Magnetic Picture Hanger Tutorial

Poster hanging beside the pantry door.

My hipster cow poster hanging beside the pantry door.

Magnets hold the print in the moulding sandwich.

Magnets hold the print in the moulding sandwich.

I love the look of old educational wall hangings with the wooden dowels across the top and bottom, and I’ve been trying to find a cheap way to display my work around the house.  Here’s my tutorial on how I recreated that vintage look.

Supplies:

Use a speed square and blade to mark your cuts.

Use a speed square and blade to mark your cuts.

Tools:

Cut four pieces of moulding slightly wider than the poster/print you’d like to hang.  Two for the top, and two for the bottom.  The print will be sandwiched between them and secured with the magnets.  My overhang was a 1/4″ on either side.  I used a speed square and Olfa blade to mark my measurements.  A blade is much more accurate than a pencil and it severs the wood fibers to cut down on splintering.

What?  I can't tell.

What? I can’t tell.

Eww, not square!

Eww, not square!

If you find that with all your care your cuts aren’t perfectly square, just match the ends of the same cut together and no one will be able to tell.

Then stain your wood.  I used Jacobean, which is very dark, and there was no need to let it sit.  I just wiped it on, then wiped it off again.

Mark where the magnets will go.  I came in 2″ on either end.  I only marked one side of each pair of mouldings and I’ll tell you why later.  Drill part of the way through the wood.

A drill stop will prevent you from drilling all the way through the wood.

A drill stop will prevent you from drilling all the way through the wood.

I have a set of drill stops that came with my doweling kit, but you can buy them separately, too.  This is important so you don’t drill all the way through.  If you don’t have a drill stop and don’t want to buy one, just be very careful.  You will be very sad if you drill through to the other side.  You may need a tissue.

Dowel center transfer plug in action.

Dowel center transfer plug in action.

Also with my doweling kit came this handy little tool for marking the place of holes that need to be matched precisely.  It’s called a dowel center transfer plug.  You just stick it in the hole you drilled and press the pointy end into the other piece of wood.  Make sure the edges are all square, flush, and plumb before you do that.  Now you know exactly where to drill on the other side.  Alternatively, you could just measure really carefully.

Cut your string or twine long enough so you get a pleasing isosceles triangle when you place the ends in your drilled holes.  Tie knots in both ends.

The final rigging

The final rigging

Fill the drilled holes with glue and put the ends of the string in, followed by your magnets.  BE SO CAREFUL WITH THESE MAGNETS.  If you have children or pets and they swallow two of these, the attraction is so powerful that they will tear through your child’s/pet’s insides.  Let’s not have that, shall we?  I keep these hidden well out of reach.  Also, when you place the magnets, remember there’s a positive and negative side and opposites attract.  You need the poles facing the same direction in the sandwich.  After placing the magnets in the holes, I glued a little scrap of paper over them, then I put the sides of the hangers together with plastic wrap in between to dry overnight.  I did that because I wanted to make sure that as the glue dried, the magnets were flush with the surface of the wood.

Et voila!  If you are interested in purchasing either my hipster cow or Psych pancakes poster, check out my Etsy shop.

Completed hanger holding up my Psych inspired poster of pancakes.

Completed hanger holding up my Psych inspired poster of pancakes.

Posted in Arts and Crafts | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Paint Board with Chalk Lettering

My beautiful board with all my paints and inks.

My beautiful board with all my paints and inks.

Ever since I saw this paint storage board on Pinterest, I knew that I would one day make my own.  I’ve been wanting to get my paints out off the shelf above my desk to free up some space, but I also wanted them to be more accessible–such a pain to lift out all the trays and sift through to find the right color….or not really, but you have to remove obstacles to encourage creativity.  You get dressed to your shoes in the morning so you don’t pass the overflowing garbage can and think, “I really should take that out…but then I’d have to put on my shoes.”  Insignificant barriers, but barriers just the same.  So free up space and make the paints and inks more accessible, and that board fit the bill.  I just finished making an elbow-high work table, so I had some plywood leftover that happened to be the perfect size for the little bit of wall next to my desk.  I grabbed some iron tacks, my jar of rusty nails soaking in vinegar, and a chalk pencil.  I stained the wood with my vinegar soaked rusty mess and sanded it down for a nice weathered look.  I measured the length of the paint tubes including the binder clip with which to hang it and the width of the tubes and made a grid of 72 dots on the board.

Cool geometric pattern that no one will ever see because it will be cover with paint tubes.

Cool geometric pattern that no one will ever see because it will be cover with paint tubes.

Then I made a cool geometric pattern just because I felt like it.  I saw this phrase on Pinterest (there are 7 days in the week and someday isn’t one of them), and it spoke to the recurring time-management theme you may have noticed on my blog (here, here, here, here, and here).  When you have any number of kids and still want to do things that enrich you as an individual, you have to be so focused and committed and you have to stop procrastinating and piddle-farting.  There’s no time to waste browsing Pinterest (if you follow me, you may have noticed a significant decrease in activity.  I’m trying to limit myself to one day/week) or reorienting yourself to the task.  Just do it; don’t wait.  So I took that phrase and sketched it out on some handy dandy graph paper.

I do most of my lettering experiments on 11x17 graph paper.

I do most of my lettering experiments on 11×17 graph paper.

Then I traced it and colored the back of the tracing paper  with chalk to transfer it to my board.  To do that, you just tape it to your substrate and go over your drawing with a pen–I find ballpoint works best.  One cramped hand later, the lettering was transferred and I used my chalk pencil to darken the lines.  I wet the tip because it makes the chalk more opaque and I really wanted the lettering to stand out.

lettering closeup

There are 7 days in the week and someday isn’t one of them.

I waxed the wood to seal it.  Definitely my favorite way to finish wood.  Some finishes can look really unprofessional if not done by a professional (fancy that), but not this one.  It’s amateur-proof, and it really enhances the weathered look, making the wood sliver-proof without being shiny. Just rub the wax on with a cloth, wait 10-15 minutes, then buff it with a clean rag.  There are solvents in it so you want to do it outside.

Then I recruited some slave labor in the form of my daughter while I nursed my son.  She is now a card-carrying member of the smashed-thumbs club.  She hammered in 72 iron tacks, more or less straight.

She's happy when she feels useful.

She’s happy when she feels useful.

Ta-da!  I set it up on my desk and arranged my paints and printing inks according to color.

Isn't she a beaute?

Isn’t she a beaute?

It makes the OCD in me positively giddy.

Posted in Arts and Crafts, Lettering, Painting, Visual Arts | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Arabic-Inspired Lettering

For the Ones I LoveOr Farsi, really, since the Arabs got their alphabet from the Persians, but whatever. I’m working on a leather photo album as a gift for a Persian family and I wanted something that would hark back to their origins.  I saw this lettering and loved how it mimicked Arabic calligraphy and decided to try it out myself.
I really love how it turned out, and I decided to have it laser-engraved into the leather.  I’m debating about whether to then paint the letters with gold leather paint.  It’s an expensive mistake if I end up not liking it in gold.  We’ll see, and I’ll post pictures when I’m done.

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State of the Eight

There has been a serious dearth of posts going on around here, but lest you think I’ve given up on creativity, I’m going to give you a status update.  About 2.5 months ago, I gave birth to child number three

baby yawning

My little guy, just six days old.

(isn’t he so cute!) and discovered that three children is 10 times more work than two (blech).  I know the math doesn’t add up, but that’s convex non-linearity for you.  Basically, the sum is greater than the parts and I have NO TIME–and what would I do with that eighth day I so wish we had?  Sit around nursing a baby just like the other seven, that’s what.  The last couple of weeks I’ve managed to get the toddler and the infant to nap at the same time which gives me 1-2 hours to accomplish what I can.  Not a lot of time, but since I am incapable of NOT having one or a dozen different projects in the works, I have managed to squeeze some creative activities into my days.  However, since I have limited time, documenting those activities has suffered.  In an attempt to fix this, here’s an image dump of things I’ve been doing since my last post.  This isn’t even half of the projects I’ve been working on, but feel free to ask questions about anything you want more information on!

 

Posted in Arts and Crafts, Digital, Lettering, Letterpress, Paper Arts, Printmaking, Visual Arts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Sneak Peak

Paper cut Blackberries by Sarah (whynoteight.wordpress.com)

Cut paper blackberries

I’ve hinted previously at a most wondrous project I’m working on, and I thought I’d treat ya’ll to a sneak peak. I’ve got a couple hundred tiny little paper circles floating around my desk right now–I can tell you I drove my husband crazy with hammering to punch all of them out–but they do look nice put together, don’t they?  And how about that paper leaf?  Does it look leaf-like?  I’m debating about whether to keep the twisted paper for the stems or do flat paper strips.

Posted in Paper Arts, Paper Cuts | 4 Comments

Lunaria Annua or Happy Birthday to Me!

Lunaria annua, silver dollark plant, money plant, or honesty

Lunaria annua, silver dollark plant, money plant, or honesty

A few months ago I saw a dried silver dollar plant arrangement at our local grocery store.  I hadn’t seen them since I worked as a gardener in high school, and I’d forgotten all about them and how fascinating and lovely I thought they were.  I happened to be with my husband at the time, so I gushed to him about them.  Well, halfway through my birthday, my husband remembered it was my birthday ;) and ran over to the grocery store, coming back with two delicious varieties of chocolate ice cream and a bunch of dried silver dollars.  I was touched he actually listened and then remembered, and aren’t they so pretty!

Silver dollar seed pods

Silver dollar seed pods

The thing about silver dollar plants, or Lunaria annua, is that even though it’s pretty when it’s green, it’s breathtaking dried.  The plant is biennial, and the first year it’s pretty small, but it shoots up to 3-4 feet during it’s second spring and blossoms with pretty purple-pink flowers.  People like it because it’s unusual to see this sort of tall flowering plant in the spring, but I like because that second autumn when it starts to die, the flat, waxy green seed pods start to flake leaving this onion skin-like discs housing little seeds. I really like the pearlescent quality.

Posted in Photography | 4 Comments

What’s this?

A big flat cardboard box

A big flat cardboard box

A cardboard box, you say? Not so!

Tada!  Beautiful colors.

Tada! Beautiful colors.

This is a fabulous shipment of oh so colorful paper!  I was so excited when I saw the UPS guy, I just about pounced on him.  No really, I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m crazy.  It’s just that I had to wait weeks, WEEKS, for this to arrive.  This is my first experience ordering paper without handling it first–just based off the descriptions on the website.  I was leary, let me tell you, especially when a person is used to a place like the paper department at New York Central Art Supply–thousands of papers to finger.  I did it anyway because this isn’t paper I’m using for a book or anything (gasp!), at least not in the traditional bookish sense, but for another project I’ve had on hold for a while because of the binding and printing I do.  Any guesses?  If you’d like a hint, go here to this Pinterest board.  Are you excited yet?  Because I know I am.

I may be as excited for the boxes the paper came in, as I am for the paper itself.  Just think, you have mondo (25″x35″) sheets of paper and a couple of kids entirely too fond of scissors. How do you protect your precious booty?  By squirreling it away under your bed of course.  At least now that I don’t have flat file drawers at the Center for Book Arts, that’s what I do.  But then what do you do when your husband shoves his computer under the bed when he’s ready to sleep?  It mushes up the paper and you may as well let the kids at it with scissors.  So these boxes are going to be very useful for protecting this new paper, as well as the paper I already have.

Stickers on paper! The nerve!

Stickers on paper! The nerve!

I do have one question for you–what kind of people put stickers on paper?!  I ordered this paper from paper people, people!  That sticker effectively wastes the top two inches of every tenth sheet of paper I ordered.  Don’t they get that?  I ask you.

Posted in Paper Arts | 2 Comments

Journal Writing for People Who Can’t Keep a Journal: The Power of JUST

Just is your new best friend.

Just is your new best friend.

You may or may not have noticed a long hiatus in my promised series of Journal Writing for People Who Can’t Keep a Journal.  I have lots of really good excuses, as do all of us among the journal-impaired.  Mostly I haven’t been journaling, so I feel a bit like a hypocrite preaching about how to effectively keep a journal.  I just moved to the other side of the country, all my books (including my journals) are in storage…. Great excuses, but we all know what those are like.  And again, we all know what it’s like to go a while without journaling.  You start storing up all the things you ought to be writing about, and pretty soon the task of recording everything you haven’t recorded becomes insurmountable.  Well today, I found my salvation in my inbox in the form of a Behance newsletter which I would normally delete without looking at, but the subject line caught my eye. The article that finally inspired me to get back to was Start Small: Why Tinkerers Get Things Done by Mark McGuinness.  Long story short, you start without starting.  You’re just going to jot down a few lines.

“I’ll just prime a canvas.”
“I’ll just play a few chords to warm up.”
“I’ll just write the characters’ names out.”
“I’ll just copy out the previous design.”
“I’ll just get the folder out of the filing cabinet.”

You remove your resistance by NOT doing this behemoth task, you’re just doing the first step.  Nothing else.  I’m not cooking dinner, I’m just chopping up vegetables, ets.  So here I go to just jot down a few words and to heck with “journalling.”

Posted in Journal Writing, Literary Arts | 5 Comments

Central Park

I have another tutorial in the works–get excited ’cause it’s a good one!–In the meantime, have a gander at this picture I took at Central Park last time I was there.  Now, I would like honest opinions from you lovely people out there who know stuff:  is this any good?  I’m not much of a photographer, especially when it comes to landscapes, but I sure try and I’d like to get better.  Advice is appreciated.

A nice man decided to row across my shot, making the scene even more picturesque.

A nice man decided to row across my shot, making the scene even more picturesque.

Posted in Photography | Tagged , | 6 Comments