I’m collaborating with some freakishly talented bloggers to bring you some Valentine’s decor ideas you can make. It’s an online heart attack, and rest assured, it is entirely a good thing.
Check out these other incredibly talented bloggers to see what they have worked up for you!
When I thought about what to contribute I wanted something multi functional. So here it is – a diy arched window with a tree that you can decorate for any season or holiday. Simply change out the hearts for Easter eggs or spiders or shamrocks – whatever you like. Bam, you have an easy way to channel any holiday, no matter how big or small.
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Tools and Supplies
2 – 24″ x 36″ pine craft/hobby boards
heart garland ($3 at Target dollar spot) or other decorative hearts such as these (but you’ll want to paint them)
white paint (any)
dark stain (any)
blow torch (optional), bristle brush drill attachment (optional), and nylon or dish brush (optional)
hot glue or epoxy
small sander or oscillating tool (you can also hand sand, but personally I avoid it like the plague.)
Arched Window and Tree Template
This template will need to be printed as an engineering print at your local copy center. Sorry it’s kind of murky. I couldn’t find paper and used moving wrap.
How to make the arched window and tree shapes
I have to confess. This project almost never was. I love working with reclaimed wood, and version A of this was cut from a huge piece of 2 1/2 inch thick wood. However, salvaged wood being what it is, the arch split into several pieces and after trying in vain to save it, I finally
threw it across the garage calmly and rationally decided to move on to plan B.
The good news is, plan B is much more simple than plan A. You’ll want to pick up a couple project panels from Lowes. I think they call them craft or hobby boards. Basically, they are glued together pine boards. You can join boards yourself if you like, but after the Plan A debacle, and then getting into a major car accident, easy seemed really, really attractive.
You will need to print the included template. Or sketch your own. Whatever floats your boat. Trace or draw the arched window shape only onto the first board, then cut it out using a jigsaw.
Now take your cut out window board and glue it down to your second board. Clamp it up good and tight, and let it dry at least overnight. As you can see, we get super fancy around here. Also, it’s too darn cold at night, so the glue doesn’t take unless I let them dry in the house. Don’t ask me how I found that out.
Trace the tree shape onto the bottom board. Drill holes between the tree branches so you can get the jigsaw in. Be sure to use a long blade to account for the extra thickness where the tree meets the window frame.
Now sand. Sand as if your life depended upon it. Maybe put on some good tunes. I used a stationery belt sander to do the outside of the window shape and arch, an orbital sander to do wherever I could inside the window around the tree, and my Ryobi multi tool to get the smaller areas between the branches. Ya, that’s a bit of work. You may curse my name by this point. It’s okay, I can take it. Hang in there, the next part will be fun.
Designing the tree and aging the window
Now you get to burn the tree. You can totally skip this part and simply stain the tree. Burning the wood pops the grain, which is a cool look but not essential. What you’ll want to do is give the entire tree a good char…
Then scrub it up with a bristle brush. The only brush I could dig up was way too course and scratched the devil out of the tree. Don’t be like me.
…So I gave the entire tree another good charring to get rid of the scratches. Hey, part of the fun of DIY is just making it up as you go along. As you can see, I also went ahead and stained the window at this point. Choose any dark brown color – I believe this is Dark Walnut by Minwax. It will be used as the dark undercoat.
Guys, the master of revealed grain is Matt at Keddie Woodshop. Check out his YouTube videos to learn how he reveals grain. I learned from him how to raise the grain using a brush. For this project I simply purchased a $2 dish brush, cut the top off, put a machine screw through it and chucked it into the drill. You’ll see almost right away what it does to the wood.
See that grain popping out? How cool is that?!
I left the tree as was after that and taped off the branches so I could paint the arched window.
But first, some magic. Use a cheap chip brush to wipe regular Elmer’s glue over the entire window frame. Let the glue set for a few minutes – maybe five at most.
…Then paint white paint over the entire arched window. Don’t brush hard over the glue. As the glue dries under the paint it will crack, causing the paint to develop an aged, cracked appearance. Easy!
Your window and tree are done! Now let’s make some decorations for it.
Make the tree decor
I used these fun little hearts off of a Target $3 garland I found in the dollar spot. I had to break the clips off the back, but for $3, they were perfect.
The idea is that the hearts are like leaves. I wanted to hang them from the tree, but not have them flop around like they would with string. So instead I soaked some toothpicks in water for several hours, then gave them all a slight bend (careful, too much will crack them). You can do this much faster over an open flame, by the way.
To make sure they stayed that way I rigged this fancy contraption and let them dry overnight. That’s right, it’s a rubber band ball.
Glue mini clothespins to the back of the tree anywhere you want to hang hearts. I chose this system so that it is easy to swap out other items for the various holidays. Allow the glue time to fully set.
I stained the dried toothpicks, then glued them to the hearts. Once they were set I simply clipped them to the pins at the back of the tree. (Also, check out how that crackled paint looks!)
Add additional hearts to the base of the tree to resemble fallen leaves. Most of these are just sitting there, but I did glue toothpicks to some and drilled small holes to set them in so that they will sit just how I want them.
There it is! I look forward to using this tree again for lots of other holidays. Let me know what you think, and shoot me a photo if you make one, too!
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