December 24, 2011

Last minute gift idea: The Artful Swine

I created this beauty several months ago, but apparently forgot to make a post about it! With the holidays being... tomorrow {OMG where did 2011 go????}, if you are a few presents short, this might be the perfect idea for you!

Quite a while ago, Mr. Pony and I encountered this gem at World Market.

photo from World Market
Of course, all that were on display were dinged up because this is a piece of metal with blackboard paint on it. Boo. Turned out that it would have been too small for our space anyway, so it was all for the best.

Then the resident food snob pointed out that the pig pictured was an Americanized swine, which is not at all what he wants. I'm pretty sure he didn't even know there were different kinds of pig (besides bacon and ham) before we started dating. *sigh*

He wanted something like this (Big Picture Ag)      He didn't want this (National Geographic)
 My problem was to create something the right size, of the right breed outline, with the right finish to make the wall space look fabulous. DIY time!

After a few trial and error steps, we ended up with a fabulous porcine wall hanging that was both beautiful and functional (plus a couple items that were just shiny), all for 2/3 the price of the original inspiration piece!

In keeping with the holiday spirit that one runs into EVERYWHERE this time of year, I realized that this would be a wonderful and moderately quick gift idea for those who procrastinate on shopping, unlike me!

A couple of months ago, I posted about my owl wall art extravaganza

Follow the same steps as I used in that post for getting your gift idea of choice cut out. Once you have the piece cut out, you are ready to make decorating magic! 
Please be sure you have expert help available.
I like to use a couple layers of primer before I start on the real 'meat' of the project. In this case I used 2, but if I did this again I would go with 3 to smooth out the wood grain.

Now for the chalkboard finish. I first tried to Rust-Oleum spray chalk board paint, and while it looked great, after following the dry time instructions (3 days or something like that), I primed it by rubbing the long side of a chalk bit all over it, wiped that off, wrote on it and... it wouldn't wipe off. *sigh* Not to be defeated, I sanded that down again, and tried the quart size brush-on Rust-Oleum chalk paint. I followed the drying and priming instructions, and this time it worked like a charm! 

Just wipe with a damp rag, let dry and it is ready for your rewriting pleasure!! At this point, I though my project was done, but...

Le Pig looked kinda lonely on the wall by himself... But what should keep him company? To avoid having an entire barn of farm creatures on our dining room wall, we took inspiration from another decoration I'd seen- giant cutlery!

I printed out a giant chef's knife and spoon and cut them out of wood the same as above. But really, there was no point in them being painted with chalk paint (too small for usefulness) and a bit of texture sounded nice, so I bought Rust-Oleum Hammered spray paint in silver {I promise, they didn't pay me to tout their products! These items just happened to work well for me!}. I did a couple layers of primer, then gave several layers of this stuff. I did have to stop and sand at one point because I got too close with the sprayer and it started making funny, chunky patterns- my bad! In either case, they dried quickly and soon were keeping good company with Le Pig!

Total cost: $25
Rust-Oleum Chalkboard spray paint (fail)- $5
Rust-Oleum Chalkboard paint quart- $15
Rust-Oleum Hammered spray paint- $5
primer- already owned
wood- already owned (would have been about $10)
hanging bits- already owned (would have been $8)

I still have more than 3/4 of the quart of chalkboard paint left, so it can make many more projects, and this sort of project can make great use of scrap wood, providing a wonderful and inexpensive project for you!

There is still time to make this amazing and fun gift for your loved ones! With dry time, it can be ready to gift in the morning tomorrow- just make sure you include a card with the dry time and priming instructions. If the chalk board idea is too much for you, you can still make pretty decor and simply use craft or spray paint and voila! Custom made gifts!

A couple of tips before you start:
- I use extra clean blades for wood- most brand make them. They reduce splintering and sanding needed
-Don't skip the sanding!! With the chalk board paint it is essential, otherwise the paint will chip off as you use it. 
-1/4" ply is very bendy- only use if you will hang the finished item flush on the wall or plan to add supports to the back. I used 1/2" for the pig and 1/4" for the spook and knife.
-When you pick a silhouette, remember you are cutting it from wood- don't get more detailed than your skills or equipment can handle!
-Always wear eye and hearing protection,and fingers+blades= OUCH!!!!

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