Thursday, January 31, 2013

Valentine Ideas • Incire

Yesterday, I learned something new from another blog and I just have to pass it on. (That is why we blog, right?)

I have been thoroughly enjoying my new paper cutting machine and have been out there pinning ideas. I came across the blog Extreme Cards and Paper Crafting which I started to follow a little while ago. The post there yesterday had me stop what I was working on and immediately switch gears to try out something new. Something new that is old.

It is called incire, or cut,fold and tuck. It is a paper crafting technique that I can find no history on but one that I have tried years ago. What this blog did for me was teach me the name - incire. And if you have a name, Google search is your friend!

Not only did Carol from Extreme Cards and Papercrafting share the name but she also has the files for this project available for download! I immediately downloaded them and was cutting away within minutes! Thank you Carol! I made this solid red version first.

Carol's sample used double sided paper. I didn't have any with print on both sides but I do have a selection of papers with print on one side and white on the other so I then tried my pink heart version. Here is an angle shot so you can see the cut, fold and tuck technique.

And an action shot!

I used my Silhouette cutting machine but the cuts on this template are really simple. This design could be made by hand using an xacto blade, no Silhouette necessary.

Taking this concept a little further has me excited. I did a Google image search on Incire and found many exciting examples. I know that years ago I saw an example of an Incire border like this one made into bookmarks by  Ellany over on SplitCoaster Stampers.

That inspired me to modify the concept and create my Christmas Card from 2006 pictured below. But that was long before I had a cutting machine and I made 70 of these with an xacto blade!

My image search showed me my idea was not the only Christmas tree and that there is a design out there for one that includes the more traditional tuck aspect of Incire which mine did not. This one also comes from the Extreme Card website.

Looking forward to exploring this concept further.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wood Slice Wall Art • Tutorial

As promised in my last post, here are the steps I followed for making the rustic branch wall art in my laundry room.

You need to know that right after I posted my branch wall art yesterday, I got a telephone call from my daughter teasing me. "Mom, you are just about the only person in the world that worries about art in the laundry room!"

Could be!

Supplies Needed:
  • Assorted branches in a variety of diameters - 3/4" up to 4"
  • 1 piece masonite or other 1/8" thick material for backing big enough for your composition
  • Epoxy glue
  • Paint to match the wall
  • Roll of paper & thin markers to make plan
  • Paint Brush
  • Sandpaper
  • Spray adhesive
  • Saw - band saw, dremel saw

The process:

  • Collect a variety of sticks and logs. I selected ones with smooth bark like birch, beech and maple. 

  • Using whatever saw you have access to be it band saw, miter saw or hand saw and miter box, cut the branches into a variety of thicknesses. I cut them from 1/4" to 3" in length. I cut about 75 but ended up using 50. 

  • Sand one end smooth. I used a belt sander but this could have been accomplished by hand. It would take a lot longer though. I do appreciate the access I have to my husband's workshop!

  • Roll out a piece of paper large enough for your finished wall hanging. I used the back side of some ugly Christmas wrapping paper I had.
  • Arrange the disks in a random layout. I achieved this by taking the 4 largest and placed one near the top, one near the bottom and two in the middle area.
  • I then filled in around them with a variety of diameters. 
  • I tried to never have two pieces of the same height touching.
  • Once you have a layout you are pleased with, trace its outline with a marker.
  • Put a sticker on each piece and number them sequentially.
  • Remove each disk, one by one, and sketch its location adding the number for future identification.

  • Spray adhesive to the back of your drawing and quickly place it on the backing material. I used 1/8" masonite.
  • Don't let the glue dry, but spray and place quickly. This will allow you to peel the plan off later.
  • I skteched a line 1/4" inside of the outside rim of my composition. This will be my cut line because I want the wood slices to hang over the edge of the backboard. I don't want the back board visible when this is mounted on the wall.

  • I drilled holes at each of the pinch points. This step is a convenience so the saw blade doesn't get stuck in a corner. I can maneuver more easily if there are open holes.

  • Working on a band saw I cut out the design. The red mark you see above is the inside cut mark I am cutting too. 
  • This step could be completed with a little Dremel jig saw as well, and maybe even better because it has a tiny blade. 

  • Once the design is cut out carefully peel off the paper design.
  • You need to save this to help relocate the wood slices so don't let it rip apart as you peel.
  • Take a piece of sand paper and do a quick sanding on all edges. They don't need to be super smooth but you do want to remove the roughness.

  • Paint the back board to match the wall.
  • There will be many gaps in the arrangement of wood slices and you want the color showing through to match the wall. I had paint left over from the laundry room re-do.
  • It required three coats to cover and I painted both sides.

  • Once the paint dried, I placed all the disks on the backboard, rearranging them for the best coverage. I tried to match the plan.
  • I mixed up a batch of 2-Ton epoxy, applied some to the bottom of each wood slice and pressed it in place.
  • I saved a couple well placed small wood slices out and didn't glue them down.
  • Instead, I screwed the wall hanging to the wall in those locations and then used Blue Tack to stick the wood slice covers over the screws.
And the final result is all I had hoped for. It reflects my love of nature and the warmth it adds by using it indoors but still has a contemporary flair to it.

Send photographs if decide to make a wood slice wall hanging for your home!

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Rustic Décor with a Contemporary Flair

I finished the second décor item for my new laundry room yesterday (I posted about the first - the tiny houses -  here) and spent a frustrating morning trying to photograph it. It is hanging on a long skinny wall near the entrance to the laundry and visible from the kitchen. Lighting it for good photography is impossible with the equipment I have. But I tried. I am not thrilled with the photos but I love the piece.

For this piece I used inspiration for a design created by Liv and Jeff McMillan and shared on both Apartment Therapy and Curbly. They created their wall art by sticking wood slices to the wall. I approached it differently and will share my technique in a tutorial in my next post.

The construction is made up of over 50 slices of wooden branches. If you have been following me for any time you'll know I love working with materials from nature and branches in particular. I have posted an entire series on inspirations for branches in décor here. If you love branches you should check out that resource. For this project I used smooth bark varieties including maple and black birch.

The branches were of a variety of diameters with the largest about 4". I cut them into a variety of heights and worked to create a random composition with them.

I considered the long skinny wall, right inside the door of my laundry room and created a composition with proportions just for that wall.

This piece looks rather static straight on, but the beauty of this location is that I always approach it from an angle and the various depth add to the dynamic composition.

And the view from the kitchen is truly inviting.

One of the reasons I designed my laundry room is to have a place to stage entertaining events, you know those huge family Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. My plan was to keep the door shut and contain the mess and mayhem of entertaining in this room. Adding attractive features like this means I'll have to keep the room neat. That was not the plan!

Update: I have posted the step-by-step tutorial for this project here.

With so many of my projects I am captivated by the visuals created as I work. Here are a few photos that caught my eye.

Here is a photo of the original work by Liv and Jeff. Thanks for the inspiration!
Photo credit: Liv McMillian

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

DIY End Tables - Tutorial

My previous post was filled with pretty pictures sharing with you these new end tables David and I made last week. Click to that post for added visual details and the story behind creating this new addition to our living space. Blog posts load far too slowly to include all the pictures of both the process and the finished item in one post. This is the "how-to" post for our new end tables with hidden extra storage.


Supplies Needed
  • Fabric - enough to cover the cylinders and in a medium weight. You don't want to see through it.
  • Concrete footing tubes- We used 8" diameter and purchased enough for 2 lengths at 20 1/4" for each end table.
  • Veneer covered 3/4 ply wood for top and base. We used oak although would have preferred cherry. Oak was available in 2' squares at Lowes. This project required 1 24"x24" square for each table.
  • Wood 3/4" thick - big enough to cut 4 circles from for interior of cylinders for each table
  • Edge Trim - we used oak trim available at Lowes
  • Spray Adhesive - I used 3M Super 77
  • Wood glue - Tite Bond
  • Small brads - 3/4"
  • Sand paper- 80 and 120 grit
  • Epoxy
  • 4 wood screws 1 1/4"
  • 4 adjustable legs levelers
  • Plastic Wood
  • Stain
  • Polyurethane
Tools Needed
  • Saws - we used both a table saw and a band saw. This could have been done with a skill saw and a guideline jig or you could have the top and bottom cut to size at the home improvement store for a fee. 
  • Miter Saw - for cutting the edge trim
  • Sander - used an hand orbital sander
  • Screw Driver
  • Drill with tiny bit
  • Hammer
  • Nail punch
  • Foam Brush
  • Sewing Machine and thread (Optional)

The Procedure
Note: I am very lucky to have access to my husband's workshop and to some great power tools. This project can be done with other methods as well and I have noted that through out the instructions. You don't need a wood shop like this one to create this project!
  • Cut the top and bottom to size. Ours were as follows but you can customize this to meet your space.
    • Top: 24" x 13"
    • Bottom: 20" x 13"
  • David used a table saw because we have one but the plywood could have been cut by the folks at the home improvement center for a fee, or by using a skill saw and straight guide. Just be careful to have a good blade and cut so that if the wood splinters, it will be on the bottom.

  • Cut the trim to fit all four sides with 45º angles for the top and bottom using the miter saw. Precision is important here so practice on scrap wood.

  • Drill little holes evenly spaced in the trim to attach it to the sides of the tops and bottoms.  This is to hammer brads in to hold the trim in place. The hole needs to fit the brad. Nailing directly through the trim will probably cause it to crack. I spaced the holes every 3". I used a drill press but this could have easily been done using a hand drill.
  • Apply a layer of the wood glue to the edge of the top and nail each trim piece in place carefully lining up the corners and the top edge.  

  • Wipe off all excess glue.
  • Use a nail punch to recess the nails.
  • Fill the holes (and any bad corners) with plastic wood and allow to dry.
  • Plastic wood tends to shrink so I added a second layer and allowed that to dry as well.

  • Sand everything well. I used both 80 grit and 120 grit sand paper.
  • Pay especially close attention to any areas where the glue seeped out. You must be sure to sand all of that off or the stain won't take there.
  • Meanwhile, during the various drying times, start work on the cylinders.
  • David cut our cylinders to length on the table saw but a hand saw could be used as well.
  • Select your fabric. I used fabric scraps leftover from when we had our window shades professionally covered. 

  • I had to sew the strips together. I also hemmed the upper and lower seams to prevent unravelling. This step isn't necessary but does lead to a more finished look on the inside.
  • The final seam that will show on the outside of the cylinder is important. It will be glued in place and visible. I worked carefully to cut this even with the weave to limit unraveling. If I had a loose weave fabric I would have hemmed that seam. I am relying on the glue to hold in place.

  • Working in a well ventilated area, spray glue onto both the cylinder and the fabric.
  • Also spray glue inside both the top and bottom edges of the cylinder.You have about 30 minutes to carefully place the cylinder onto the fabric and roll the fabric around it being careful to avoid wrinkles and creases.

  • Fold the fabric down into both ends.
  • Here puckers will form and that is ok.
  • The glue you sprayed inside holds the fabric in place.
Now back to the wood parts.
  • Cut and sand wooden circles to fit inside the cylinders with attached fabric.
  • You need one for each bottom and these need to be a fairly close fit.
  • You need one for each top and these should taper to make them easier to put on and off.
  • I cut these out of scrap pine but 3/4" plywood would work as well.

  • The circles were carefully placed to be equi-distant from all edges and then screwed in place using 1 1/4" screws. Two were placed on top of the base and two were screwed to the bottom of the top

  • Stain the top and bottom. I used Minwax Stain. I did one coat of cherry, allowed that to dry for about 1 hour and did a final coat of Minwax Early American. This was to match some of the colors already in our living space. I had done some stain testing in advance to determine the mix. (Apologies for the poor photo - Didn't want to bring the SLR into the finishing area.)

  • Above is a good view of the two bases with the disks attached. The cylinders slide over those disks.
  • Once the stain is dry, apply two coats of satin finish polyurethane and allow to dry.
         (I forgot to take photos of the final steps.)
  • Apply a liberal coating of epoxy to the edge of the disks on the base and slide the cylinders over them. Place the top on the end table and put a weight on top of that until the epoxy is set. I used 2-ton epoxy which has a 30 minute set time. Note- there is NO epoxy on the top part.
  • I added 4 leg levelers to the underside of the base. These allow me to adjust the table so it won't wobble.

  • I inserted nuts into scrap disks and glued them into each corner of the base.

We brought all the parts into the living room and assembled them in place. An end table went on each end of the sofa.

And, of course the bonus is that the tops come easily off.........

And I have storage!

I know, round storage is a little weird but I knew when I designed these that I needed storage for my table runners. Those roll up and store beautifully in the cylinders and are now conveniently located right next to the dining table. The tables were designed specifically for this use. And for coffee and tea cups!

These would also be a beautiful storage spot for knitting needles, yarn and a knitting project, right next to the couch! Or how about a soft fleece blanket?

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©2013AshbeeDesign, Marji Roy
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