December 29, 2013

Handmade Holiday: Monogrammed Wooden Key Chain

About two years ago I found a great piece of wood on the side of the road. The branch was just recently cut from a tree in a neighbors front yard and was perfectly round. Obviously, I had to drag it home. My boyfriend and I cut it up into tiny, one and a half inch circles and they've sat in my crafting closet ever since. I knew one day I would have a brilliant idea.
That idea finally came just about two weeks before Christmas.

Last year I handmade every gift, from refinishing nightstands to rounding out vintage spoon handles into rings. This year I sadly didn't have the time.

I couldn't let the holiday go by with just a bunch of store bought gifts, so I began digging through supplies. I came across a little bag filled with circular wood cuttings and knew it was finally time to put them to good use!

Read below for a list of supplies and step-by-step, pictured instructions.

-Wooden circle cuts about 1 1/2 in. in diameter and 1/4 in. thick 
Note: It's always a good idea to let freshly cut wood dry out for sometime. Never cut a branch from a living tree, there is plenty of dead wood to be recycled!
-Wood burning pen 
-Fine grit sand paper - 150 or higher 
-Power Drill with a 1/8 in. drill bit
- Light pencil for sketching
-Wood Stain - I used Minwax Golden Oak
-Triple Thick Clear Brush-On Gloss Glaze
-Small 1" Paint Brush
-10mm & 12mm Jump Rings
-20mm Split rings

While it might not be the most enjoyable process (my hands cramped up a few times) always take the time to sand. You will be happier with the end result 100% of the time.

Make sure to keep a firm grip on the piece you're drilling into and use high speed. Slow speed and weak grips cause for dangerous drilling and warped holes. 

While you could use stencils, I sketched out my letters to keep a purely handmade look. Be light with the pencil as it was extremely hard to erase dark lines on such light wood.

If, like me, wood is one of your favorite materials to work with, purchase a wood burning pen. I bought mine at Michael's a few years ago and have gotten a lot of great use out of it. Most kits come with a few different tips to allow you to get as detailed as you like.

*Let air dry for 24 hours*
I decided to go with a lighter to medium stain so it wouldn't blend in with the burned letters. All you need is some clean, cut up t-shirts to apply. 

Note: Test, test, test! I had a few leftover pieces and testing the stain on them saved me from using something way too dark.

*Let air dry for 24 hours*

This product was an amazing find. I've used it on all types of surfaces and it never lets me down. An alternative option would be to use a Polyurethane or Polycrylic finish. While both great options, they would have required numerous coats to achieve the finish I was looking for. Triple Thick gave it to me with one coat and a less then 24 hour complete drying time!

Note: When it comes to any stain or finish, always read labels for proper drying time an adhesion instructions.

Note: To Open and Close Jump Rings: Use two flat nose pliers and twist ring, one hand rotating towards you, the other rotating away from you. Never pull open as this weakens the metal and can cause an odd shaped ring

On Christmas morning I decided to give out the key chains before anyone opened up any gifts. It was great because it reminded me that Christmas cannot be bought in a store. You don't have to spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars to light up someone face. 
All you need is some heart and soul. 

No comments:

Post a Comment