Wood Burned “My Little Cottage” Plaque Tutorial

After seeing some plaques that I did for Christmas presents this year a friend of mine ordered a custom plaque for her grandmother’s new house.

The only specifications she gave me was that it say “My Little Cottage” and that it should be neutral enough to go with whatever colors and décor the grandmother might want in her new home.

I purchased a plaque sized 9×12 from Hobby Lobby and sanded it.

Blank Plaque: 9x12

Blank Plaque: 9×12

Then I created the design in Publisher and printed it out.

I made the print big so the grandmother could read it easily and added a simple floral design.

I flipped the paper over and covered the back of the design with pencil.

I tried to get as even coverage as possible.

I tried to get as even coverage as possible.

I then taped the paper with design to the plaque making sure that the design didn’t go over any of the edges. I taped the top bottom and sides and each corner with one piece of tape, using eight pieces total.

I tried not to put any pressure on the design so the pencil doesn't rub off on the wood.

I tried not to put any pressure on the design so the pencil wouldn’t rub off on the wood.

Then I went over the entire design with a pencil making sure that I applied a good, even amount of pressure, but not enough to tear the paper.  Again I tried not to rest my hand on other parts of the design while working which could lead to a small amount of smudging.  To check that the design was coming through in the way I wanted, I carefully untapped one section at a time to check my progress, while keeping the rest of the tape in place, so the design wouldn’t move around.

Once I was done I removed the paper.

If the design isn't dark enough go over it again.  Make sure you do this before you remove the paper entirely.

If the design isn’t dark enough go over it again. Make sure you do this before you remove the paper entirely.

I started the wood burning process next.  I used a rounded tip for the majority of the lettering and a medium pointed tip for some of the serifs and the flowers.

I did the majority of the lettering first and then changed tips to do the rest.

I did the majority of the lettering first and then changed tips to do the rest.

Once the wood burning was complete I sanded the surface lightly, applied wood conditioner and stained it using a light gray stain so it would look a little aged.  I waited for that to dry and then applied two coats of sealer with drying time in between.

I think it came out pretty good.  I would have liked to paint in the flowers but they didn't want that.

I think it came out pretty good. I would have liked to paint in the flowers but they didn’t want that.

Once it was completely dry I screwed a small bracket to the back so it can be hung on the wall and it was done!  I delivered it to my friend and she liked it, so job complete.  Instead of payment I traded her for some of the grandmothers things that they were getting rid of, including an armchair, a small traveling bag, an army trunk from WWII with a shipping tag from 1944 and a knitting bag.  There were a lot more little items and I threw in some cash (but not much) to make it an even trade.  I love bargains so it was a pretty sweet deal in my mind!

Top 5 Favorite Period Piece TV Shows

#1 Deadwood - Available on Amazon Prime

#1 Deadwood – Available on Amazon Prime

My favorite period piece is Deadwood, it premiered on HBO in March of 2004 and had three seasons before it’s untimely cancellation.  I actually resisted watching it for the longest time, because I’m not a huge fan of TV shows where bad people do bad things and then suffer the consequences (i.e. The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy).  But in the first blush of my now husband and I’s blooming relationship, he said I should watch and I caved.  Boy am I glad I did!  The language is filthy but so clever, and the combination is utterly endearing.  Not all of the people are bad, but no one is entirely good either.  It may not be the most accurate portrayal but it is completely entertaining.    Favorite Characters: Calamity Jane, Dan Dority and Whitney Ellsworth.  Most Improved Character: Al Swearengen.  Interesting Fact: I can do a spot on Calamity Jane impression!  If you like this show, check out: Justified – it’s not nearly as foul, language wise, but the bizarre wittiness is very similar.

#2 Mad Men

#2 Mad Men – Available on Netflix

Number two on the list is Mad Men.  Sure the characters are morally ambiguous, and there are times you despise pretty much everyone; but the ways that the characters change, and don’t change, over the span of a decade sucks you right in.  It tackles some pretty heavy stuff, from sexism to suicide, but does a really good job of lightening the mood so you don’t drown in darkness and despair.  Then there’s the style–Janie Bryant is the costume designer for the show and she’s a genius!  For anyone that actually lived through the sixties or, like me, are nostalgic for time periods they’ve never experienced, this show is a jewel.   Favorite Characters: Peggy Olsen and Sally Draper.  Most Improved Characters: Pete Campbell and Stan Rizzo.  Interesting fact: The actor that played Lane Price is named Jared Harris and he is the son of Richard Harris who played Dumbledore in the first Harry Potter movie.  If you like this, check out: The Astronaut Wives Club – granted I’ve only seen one episode but it definitely has that sixties style, only time will tell if it can come close to Mad Men but really it’s hard to believe that’s even possible. (I’m obviously still mourning)

#3 Downton Abbey - Available on Amazon Prime

#3 Downton Abbey – Available on Amazon Prime

Number three on the list is Downton Abbey.  It starts in 1912 when the Titanic sinks and goes well into the twenties and chronicles the life of a noble family and their servants in an English manor house.  It’s been called a historical soap opera and that’s pretty much accurate. I love it anyway.  I find the way they live and the way they talk highly interesting and amusing.  They tend to view things from a slightly more modern perspective than was probably the case at the time, but I love the way the characters can be so blunt and so polite at the same time.  The setting is lush and beautiful, the costumes are amazing and inspiring, and the insight into the complex social structures of the time are fascinating.  It’s mostly lighthearted entertainment, but there are a few scenes that were so sad I found them pretty hard to watch.  Favorite Characters: Mrs. Hughes, Sybil Crawley and the Dowager Countess.  Most Improved Character: Edith Crawley. Interesting Fact:  I can also do a pretty good impression of Mrs. Hughes.  If you like this, check out: North and South – which is not, as I thought, a mini-series about the civil war but in fact a sweet little show about a girl from southern England moving with her family to a working class town in northern England.

#4 Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries - Available on Netflix

#4 Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – Available on Netflix

Number four on the list and the inspiration for this post is Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.  I stumbled upon this lovely show while trying to see if Downton Abbey was still available on Netflix, and fell in love.  The setting is unusual, Melbourne Australia in the 1920’s, but only because I haven’t really watched much Australian television.  The stories are charming, if a bit predictable.  For anyone that is a fan of the mystery genre, some of the plots will be old hat (keep an eye out for a take on an Agathe Christie classic).  The main character is bold as brass and you love her for it, and the supporting characters quickly worm their way into your affections as well.  It’s pretty silly and fun at times, her butler’s name is actually Mr. Butler, which I adore.  To be honest though, the acting could be terrible and the plots could be incomprehensible, and I would still tune in just to hear them talk and see them walk around in those fabulous hats.  I can’t do an Australian accent yet, but after a few more days of binging I’m sure I’ll improve!  Favorite Characters: Miss Fisher, Jack Robinson and Mr. Butler. Most Improved Character: Jack Robinson  Interesting Fact: Australian slang is incomprehensible to me.  If you like this show, check out: any Agathe Christie movie.  They have a lot of versions of these on PBS.

#4 Freaks and Geeks - Available on Netflix

#5 Freaks and Geeks – Available on Netflix

Number five on the list is Freaks and Geeks.  It’s a little bit of a departure from the others series on this list, as it takes place in middle America in the early 1980’s, and is about teenagers.  This little show has an amazing cast, is funny and touching and sweet, and certainly reminds me of several people I went to high school with.  I was both a freak and a geek at various times in my life, so this one is close to my heart.  There have been a million shows about high school and there will be a million more, but I don’t think we will see a show like this again any time soon.  I think my favorite part is that the people look like real people in real clothes, and not like a bunch of supermodels in designer clothes that all live in New York City.  It’s probably way too late to bring this one back, but if the execs at NBC had any idea what this show’s creator and cast would go on to do, they might have at least given it a second season. Favorite Characters: Lindsay Weir and Bill Haverchuck.  Most Improved Character: Kim Kelly.  Interesting Fact: The actor who played Bill Haverchuck is now on Silicon Valley and is the most attractive person on that show!  If you like this show, check out: Dazed and Confused, if only for the soundtrack and Mathew McConaughey’s hair, but it is also one of my favorite high school movies.