DIY Farmhouse Cotton Stems

cotton stems014_editContrary to popular belief, I, like many Southerners, don’t actually have a cotton field in my back yard – though I would really love that.

So, what do you do when life doesn’t give you cotton? (& you sure as heck aren’t paying $17 per sprig at the craft store)
By golly, you make your own!

Since I was trying to re-create something from nature, I figured I should take a look at exactly what they look like “in their natural habitat” for reference. I found this picture:

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You’ll need:

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1. Cardboard egg cartons
2. Hot glue gun & sticks
3. Large cotton balls
4. Paint brushes
5. Scissors
6. Beige brown and dark brown paint
7. Floral wire
8. Brown floral tape

Let’s Do This:

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First off, I cut each of the little egg holders in the egg carton into a 4 petal-ed flower shape. For the sake of this tutorial I am gonna call them “cotton pods”. This is the most time consuming part, but I pinky promise it’s worth it in the end!

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After the long, grueling cutting process (just kidding- can you tell I am not very patient?), I painted the inside of the cotton pod light beige brown and the outside dark brown. This part doesn’t have to be perfect because nature isn’t perfect. (See the “natural environment” picture above again if you need some inspiration for your non-perfectionism)

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Once I was finished finger painting – not painting with my fingers, but on them. (You’ll understand if you try this DIY), I poked a hole in the bottom of each of my cotton pods and cut a “stem” out of the floral wire – about 5 inches long. Then I curled one end of the wire so once it was attached, it wouldn’t pull through the bottom of the cotton pod.

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After that, I inserted the wire into the hole at the bottom of the cotton pod and hot glued the twisted end to the inside.

cotton stems007Next, I ripped apart a cotton ball into 3 equal sections and rolled them into their own little balls. I put some hot glue into the bottom of the cotton pod and stuffed the cotton balls into it, pressing firmly so they would stick, then fluffing again.

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Look at all of those adorable little cotton stems…

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Just look at em’ 🙂

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Ok, so after all of that, I attached them each to different lengths of the floral wire with the floral tape and separated my stems in half to make 2 bunches.

Arranging the stems from tallest to shortest, I wrapped the remaining ends of the stems together with more floral tape. I stuck ’em in a whiskey bottle and called it a day (optional, but I thought it was really cute).

DIY Faux Barn Wood Sign

Pallett Wood015_editBarnwood is all the rage these days. But, one of these days we are gonna run out of old barn wood to craft with because, really, how much “vintage barnwood” could there possibly be in the South? I agree, probably quite a bit, BUT – all of us crafting ladies are bound to use it all up at some point. SO, without further ado… I give you my solution to the impending barnwood-mageddon…FAKE IT! We can take brand spanking new wood and make it look worn and weathered. No high winds and thunderstorms are needed, just some simple acrylic craft paint, a dry paint brush, sand paper and your favorite color stain.

You’ll Need:

  1. (2) 1 in. x 4 in. x 8 ft. Boards
  2. Circular saw or comparable
  3. Drill & 1.5inch screws
  4. Ruler and Pen
  5. 3 or 4 inch wide paint brush
  6. Beige, warm white, & black acrylic craft paint
  7. Artist paintbrushes for lettering
  8. Masking tape
  9. Dark wood stain & rag to apply
  10. Fine grit sandpaper

Alright – let’s do this thing:

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First, I started out with 2, plain jane, brand spanking new, 1 in. x 4 in. x 8 ft. pieces of lumber.

 

 

 

 

 

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Then, with a circular saw, I cut 4 pieces at 24 inches for the front of the sign & 2 pieces at 21 inches to hold it all together.

 

 

 

 

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After all of the wood was cut, I laid it out like so, in preparation to attach it all together.

 

 

 

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Next, I laid the two 21-inch boards on each end, perpendicular to the rest of the boards & centered them. Using the 1.5 inch screws, I screwed the back boards to the front. *It’s important to use 1.5 inch screws so they don’t go all the way through to the front of the sign & its also important to use 2 screws per front board so theres no sliding.

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After everything is attached together, it’s time to grab the large paint brush and the beige craft paint. With the brush still dry, dip just the ends of the bristles into the paint and messily stroke it on. You want there to still be wood grain peeking through. Once the paint has dried, take the sandpaper and rough up the just painted surface -going with the grain of the wood.

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Lastly,  I rubbed the dark wood stain over the surface with a rag *don’t forget the edges* and then let it dry overnight.

 

VOILA! Beautiful faux barnwood in a snap!  You are more than welcome to do whatever you want with your new barnwood sign but here’s what I did with mine!

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First I designed the way I wanted the sign to look in Adobe Illustrator. I did this because sometimes things look better in my head then they actually do on paper! Then I took my craft paint and went to work on the large lettering. *You could use a stencil if you wanted to, but personally I don’t use them because I think they are a pain in the butt!

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After the large lettering was painted and dried (with a blowdryer because I am not patient enough for air drying), I taped off the top and the bottom of the 4th board in order to help with the size of the lettering. *Think “paint between the lines”*

 

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Starting with the middle letter and painting out (a trick I learned in design school), I roughly painted the “established in” lettering and then went back and finessed the lines and serifs.

 

 

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Now its your turn!  Hurry it up, We’re Burning daylight! Xoxo