My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1007: Project Progress

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 04-11-2013 11:30 AM 3490 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1006: This and That and The Other Thing Part 1007 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1008: Butterflies and Posies »

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!

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

10 comments so far

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3033 days

#1 posted 04-11-2013 12:11 PM

Just an idea, Sheila. The strawberry tray, inspired by the second shot, if you took out the middle and hinged (wooden ones of course) between each inner and adjacent outer corner of the hexagon this could be worn around the neck as a decorative ornament.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View jerrells's profile


918 posts in 2881 days

#2 posted 04-11-2013 12:18 PM

I, also, use the mineral oil followed with a spray poly finish. I just love how it brings out the grain and detail of the wood. Plus it is faster than most other methods I know of. Thanks for posting the painting idea – I may try that someday.

-- Just learning the craft my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ practiced.

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2800 days

#3 posted 04-11-2013 01:59 PM

Ohh, the layers… strawberries look delicious. I like a bit of twisted iron/metal incorporated in projects. All, super nice as always.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Rick13403's profile


256 posts in 3501 days

#4 posted 04-11-2013 04:05 PM

Another batch of really fine patterns. I am considering trying some of your simple painting touches too. Can’t wait to see your site update.

-- Rick - DeWalt 788 & Ex21 -

View MrsN's profile


986 posts in 3522 days

#5 posted 04-11-2013 05:48 PM

The added wire bits really add to the project. I think the vines would really help to sell the item. It looks great.

View nancyann's profile


106 posts in 1890 days

#6 posted 04-11-2013 06:02 PM

I love the ideas you added to the candle trays!! In fact I think my favorite is the crow/pumpkin candle tray. I want to make this one for the fall festivals, and add the vines and rusty wire to it. It just makes it I think. I like to save the empty candle jars after I’ve burned all the candle, and I think I’ll fill one up with the either candy corn, or color corn kernals.

I also loved the crystals in the center of the strawberry blooms! That really looks great.

Sheila, will you be or have you created something with sunflowers? I love sunflowers in the fall, they just seem to go with scarecrows, etc.

Right now I have your pattern, Sweetheart Candle tray, and as soon as the rain slacks off to where I can get to my wood shop, will do my 1st. bevel project. Wish me luck.

-- Nancy Antley

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2916 days

#7 posted 04-11-2013 07:13 PM

Thank you everyone for the nice comments. It would make a cool collar, wouldn’t it, Martyn. On Facebook today, I saw a picture of a wooden dress:

I like doing all the fun detailing too. I think that projects should be more than just wood. It is the little things that can really make them personal too.

Nancy, I have a Sunflower candle tray on the site:

I am definitely going to do more primitive style stuff too. I do like doing it and just because it is “primitive” doesn’t mean it needs to be plain. The curly wire and such are really fun to make it look nice. Sometimes it is hard to photograph the trays because of all the stuff going on, but when you see it in person, it is really nice. The idea of a small candy dish with candy corn or holiday candy (or even potpourri) is great!

More pictures tomorrow . . . ;)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 2919 days

#8 posted 04-12-2013 12:39 AM

All are amazing in terms of the motif and color. The thing is I like to start engaging in such work. When I see those projects, a lot of encouragement goes with them either painting of scroll sawing.
Keep it going. When time permits… those traditional becomes revivals… music goes with the mood.
Have a nice day.

-- Bert

View Celticscroller's profile


1269 posts in 2069 days

#9 posted 04-12-2013 03:08 AM

Hi Sheila, I liked the strawberry tray in the natural wood but when I see this one with colour added, it looks even better. I’ve tried several ways of finishing wood and I find soaking the wood in oil and them spraying on the shellac/lacquer finish works best for me. The richness of the wood really pops out. I’ve tried using brush on lacquer only but I was never really happy with the finish.
Looking forward to these patterns Sheila.
Enjoy your evening.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2916 days

#10 posted 04-12-2013 10:57 AM

Thank you both Bert and Anna. I do like the oil and shellac combination the best. It gives a wonderful sheen without looking like plastic. I do need to use gloss finish when adding sparkles or metallic colors though, or the shine will be greatly diminished. I found that very light coats work the best, and you avoid drips or a plastic look. :)

Have a great day! Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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