DIY Foil Prints…

I know gold is totally in right now: Gold hardware, gold frames, gold jewelry, gold dipped ___ (fill in the blank). And yet, I don’t have gold anything. It’s one of those finishes that I like when I see it in other people’s homes, but I can’t commit to it in my own home. But one thing I can commit to: Gold foil prints. They’re all over Etsy and I love the punch they add to a bookshelf. Let me tell you: these are as easy as they are cheap.

Here’s my post from HowDoesshe.com this month:
Gold foil prints are in and they are easier to create than I could have imagined. You only need three things to complete this simple project: A laser print, toner reactive foil and a laminator.
Life with Fingerprints: Make your own gold foil prints with toner reactive foil
First, create your black and white graphic (get the shamrock here) and print on a laser printer (which uses toner). We have an ink jet printer so I sent the file to my local print shop (Kinkos, Staples) and spent 14¢ to have it printed on card stock. Little tip – save yourself another trip and print 2 or 3 just in case you mess up!

Life with Fingerprints: Make your own gold foil prints with toner reactive foil
Make sure your print is free from any dust or fibers (it will make it so the foil doesn’t stick in those areas.) Carefully roll out your toner reactive foil (find gold at amazon or purchase a variety of colors by the yard here) to completely cover your black and white image, gold side up.

Life with Fingerprints: Make your own gold foil prints with toner reactive foil
Place a piece of plain printer paper over the top and carefully send it through your laminator. In order for this to work properly, the foil must get hot enough to bind to the black toner. I originally sent it through the laminator with card stock over the top and it didn’t work. My laminator also came with a laminating envelope which was too thick as well for the foil to get hot enough.

Life with Fingerprints: Make your own gold foil prints with toner reactive foil
Once it comes out of the laminator and cools, you’ll see how the gold is stuck to the toner.

Life with Fingerprints: Make your own gold foil prints with toner reactive foilLife with Fingerprints: Make your own gold foil prints with toner reactive foil
The only thing left to do is slowly pull the gold foil back and you’re done.

Life with Fingerprints: Make your own gold foil prints with toner reactive foil
Life with Fingerprints: Make your own gold foil prints with toner reactive foil
Quotes, holiday prints, cards…go crazy. Gold foil everything. You know you want to try it!

DIY Walnut Chalkboard…

I’ve worked with pine, poplar and maple and each served its purpose for a specific project but I have a new love; walnut. It has the most beautiful grain and color and I wish I could afford to build every project using it.

You can’t buy walnut at home depot which meant I found myself at a local hardwood store where the man working was anything but helpful. Evidently a woman with a small child in tow isn’t his typical customer. He was so helpful (sarcasm), at one point he asked another customer (who obviously buys a lot of wood there) to help me while he stood at the desk. Awesome. I think I had steam coming out of my ears. No, I wasn’t on an errand from my husband. Yes, I have purchased hardwood before and I know how it works. I was so mad I didn’t purchase wood that day and I was bound and determined to find another place to give my business to. Wouldn’t you know it, it’s the only one in the area close. Two days later, I swallowed my pride, took my baby back to the store and made my purchase without making eye contact. That’ll show him!

I had him square one side (which he ended up squaring the wrong side – go figure), so I could run it through the table saw for my finished size.
Life with Fingerprints: DIY Walnut chalkboard using Kreg Jig, Graco TruCoat, Rustoleum Chalkboard paint
I also used the table saw to rout out the back side so the chalkboard would fit in it. This was yet another reminder that I need to buy a router because it took forever, especially since I wasn’t cutting through the entire piece. Painful process.
Life with Fingerprints: DIY Walnut chalkboard using Kreg Jig, Graco TruCoat, Rustoleum Chalkboard paint
As usual, my Kreg jig made it’s appearance and I joined the corners with glue and some screws.
Life with Fingerprints: DIY Walnut chalkboard using Kreg Jig, Graco TruCoat, Rustoleum Chalkboard paint
Life with Fingerprints: DIY Walnut chalkboard using Kreg Jig, Graco TruCoat, Rustoleum Chalkboard paint
I’ve found I’m always happier with my joints if I pipe clamp them while inserting the screws. Much tighter fit.
Life with Fingerprints: DIY Walnut chalkboard using Kreg Jig, Graco TruCoat, Rustoleum Chalkboard paint
My favorite part about working with walnut – because the wood is so beautiful in its raw form – there’s no need for stain. I did four coats of wipe-on poly to seal it and that’s it.

I wanted a smooth chalkboard surface. I used birch plywood and I sprayed Rustoleum Chalkboard paint with my Graco TruCoat. This is one of those times that I almost convinced myself to paint it by hand because I didn’t want to worry about clean-up on such a small project but that sprayer is so much nicer and even with cleanup it’s way faster. The only disadvantage: You use a lot more paint.
Life with Fingerprints: DIY Walnut chalkboard using Kreg Jig, Graco TruCoat, Rustoleum Chalkboard paint
Life with Fingerprints: DIY Walnut chalkboard using Kreg Jig, Graco TruCoat, Rustoleum Chalkboard paint
Following the instructions on the chalkboard paint, after you’ve painted the surface you need to rub chalk over the whole chalkboard. It makes it so when you write on it the first time, you’re able to erase it.
Life with Fingerprints: DIY Walnut chalkboard using Kreg Jig, Graco TruCoat, Rustoleum Chalkboard paint
Life with Fingerprints: DIY Walnut chalkboard using Kreg Jig, Graco TruCoat, Rustoleum Chalkboard paint
Life with Fingerprints: DIY Walnut chalkboard using Kreg Jig, Graco TruCoat, Rustoleum Chalkboard paint
Life with Fingerprints: DIY Walnut chalkboard using Kreg Jig, Graco TruCoat, Rustoleum Chalkboard paint

And now it sits in our kitchen lovely and full of little fingerprints!

DIY Ceiling Tile Art…

My friend had a few leftover ceiling tiles from her new kitchen and I put them to good use. For almost a year, they hung, attached to a simple 2×4 frame.
Life With Fingerprints: DIY Ceiling Tile Art
You can see it in our Back-to-school dinner.
Life With Fingerprints: DIY Ceiling Tile Art
But the edges were rough and it looked unfinished and not quite what I needed for the space. So the ceiling tiles received a makeover.

I built a large frame using 1×4 and 1×3 boards. Using my Kreg jig I made a large rectangle with the 1x4s and then made it look more substantial and thicker by adding 1x3s.
Life With Fingerprints: DIY Ceiling Tile Art
Life With Fingerprints: DIY Ceiling Tile Art
Life With Fingerprints: DIY Ceiling Tile Art
Of course after making the frame, it sat in the office as I debated stain or paint. Once I settled on paint, it sat for another two weeks while I figured out a color. I ended up going to my paint stash and picking up the color I originally used for the barn door (I decided against it because I wanted the door to have a little punch!). The color wasn’t great for the door, but it was perfect for the frame.
Life With Fingerprints: DIY Ceiling Tile Art
Life With Fingerprints: DIY Ceiling Tile Art
Life With Fingerprints: DIY Ceiling Tile Art
Life With Fingerprints: DIY Ceiling Tile Art

Homemade Christmas…part one…

Life with Fingerprints: Homemade Christmas Gifts, wooden nativity puzzle
Steve’s mom made a nativity puzzle just like this years and years ago and it has become a favorite holiday decoration for the grandchildren. When my sister-in-law mentioned last year that she wanted the puzzle – I immediately knew I wanted to re-create it for their family this year when the family gift giving rotation had us giving to them (we won’t give to them for another 8 years!)

This gift has been on my mind most the year. I figured I’d purchase a scroll saw sometime this year which would make this puzzle a breeze. But I didn’t buy one. So I looked to use someone else’s. I couldn’t find anyone. The other problem was trying to find the pattern. The original pattern was out of print and try as I may, I couldn’t find it. By October, I was starting to think of new ideas for gifts. But I couldn’t let this great gift idea go.

In November, I found a laser cutting facility in the area, Phoenix Custom Lasering. They were great to work with and totally affordable. I took a picture of the puzzle and created a pattern from it using Illustrator and they cut it up for me – I figured if I was going to the trouble I might as well make two so we could enjoy one.

I’ve never tole painted so it was a little daunting. But I painted and painted…and painted some more.

For three whole weeks our kitchen table looked like this:
Life with Fingerprints: Homemade Christmas Gifts, wooden nativity puzzle
There was sheer panic when my sister-in-law was stopping by and this is how the table looked. We threw it all in a box and put it in the back room!

I finished it with 18 hours to spare! Painting it wasn’t necessarily difficult – just very detailed and time consuming. If I never tole paint again…it will be okay!
Life with Fingerprints: Homemade Christmas Gifts, wooden nativity puzzle
Life with Fingerprints: Homemade Christmas Gifts, wooden nativity puzzle
Life with Fingerprints: Homemade Christmas Gifts, wooden nativity puzzle

Life with Fingerprints: Homemade Christmas Gifts, wooden nativity puzzle
Like the Lego costumes of Halloween…the puzzle was a lot of work that I won’t do again – but still totally worth it.

DIY Easy Christmas Crafts – Wooden Christmas Star

We’re getting closer to Christmas which means my crafting is coming to a halt as I prepare to send out Christmas cards, attend programs and neighborhood gatherings, etc. Here’s my final craft for this holiday season: A 3 1/2 foot star that sits atop the entertainment center. This was the fastest and cheapest project out of all the projects this week. $4.50 and thirty minutes and that includes staining.
DIY Easy Christmas Crafts - Wooden Christmas Star
I bought the cheapest 1×2 wood that Home Depot sells. Less than $2 a piece. I cut 5 identical pieces and laid them out on the driveway to form the star, no fancy angles, just 90 degree cuts. Once I had it lined up, I nailed (with my nail gun but a hammer would be equally as easy).
DIY Easy Christmas Crafts - Wooden Christmas Star
Due to the nature of semi-thick pieces sitting on top of each other, the last piece that I nailed wouldn’t lay totally flat. So I used a scrap piece to shim it so I could nail it flat.
DIY Easy Christmas Crafts - Wooden Christmas Star
Within 5 minutes I had the whole thing stained and my little sidekick never left my side!
DIY Easy Christmas Crafts - Wooden Christmas Star
DIY Easy Christmas Crafts - Wooden Christmas Star
Most the projects I showcased this week all reside in the entertainment center (that was nonexistent last year) – it took a lot to get it holiday ready!

Check out the other posts from Christmas Craft week:
DIY Easy Christmas Crafts – Holiday forest
DIY Easy Christmas Crafts – Paper straw tree
DIY Easy Christmas Crafts – Holiday pillows
DIY Easy Christmas Crafts – Glitter Christmas lights decor

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