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Our family has taken on the behavior of leaving positive messages to each other on our bathroom mirror. This provides a great motivator each morning when preparing for the day. In lue of Valentines Day, I designed a permanent and interactive messenger to adorn the bathroom mirror. To increase the flair I also created a wooden box and provided a chocolate treat (can't give a Valentines Gift without Chocolate). I present to you the "LOVE DOVE" a messenger starting your day with positive words established by you personally.

Step 1: Photoshop Design

First and most important step in the Love Dove (positive messenger) project is creating the cards. I used PhotoShop to design the LoveDove logo and the 12 cards (front and back). You could do the same thing via paint, marker, or any other home craft supplies. Placing them on thicker paper and laminating them is key to being able to write on them with a dry-erase marker and for the longevity of use.

Step 2: Print

Time to print your cards. Save the .jpg files to a thumb drive or send them directly to a printing location of your choice through their website. (I personally brought the files to Office Depot). Choosing the heaviest pound stock, I printed them double sided. One sided works. Creating a back with a Logo Design makes them look more professional. Separate each individual card to be laminated. Choosing the thickest lamination lends to longer lasting cards and again a more professional feel. Laminating the cards allows for them to be written on with a dry-erase marker and used over and over again.

Step 3: Box: Template

To create a wooden box to fit the cards in perfectly you must first establish a template to route out that shape from a 2" thick piece of wood. Locate 3/8" or 1/2" scrap of sheet goods to create a template from. Take one of the cards and trace it on the template wood to establish the perfect shape for the inside of the box. Then draw an 1/8" line around that traced line to allow for the bushing on the router to ride along. Cut the shape out of the template using a jig saw or scroll saw. Prior to cutting you will need to drill a hole in the center to allow for the cutting blade to be inserted.

Step 4: Box: Routing

Choose a 2" thick piece of wood for your box (personally I chose Poplar due to ease of sanding and painting). Thickness of wood depends on how many cards you make and how tall they measure when stacked. Then screw the template to the piece of wood...be sure the screws are flush to the surface so the router does not interfere. Clamp the wood to a table. Slowly plunge and route out the shape allowing the bushing to ride along the template. To save your router bit take a drill and drill out the center of the box to remove the excess material. As a last pass place the router bit at the desired depth and route out the bottom evenly.

Step 5: Box: Shaping / Sanding

With the inside finished, time to cut out the desired outside shape. I chose to draw a 1/2" line around the perimeter of the box's inside. Take it to a bandsaw and cut it out your desired shape. Now take a various selection of sandpapers and begin sanding the inside and outside of the box. If you have a electric palm sander you can speed up the process of sanding the outside. The inside might take a little more attention. Sandpapers I used ranged: 80, 100, 150, 220.

Step 6: Box: Lid

With the box finished, Now we need a lid. We are creating a stepped lid to fit perfectly in and on top of the box. Taking a piece of paper and placing it over the box I rubbed a pencil over the inside rim of the box to reveal the accurate shape of the inside. Then cutting out that rubbed shaped I traced it onto a piece of 1/2" (or thinner) Poplar wood. Cutting it out with a bandsaw allows for it to then be glued to another 1/2" (or thinner) piece of Poplar wood. Placing glue on both sides marked with an "X" I then was able to clamp them over night to dry (make sure not to glue the wrong side or it won't fit). Taking the glued top out of the clamps place it top side down on a table. Place the box on top of the lid upside down. With a pencil trace around the exterior of the box to establish a cutting line for the lid top. Lastly, take it to the bandsaw cut it out and sand to 150 or 220 grit for preparation for the painting application.

Step 7: Box: Painting

This step allows for a lot of creativity. Personally, I wiped the whole thing down (except the inside) with India Ink to get a dark color. Sanding it with 220 grit knocks down the raised rough grain. Using dark red milk paint I painted the whole thing using an old rag. Before it dried I wiped off the excess milk paint to reveal the dark India Ink below. After it was completely dry I took a clean towel and using pressure I burnished the whole surface by rubbing it hard...this gives a smooth near perfect finish. To complete the paint application I painted the inside with three coats of white acrylic paint and sanded between layers with 150 or 220 grit. To add a fun touch to the top I took leather letter punches and placed the word L.O.V.E. on the top and painted the indent with white acrylic paint also.

Step 8: Candy Treat

Now a Valentines gift isn't complete without a candy aspect. Let create a LOVE DOVE candy bar. We are creating a simple mold to pour melted chocolate into. Taking the piece of paper we used from the rubbing to create our inside lid shape, trace it on a piece of foam core board. Again be sure to trace it going the correct direction. With an X-acto knife cut out the dove shape. Now, take the negative shape piece and glue in to another solid piece of foam core board. Line the inside of the mold with a piece of aluminum foil. Lets melt some chocolate! Turn a large range burner onto 7 and place a pan of water and bring to a boil. Place a glass bowl on top of the boiling water and pour in any chocolate to melt ( I just used semi-sweet chocolate chips). After it is completely melted bring it to the form and pour it in. With a spatula you may want to even out the chocolate to assure it gets into all of the crevices of the form. I then placed it in the refrigerator to cool down. When cooled (I left it a day) take it out and see if it fits. If it does not fit into your box carefully shave it down with a knife.

Step 9: LOVE DOVE: Complete

Time to put it all together! Collect all the cards and put them in first. To create a barrier between the cards and the chocolate I simply cut a piece of wax paper to fit into the box. Then place in the chocolate and place on the lid. Before you gift it be sure you have a dry erase marker so the person can add words onto the individual cards. Using a sharpie will make it permanent and that I would not recommend. There you have it: LOVE DOVE (positive messenger) 

<p>This is such a sweet idea :)</p>

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