May has got to be my favorite month! The warmth of spring rises quickly, the flowers bloom bright, we get to celebrate Mom’s, and of course, the outdoor projects begin!
My big house projects included installing a new roof vent for updated bathroom fans, some landscaping work and replacing an old and broken fence gate. Because I replaced about 20 feet of fencing, I had all these wonderfully weathered fence panels to work with! Hence the creation of this year’s Mother’s Day gift!
Fence panels or wood of your choice
Sanding Paper (Or Orbital Sander with Paper)
Stain of your choice (I chose Dark walnut to help the bright flowers stand out)
Paint for Lettering
Felt for Flowers
Hot Glue Gun and Glue
Step 1: Cut, Sand, and Glue Wood Pieces
I decided on using 3 Panels Glued together and figured on a length of 18 inches. Once combined that put my finish size at 18 x 15.5. This can vary depending on the size of your fencing panels.
Once cut, I sanded and cleaned the wood pieces. It’s amazing how a little attention can transform weathered wood into a beautiful piece. Pallet wood works very well also.
Once cleaned and dried, I used Elmers wood glue and my Jaw Horse to attach the 3 pieces together. I put weights on top to keep them from buckling up with the pressure added, cleaning up extra glue in the process. I also used extra clamps to keep the pieces tight and aligned during drying.
Step 2: Text Design and Printing
During this creation process there is of course, a lot of drying time. It works perfectly for allowing me to design and complete other aspects of the project!
I use a Mac, therefore the program Pages works well for my text creation. I usually create a page the size of my finished project and play around until a accomplish the desired look. For this project I used a combination of fonts. “Atlantic the lost city” for the script font and “Kalenderblatt Grotesck” for the All Caps font. I often peruse DaFont for project fonts to play with.
Because I was adding flowers and wasn’t completely certain how they would all fit together in the end, I decided just to print all the words and cut them out separately for a little freedom in the design once the flowers were created.
Step 3: Sand and Stain Wood
Luckily the Wood glue only takes and hour to set, so it’s workable to a degree. However, I did give it about 3-4 hours before sanding and staining to assure that I wouldn’t be putting too much stress on the joints during this next step.
*Note* I like a couple of screw holes in my wood when creating projects, however depending on how many the wood has, and their natural placement will determine if you need to fill with wood filler and let dry as well. I cut out pieces without too many, but still decided to fill 2 that would have disrupted my text.
Sand down the wood one more time focusing on the side you want to use, and also the joints where there may be left over glue. Make as smooth as you want, but be careful not to stress the joints, or over sand any one area.
Wipe down wood with cloth to assure the removal of dust and dirt.
Once clean and ready, apply stain. I used a verathane Dark Walnut stain for this sign. I wanted a dark stain to accent the right colors I wanted to use for the flowers. However, a natural stain would have looked great with the way the wood was looking after sanding.
Allow to dry overnight if you can If you work with the stained wood too quickly, it can stain your hands a bit, and cause blotchiness on occasion, Luckily, there are things to do in the mean time!!
Step 4: Felt Flowers
The fun part! well, let’s be honest, it’s all fun! But the Flowers are where you can really let your creativity shine. I chose to do 3 different styles of flowers. I really like the rolled feel flowers, mainly because they can change with simple cuts so it can add simple variety. The other I like is the little carnation like pom-pom flowers. These change size depending on how long you make the initial piece of felt, again adding small variants. I did one of the 3rd type. This one is created by folding a few triangles and creating kind of a domed shape flower. I like the other 2 styles better, but I felt like I needed at least one of this third style. I was experimenting with a fourth type (the big red one with the yellow center) but once I was ready to glue down, it wasn't really working, so it didn't make it to the final piece.
-Cut a 5-6 inch circle out of the felt.
-Starting from the outer edge, cut a spiral shape 1/2-3/4 in think all the way to the middle.
-Starting at the Middle and using hot glue, start rolling the felt to create the rolled look. Create variants by adding a rounded or pointed edge to the ‘outside’ of the spiral (see photos)
I didn’t add too many, but you can cut some leaf shapes to add to the bottom of some of the rolled flowers.
-Cut a rectangle shape 3-5 inches thick and 12-18 inches wide.
-Fold and Glue in half long ways.
-Cut with scissors, 1/4 inch strips half to three quarters way on the folded edge.
-Glue and Roll the bottom edge, creating the pom-pom effect on top.
-Cut 6 circles 3-4 inches in diamter
-Fold and glue 5 of the circle into triangles (fold in half twice and glue the middle corner only)
Glue the 5 triangles onto the 6th circle.
Step 5: Lay It Out
So, I can’t stress enough how important it is to layout the design you want before going any further. Be sure to lay everything out on the sign, and ensure that you have enough flowers, your text is the right size, and you love the look of it all before gluing, before painting, or any of that. Play around with a few ideas too! Should all the flowers go in same area, should they be put in the corners, does my text fill it right, do I like the fonts looking a them this way? Once the next steps are taken, it’s not fun to have to start over, or re-sand and re-stain. Doable, but not fun.
With that being said, HAVE FUN! Play around until you like the way it looks, then…on to the next step!
Step 6: Transfer and Paint Text
Saral Transfer paper has been a life saver for me. I love having the hand painted touch to my signs, as easy as it would be to use a cricut to cut out the vinyl and stick it on, I love the flexibility with fonts and colors I get doing it by hand, and hopefully Mom will appreciate the hard work too! ;)
Once the text is laid out, I ensure the words are straight using a speed square.
Tape the text down on one edge.
Place the transfer paper under the text
Trace the text using a pen/pencil/ anything that will apply pressure and not tear the paper.
When all the text is transferred onto the wood.
I chose a yellow color that was a little duller than the flower color (more on the gold-yellow side). I feel that it accented, but didn’t overwhelm.
Once all the text is painted, give it some time to dry. I usually wait a few hours to overnight. it’s a little tough because it’s the home stretch, but I don’t like accidentally smearing my hard work.
Once dry, I wipe off the remaining white from the transfer paper if needed, then do a light sanding over the finished text, just to give it a slight distressing. It blends a little better with the wood that way ( in my opinion).
Step 7: Glue the Flowers!
Time for the flourish! I played around with the flowers yet again, and changed my mind a bit from the original layout I had during the layout stage, but I love the way it came out. I glued each flower down, one at a time, ensuring that the previous one was secure and cooled before adding the next one. I even had a couple flowers leftover that I added to the Mother’s Day Card I made! My Mama loved it!
Step 8: Give the Gift to Your Mama!
I hope you all had as much fun making your Mother’s Day Gift this year as I did! These days, my parents have so much, it’s hard to know what they need, but making something ensures they get something that they don’t have, and something they don’t expect!
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out. I look forward to seeing all y’all’s instructables as well!
Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mamas out there! You do a difficult job and make it look so natural!