September 10, 2011

Whoooo is there?

I mentioned earlier in the week that I have had some other decorating adventures. Well here they are!!

I've been drooling over art from various Etsy sellers for months {here
here and here, to name a few}, but couldn't justify the extra cost since this revamp was *supposed* to be a cheap thing!

Then, out of the blue, it hit me.


Seriously, who wouldn't want an awesome owl on their wall?? So I googled "owl silhouette, found one I liked that wasn't copyrighted {don't steal the art of others for this people- be cool}. I used an online tool called Rasterbator to blow the image up to the size I wanted (about 2'x3' in this case), printed it out and got started!

I ended up using 1/2" ply that I already had in the garage. I initially wanted to use 1/4" ply, but all that I have of that I got secondhand and its badly bowed, so I went with something a little sturdier.

After taping together the pages (it printed out on 9 letter size pages) and cutting out my design, and put it on the board and traced the outline.

If you look at the shot below, I ended up adding another branch with leaves on the other side of the owl- I thought it would look more balanced, and I like how that worked for me.

I tried to minimize the wood waste, so I put the silhouette as close to the edges as possible. I still have another 3'x3' piece of 1/2" ply left from this, and who knows what I'll end up making with that!

Then it was down to the part where I nearly sever digits cutting stage. For this sort of project, the jig saw is really your best friend.

Get to know her and love her and learn to keep her steady, otherwise the wood you are cutting will jiggle its way free and snap. Not that I had that happen. Ever.

And here I am, cutting skillfully. It is REALLY important to make sure the wood is well braced and that you depress the trigger all the way. I ended up losing some leaves because I let up on the trigger a bit, the wood wasn't braced well and the wood just started jumping too much. It worked out in the end, but annoyed me at the time.

On a project like this, the leaves and branch were a bit difficult for me to work with. If there is a smaller jig saw out there and you plan to make a ton of these, it would be good to buy the smaller size for getting into the nooks and crannies. However, our regular old jig did a good job- it just took more time cutting out the detail bits.

I can haz rawr?
On a side note, I liked using the blades labeled 'X-tra clean for wood'- the clean ones do well, but these minimized the sanding that had to be done when I finished cutting.

After all the cutting was done, I cleaned up the edges with a power sander and a hand sander. I also made sure both sides were smooth, but spent more time sanding the side I had designated as the front. 

When sanding make sure you don't put too much pressure on any of the little bits- you don't want to snap off that painstakingly cut leaf {or whatever bitsy thing you cut out} before you've had a chance to enjoy your work!

And here is your finished pro... DOH! Ok, so you've cut out the piece, but you still need to make it purdy (unless you are going for the raw wood look, but even then you still should stain it or something, IMHO) and hangable. This is the only part of the project that actually cost me money. I stopped at Michael's and got some Martha Stewart Multi-Surface Pearl Acrylic Craft Paint {aptly named 'Mother of Pearl'} to finish this with. To minimize coats of paint, I gave the entire project a coat of primer, then gave it two coats of the craft paint.

To hang it, I put eyeholes in two pieces of scrap wood and glued them to the back using wood glue. I also gave them a quick coat of the craft paint just so if you see the owl from the side, they don't stick out. Then I strung some wire between them, put a photo hanger in the wall and we were good to go! If you end up making a smaller piece (like the moon) this approach may not be the one for you. Just mess around with the tidbits you have available or take it to the hardware store with you and see what you can find!

A few days later I randomly decided I wanted a moon to go with my lonely owl, and in less than 3 hours (with paint dry time) it was ready to go!

Total cost? Two buckaroos!! Whoooo can beat that?

On a side note, since my favorite holiday is coming up {hint- it starts with a Hallow and ends with a ween}, I like that the owl adds a slightly spooky element to the room. If painted in a black or orange, it would be very Halloween-y indeed!

Sorry, I can't avoid being cheesy;)

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