the screen petal pieces with fine sandpaper to reveal the texture of the screen. Do not sand the black center piece. This is a good time to put a light black speckling on your pieces, and let it dry before spraying all the pieces with a clear matte sealer, front and back. I forgot, and didn’t speckle until my flowers were done, then had to respray them.

Trace three poppy leaves on the thin metal, flipping your pattern to trace one face down. Cut, paint green, sand, speckle, and seal.

On a board, drive a finishing nail through the stacked flower petal arrangement.  You can shape and bend the flowers first, or keep the petals flattened and shape after. Remove the nail.

Center and twist a glass bead on a length of straightened thin wire. Thread the black screen circle on to the wire stem and shape it around the bead. Add a small flat bead with a dab of E6000. Slide the other petal pieces in place, applying a small amount of glue between layers near the wire. Arrange and form the flower to your liking before pushing firmly into a piece of thick foam to dry. You can do more gentle bending, shaping, or trimming on the petals after the flowers are dry if needed.

    

I think this makes a cute, versatile little flower to have some fun with. Change the shape of the petal a bit, the color, and the bead, and you’ll have a whole new look.  Another layer of petals could be added for a larger flower.

I wired my poppies to a basket for a pop of color, then glued on the leaves, but they could easily be wired, or glued, to wreaths, canvas art, frames, or wood.

  

It makes me feel good to find uses for salvaged, and reclaimed materials.  Keeping anything out of the landfill is a plus.  Hearing from my readers makes me feel good too, please leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts.  Enjoy your week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

A Console Table Upcycle DIY Tutorial

We are blessed! 2018 finds my family all healthy and happy. Although we are all still temporarily under one roof, it’s an exciting time. Many remodeling plans were slowed or halted by frigid winter weather, but now, everyone’s plans and projects are ready to move forward again. For some, there’s career advancements on the horizon, and for me, a little more free time to do what I like best; make stuff, and go gather things to make more stuff.
With more free time also comes the opportunity for me to lay claim to the old chicken shed behind our house. It has served as storage and even an extra pet kennel when needed, but now it’s vacant. I’ve long yearned for a space to store found treasures and set up a small shop to sell my wares, maybe host some garden art classes. I’m still kicking some ideas around, but after repairs and a hot power washing, I’d like to have something going in the very near future.
My sister has recently retired. Like me, she enjoys a good hunt and repurposing her finds too. We’re looking forward to meeting a bunch of fun, like minded people on June 2nd when we participate in the 6th Annual Back Roads Vintage Market in Dysart, Iowa. I’ve often heard good things about this event, but have never been free to go. The pictures shared on their Facebook page are impressive, can’t wait to get there. https://www.facebook.com/BackRoadsVintageMarket/

Thinking of wares, and with the market only 3 months away, I needed to kick it in gear and get busy. I took a poke around my garage to see what could be started right away. Holy Cow, there’s a lot out there. I was happy to find quite a few things I already had a plan for. Yep, one was the console table, a perfect upcycle piece. It was purchased at Hobby Lobby originally. It held a pencil lamp behind our living room couch for several years, but wasn’t much good for anything else because it tipped easily. It was moved out over a year ago when the kids needed more room to play.

If you’re a Facebook follower, you’ll know I’ve been working on the table, in spurts, for the last couple of weeks. Basically, it was just flipped end for end, making the top the bottom, and the bottom the top. It could have gone together much quicker, but, well, you know, life’s little interruptions. I’ll need to start working more diligently though. I hope you stay tuned, I think you’ll like some of the projects that will be coming.
I replenished my favorite Stowe White paint at Lowe’s recently, and found a few new Valspar colors I thought would work well together. The small 8 oz size paints are perfect for projects like this.

The original size of the table was 33″T x 35″W x 9 3/4″D.
Two pieces of 1″ pine were cut for a new top and bottom, each 36″L x 11 1/4″W. Sanded smooth.
Three screws holding the metal table top were removed. The screws were too short to be used again. The metal top was centered on one of the boards, flush on the back edge.  Holes were drilled down through the existing screw holes, through the metal and into the wood. Flip the metal top over so the finished side is up. Check to see if the holes line up nicely, if not make adjustments. This stacked piece will be the base of the table when finished.

All surfaces of the boards were brushed very lightly with streaks of Granite Dust, Gravity, and Stowe White in a random pattern. Let dry completely, repeat. Let dry completely again, then sand to see the grain. Wipe with a tacky cloth to remove any dust before staining with a Dark Walnut wood stain. Let dry overnight. To finish, following the directions on the can, wipe on two light coats of low gloss Tung Oil Finish. Dry completely.

       

Four corner, or “L” brackets, will be needed to attach the new top board to the legs. There are fancy ones available but I used ones I had.
A slot was marked on the inside of the legs, on each end of the table, to accommodate a 1/2″ wide bracket. Cut the metal with a cutting wheel on a die grinder. Position the brackets so the tops are flush the the top of the legs, screw into place.

  

The metal table frame was painted with two coats of Brisk Olive green paint, drying completely between coats. Distress the edges by rubbing the paint off with a dampened cloth.

Position gliders and nail them into place on the bottom of the base board.  If needed, clip the end of the nails so they don’t protrude through the wood.

  

To add weight, scrap plywood pieces were glued on the underside of the metal top. Weighted down and dried overnight.

On an even surface, stack the base board, weighted metal table top piece, and the upturned green table frame. Line up the pre-drilled holes and screw solidly into place. I used small washers on 1 1/4″ wood screws. The tips were cut off of the screws so they wouldn’t protrude.
Turn the table base over and center it on the newly finished top board. Keep the back flush like the base. Mark the bracket holes. Drill starter holes before screwing into place, again, making sure the screws don’t protrude through the top.
        

And, there we go. Finished and ready for a new home.  I really like how this shade of green looks with the dark stain. But then again, I like almost anything green.  I’m sure you’ll be seeing this color again real soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miniature Log Cabin Christmas Tree Ornament DIY

I’d just about given up on getting something Christmasy posted. Etsy shop and ornament orders have been keeping my nose to the grindstone this last month. It’s been a lot busier than I expected, but it’s been a GOOD busy, and I’m very grateful. It makes me happy to think of all the little Santas, penguins, snowmen, etc., dangling in Christmas trees everywhere. I sure hope they make someone smile.
Remember the two big white owls I mentioned last month? They’re now prominately perched in our Christmas tree. When given the option, we opted for fun social activities over crafting time, so we didn’t use all the raw materials we foraged, which I’m sure saved me a lot of glitter clean up too. Our lengths of grapevine worked beautifully as a garland though, and the colors of the dried hydrangeas made it a perfect gap filler.
To me, a tree is just not complete without something fun for the little ones to see. Having always been intrigued by miniature houses, and still having a pile of twigs from our gatherings, I decided to try my hand at a log cabin ornament. Wouldn’t it be neat if you could peer inside of it too?
An empty Christmas light box looked like it was a workable shape and size. I checked out a few templates on Pinterest, then drew a simple one to fit my unfolded box. After cutting out the traced template, it was painted with gesso, then brown paint.

I used an exacto knife to cut a window and door where I thought I would like them. After looking at it some more, I decided I didn’t want the open door, and taped it back in.
A small piece of thin plastic was glued on the inside of the window. Let it dry.
A small hole was cut in the bottom for a Christmas light to fit up through.

A small piece of greenery was cut from a swag and shaped to make a mini Christmas tree. Clear fingernail polish and tweezers made it very easy to glue seed beads on it for ornaments.

A vintage picture was copied and glued to the inside back of the box, in the lower right hand corner. Fold the first corner of the box, on the left hand side, and secure with hot glue. Glue the finished tree where it will be seen through the window. For stability, I glued a small piece of foam down first, then the tree to the foam. Paint the foam brown.

Once the tree is in place, finish folding up the box, and secure it with hot glue. Use sharp nippers to trim your twigs, arrange, and hot glue them to the box.

Fold a scrap piece of the box to form a chimney and glue in on the roof. Paint it with gesso and brown paint. I used a nut pick to punch holes near the center top, then threaded a jute hanging string. I used a thin wire to help thread it through.

20171209_115128

Finish covering the roof and chimney with twigs. I covered the sides all the way to the top.

Working in small sections, brush on some DecoArt Snow-Tex to fill the gaps between the twigs, then wipe it off with a wet rag, to reveal the twigs. I found it helpful to use a small bucket of water, empty it, and refill it with clean water often. Just for caution, I emptied my water outside and not down the drains.

20171215_201819

Ready for the tree!

I hope your Christmas is full of love, laughter, and merry making!  Happy New Year!

day cabin, owl treeOwl Tree 2017cabin, owl treeLite Tree wmark

Reversed Etching A Christmas Window DIY

No time for fall crafts this last month; the beautiful late summer weather motivated me to start a garden project I’ve been waiting to do. Although it’s a WIP, I’d like to tell you a bit about it before we get on to the etched window.

Last year, I got rid of the five year old trumpet vines on my garden trellis because new vines were popping up everywhere and taking over. Wanting the trellis covered, but not with vines again, I got the idea of weaving willow branches through the steel frame. Thanks to my niece and sister’s tree trimming, I was able to gather, and weave, two big batches of branches. It needs a lot more branches, but I’m very happy with the way it’s shaping up. I guess I’ll just have to be content for now, until next spring when the weather is more accommodating, and someone starts trimming again.

With the temperatures dropping and Halloween passed, I’m ready to shift straight into Christmas crafting mode.

The idea of reverse etching on old window panes came about after I noticed some little brass embossing stencils in my daughter’s scrap booking supplies. They were so cute! Out of curiosity, I laid one on the overhead projector just to see what it looked like in a larger scale, and that’s all it took, I wanted to get the designs on a window somehow.
Easily a weekend project, they’re great for gift giving, vendor shows, or your own Christmas decor. I used an old window, an enlarged snowflake stencil pattern, small clear ruler, matte contact paper, exacto knife, template pencil, large snowflake paper punch, hole paper punch, 10 oz. Armour etching cream, 3″ wide chip brush, E6000, small beveled glass star sets, and clear glass globs. My pattern was planned around the small glass bevels I had on hand.
My window looked a little rough, so after giving it a good scrub, it got a couple coats of white paint.

A snowflake pattern was used to redraw the design with the glass pieces I had to use.

Copies were made of the pattern, then a window was used as a light box to trace the patterns on their backside.

Arrange the patterns to your liking, on the front side of the window, and tape them into place.

  

 

    

Flip the window face down. Clean the glass thoroughly. Apply matte contact paper down over your patterns. Use an old plastic gift/credit card to help apply it smoothly and work out any air bubbles. Trace the patterns on to the glass with a template pencil.

Remove the paper patterns from the front, then, use an exacto knife and a small clear ruler, or straightedge, to cut the snowflakes out of the contact paper.

  

  

I used a large Martha Stewart Snowflake Punch and a regular hole punch to punch more shapes out of the matte contact paper. I found it worked best if the paper was inserted into the punch sticky side up. Card stock was punched a couple times in between each large snowflake to keep the punch from getting sticky and causing the contact paper to bind.  My hole punch was pretty sharp so I didn’t have to punch the card stock much to keep it clean.

Peel the contact paper from the punched shapes and arrange them around the snowflakes.

   

I stood my window up, in a window, to get a good look at it. Tiny pieces of painter’s tape marked where more dots were needed.

The etching process goes quickly. You will want to be near a water source where you can rinse the etching cream off easily. I hook a short length of garden hose to my sink faucet and rinse over the old drain in my basement, works like a charm.
Lay the window on a flat work surface. I usually lay a big piece of cardboard over a 33 gal trash bin, and use it as a table near my sink. With your fingers, or fid, make sure all your pieces are burnished down well. Spray a paper towel with glass cleaner and lightly wipe your window again to remove any fingerprints or sticky residue, especially around the edges of the contact paper shapes.

For good coverage, the etching will be done with two coats, one horizontally, one vertically. It doesn’t make any difference which one you do first. Use a soft, natural bristled 3″ paint brush. When working with etching cream, work in a well ventilated area, wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
Shake the etching cream well. If it has sit for a long period of time you may want to stir it first to make sure there is no sediment in the bottom of the bottle. Pour about half of etching cream into a wide mouth lidded container.

  

Brush on the first coat of etching cream over the contact paper shapes, horizontally, in long, straight, even strokes. Do not over brush. Let the etching cream set 2 minutes.
Rinse out the brush and wipe it dry. Cover the container so the remaining etching cream doesn’t dry out.

After 2 minutes, gently rinse the etching cream off of the window by running water over it as you rub very lightly with your hand. Don’t disturb the contact paper shapes. Let the window glass dry naturally, or put a fan on it for a few minutes.

  

Lay the window flat again and apply the second coat of etching cream, vertically this time, in long, straight, even strokes. Let set 2 minutes, then rinse the window clean. Some of the contact paper shapes will probably start coming loose with the second rinse.

  

Put any remaining etching cream back in the bottle, wash the brush and container. For safety reasons, please remember to mark all your work containers and bowls, and keep them in a separate area far away from any food containers.
Peel off the contact paper to reveal your design. Use an exacto knife to carefully pry up stubborn edges if needed. After all the contact paper is removed, clean the window with glass cleaner.  Repair any glazing if needed.

  

After lightly distressing the paint on the window edges (which I should have done when I painted the window), a hot glue gun was used to add some greenery and pine cones to the front, upper left corner.  Lay the window flat, face up, to glue on the glass embellishments with E6000, matching them to the shapes in the snowflakes underneath.  Let the glue dry at least 12 hours.
Eye hooks can be added to the top for hanging in a large window, but, I think they’re prettiest leaning in a lit Christmas display on a mantle, console, or buffet. You can decide.

  

I know Thanksgiving is not even that close yet, but, I’m really excited for Christmas. Our youngest daughter has returned home from teaching in South Korea for a year, which means we will have everyone home for the entire holiday season! I’m looking forward to crafting, playing games, holiday movie nights, shopping trips, and hopefully some snowman building.
Some pretty white owls caught my daughter’s eye at a craft store the other day, so we picked out a couple. It looks like we’ll be going with an out-doorsy, nature theme on our tree this year. In anticipation, hydrangeas have been hung to dry, and the grand kids and I have been foraging for materials. It’s going to be fun to see what we can make for the tree. I can hardly wait to get started!

 

 

Painted Pumpkin Yard Stakes DIY

This simple Halloween project was made solely to please our 3 year old granddaughter, she loves pumpkins!

I found some old pumpkin cut-outs while sorting through decorations recently, and remembered how my young daughters enjoyed hanging them in the windows, and on the walls, changing them everyday.  It’s hard to believe that was over 25 years ago! Oh well, anyway, they inspired me to make some cheerful yard stake jack-o-lanterns to greet my grand kids this Halloween.

Using the cut-outs as a guide, I changed the pumpkin patterns up a bit; made them bigger, and fattened up the cheeks.  After tracing them onto a piece of scrap 1/4″ plywood, they were cut out with a jig saw and a scroll saw, and sanded before painting.
Paint the pumpkins with 3 to 4 coats of craft paint, let dry.  Sand again, removing more paint around all the edges for a worn appearance.

  

A garage sale find of wire grilling forks have been hanging on a nail in my garage, waiting for a worthy purpose. I was looking for something that wouldn’t be too noticeable, and wanted to keep the pumpkins low, so they would make great stakes.

The forks were glued to the backside of the pumpkins with Gorilla glue, and clamped in place overnight to dry. Gorilla glue expands as it dries, so you don’t want to overdo it. I probably could have used less, but I wanted to make sure they were adhered well, it gets pretty windy at our house sometimes. Sand down any dried excess glue. Paint the glued area with orange paint.

  

I found some rusty metal leaves from last Fall’s decorating. For some color, they were brushed with a thin layer of Citrus colored Alcohol Ink, and wiped off lightly before letting them dry.


All the pieces, front and back, were sprayed with a Clear Matte Finish. Let dry.

The metal leaf stem was curled and wired to the pumpkin with a scrap length of wire. Curl the ends of the scrap wire. Tie on some raffia, trim.  Gently shape the leaves and wires as desired.

  
I’m not too sure where my pumpkins will get settled as of yet, but sure it will be near the door, where they’ll be seen.  I might have to put a solar light behind them too!

 

 

 

Hand Painted Vintage Style Clock DIY

It isn’t hard to find large decorative clocks nowadays, they’re everywhere, but, 15 years ago the pickings were mighty thin.
I was wanting something of good size for a long open stairway wall in our kitchen/dining area, and I thought a huge clock would be perfect. After several unsuccessful months of shopping, I sit staring at the wall, pondering my dilemma, when one of my then teen daughters jokingly asked why I didn’t paint a mural, and be done with it. Yeah, like I could paint a mural?! The idea was enough to kick my mind into gear though, why couldn’t I try to paint my own clock? I had no idea that thought would start a whole new venture.
A number of clocks have been painted since then, ranging from 30″ to 4 foot in diameter, and even mine was given a much needed update. Please keep in mind, I’m not claiming to be a clock painting master with this post, just a craftsperson sharing what I’ve learned, and some tips and tricks that have worked well for me. Heck, I wasn’t even aware there were templates available until after I had my first one painted, which you can probably see by the numeral placement in my before & after picture.

I’d like to caution in advance that this is not a small project. It’s not hard, but time consuming. Unless you really have nothing else to do, I would allow at least two weeks to complete a clock. An overhead projector, and a place to hang the clock for the final steps will be needed. Handpainted, it is a bit of an undertaking, but I’ve always been happy with the results, and especially like that each one is unique. Although the drying process can be helped along with a fan, there is alot of steps, and drying time between the painted layers is crucial. Humidity is not your friend either. I work in the AC during the summer, only going outside to quickly do the sanding steps. That being said, let’s build a clock.
A 1/2″ BC grade plywood will be used for the circle. One side is nicer than the other, and will be the front of the clock.

After being asked to paint a 30″ personalized clock last fall, I had my plywood cut and sanded before I thought of blogging it, so I used a piece of scrap plywood in the pictures below to show how it was drawn.
Lay the plywood face up on a work surface you can easily walk around. Determine the best place to draw the circle. Knot holes are not usually a problem, they can lend a lot of character, but you don’t want to cut through one on the rim of the clock. Hammer a 1 1/2″ finishing nail where the center of the clock will be.

Drill a small hole on the 1″ mark of a thin wooden yard stick, just large enough to fit over the head of the nail, no bigger. With the yardstick on the nail, hold a pencil firmly on the edge of the yardstick at the 16″ mark. Walk slowly backward around the work surface, marking the plywood, until you complete the circle.

  

  

Remove the nail, but keep it, and the yardstick handy, they’ll be used again. Cut on the outside edge of the drawn line. Use a hand sander and medium grit sandpaper to sand the clock and edges smooth, using the drawn line as a guide. Do not round the edges.
Cut two lenghts of pine stripping.

Lay the circle face up, making sure the wood grain is running level horizontally. Using the yardstick and the nail hole as a reference point, mark the top center of the clock with a line on a piece of tape. Extend the tape over the edge of the clock so you can mark the back too, in the same place.

Stand the circle up as straight as possible against a wall, with the back side facing you. Use the yardstick and a level to draw a centered line down from the mark on the tape and over the nail hole. Lay the clock down. Go out 8″ on each side of this centered line and draw two more lines.

Draw centered lines down the length of each pine stripping piece. Match and center them up with the outside lines on the back of the circle, minding that the angles are facing toward the outside edges. Drill, and countersink, four evenly spaced pilot holes on each stripping piece. Cut, or grind, the tips from 1 1/4″ wood screws so they do not protrude through the front of the clock, and screw the stripping into place. Fill holes with lightweight spackling, let dry, and sand smooth. Except for two 1/2″ D-ring hangers, which we’ll get to later, the building is done.

  

  

  

An old sewing machine cabinet, 30″ high, is my “go to” work table for this project. It’s a comfortable height and easily walked around for drawing and painting.
I find it helpful from this point on, to always lay the clock down in the same position, with the top away from me, and, except for the paper layer, always paint and sand layers horizontally across the front following the wood grain.

Other painting supplies needed are …..
water based black primer
black paint – eggshell or satin finish
small bottle of black craft paint
clear mixing glaze
3 colors of wall paint -eggshell or satin finish. The colors requested for this project were Linen, Colonial Beige, and Stowe White.
inexpensive 3″ or 4″ chip brushes – maybe about 6, so they’re handy when needed. The wider brushes work well for the crackle layers because you would have less brush strokes.
thin liner detail brush for painting the circle lines
Titebond Hide Glue – I get mine at a True Value Hardware Store. $9 for an 8 oz. bottle.
very thin paper, or tissue paper – I bought my roll at a beauty supply store. Do not use printed paper
painter’s tape
a couple paint sticks and lidded bowls for mixing
overhead projector – you might check your local library if you don’t have excess to one, or check a rental place.
printable clock template – the place I found mine is no longer available, but there’s a bunch on line. A blank clock face template could be customized with more lines then scanned onto a transparency
gum eraser and #2 pencil
electric hand sander with fine and very fine grit sanding discs
clock supplies at http://www.klockit.com – high torque clock movement #10115 – $9.00, and 12″ clock hands #66796 – $8.00

Time to paint, we’ll start with the black base. Remove any tape from the clock. Paint the entire clock with black primer. Let dry. Cover the primer with a coat of black paint. Let dry. Replace a little piece of tape on the back to mark the top of the clock again, so you always know where it is.

While the black paint is open, make a black glaze for the next step by mixing 1 cup of black paint with 2 cups of clear glaze. Stir well. Store in an airtight container.
Tear up random pieces of the very thin paper, enough to cover the front and sides of the clock. Tear off any finished side edges of the paper too, they will be noticeable if you don’t.
Brush a layer of black glaze on a small area of the clock front. Lay pieces of paper on top of the wet glaze, overlapping their edges. Immediately, brushing quickly in different directions, brush a thin layer of black glaze over the paper, creating some creases and wrinkles. Glaze and paper the side edges too by tearing the paper ends into strips so they lay down better. Do not over brush, or the paper will get too wet and start to tear and roll. Work in small areas until the clock front is covered. Let it dry to a dull look. Brush on another thin coat of black glaze, and let it dry thoroughly overnight. Sand with a fine grit sandpaper, horizontally, following the wood grain underneath, until smoothed, but not through the paper.

  

  

  

For a crackle medium, mix 1 cup of hide glue with about 3/4 cup of very hot water, stirring well. Store in an airtight container. As a rule, the thinner the crackle medium, the thinner your cracks, so there is a lot of room for change in this step. If bigger cracks are wanted, use less hot water. Regardless, the mixture will be very thin, and splatter easily. Make sure your floor and work area are protected well. Crackling is a lot of fun, but can be a little touchy, it doesn’t like to be re-brushed as you put it on, single strokes are needed. If you’ve never tried it before, you may want to play around with it on some scrap wood first to get the feel of it, or catch a video on YouTube.

With a clean brush apply a coat of crackle, in broad, even strokes, horizontally over the sanded black glaze layer. Do not over brush.  The crackle glue will separate and remain shiny. Let crackle dry approximately 45 min to an 1 hour, until it is still a tiny bit tacky. Test it with your finger.
Mix 2 cup of glaze medium with 2 cups of your first color choice, mine was Linen. Mix it well, and have it ready to brush on as soon as the crackle is ready. It too goes on in quick, wide, one time, even strokes, horizontally. Do not re-brush or try to touch up the paint, the brush will pick up any paint that is wet. The cracks will widen as it dries. Let this layer dry completely. Sand again, always horizontally, as before, until some of the black layer shows through.

  

  

Basically, this is all about brushing on colors of paint over layers of crackle, and sanding in between. At the end, some of all the colors will show through somewhere.
For a little added dimension, I dry brushed a little un-thinned Linen paint on in hopes it would peek through a little too when I’m done, and another coat of crackle was applied.

  

Colonial Beige paint was put on over the crackle, and sanded after it dried. Another layer of crackle was put on before the final layer of Stowe White paint. Sand again when dry.

  

Circles need to be drawn before the numbers are added. Push, or tap, your nail through the center hole from the backside of the clock, through the paint. Lay the clock face up. Tap the nail into the hole, leaving enough protruding to put the yardstick on, to draw circles. My nail usually goes right into my old table top and holds the clock firm.
Using the same technique as in the beginning, I drew the circles I wanted.

  

Carefully remove the nail. Use a small piece of cardboard under the claw of your hammer so you don’t leave a pressure mark on the clock. Flip the clock over. Measure 4 1/2″ down from the top inside tip of the pine strips, center and attach D-rings. Find a place to hang the clock, level, so you can use the overhead and template for marking. The clock must be level before doing any marking or drawing. I removed my clock from the wall and hung this one in its place until I was finished.

Firmly hold the edge of a sturdy, straight yardstick, vertically over the center of the nail hole. Use a level to draw a straight faint line through the circles at the top and bottom of the clock, where the six and twelve will be. Do the same horizontally, over the center of the hole, to mark where the three and nine will go. Cut four very thin strips of painter’s tape to highlight these lines on the outer edge of the clock. Put the template on the overhead. Use the tape marking the quarter hours, and the center nail hole to line up the template. Tape the template in place so it doesn’t move. Lightly trace the minute marks where you want them on the clock. I traced mine in the second outside circle.

  

  

Replace the clock face up on the work surface. Use a yardstick to line up the minute lines that are opposite each other, remark them with short straight lines, and longer faint lines through the circle in the numeral spaces, to help get a perfect angle on them. I also put a small dot on the numeral spaces, so I don’t accidentally tape them off and paint them with the minute marks. Cutting a bunch of tiny strips and taping off minute lines can get very boring, so I usually turn on a little Netflix while I do it. You don’t want the minute lines very wide, about an 1/8″. Just by eye-balling it, add a little space on each side of the line and tape them off, keeping your line in the center, and rubbing the tape down well to prevent leakage. Re-stir your crackle glaze, and give each of your taped lines a light coat. Wait about 30 minutes and paint the lines twice with black paint, drying well between coats. To insure nice, crisp, clean lines, wait until the second coat is completely dry before removing the tape. When you remove the tape, carefully pull up and towards your painted line.

  

  

Draw a triangular stencil for your numeral marks. Mark the center on the outer side of your triangle. Line up that mark and the point of the triangle on the faint line drawn with the yardstick. Trace inside the triangle. Repeat at each numeral. Tape them off and paint them like the minute marks, one coat crackle, two coats black.

  

Cut two 5″ lengths of clear plastic. One, 7/16″W, and one, 5/16″W.

  

For the first Roman Numeral, center the widest plastic strip over the drawn line. Trace.
Use the same strip to trace the spacer between the numerals on the #2 first, then, re-position it, and trace again on the outside of the spacer for the numerals.

  

Center the strip over the drawn line on #3, trace for the middle of the numeral. Trace again on each side for spacing and numerals.

For the #4, begin with the 5/16″ strip laid over the drawn line, as spacing. All spaces will be 5/16″. The numerals will be 7/16″.

Use tracing paper to trace a small section of the curved lines where the numeral V will go. Draw separate patterns for the V and the X, within the traced curved lines. The 7/16″ strip is used to draw the wide part of the numerals. The skinny line will be 1/8″ wide. Make sure to include the curved lines and a faint center line on your pattern. Match up the curved lines on your pattern with those on the clock, and use graphite paper to trace the patterns where they are needed.

  

Continue drawing the numerals around the clock. All of the wide numeral strips remain 7/16″. The spacing between the strips decreased to around 1/4″ on the #6 thru #12. There’s really no set rules. I just do a lot of looking and maybe a little adjusting to get things right.  A gum eraser will easily take care of any mistakes. Its most important that the numerals are straight and lining up well with the numeral opposite of it, so they have the same angle. Hope that makes sense. Sometimes it helps to glance at another clock, or pictures, for reference.
The numerals will have to be taped off and painted in steps. You can’t tape on damp paint, so wait for things to dry well before moving forward. Again, a crackle layer first, then two coats of black. Do not remove the tape until the paint is completely dry.

  

    

With the numerals done, rehang the clock and give it a good look. Everything look good? Count all the way around the clock and make sure the numerals are correct. For the life of me I couldn’t see what was wrong with one of my clocks one day. Maybe I was tired, don’t know. My daughter walked in, glanced at it and asked why I had two tens? Yep, there it was! I’ve also washed a numeral completely off after painting a V backwards, and fixed it. It’s all just paint, most everything is fix-able if need be.

     

Back at the work table, squirt a little black craft paint on a piece of waxed paper and thin it with a few drops of water to paint the circle lines with a very fine liner brush.
Paint the outside ring. One coat of crackle, two coats of black. Let dry. Clean up any tape bleeds, erase any pencil lines and do any last minute touches, then, sand to your liking with a very fine grit sandpaper. Give the back a quick sand too. Make sure to sand smooth any glue or paint drippings around the back edge. Wipe it off with a dry, clean, soft, lint free cloth. Now is the time to personalize if you wish. If not, give it some speckling with black craft paint and a toothbrush, and it’s done.

      

After the speckles have dried completely, use some books or something to raise your clock up off of the work surface. Drill through the nail hole with a 5/16″ bit. Push the stem of the clock movement, with the rubber pad on it, through the hole from the back, and tighten it on with the nut and washer provided. Hot glue a small piece of wood under the clock movement to hold it solid, and paint it black.

  

  

Carefully remove the plastic protective covering from the clock hands. Spray them with a black matte finish. Let dry.

Put the hands on your clock ..
1- Match up the small rectangle hole on the long hand with the clock movement. It will fit loosely. Turn long hand clockwise a full circle, and stop on 12. Remove the hand.
2- Lay the short hand on the clock movement, pointing at 9. Press it down gently and evenly until it fits snugly.
3- Lay the long hand on the movement, pointing at 12. Gently hold the bottom of the long hand to keep it level as you screw on the cap. Turn the long hand clockwise all the way around to make sure it clears the short hand. If you need to do adjusting, don’t try to bend the hands on the clock. Remove them to adjust and repeat the steps again.
Always set the time by turning the long hand clockwise.
Remove battery when transporting the clock.

So, what do you think?  Anyone inspired to start painting yet?  Are you painting anything similar and have some tips to share?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

River Rock Mosaic Garden Rock Art

The heat and humidity has us spending much of our time indoors lately. That’s not all bad though, the AC feels real good and there’s always an area in my house that could use a little attention; like the large catch-all area in the basement. It actually turned out to be quite fun to take on that task. I found things I’ve been looking for, things I forgot I had, and most of all, figured out I definitely need to get better at putting things away.
It made my day when I pulled a container of rocks out from under a table. Here was a garden project that I had been wanting to do for a couple years now, and never took the time. It could be done indoors, and in small steps. Alright, I could multi-task!
A couple years ago I made a big mosaic rock with some polished river rocks. It was meant for a show, but, found a welcome home in my garden instead. I thought a grouping of them would look cool, so I bought more rocks with the intentions of making some, but never took the time. Well, now, was the perfect time.

I picked out three smaller rocks I liked the shape of and washed them with hot soapy water. Then gathered my rocks, painters/masking tape, bowl of rubbing alcohol, a work rag, and some E6000, clear or white. I found my bags of rock in the floral department at Hobby Lobby. I think they were about $3 each. They weren’t as shiny as my original ones, but would do.
After washing the rocks, they were sorted by the colors and sizes I wanted to use, swished in a bowl of rubbing alcohol to remove any oils on them, and laid out to dry.

    

using a liberal amount of glue, begin gluing on the rocks you like, leaving a small space between them, 1/16″th to 1/8th”. Use a piece of tape to hold them into place until they dry. This takes some time. You may even have to use tape and a rock as a prop while drying. If you don’t wait for the rocks to dry firmly enough, they may shift as you move the rock around.

    

As I glued, I realized I was going to need tiny rocks for a few small spaces around the rounded tops and bottom edges. I picked out a big handful from a pea rock pile behind my house, and gave them a wash, so I’d have something to choose from.

Once the rock is completely covered, let it dry 24 hours.

I used gray sanded grout left over from a bathroom tile project. Grout powder settles and should be re-stirred before mixing with water. ALWAYS WEAR A MASK AND GLASSES when stirring or mixing grout powder. You do not want it to get into your eyes, lungs or nasal passages.
Grouts may differ, follow the directions on the grout package for mixing. I started with 1/2 cup of water, and stirred in about 1 1/4 cup to 1 1/2 cup grout powder. Stir until lumps are gone and it has a consistency of thick oatmeal. Cover in an airtight container and let set for 15 to 20 minutes, before grouting.
I used an old shower curtain to provide a waterproof surface to work on. You’ll also need a pair of rubber or disposable gloves, a bucket of water, old rag, and maybe a putty knife.

  

Re-stir the mixed grout. Spread the grout across the rocks, pressing it into all the crevices. You can spread the grout on neatly with a putty knife, or just lay it on with your gloved fingertips, which is the method I prefer. Make sure you cover the edges of the rocks on the bottom as well.

   

  

Once the rocks are covered with grout, let them set 30 to 40 minutes. Squeeze out a wet rag and wipe them down to expose the rocks you glued on. Let set another 10 to 15 minutes, or sooner, depending on how fast your grout is drying, then rub firmly around the rocks to remove any excess grout, and smooth the grout lines. Wipe lightly with a rinsed dampened rag. Rinse rag with clean water and wipe lightly again. The rocks should be pretty clean but still have a slight hazy look. Let dry 12 hours. ALWAYS DISPOSE OF DIRTY GROUT WATER OUTSIDE – NEVER POUR IT DOWN YOUR DRAIN! Using an outdoor faucet works best for rinsing and washing grout buckets, rags, and tools.

  

  

Spritz the rocks lightly with window cleaner and use a soft bristled toothbrush to give the exposed rocks a very light scrub and remove the haze. Use a ceramic tool/dental pick to remove any glue residue or unwanted grout. You can wipe it down with a damp rag again at this point if needed. Let dry another 12 hours. Brush the entire rock with a light coat of grout sealer, wipe and buff it dry. Follow recommended curing time on grout instructions before exposing your mosaics to saturation.

  

My grout instructions recommended waiting three weeks. Keeping that in mind, I arranged my rocks in the garden.  I do have my dumb moments once in a while, so, I really thought I was on top of my game when I remembered to move them inside when there was a threat of rain, and before the 3 weeks were up. I didn’t get to revel very long, I’m embarrassed to say. After getting no rain, I moved my rocks back, and turned on the sprinkler to water the garden, duh?  Oh well, it didn’t look like any damage was done, I guess time will tell. 🙂

Friendly reminder – mosaic rocks should be stored indoors during the cold winter months and returned to the garden after temps maintain over 32 degrees in the spring.