Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Down and Dirty Gift Boxes

For my upcoming wedding I want to make some gift boxes for the bridesmaids, groomsmen and other family members.  Unfortunately I do not have a lot of time left to make these, so I searched online for inexpensive wood boxes.

The boxes above can be found at Michael's Arts & Crafts stores.  I bought 7 boxes for the bridesmaids and some of the women in our family.  These gift boxes will hold embroidered handkerchiefs I special ordered. 

These boxes are nice, but raw.  There are a lot of imperfections to fix and there is no finish, so the wood feels rough.  The first step was to removed the hinges and clasps from each box.

Having a magnetic tray is very helpful for not losing any of the small hardware.

A magnetic pick up tool is also helpful for when I dropped the very small screws on the floor and under my work bench.

With all the boxes apart, it was time to start perfecting these boxes.

I used my belt sander to round over all the edges of the tops and bottoms of each box.

Without rounding over the edges, the boxes look like this...

...after rounding over, the edges look like this.

Next I used some wood filler to fill in a lot of cracks and imperfections.

The wood filler works great on the smaller cracks...

...but some of the larger cracks needed extra attention.

Those big cracks received a small bead of wood glue...

...which filled and strengthened the wood.

Once all the filler dried I sanded the whole boxes with finer sandpaper.

It took me the better part of one morning to get this far.

Next I cleaned up the boxes and prepped them for staining.

I used Danish oil with walnut coloring on these boxes.  I applied it with a rag.

For the inside corners I used a small brush.

The inside box top and box bottom didn't receive any Danish oil, as they will eventually get covered up.

After the oil was applied I let the boxes dry for several hours.

Once dry, I reassembled each box.

Then I brought them inside and took out my stamp set.

I added different stamp designs to every box using silver ink.  Black ink would have shown through better, but sadly my black ink pad had dried up.

After putting designs on each box, I added each person's name.

They didn't all come out super straight, but I think it looks cool still.

Once all the boxes were stamped, it was back into the workshop... receive a coat of satin clear enamel.

Every surface received the clear coat and was left to dry for a few more hours.

Once dry, I sanded each box with a very fine sanding sponge.

Then they were cleaned up and brought inside again.

Next I took some old fabric I had lying around from my older days of product photography, and cut them into pieces that would fit the bottom of the boxes.

I then used hot glue to glue the fabric to the bottom edges of the box.

With all of those complete, I then designed some cards for each of the people receiving these gifts and printed them out.

I cut out the cards and attached them to the inside-top of each box.

The last thing to do was wait for my embroidered handkerchiefs to show up.

I'll keep the handkerchiefs in their plastic packaging until the day of the wedding.  If I took them out now and placed them in each box, they would no doubtingly smell a bit like Danish oil and Clear Coat come the wedding.

With all the boxes done for the women receiving gifts, I repeated the process for all the men receiving gifts.

The men received personalized Swiss army knives in a smaller box.  But I used the same stamps,  fabric for the bottoms and also printed my thank yous on each box top.

All these boxes only took me a few days to make and I think they look great.  A small sign of appreciation for those close to us.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Penguin Stand Ups

For a year or two I've had these cool looking cut-out penguins on my pinterest board.

I've always meant to buy them or try to make them, but have had a million other projects I'm always working on.  Fortunately this Christmas someone got my fiancee a set of 4 small penguin stand ups.

These things are made up of 2 pieces of thin plywood, silhouettes of the penguins from the side and front/back.

These things are only about 1.5 inches tall, so I think I want to make them a little bigger, and perhaps work them into my upcoming wedding.  So I scanned all sides of the penguins.

I also have a lot of 5" x 7" pieces of .25" thick plywood, spray painted white, from a project that never came to fruition.  I think I'll use them for these penguins.

Using the scanned image as a template I made new silhouettes in Adobe Illustrator.

 Then I sized them up and printed them out to use as templates.

Next I took the templates and applied spray adhesive them and attached them to the pieces of plywood.

Then I cut them out on the band saw.

The first penguin is a success.

I removed the template and began sanding the edges of both pieces.

Then I used the 2 cut pieces as templates and traced the shape on all the other pieces of plywood.

This didn't take much time despite the amount of plywood I had set aside for this...

...However, cutting them all out on the band saw did take some time.

So I did this slowly, in between other projects I was working on.

Later that day I cut out a few more.

Then a few days later I cut out even more.

When I was finally done I had 12 large penguins, and 3 small penguins - a total of 15.

Now it was time to smooth the cut sides.  For this I used a small drum sander on my drill press.

I also used a little sandpaper to get the edges soft to the touch.  Then I cleaned them up and gave them a fresh coat of white spray paint.

After letting them dry for a day I began painting on the black.  Spray paint would have been easier, but I opted to slowly paint it by hand.

This I also did during my spare time, painting a few of them at a time...

...then letting them dry for a day or two before working on some more.

After a couple days I got around to painting all sides of all 15 penguins.

Then they were bought back into the workshop where they received a light sanding to make them look a little worn.

Finally, I sprayed on some satin clear coat, starting with one side, letting it dry fully and then spraying the other side.

And at last my penguin army is complete!

When my wedding rolled around, I decorated most of the tables with these penguins.

My wedding was a blast, and my wife loved having her favorite animal present.

In retrospect, I should have given all the penguins bow ties, but that's okay.  It was a fun project and several people decided to take some penguins home with them as party favors.