Sunday, August 18, 2013

Birthday Board: the Saga Continues ...

So, as promised, here is the riveting continuance of the Birthday Board Saga. To bring you up to speed, click on that link. Or this one. Either way, it'll bring you back to Part One of the Birthday Board Saga (or What I Need and How To Print). Go Ahead. I'll wait.



Ah, you're back. Thanks for coming back. Really. I know you could be anywhere right now (Pinterest, Facebook, ... even (gasp) outside). Without further ado ... Part Two You see, I'm a poet and You didn't know it. What? (name that movie)

Birthday Board: Part Two - or the Burning of the Board

Remember, this is what we're making (without the weird ID protective blur at the top)

If you recall, I already told you how to print on your board. Remember? Once you've done that, grab your Wood Burner tool and heat it up. As long as you are careful and not swinging it about wildly - or burning a design super close to the edge of your project - this is a project you can do at your kitchen table or countertop. It won't do any damage unless you drop the tip of it on your table. Then it makes a burn mark, because that's what it does. It's like a tiny curling iron without the protective top tip. So, think about that.

So, my woodburner came with 5 distinctive tips (oh, I was just on Amazon and saw a neat tip kit that comes with 28 different tips and tops and stencils. For only around $10! I'm thinking Christmas list). There is a "calligraphy" tip, a "super-fine sharpened" tip, a "fine but rounded tip", a "medium tip", a "fat & flat" tip (looks like a spatula). I used the "Fine but Rounded" and the "Fat & Flat" tip for this project.

I used the "Fine but Rounded" tip to outline my printed text on my board. Super Easy. Just plug your wood burner into the socket, let it heat up for a few minutes - keep the hot and pointy end away from you ... just sayin' - and begin. Don't press too hard at first. Just thinking about writing with a really big pencil and start with a nice, light touch (like you're dabbing on eye makeup) and add more pressure until you get used to the feel and get the burn you want. Don't hold it in one place for too long unless you are intentionally burning a hole. Because you will. Not the end of the world, but a hole doesn't make for a nice, even text.

I would suggest you grab a bit of leftover wood and start dabbling with the different tips so you get a feel for what it's like and what you like.

Oh, two points:  1) be aware that the whole woodburner tip gets hot. Be careful as you follow curves that you don't lean it in the wrong direction. You'll get a weird burn mark on the outside of your letter. And you don't want that. Unless you do. And then ... you know ... whatever.   And 2) don't lean over the project while burning unless you're a fan of going camping and standing in front of the smoke from the fire. It's not that bad, but it isn't pleasant. That said, the smell of burning Pine (if that's the wood you choose) IS pleasant. Made me smile throughout the entire project. Ahh, wood. I like it.

So, once I outlined my text, I unplugged the wood burner, waited about 30 minutes for it to cool (ok, I actually waited a day for it to cool down because I like my fingerprints. They've got some nice whorls. And yes, whorl is the word I was looking for) and changed out the tip for the "Fat & Flat" tip.

Again, don't hold it too long in one place, but because you are filling in the space, you'll want to hold it there for a bit longer. Especially if you're using a "Fat & Flat" tip. You could do this with the same tip throughout, but it would take forever. Seriously.

Once I finished my larger text (last name & the word BIRTHDAYS), I printed out my small text for the months at the bottom. For spacing, I took the length of my board, subtracted 1.5 inches (I wanted 3/4" extra space on each end) and then divided the remainder by 12. That gave me the distance to put between my Eye Screws. I drew a line on the narrow edge of the board which also gave me a good marking point for the middle of my month text (you know, Jan - put the a in Jan over the line). I used the "Fine but Rounded" tip for the month text.

And no, the reason I didn't show you Jan Feb Mar is not because I didn't actually align them with my line very well ... no sirree. I just like Sep Oct Nov Dec more. Yup.

Once I had finished the wood burning, I drilled a tiny hole in the center of each my pencil lines (eyeballed it ... remember, "so-so projects" not "complete perfection with a ruler projects"). Don't screw in your Eye Screws yet, though. You still need to stain the board. 

So, staining the board. I went to Home Depot (or again, you could visit Lowes or whatever wood and paint type store you have nearby) and found a stain I thought would look good in my M & MIL's homes. Just the small container. You don't need very much at all. Don't go too dark, because your woodburn will not be very readable if the entire piece is super dark. Now, if you're just making scroll work and such, I bet a dark cherry would look beautiful. Hmm.. maybe another project...
Now, don't be like me. I thought I could quickly get these stained between church & making dinner. I went into my garage and plunked my board down on my workbench (OK, you can be like me up until this point) and then, without donning an apron or changing into grubbies (see, now don't be like me) I dipped my sponge brush into the stain and began brushing it gently across the board. It looked beautiful. But my nice white shirt did not. I was actually super careful. Which is probably why there are only 3 lovely dots down the center. And no, bleach does not get stain out. It's called stain for a reason. So, put on your grubbies or at least an apron.

Apply the stain in even coats. Try to follow the grain of wood. Once you've covered the wood once, wipe off the extra stain with a clean, lint-free towel. Let it dry before trying to get it darker. Give it time to cure. Wait for as long as the directions on your stain can tells you. Then, wait some more. Because I'm paranoid like that.

I only applied one coat, because it was the perfect shade for me. 

Once your board is dry (again, follow the instructions on your can of stain), screw in your Eye Screws and ...

Wait for the thrilling conclusion of the Birthday Board Saga. (I know, I hate to-be-continues too).

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