Monday, August 4, 2014

Hand Painted Sand Dollar Sign

When we were in California a few months ago, I couldn't help but think of our stop off in Watsonville at Sand Dollar Beach.  I thought how fun it would be to have one as a souvenir but it t'was not to be.  I found one and it was already broken and basically disintegrated.  I would have to just remember it as a lovely pit stop where the Mr and I had the whole thing to ourselves.

As I was going around the garage after finishing the second armoire and noticed I had a few scraps of wood leftover.  I don't know why but I thought the thin balsa wood scraps I had left might be used for a different project.  So began the next thing the Mr walked in on in my attempt to 1) have cheap art 2) be all green and recycle-y and have something that would remind us of our trip.

I rustled up some beachy looking paint I had on hand.

I had a piece of poplar hobby board left over which was almost a perfect 5x7 slab.  I sanded the edges then began mixing a wash for it.  I mixed a little white and a little bahama blue (middle one) with 1/8 cup of water and brushed it over the board twice.

I knew I wanted to white wash it a little so I sealed it with Annie Sloan clear wax and buffed it shiny.  Then I brushed a white wash of white paint and water over the top.  I let it sit for a minute or two then gently wiped with a paper towel.

I printed out the graphic I had in my head for the design but it wasn't going to work with the width of balsa I had left so like anyone, I was open to changing the concept.  But I still wanted the font on top and bottom so I taped it to the board and traced over it with a pen with moderate pressure.  You can see in the bottom right pic how it transferred and I repeated it with the price on the bottom.

I went with the darker blue to fill it in and I like a more hand painted look so I went with a brush over a paint pen.

With that done, it was time to move on to my 'sand dollars.'  I grabbed a piece of the leftover balsa wood scrap I had (disregard the paint on the bottom).  I got a lid from a sample jar of paint and pushed down on the top to make a circular imprint to trace.

I couldn't find my exacto knife but a utility knife worked just fine.  I made a few intentional outside the line cuts since sand dollars aren't perfectly round.  Then I sanded the edges.

Since I don't have fancy little tools, I grabbed a wee screwdriver from an eyeglass repair kit to make the impressions and holes.  I sat the original pic beside it for reference then began free handing it with the screwdriver.  When the middle design was done, I began carefully punching out the holes.  Balsa wood is very delicate so if you get all aggressive with it, it's going to crack on you.

I used white chalk paint to paint them, two coats.  When they were dry, I grabbed the wood glue and slathered a bit on the back.  I placed it where I wanted it and put some spray gel on top to weight it down until it dried.  You don't have to use spray gel though.  ;-)

I put glue on the back of the other one (see what I mean about how it can crack on you on the back?) and placed it slightly up and to the side.  When it was time to put the braided twine on the side, I taped down the open end.  I used wood glue on the side, taped it at the other end then flipped the sign over so the weight of the sign would be on the twine while it dried.  I repeated with each side.

It really brightens up the dark shelf on the top of the armoire where a lot of light doesn't reach.  Every time I look at it, I think of that great day on the beach even if we didn't have sand dollars of our own.

Since I had everything on hand, it was free to me except for the time put in.

Not bad for scraps that would've otherwise been thrown out!

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  1. You did a really great job with that. I am reminded of that same "sand dollar beach" whenever I look at it and I like that. It fits great with our décor and everything. Good job!

    1. Thanks! I love looking over and seeing that, at least until it's time to start decorating for Fall, which is right around the corner! :-D

  2. That is adorable! I admire/envy your creativity!

    1. Aww, thanks! I think necessity to have cute things for as little money as possible is the driving force! HA!

  3. How fun! That looks really great.

  4. Super cute! This would be adorable in a bathroom. I might just steal this! ;)

  5. How cute is that?! If I had a coastal decor theme anywhere in my house, this project would be happening.

  6. When I first saw the picture at the top of the post, I didn't even doubt that the sand dollars were real. Good job! this is a great project; although I don't have any recent beach trips, we did pick up several rocks in South Dakota on our vacation last week, and you have inspired me to think of something to make with them.

  7. Love this project you did! You did an awesome job making those sand dollars! I thought those were real sand dollars, and I have two bags full of them...(I Iive in Florida) and I was going to nab this idea. I have been making several beachy decor items for my moms lake house in Michigan. She recently passed away and, to keep this house in our family where my sisters and I were raised, as it was actually torn down and rebuilt by the hands of the family a year and a half ago, my husband and I are going to buy it. Hopefully!!! We have had to rent it out right now until my five sisters and I can figure out everything, and to when hubby and I can purchase it. This would be so cute in the bathroom of her house. I love how this looks beachy and vintagy at the same time as I love both! Cute Cute! Have a great day! Oh I found you over at DIY Showoff! Hugs!

  8. I <3 your sand dollars:) Pinned and new follow:)

  9. Oh I love this super cute coastal sign. thank you for sharing it at my party.



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