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My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1521: Always Learning

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 03-23-2015 12:21 PM 1277 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1520: Be Careful What You Wish For Part 1521 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1522: Working Ahead »

No matter how long I have been doing woodworking, it seems that I am always learning something new. Most of the time, too, this knowledge comes when I need something or stumble onto something while I am focusing on something else. It is kind of cool. 



This weekend I spent creating some new things for my grand daughter, Willow. 



Willow is about 18 months old now, and really at a 'busy' age. I thought it would a nice to send her some cute and simple puzzles for Easter.



I have been asked many times about 'child safe' and 'food safe' finishes for wood pieces. My usual answer is to use some oil such as mineral oil as something that would work. I have read articles and I often refer people to Bob Flexner's article on finishing, as he is considered one of the experts. (If you wish to read his article, you can do so HERE)



While most cured finishes are safe, I wanted something that would not only be deemed safe, but also not have an unpleasant odor.  As usual, I have to ship the finished pieces as soon as possible, and don't have the time to allow them to fully cure! My quest for finding something that would be appropriate had me looking on the interet for the best choice. In my travels, I came across a 'recipe' that sounded good to me. It was a combination of beeswax and oil and I was fortunate to have them both on hand. 



I had some beeswax pellets that I purchased for my needle felting projects. You used the wax to help secure loose ends of the wool as you worked. The pellets were small and odor free and I thought they would work well. 



I have a small potpourri pot that I had used to melt the wax pellets in, and that did fine. I melted the pellets first, then I added mineral oil at about a 2:1 ratio of oil to wax. 



I mixed it thoroughly with a wooden tongue depressor and unplugged the pot.  As I allowed it to cool, I went back every five minutes or so and stirred it, to make sure it was completely mixed. What resulted was this:



A white, creamy mixture that had the consistency of thick vegetable shortening. "Perfect" I thought!



I tried a sample on one of the pieces I had cut from maple. As you can see in the photo, I think it looked beautiful. The little kitten was waxed and the mom was not:





While I really like using mineral oil for fretwork, for larger and less complex pieces like this, I found that this process had several advantages. The mixture of beeswax and oil brought together the best of both worlds. While the mineral oil penetrated nicely, it was thin and runny and tended to leave the pieces feeling a bit 'greasy'. I usually had to let it absorb into the pieces for several hours or overnight before proceeding with a finish coat (usually lacquer) so the pieces wouldn't dry out. Then I had to deal with the smell again. The addition of the beeswax really allowed me to have a lot of control over the application. 



To apply it, I used a stiff brush. The one shown here is the cheap kind you get for applying finish:



I brushed the fluffy paste onto the pieces, and then took a lint-free cloth to buff them off:



I then took a piece of dental floss to clean the wax out of the kerf lines of the piece. This was quick and easy. 



I decided to add some color to just the tops of some of the pieces. I LIGHTLY sanded the tops of the pieces (with 600 grit paper) and applied DecoArt's Multi-Surface Satin paint using a deerfoot brush. 



I LOVE this paint so much! What is so great about it is that you need no primer or base under it, it has great adhesion to just about any clean, dry surface, and it needs no top sealer and dries to a beautiful, hard satin finish. We are using this paint for our re-organizational project furniture pieces, as I have used it on many things before and love the ease of application, beauty and durability of it. It comes in many beautiful colors, too and as with all DecoArt products, is non-toxic and odor free. This was the perfect choice for these little puzzles I am making.



Within a very short time, the paint dried completely to the touch. While it will take a little time to fully 'cure', it can be handled very quickly and I don't worry about packing the pieces up to ship them. By the time they get to Willow, they will be ready to be played with. Look how wonderful this little sample piece came out! 



The above puzzle was just a test from a picture that I saw on Pinterest. I spent some time designing my own spring themed simple puzzles for Willow. I used the same process and several beautiful and bright colors of the DecoArt Multi-Surface paint:



And in a very short time, these pieces are ready to go!



I was so thrilled with this process, that I decided on making these two pieces into a pattern. I will have it available on my site in the next couple of days. I also had some wonderful ideas to create some new toys for small children. When I was looking at wood toys on Pinterest, I was shocked at the prices that real wood toys cost. I almost let laziness get the best of me, but I am glad that I stumbled upon these ideas, as it really got my creative juices flowing! 



I am sure many of you in the woodworking field already knew about this process. But since I am often asked about it, I thought that I would share it here with everyone. And I hope you all look into this DecoArt Multi-Surface Satin paint. The more I use this product, the more I love it! It is a great paint to use for toys, furniture and a variety of home-decor projects. You can read more about it here: DecoArt Multi-Surface Satin Paint Information and Color Chart.



I think you will like it as much as I do. :) 



Happy Monday to you all! 

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



10 comments so far

View MrsN's profile

MrsN

975 posts in 2989 days


#1 posted 03-23-2015 01:38 PM

I love these! I can’t wait until they are on the site, I have a niece that they would be perfect for!

I like the slight addition of color to the puzzles.

The dental floss to get the veining clean is a great idea. I have never thought of that, and often fight with veining on projects like this.

Once again, you are full of great ideas!

-- ----- www.KNWoodworking.com ----- --

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9039 posts in 2383 days


#2 posted 03-23-2015 02:54 PM

I am so happy you like them, Katie! :) I really do love those paints, too. (and I am NOT trying to sell paint here – just say what works!) These are so different than the regular Americanas in that they have far better adhesion and I think they will stand up much better to use. Also the fact that you don’t have to add a top sealer is a plus. The finish is really nice and smooth which makes them great for things like toys and furniture.

I will work to get them up there in the next day or so.

Sheila :)

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

View Leldon's profile

Leldon

67 posts in 2336 days


#3 posted 03-23-2015 05:52 PM

Those are so cute! You should make a set for the site! Hint hint! :)

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9039 posts in 2383 days


#4 posted 03-23-2015 05:54 PM

I am writing the pattern packet today! I hope to get it up there by tomorrow. I decided to put both bunnies in one packet. I am so glad you like them!

Sheila

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

View Celticscroller's profile

Celticscroller

1216 posts in 1536 days


#5 posted 03-24-2015 03:43 AM

That’s a great idea with the floss. Never thought of that! Great gifts for Willow. Very cute.

-- Anna http://richmondcarvers.com/

View Druid's profile

Druid

1306 posts in 2258 days


#6 posted 03-24-2015 04:10 AM

Beautifully done Sheila. Great puzzles, and I can see them being passed down to future generations. Super appropriate designs. I’m glad that you will be adding these to your available patterns.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9039 posts in 2383 days


#7 posted 03-24-2015 12:17 PM

Thank you both Anna and John. Sometime I find that when I need something like this, I come up with my best patterns. They really were fun and easy to do. :) Have a great day!

Sheila

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

View Roger's profile

Roger

19867 posts in 2267 days


#8 posted 03-28-2015 02:38 PM

Your Grndaughter is a cutie. Looks like she is ready for all that snow out your way..lol. Your wares are super, as always, also. :)

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. Kentuk55@yahoo.com

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9039 posts in 2383 days


#9 posted 03-28-2015 02:43 PM

Thanks, Roger! I just wish I could see her more. She is getting so big so fast! :)

Have a great weekend. :)

Sheila

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

View Roger's profile

Roger

19867 posts in 2267 days


#10 posted 03-28-2015 10:40 PM

Thnx Sheila. Wish you a good one as well. Do the Skype thing on the computer. It’s fantastic. We do that a lot because 6 of the 7 Grndbabies we have are in Kansas which is almost 800 miles away. Our youngest, Kai, is 2 and he is a riot on Skype. We play peek-a-boo, get “fist-bumps”, and finger touches, etc. Just yesterday, my Daughter sent a text to me that said, can you skype? Kai is asking…lol. When we got nearly done, I said, “Well, did you have enough of me n Granny?”...............he said “yesh”... LOLOL He is so fun and funny too. But, it really is awesome when they’re not within touching distance.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. Kentuk55@yahoo.com

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