Tuesday, March 17, 2015

DIY mirror w/ wood slices and custom branding

Tutorial for Mirror and how to burn onto wood slices

Hanging on wall with raffia.
Howdy friends! So glad it is getting close to spring and the snow has hopefully stopped. Here is a nice tutorial for this really pretty art project. I first saw an example of this project on pinterest - however NO tutorials to be found. Since my favorite part of what I do is tutorials, here goes.

Every spring my children's school has an auction and each class has to create and submit a project that will be auctioned off at the spring formal Gala. I am usually the person to spearhead this project, so this year is unlike any other. I offer my talents usually in the form of woodworking so this year I decided on the rustic looking mirror with wood slices. Inside the classroom each child were shown examples of cattle brands and got to design their own. I then transferred the drawn brands onto wood slices using a wood burner. Here is my tutorial:

You will need:
a mirror
1x2's (cuts are 2 @29.5 and 2@ 23.5)
a piece of plywood 3/4 inch thick ( cut at 22x 29.5)
a mirror ( mine was 15x19)
lots and lots of sliced wood pieces app 3/4 inch thick
gorilla glue
stain color of your choice (and rag)
polyacrylic in clear satin (and paintbrush)
mirror hanging hardware
brad nailer
220 grit sandpaper

Dimensions of frame: 23.5 inches x 31 inches x 1.5 inches thick

I purchased a mirror at Big Lots for 39.99 (not my cheapest find). My plan was to remove all of the designs and metal framing. I only wanted the mirror. But it had to be a certain size so I had to pick this one. The size of the mirror part only is 15 inches by 19 inches. I removed the frame carefully with my dremmel metal cutting attachment.

Then, I went through my scrap wood to find a piece of plywood that would give me about 3 inches (at least) of space around my mirror. I cut it down to 22x 29.5 inches using my circular saw and table saw to help square it out, this was not easy. The plywood is still not completely square but very close.

Then I cut 1x2's with my compound miter saw and framed in the plywood, this was not too hard. I used 90 degree angle clamps, gorilla glue and my brad nailer.

Glued then nailed to the plywood. 
Nice- now ready for sanding and staining. 
I hand sanded with 220 grit sandpaper and dusted off the sawdust and prepped for sanding.

Now staining: I used my go to stain-- Minwax provincial, I keep it on hand and only used a little bit. Using a rag I stained the frame and entire plywood piece.
Can't you see the name? It's provincial.

Find used tank top (rag) that looks horrible on me...and start staining.

 * I don't care what anyone says, I think stained plywood is beautiful.

Now for the wood slices..... but where to find a fallen large tree branch with many sizes of branches in a foot of snow? Why- your neighbors house (technically the wood fell on my property)! I figured I did them a favor. I pulled it out of the woods and had the kids sit in the hatchback and pull down the driveway. Don't judge - they had fun.

Next, I used my circular saw and cut the branch into sections. Then cut on my compound miter saw. 

Note: I put a piece of painters tape on the saw with a line marking appx 3/4 inch so I knew where
to cut the wood ( kind of like when you need to guide your sewing machine.)
Also, the branches were a bit wonky so I did not get a perfect cut every time.
But that's what I wanted it to be very rustic looking.

I cut about a million slices. But they weren't enough- more on that later.

These are my large slices for the brands, but they are wet and had sap coming out of them.
Next step, fixing the sap. Put on cookie sheets and bake at 300 degrees for 2 hours. This helped dry them out.

Next, cut tons more slices because this is not near enough. 

And because those weren't enough I had my fiancé  (that's right I'm getting married!!) pull over on the side of the road twice so I could pick up some different branches to give more texture and interest to the piece.

Next, arranging slices on frame.

** Purchase wood burner from amazon prime and wait 2 days. Here is a link to Walnut Hollow wood burner  .

 Link on Amazon

Then, go to kids school with print outs of cattle brand ideas and let them draw their own, so the frame is personalized. This was fun. All designs had to be approved by me - some kids got kind of crazy and I had to simplify some because I have no wood burning experience I couldn't let the designs get too crazy. I approved them and brought home and started burning slices. I used the curved tip because the "all purpose" and calligraphy tips would not let me make curves. I free handed all of them, this took about 2 hours.

The branded collection. 

Next, I centered the mirror on the frame, attaching with gorilla glue and leaving space for the wood slices and then I mixed the brands onto the frame and started to glue on with gorilla glue.

Looking good. 

Then cut more wood slices, smaller ones to fill in the holes.

Then, I allowed to dry and vacuumed off all of the sawdust and bark pieces. Then coated frame and all wood slices with minwax polyacrylic in clear satin. It needed two coats at least. Then allowed to dry.

After dry, I found my picture frame hardware and attached onto the back of the frame.

Frame hanging hardware on the right. 
Then I took handfuls of raffia and threaded through the frame holders

** This thing is pretty heavy I need to add wire to hold the frame better.

Here are some beauty shots!

Close up of slices. 

Hope you like this tutorial. I hope this project brings in lots of money at the Gala. We will have to wait and see.

Drop me a line.

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  1. Just saw this on Roadkill Rescue and I wanted to say how unbelievably awesome it is! Incredible!

  2. Holy cow, where’s the auction??!! Beautiful.
    Absentee bidding? LOL

  3. Thank you Kirsten. Thats the tutorial I was looking for. Will do it and will let you know.

  4. What size are the largest slices? Making this for my school!

  5. Love it. Thank you.

  6. Vert nice!! Il râle tout Idea!!

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