Welcome to the final installment of…
This is it! With Christmas coming this Sunday (What?! No really!), I have one last DIY tutorial for an easy, versatile, and cheap — did I mention it was cheap? — gift idea.
So, rewinding… here’s my Etsy inspiration (just to reiterate, this is inspiration — I did not make this one):
(click on image for original source)
Well, I saw this pic (and its sky high price tag) and thought “I could make one of those!”
… and I did:
In case you’re wondering… or maybe your U.S. geography is a bit rusty… or you haven’t seen that TV show How the States Got Their Shapes (it’s a good one!), this is Tennessee. I made this one for my father, who is a Tennessee native as well as a HUGE Tennessee football fan (thus the orange background). The heart represents Knoxville, which is his hometown as well as the college town. Once I set out to do this project, it only took about three hours and it was surprisingly easy.
Here’s what you’ll need…
- A piece of wood
- Small nails (short length)
- Paint (optional)
- Embroidery string
- Pliers (optional)
- Patience (at first)
How to Make it:
First, I got a piece of wood. I actually found this one at Michael’s for about $10 (they make these with beveled edges and in various sizes and shapes). Looking back, that was not the penny-pinching-est option, but I was strapped for time, so… ya know.
(Later the same day I found THE cheapest option and kicked myself immediately: a wooden cutting board! And I totally saw the PERFECT size at a local Dollar Store for three bucks. Ah well… next time.)
Then I added two layers of Tennessee orange paint to the board and let it dry (I just used an acrylic-in-the-bottle-nothing-fancy paint.)
Next, I Google Image searched for a picture of the state of Tennessee. I found this one and printed it out (I had to use two sheets of paper to appropriately fit my piece of wood).
Then, I cut it out to make a stencil — because you KNOW I’m not about to sketch/free hand that thing. Uh uh.
I traced around the edges lightly, and then…
(Sometimes the hammer and nails did not do exactly what I wanted them to and in those cases, I just manipulated the nails a bit with pliers and re-hammered.)
Or halfway there.
The next part actually made me so nervous, my palms got clammy. I know… weird. But I get really anxious about these kinds of things!
However, once I started going, it was SUPER easy (just the getting started part I had to get over).
I tied the string to an outside point, then began looping it from the heart to the state lines. I used ONE CONTINUOUS PIECE OF STRING (I didn’t cut it, I just held it in my hand as I looped it around).
Given the nature of this particular shape, each nail in the heart held many outside points, so don’t worry if you use the same inside heart nail for 10+ loops (as long as you don’t think it will pop off if brushed accidentally).
Here’s the finished product one mo’ ag’in:
I’m not saying it’s perfect, but I’m pretty pleased with it (and now I’ll know for the next time).
As you can see, I signed it — I was giving it to my dad after all — and used a metallic silver Sharpie. I also used the same Sharpie to color each nail head and add a thin silver line around the beveled edges. This was not really necessary, but sometimes I can’t be stopped when I’ve got a Sharpie in my hand. (Josh finally had to reign me in — his exact words were “You’ve done enough. Put the Sharpie down, Courtney!”)
Hey — let’s look at some more pictures of it! This time, different angles… Go
For a grand total of $12 and 3 hours spent, I have a project that I’m excited about AND that my dad loves!
P.S. — Yes, my dad reads this blog, but he has already received this as an early Christmas gift. He came to visit this past weekend, and posed with the problem of safely wrapping it for his suitcase on the plane, I decided just to give it to him early and enlist his excellent engineering skills to solve this problem. Something about cardboard and a platform??? I don’t know… I let him figure it out. :)