Wooden Puzzles – our new adventure with the scroll saw!

Last week we were browsing around (our extensive library of books) and the internet looking for inspiration for new things to add to our skill set (and the shop!). We found a little pot of gold called “scroll saw puzzles.” 🙂 What set of little hands doesn’t love the weight and feel of a piece of wood? Not to mention the fact that puzzles are great for growing minds … and keeping the wood natural means it’s a completely safe, non-toxic toy! Win, win, and win some more.

There are a number of FREE puzzle patterns available to get you started! The cutest one we found was this T-Rex. (This link takes you to a wonderful page with instructions and other designs, as well! Scroll down for the T-Rex.)  We copied him at 100% and used double-sided carpet tape to adhere the design to a scrap piece of 3/4″ pine. Clear pine is great because it’s knot-free, but it’s also a LOT more expensive. Depending on the details in your puzzle, most books recommend plywood for strength. You can use your discretion. For large pieces that don’t have a lot of detail, solid wood should be fine.

Want to find more free puzzle designs for the scroll saw? Check out my board on Pinterest right here! I will be adding more as we find them … 🙂

Ready to see the finished work? Here are a few that we’ve put together this week!

wooden owl puzzle scotty dog puzzle

There are many more to share with you … so consider this post To Be Continued… on Thursday!

~ The Woodworker’s Wife

Chalkboard Shapes – our DIY gallery

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What do you think of our shapes? I love them all – especially the quote bubble. We’ve sold more than a few of these in the shop already and we’re working on more! Chalkboards are fun and easy (if you have the patience with painting several coats!) and they are so great to use around the house. I’m thinking the nieces and nephews might be getting these for birthdays this year…

What other shapes should we add to the gallery? Trains? Fire Trucks?

~ The Woodworker’s Wife

DIY Shaped Chalkboards

I’ve been painting and cutting out chalkboards for the last few weeks and I’ve learned more than a few things in the process. 🙂 What could be cuter than a shaped chalkboard for a kid’s room? Or in the kitchen? What about one just for leaving notes to your sweetheart in the morning? I saw one on Etsy and just had to try it for myself.

We started with 1/4″ plywood… I penciled the outline of something that resembled my inspiration, and traced it onto the wood. In the same process that used to make the LOVE doorhanger (see my post here), I cut out the shape and then sanded the edges of the shape. There were a couple problems with this method, one of which is splitting veneer. As soon as you cut around the outline, the veneer on the plywood splinters off around curved edges and corner cuts. Then you have to sand/fill to make the surface smooth enough for chalk paint. My solution? Use hardboard instead! Cuts beautifully, no splintering, and the surface is perfectly smooth because it’s a composite product. Also, it’s about half the price. Winning.

Before we get to the pretty, here are a few of my other tips on using chalkboard paint:

1. Apply chalkboard paint (I love Rustoleum, personally) with either a sponge or a dense foam roller for a smooth finish. A roller will give you a more textured finish, where the sponge will give you more “lines” in the finish. It’s whatever you prefer.

2. Apply at least three coats of paint for a good working, erase-able finish.

3. When finishing the back of your board, using a foam roller will be faster, and give you a more even color. You can finish the back in any way you like, but I recommend Rustoleum indoor/outdoor water-based paint. It’s water resistant, dries quickly, and covers well.

4. When you finish painting your three coats (or more if you like), let the paint dry for a good 24 hours. Rub down your entire piece with chalk and then wipe clean. You’ve conditioned the chalkboard paint and it’s ready to use!!

So, how did ours turn out?

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What do you think? They look adorable on the easel stands, but honestly they are not sturdy enough to write on while sitting on them. My next one is going to either get a ribbon hanger, or maybe get mounted on the wall with command strips. Live and learn, right? But I couldn’t be happier with how CUTE they are!!

What other shapes would you make? We made a house, a flower … and I’ll share those with you soon!

~ The Woodworker’s Wife

DIY “LOVE” door hanger

I’ve shared the general pattern with you, now for the process! In case you want to try this yourself, I’m going to show you all the steps that are involved with a simple scroll saw project. 🙂 We begin with the pattern – I typed up “LOVE” in a plain document in 650 pt font size – one letter per page. When you print them out, then tape them together to form a square – as you saw in my earlier post. What happens next? To the plywood!

The pattern is taped to the 1/4″ plywood square (about 18″ square to be precise) using indoor carpet tape. Apply the tape to the plywood first, then remove the paper and smooth the paper pattern onto the tape to secure it to the wood! You can trim the extra tape off if you like so that it doesn’t slow the blade down once you go to cut it on the saw.

Here is the pattern taped down (using double sided carpet tape) and ready to cut with the saw!

Here is the pattern taped down (using double sided carpet tape) and ready to cut with the saw!

Close up of the pattern so you can see the tape. I like to cut away the excess before going to work.

Close up of the pattern so you can see the tape. I like to cut away the excess before going to work.

It's cut out!

It’s cut out! When you’re finished cutting, the carpet tape and the paper pattern will peel off quite easily, and cleanly.

Couldn't resist adding some scrapbook paper and for flair. It's easy to be accurate when you lay the finished wood cutout on top of the paper and trace.

Couldn’t resist adding some scrapbook paper and for flair. It’s easy to be accurate when you lay the finished wood cutout on top of the paper and trace.

As you can see, it’s a process. I also painted the back to make it more weatherproof – because we don’t have a storm door to protect it from the elements. After pasting on the paper with Mod Podge, I sealed it with a gloss spray paint. Makes it shiny and beautiful!

TA-DA!!! Finished!! Just added some sheer ribbon for hanging.

finished love doorhangerThe second one looks totally different and I will share that with you soon! 🙂 I mean, if one is good, two is better, right?

~ The Woodworker’s Wife

3-D Icicle Ornaments

The Holidays may be over, but I am still excited about these little things. 3-D ornaments cut on the scroll saw? Awesome! My Woodworker tried this out for the first time after seeing some inspiration in a magazine. We often pour over the magazines in the bookstore (coffee in hand, of course!) and find loads of inspiration. This time it was too good to leave for “someday,” and we went home to figure it out. And so, these were born!

A few more beauties for you to look at - the middle one was cut from Walnut. When they hang on the tree, we poke a Christmas light through the cage on the top of them and they sparkle!

A few more beauties for you to look at – the middle one was cut from Walnut. When they hang on the tree, we poke a Christmas light through the cage on the top of them and they sparkle!

Two of my personal favorites. These are cut from cottonwood, and have yet to be "finished," with either paint or tung oil. Aren't the details beautiful?

Two of my personal favorites. These are cut from cottonwood, and have yet to be “finished,” with either paint or tung oil. Aren’t the details beautiful?

 

We have recently finished a project that I am very excited about sharing with you – hopefully later this week! It was one of those late-night things… spur of the moment… and they always end up being my favorites. 🙂

~ The Woodworker’s Wife

Happy New Year {from the Woodworker’s Wife}!

"The One that Got Away," out of birch plywood. We rounded all the edges to give it a finished look.

“The One that Got Away,” out of birch plywood. We rounded all the edges to give it a finished look. 

 

The star is walnut, and the base is birch plywood. This was a gift for my Grandpa, a Koren War Veteran.

The star is walnut, and the base is birch plywood. This was a gift for my Grandpa, a Korean War Veteran.

Happy New Year from me, the Woodworker’s Wife. To ring in the new year, here is a review of a few things that we made for Christmas this year. My brother and my Man worked hard on these, and Grandpa loved them. There’s nothing like giving a gift that’s hand-made. 🙂

As I look forward to the new year, I can see all the beautiful possibilities… we have a huge pile of barn wood in the garage, and I can’t wait to get cracking! I’ll be sharing some of my inspiration with you later this week … 

~ The Woodworker’s Wife

Merry Christmas, Deer ~

Remember these guys? They're finished! Here's a close up of the little Christmas tree, too.

Remember these guys? They’re finished! Here’s a close up of the little Christmas tree, too!

cork board deer

Here are my little deer inside of a plain shadow box that we made – out of old cedar boards and cork. Cute, but plain.

merry christmas deer

I added some cute scrapbook paper to give it more interest. Now it looks like it could be snowing there …

 

Here’s “the rest of the story,” on my first scroll saw project! The little reindeer turned out to be so cute, I had to put them inside of a shadow box. It’s Christmas Eve… and I won’t bore you with the details.

Merry Christmas to all ~ from my shop to yours.

~ The Woodworker’s Wife