The next several days, I am going to be posting a variety of pictures from the various new designs in their various stages of development. It may seem a bit mish-mosh, but I have so many things on the go here that I need to do it that way in order to keep up with everything. When all the projects are finished, I will do a recap of all the new designs in one post so everything will be all together.
This is really a fun time for me!
I spent the day yesterday working on several of the pieces. After the final sanding of most of them, I needed to oil four more of the trays, as well as some of the overlay pieces or add-on pieces for several designs. When I was done with that, I got to work on the two trays that were already oiled and ready for their next steps.
I am often asked why I oil the pieces that I add color before painting or staining them. By using a quick soak of mineral oil, I feel it brings out the richness of the color of the wood. I usually use a small, shallow pan (in this case, all the pieces fit in a 9” cake pan) and I pour about 1/4” of oil in and set the pieces into the pan. I have a 1” paint brush that is a bit stiff and it helps me work the oil into the fretwork areas.
After I am sure that everything is coated, I transfer the pieces to several layers of paper towels and blot the excess oil from the pieces, and than place them on a cookie cooling rack to allow the oil to absorb completely. I let this sit over night, and by morning the pieces are dry to the touch, but have a deeper and richer color, as the oil absorbs into the piece. I then apply stain or paint and finish with a quick spray of shellac. I find that shellac works better than a poly finish over the oil, as sometimes (especially if you don’t leave the oil absorb long enough before continuing) the poly bubbles up a bit.
I use this method on much of my fretwork that I cut – especially pieces like this tray that aren’t going to be handled often. I think that the light coat of shellac is enough to protect the piece from dust and while I wouldn’t use this process on a table or anything that will be handled frequently and used daily, it has proven fine for pictures, frames and these candle trays and allows you to really get in the tiny cut areas completely.
I was excited to see how the Primitive Candle Tray would come out, so I worked on that first.
To dress up the tray, I obtained some “rusty wire” form the craft store. I drilled tiny holes in the beaks of the crows, as well as the tops of the pumpkins (I think I used a 1/32” bit) so I could thread the wire through. I had cut some tiny stars for the crows to hold and I thought that attaching them this way would look cool. I also made curly tendrils out of the wire coming out of the tops of the pumpkins. This looked really cool, I thought and dressed up the tray a lot:
I took a couple of additional pictures with some ‘country’ seed sprays around the tray:
I always try to take a couple of pictures with the candle both lit and not lit. Lighting the candle throws off the light quite a bit as you see and sometimes when you take the picture with the candle not lit, you get a truer color:
Then I decided to go all out and add some real cool country vines and rusty stars. I think it looks pretty, but for now, the actual figures get a bit lost in it. I may use it as a secondary picture, just to suggest how you can display the candle and tray, but for the photograph, I think it may hide the figures a bit because it looks busy. I have to remember that I am selling the plans for the tray, and that is what needs to be the focus of the photographs.
But it does look pretty cool like that and it is a nice suggestion for display.
I am not done with this tray just yet, and tomorrow you will see the next version of it as it evolves. You need to stay tuned.
The next thing that I decided to work on was the Strawberry Candle Tray. I must say that it is one of my favorites. (I know – I say that about ALL of them!)
I had shown the natural version the other day, and while it looked really pretty like that, I wanted to stain it and offer instructions so that people could make it like that if they choose. I really love the results:
I think it came out really nice. I only used four colors and decided to do the vines a darker shade of green than the leaves:
This really made them look nice, I thought. The strawberries themselves were all separate pieces, so adding some color to them was easy too:
There is no shading whatsoever involved in coloring the pieces in like this. I simply used acrylic paints and DecoArt Staining and Antiquing Medium gel and the process was quick and looks great. As always, I don’t paint the sides of the pieces, as this would be way too tedious with the intricate fretwork and I don’t think it is at all necessary. I think that leaving the sides the natural wood color gives the pieces much more depth and interest and it still shows the beauty of the wood (this is maple.)
When I was finished, I really loved the piece, but being the way I am, I began wondering how it would look if I added a little sparkle to it. I didn’t want to overdo it though, just add a hint of glimmer. So I brushed the tops of only the strawberries with the DecoArt Glamour Dust Ultra Fine Glitter Paint in red. That gave the strawberries a slight shimmer and they almost look wet. I then applied some 4mm yellow crystal rhinestones to the center of each of the white blossoms to give it a final sparkle. I love how it came out!
I really am having a lot of fun this week finishing up these projects. Today I will be working on some of the other ones and I should have more pictures for you tomorrow. I hope to have everything posted on the site by the beginning of next week, as I still have to write the packets for these after I am finished creating them. It is both a busy time and a fun time for me.
That is all for today. I hope you enjoyed seeing the new pieces finished. There is lots more to come in the next few days.
I hope you all have a great Thursday! Have fun and do something creative!
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"