It’s funny how our tastes change over time, and things eventually come full circle. I still maintain that I LOVE COLOR… but I also have a true appreciation for wood grain that I never had before. It was a slow progression… starting with this coffee table, and continuing with this buffet when I discovered that I could ‘shade with stain’. And from there I’ve grown to love how wood and color complement each other.
So today I’m gonna show you guys how to make your own state or country plaque using a scroll saw!
We have some slabs of pine leftover from our butcherblock counters that we’re building in the bathroom (and by we, I mean Nick)… Even though it’s just plain ol’ pine, I love the high contrast wood grain. It’s even more amazing after it’s been stained! You can really use any wood you have on hand though. Ours has a 1” thickness.
The majority of my family members live in Iowa, but my older brother and sis-in-law live in Chicago, so I decided to make them an Illinois plaque! I haven’t told them yet, so this will be a test to see if they read my blog *devious laugh*… Hi Nathan, Kelly and Miles! Can you hear me?
I did a Google Image search for ‘outline of Illinois’ and pulled up this… perfect!
After printing this image out onto a transparency (or tracing with a fine point Sharpie), I got out my trusty overhead projector. I use my projector ALL. THE. TIME. If you don’t have one… get one! Or, contact your local library and see if they have one that they loan out. They often do for free!
I traced around the perimeter of the state with a pencil, being as precise as possible.
Now comes the fun part! Just cut along the lines using your scroll saw… kinda like sewing! I promise you, it’s soooo simple. This is the one I use and it’s A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. But if you’re looking for a more mid-range (read: less expensive) then this one is also great quality and handles well! Whatever you do, don’t buy a scroll saw in the $100-$200 range. You’ll regret it for sure.
This next pic is could be considered an ‘artsy’ aerial image of me operating the scroll saw. But then I remembered that this is actually the view that my 6’8” hubs has of me at all times.
I give you… Illinois!
The scroll saw gives you a pretty clean cut, but it’s still a good idea to lightly sand everything down and make it super smooth. Like buttah.
Finally I gathered my staining supplies: clean/dry cloth, small paint brush, can of stain (Rustoleum Dark Walnut is my FAVE… no reddish tint at all!). It’s a good idea to wear gloves when you’re doing this, cause if you’re like me, you’ll have stain all over your hands when you’re done.
I put a heart sticker on the city (borrowed from the girls, who receive them as rewards for pooping on the toilet… we call them poop stickers!). I did this because I don’t want any stain in that spot. I started staining dark around the city, and working my way away from it… blending with the cloth. It’s one of those things that you just have to DO to get the feel for it. You can also just stain it a solid color too!
Then I stained around the edges and wiped off the excess.
Once I had stained Illinois to my liking, I peeled off the sticker, The stain will always seep under the edges a little, so I used my craft brush to lightly crisp-up the edges of the heart. You’ll want to make sure there’s very little stain on the brush for this, or else you’ll have even more seepage.
There she blows! (get it? Windy City?)
Another option that you can do is to paint the outside edge a fun/bright color like we did on this united states plaque. We also painted the heart the same yellow. I’m loving the bright combo of color and wood grain. Just use a small paint brush, and some acrylic paint in the color of your choice!
I’ll have you know that I almost painted it turquoise, but I knew a lot of you would call me out on it since I’m ‘fasting’ from turquoise until further notice. BUT! Someone ordered a Mississippi Plaque (hi Rebecca!), and asked for turquoise edges! whatareyagonnado? (YAY!)
Speaking of Mississippi, are you aware of how curvy that western border is? I bet you are now.
BAM! If I wasn’t a scroll saw pro before, I definitely am after cutting THAT. And as you can see in the above pic, you don’t have to go with a heart to mark your city. You can use a star… or an anchor. Adorbs.
So there you go! Class dismissed! Are there any questions? Are you going to give this a try? Do any of you live on one of those tiny squiggles on the western boarder of Mississippi?
Thanks for pinning!
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