American Flag Wood Wall Art

Wood Art Displayed on My Hutch

With Independence Day coming up I decided to make a wall art project to display some patriotic song lyrics that are not commonly known but are very powerful. The lyrics I chose came from the third verse of America the Beautiful. The picture I posted makes the art piece look a little smaller than it actually is so the words may be difficult to read. Here are the words:

“O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife. Who more than self, their country loved and mercy more than life. America, America may God thy gold refine. ‘Till all success be nobleness and every gain divine.” 

What I really love about this stanza is that the value of character is placed ahead of the value of acquiring wealth or success. Personal sacrifice is honored above personal gain or comfort. This is how our country began and the sacrifice made for the greater good of others is honored so well in this verse.

The project itself was so simple that I made most of it within an afternoon using very inexpensive items simply because I was feeling lazy and I didn’t want to have to go drive anywhere to buy anything. I used my Silhouette Cameo 3 to type out the words and cut it out onto sticky vinyl. If you don’t have a cutting tool but you have a steady hand you could do this with paint, a permanent pen, or paint markers.

The wood I used to make this project was just a package of shims I had in my craft room. If you aren’t familiar with shims, they are slats of wood used for all kinds of home projects. They are about 1/4 ” thick on one side and they taper down to probably a millimeter. I took two pieces going opposite directions and used Elmer’s glue to turn the two pieces of wood into one even piece. I would have used the Elmer’s Wood glue, but it was dried out at the top, and well, laziness continues. Since I knew I had nine lines to the stanza I would be featuring, I did this process nine times. Then I stacked all of the glued slats into two piles and tied the ends with zip ties to keep the glued slats pressed together while drying. I had to move quickly and even reapply glue on a few of them because as the glue was drying, the pieces wanted to start warping in the opposite direction. *This probably wouldn’t have been a problem had I used the wood glue 🙂 The zip ties did a great job of keeping the pieces pressed together and all of my slats dried evenly overnight.

The next day I took the zip ties off and divided the slats unevenly (since I had 9 pieces) to be painted red or white. I had some old bottles of acrylic paint in my craft room with the perfect dull, rustic shade of barn red I was after. Unfortunately, my white acrylic paint was dried out so I found some off-white spray paint in a satin finish that I had from a previous project. I high-fived myself for still not having to go to the store for supplies. Yes! Laziness prevails. I wondered if the white pieces would have more sheen than the red pieces and decided it would actually be kind of a cool effect if it did. It didn’t end up having more sheen. Not noticeably anyway. While the paint dried I went swimming, played with my dog and watered my garden. About an hour or more later I came back to my Arizona sun-dried slat pieces and they were ready to assemble. I had a wood art wall hanging that I had previously picked up from the thrift store. It was the size and shape of a painting canvas and the previous art was just glued on paper so I peeled it off and glued my painted slats on in a striped pattern with gorilla glue. As the pieces were drying I also began transferring the vinyl cut words. Yes, I’m impatient AND lazy but I was so close to finished and I just wanted to see it all completed. I’m pretty happy with my project so I plan to make some other cool wood signs the same way.

 

Repurpose a Pickle Jar For Dog Treats

My family kind of has a thing for pickles so we go through tons of jars of them. The jars are all great sizes so I never want to throw them away when the pickles are gone. I have an extra large one in my laundry room holding all of the socks that are missing a mate, we have jars with coins or hardware in them and I have used others to store sauces or other food products. The only problem is I still have an abundant collection of empty pickle jars sitting on top of my refrigerator just waiting to be repurposed in a project. After a while I get sick of the clutter so I tell myself I need to decide to do something with them, or just break down and throw them away. Since I already took the time to wash the jars and peel the labels off, today I decided to decorate one and use it for a dog treat jar.

To decorate my jar, I first took one of the clean jars and sprayed the outside with a primer. (Some people paint the insides of jars for decorative projects so the outside keeps it’s shiny appearance, but since I am putting food in this jar, this has to be painted on the outside. Pr

imers come in several different colors so I like to choose a color that will look good coming through the paint when the jar wears and scratches. I like the worn look so on some of the jars I intentionally sand and scratch them to bring out the primer color underneath. This effect especially looks good on mason jars that have raised print on them. Since we are using pickle jars today we won’t go into that.

I love the look of chalk paint so I have neutral colors of homemade chalk paint stored in containers just for projects like this. If you are interested in the chalk paint recipe, you can click here.  I paint on two thin coats, letting the first layer dry before painting the second layer. You can put on as many layers as you like. Just make sure the layers are thin and dry in between each coat.

Next I used Mod Podge to glue some fabric around the lid. The easiest way I found to do this was to paint the glue onto the top of the lid, then lay the lid directly onto the piece of fabric. Then I cut around it giving just enough room to fold into the inside of the jar. I painted the sides and just barely over the edges, folded the fabric over and then screwed the lid on while it dried with the fabric pressed up against it. I created the graphic with my Silhouette Cameo 3 and used a stick on vinyl but if you don’t have a cutting machine to create with you could decorate your jar with scrapbooking stickers for fun. When you are finished, be sure to use a clear coat finishing spray to seal your paint in and protect it. Those come in different sheens so if you like the chalky look you can choose a flat or eggshell sheen on it. If you like a glossier look there are semi-gloss and full gloss sheens as well.

If your dogs are anything like mine, they want to be anywhere you are. This certainly includes my craft room and when I spend a significant amount of time in there they just find a spot to nap. Because of this I have a big dog pillow bed on the floor and a bench seat so they can nap while I work on projects. Now I also have an adorable treat jar for them in my craft room as well so you could say they have officially moved in!

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