Networked Learning Project Part 2: Wood Wall Art Update

I have been gathering a lot of information for my Networked Learning Project over the past couple weeks and I have been learning a lot about making wooden wall art! I decided to use a phrase from my daughter’s favorite nursery rhyme, “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.” My wood wall art will say: “Out Came the Sun and Dried Up All the Rain.”

After watching lots of YouTube videos and reading reading help forums about techniques and tricks for staining, designing, and painting wood, I finally was ready to dig in and begin! I hit the jackpot and found some scrap wood that a neighbor had put out for the trash and I scooped it up! One piece was the perfect size for my project, which was great that I didn’t have to dabble with a power saw! My sidekick, Hailey, and I took a trip to Home Depot to pick up wood stain, a staining brush, and sand paper. Thanks to a help forum (seen here) on the different stain applicator options (brush, rag, or foam brush), I ended up returning the paint brush and using an old rag to apply my stain! I was pretty excited about saving $10 with this tip, and the rag worked great!  I also went to Michael’s craft store and purchased the remaining items I would need: white acrylic paint, and a small and a medium size paint brushes.

I purchased the few supplies I needed from Home Depot and Michael's craft store with the help of my daughter, Hailey. Thanks to the advise of a help forum, I was able to return the $10 paint brush and use an old rag to apply the stain.

I purchased the few supplies I needed from Home Depot and Michael’s craft store with the help of my daughter, Hailey. Thanks to the advise of a help forum, I was able to return the $10 paint brush and use an old rag to apply the stain.

Last week I accomplished sanding the board and applying the stain to my wood.  I used a power sander which I had never used before, but this video made it pretty easy.  Lucky for me, my husband already had the sandpaper on the power sander from the last time he used it. I only gave my wood a quick sanding to smooth out the rough edges. When I applied the stain to my board, I made sure to rub in the direction of the grain which was a unanimous suggestion on many help forums and videos. The recommendation was to let the stain set for 24 hours before moving on to the next step. I found that my wood needed more like 48 hours to dry, because after 24 hours the board was still tacky.

Here is a flipagram of my wood sanding and staining process!

The YouTube video I followed closely was this one from YouTube DIY crafter, Abby Contrery (seen here). I chose this video because the style of her wood art was most like the style I was trying to create. I found her tutorial easy to follow because she explained each of her steps and her thought process. She sped up the video on parts where she was working and just focused on the important steps, which made her video under 10 minutes. I liked that her tutorial was so concise and to the point. Some other videos I watched were too drawn out and long. 

When it came time to paint the wording on my board, I carefully filled in the letters using the white paint and my smallest paint brush. I tried to be as careful as possible, but the letters came out streaky and uneven. It was definitely harder than I anticipated. I searched some of my go-to videos for an easier way to make my letters look nicer- the “experts” made it look so easy. The DIY YouTube crafter, “Cute As Me,”  mentioned in her video that she went back and outlined her letters with a sharpie (although she forgot to actually show this step in her video). (See video here) This gave me the idea to use a white sharpie or paint pen to try and fix up my lettering. I went back to Michael’s and purchased an oil based paint pen. It helped a little (see before and after pic below), but I am trying not to be so hard on myself because the sanding at the end will take away some of the imperfections. I think the font and size of text I picked was hard for painting. Next time I would also pick a bolder font without the fancy tips on the letters.

I fixed up the edges of my letters with an oil-based Sharpie paint pen.

I fixed up the edges of my letters with an oil-based Sharpie paint pen.

Overall I am happy with how my wooden wall art is turning out. As a learner, I found the YouTube videos to be very helpful in visualizing the steps. The videos I came across offered many different techniques, so ultimately I needed to pick and choose which techniques I liked best and would help me reach the end result I want. My next steps are to finish the lettering and to sand the whole thing it to give it a more rustic look. The sanding is the part I am most concerned about because I don’t want to ruin it. My plan is to sand only a little at a time and add more if needed.  Stay tuned for another update soon!

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