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How to Transfer Weird Animal Pictures onto Wood Blocks

15 Apr

I’m finally here to tell you about one of my DIY projects that I did a couple weekends ago!

I got this idea from Pinterest, and didn’t really think about it for a while… until Todd and I bought a new kitchen hutch and had to cut off some excess wood to get it to fit between the fridge and the wall. And then we had about 12 random pieces of nice, light wood that would be great for photo transfers! Each one was about 6”x3” and worked perfect for the pictures that I found.

wood

wood

Which were of kind of creepy Victorian people with animal heads. One friend took a look at the finished project (already hung in the bedroom) and said, “I’m glad those are in your bedroom and not mine, because I wouldn’t be able to sleep.” And that seems to be the general consensus, but Todd and I like that kind of weird stuff, so we’re okay with it in the bedroom.

creepy animals, anyone?

creepy animals, anyone?

So, how’d we do it?

First, it started with a trip to Staples. The directions I found online, which I link in this post, say to use pictures from a laser printer (say that like Dr. Evil, by the way). And we have an ink jet at home, so I went to Staples. Either the guy working thought I was cute or he really hated his job, because he gave me the prints for free for having to wait a few minutes. It cost Staples roughly $0.10 to make them so it wasn’t a huge loss. I graciously thanked him, of course, and then we proceeded to spend over $160 on other things. Of course.

(Note: if there are any words or things that will not turn out right if you don’t print them backwards, make sure to use a photo editing tool to turn your pictures around. Mine didn’t need this step to look normal.)

The next step was to go to Michael’s and get the two items listed in those instructions. What I didn’t know is that combined, they would come out to close to $25 (not including brushes, just the mediums). No, thank you. Fortunately a lovely Michael’s employee told me about Mod Podge’s photo transfer medium. Yes! Exactly what I needed!

Mod Podge!

Mod Podge!

The directions on the back are for transferring photos onto fabric, but it will work on most surfaces that are somewhat porous.

Next, we went home and Todd cut off pieces of the already small wood chunks to make them closer to the photo size. Four of them were 3”x3”, one was about 3.5”x3” and two others were about 4”x3”.

I made sure to follow the directions on the back of the packaging as closely as I could. I had pretty much abandoned the directions I found online at this point.

I put enough of the medium over the picture and then moved it around with the sponge brush (which the Mod Podge came with!) so that I could barely see the picture through it.

always put something down so you don't get Mod Podge all over your boyfriend's work table! er...

always put something down so you don’t get Mod Podge all over your boyfriend’s work table! er…

Next, I laid the picture down onto the wood (goopy side down). There was enough wiggle room that I could position it better if it wasn’t right the first time. Then I used the edge of the cardboard packaging (a bone stick or credit card would work too, anything with a hard, long edge), smoothed out the picture and removed any excess that squooshed out the edges. Yes, squooshed. (When you’re done, make sure to clean out your sponge brush thoroughly! Or buy a new one. I don’t care what you do. But you’ll need it later.)

they look so blank, but hang on for a day or two!

they look so blank, but hang on for a day or two!

Once I did all of them, I let them sit. The instructions say to wait 24 hours. I’m not sure if less would be fine, so you should probably follow the instructions like a good little doobie, like I did. I think I waited about 36 hours though since I went out of town with Todd.

When I came back, they looked pretty much the same. I got a bowl of water (just room temp, not hot) and my handy dandy sponge brush. I moistened the side of the wood piece with the picture on it. Some things I noted: too much water made some of the picture come off. I wanted this to happen, because I wanted the pieces to look old. You might not want that to happen, so I would suggest tipping the wood piece back over the water bowl so the excess drains off.

wet vs. dry

wet vs. dry

Next, I used my nail to rub the edge off a little bit. I found this to be an easy way to get it started, but it was a lot of work to do each piece, the whole piece, like that. I ended up using a piece of a paper towel to rub off the rest of the paper. This worked really well and gave a good shine to the picture. It managed to get almost all of the paper gunk off in just a few good scrubs.

rub away that paper!

rub away that paper!

Instead of wetting them all at once, I did one at a time. I found if they sat for about 30 seconds to a minute, they were fine. But if they soaked too long or too little, I had issues. If you’re doing a large piece, I would recommend wetting it in stages.

paper towel method.

paper towel method.

Because my pictures looked aged, I decided to let some of the picture itself come up off the wood. In some cases, I used my nail to pick off the edges a little bit. It doesn’t come off that easily, but the edges might peel up a little if you’re not careful. Of course, I wanted it to look this way, so I made an effort to peel it up.

"vintage"

“vintage”

Couth Cat

After I finished all of them, I let them dry. Then I applied about 5 very thin, even coats of clear spray paint in a glossy finish to give them a nice shine and to seal them.

glossy

glossy

Then they sat in the garage… for a while. So I didn’t put them up for more than a week. I had good reasoning though! I had nothing to put them up with! I went to Tar-jhay and got some simple sticky squares that were safe to use on painted walls and easily removable.

I took them inside next and laid them on the floor in different arrangements to see how I liked them. Once I settled on a pattern, I put a sticky piece on each back and stuck it up on the wall.

And here you have the final product! I realized once they were up how small they looked on the wall. I might move them in the future, or add more, but at the moment I think they look good since we have zero artwork up in our room besides these.

on the wall (ignore the hideous yellow that's going on, our walls are NOT yellow)

on the wall (ignore the hideous yellow that’s going on, our walls are NOT yellow)

up close (again, ignore the weird color, I tried to fix it)

And here are some better pictures of the transfers:

Couth Cat

Couth Cat

The Elephant Man

The Elephant Man

Lady Antelope

Lady Antelope

Miss Kitten and Kitten Twins

Miss Kitten and Kitten Twins

I am the Walrus

I am the Walrus and  a Foxy Lady

So that was my first foray into the world of photo transferring! I want to do something much bigger next time, like a map of something cool. California, or maybe the road to Mordor 🙂 What are your big DIY plans?

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IKEA Hacks: Sort Of (But Not Really)

19 Feb

I love IKEA. Maybe not so much the large crowds of people, but definitely everything else. And I love altering the items I buy there. Any of the furniture in natural wood is perfect for adding your own touches.

(Sidenote: I apologize for any terrible pictures [read: all of them] in this post. They were all taken on my iPhone.)

This weekend they had a giant President’s Day sale going on. Somehow we managed to miss them all. But we still got out under $200, which I think is a huge accomplishment considering how much we got.

A little bit of back story: our apartment is not large, and it does not have ample storage. When we first moved in, we had to add our own kitchen shelves. There were cabinets underneath the counters, but nothing above. So we added IKEA metal shelves that are good for storing glasses. (And whiskey.) We also added metal bars underneath and S hooks to hang things like mugs. (And steins.) I guess you know what kind of people we are now. We also already had a large wooden hutch with four shelves. That sits next to our desk and we keep Cole’s food and water below it. I have pictures of none of this. Clearly I’ve come prepared.

In the year and a half that we’ve been in this place, we’ve worked out a pretty good system for where things go. But I like kitchen stuff – gadgets and cookware and spatulas and cookbooks! I love them and I must have them all. And people know this about me. So I get things like slate cheese boards and GF cookbooks for gifts. And then I have no idea where to put them. You can no longer walk into the pantry because of the wine rack that I repainted and stored in there because there is literally no other place to put it.

So this weekend, we went to IKEA. And I think we’ve finally managed to solve some of our space woes.

First, we got this hutch:

This picture is atrocious. I apologize.

This picture is atrocious. I apologize.

Notice how wonderfully the Crock Pot fits on the bottom shelf.  Previously we just had the trash and recycling cans down there alone. This way they’re at least somewhat hidden in their shame. And the reason I call this an IKEA “hack” is because Todd had to trim down the shelves by about 6 inches to make it fit there. The other side of the fridge is where the wall ends and opens up to the pantry door, so there was no way we were moving that over. It’s already moved over far enough so that I can open the oven door. Yes, our apartment is laid out well, thanks for asking.

The next IKEA “hack” for you is this butcher block mini-island:

The giant glass candy bowl is a new addition as well!

The giant glass candy bowl and the basket for towels are new additions as well!

Again, not really a hack, but I can call it what I want because it’s my blog, right? I taped off the two posts under the slats, and painted the slats green. If you notice the IKEA stepping stool in the back, I used the same paint so it all matches. A lot of things in my kitchen are green as well. Like the tea pot (as you can see in the hutch picture) and the large porcelain canister I use to keep wooden utensils.

Finally, we got a couple of magazine holders. Todd suggested I could use one for cookbooks and my thought for the second was to use it for magazines in the bathroom. I got tired of having them sit on top of the toilet and having to move them every time I cleaned.

in the process

in the process

I got them in natural wood, of course, so I could paint them!

This one I will use for cookbooks:

paisley! (I put a bird on it)

paisley! (I put a bird on it)

And this one for magazines:

chevron!

chevron!

I used the same colors partially because I wanted them to tie together and also because most of my acrylic paint is so old it’s chunky. And that isn’t fun to paint with. But going out and purchasing a few bottles of $3 acrylic paint is just too much effort. And of course I used a clear coat in satin finish to seal these off, but I did that after pictures.

Not pictured:  a very nice, square shelving unit for the bedroom. This one was assembled and left as is because it has a nice finish on it and fit perfectly in the corner of our room!

Living in a tiny apartment has made us very creative with space. Do you have any awesome IKEA hacks that you’d love to share?

After Spool Project

9 Jan

Hi all. Just wanted to share a picture of something I plan to refurbish:

spool

Can you believe I found this on the side of the road!? You can bet your bottom dollar I made Todd jump out and steal it 🙂

I love the look of rustic-items-turned-furniture. I’m still playing with ideas on how to treat the wood but I know I want some kind of cushion on top. I might also add a middle shelf so that it’s easier to put smaller books and tchotchkes on it. I’ll have at least four dowels as support as well.

Unfortunately I need to wait for it to be fixed first since, as you can see, the top two pieces of wood are separating. There are also some dangerous-looking staples sticking out in random places.

Now should I paint, stain or do something totally different with it? The possibilities are endless! What are your thoughts?

Failed Pinterest Crafternoon

16 Oct

Have you seen those websites dedicated to the idiots that can’t follow a simple craft on Pinterest? Usually I read them and think, “I know exactly what they did wrong!” But this time I did one… and it just didn’t… look right.

The basic idea: get a few pieces of canvas or canvas board. Paint the boards whatever color your little heart desires. Find some leaves or flowers and lay them down on the (dry) canvas boards. Spray paint over so that you create a silhouette. Ta da!

Not so. At least not for me. It looked so neat on the website! I only spent $2.50 on three boards that were probably 12×9 and I already had paint and leaves are free, so it wasn’t a huge loss, but they just looked so … sad. The first board I painted a light green. I had some dark silver spray paint leftover from painting a wine rack so I used that with some large sugar maple leaves.

green, blue, orange

green, blue, orange

My main concern was that the leaves didn’t want to stay in place while spray painting. I didn’t want to tape them down and ruin the paint underneath. So the leaves ended up moving about and the edges were rather blurred.

maple leaves

maple leaves

I decided to take a different approach with the other two, painted orange and teal/blue, respectively. I used smaller leaves for these ones and held each leaf down as I used silver acrylic paint and a paint brush to apply the shiny top coat.

orange and blue

orange and blue

This method worked infinitely better but there were other issues…

dirty painting

dirty painting

The residue from the leaf adhered itself to the orange portion of the board. Unfortunately I mixed that color myself and I am terrible at matching colors that I’ve mixed previously.

Overall this project was a huge FAIL. I’m going to get some spray primer and re-do these with a different Pinterest craft! Hopefully that one will turn out better than this one.

What kinds of crafts do you like to do? Any great ideas come from a Pinterest board? Or have some of your great ideas flopped, like mine? I’d love to hear!

Music is my Lifeblood

21 Jun

Gosh. I just can’t express how much music moves me. But I’m going to try.

We have a radio station here that plays a lot of stuff not normally heard on the radio. I don’t mean to sound like a condescending hipster here, but Foster the People played on this station about 9 months before they were on any other station. I think that’s pretty cool. They play bands like Alabama Shakes, Two Door Cinema Club, Grouplove… you get the idea. They even let you vote on which songs you want to hear more or less!

Image cred: google.com

Image cred: google.com

And I love that I have access to new music that’s not normally radio-played because I’m not a radio-music kind of gal most of the time.

I will admit I do like the catchier songs and I’ll dance my face off to Katy Perry’s “E.T.” anytime, but 90% of radio music is annoying. Why does Jason Derulo have to say his name at the beginning of every song? And I’m pretty sure Bieber’s songs all sound the exact same. It’s a molestation of the ears.

Image cred: google.com

Image cred: google.com

There are some talented artists out there that are mainstream, and that’s great. But the ones that are in it for the money and fame are not my style. The ones that do it for the feeling and the love and the movement… they rock my heart. Florence’s voice brings me close to tears. Mates of State makes me dance like a fool; plus their kids are flippin’ adorable. Beyoncé though? Man, that woman is gorgeous and TALENTED! What I wouldn’t do to have her moves.

Image cred: google.com

Image cred: google.com

So what are some of your favorite bands or artists? What kind of music makes you feel feelings? Leave a comment and give me a heads up on some of your favorite music so I can listen too!