Wait! Don’t leave. This is way easier than you think. If you can hold a pencil, you can do this simple craft.
I started out making these plaques to don my son’s nursery walls but have since done several as baby gifts! Every circle of friends has the one talented woman that sews beautiful personalized quilts, I am not that one in my group. That post has long since been taken. These, however are just as adorable, go with any decor and can be personalized as much or as little as you desire! Plus, depending on the complexity, you can even finish one in a single afternoon, like the one I’m about to show you.
The supplies are pretty few and straight forward:
1. Burners come in all shapes and sizes but I chose the Walnut Hollow Hobby Tool because it comes with all the changeable heads you can experiment with to get a variety of effects (I got mine on amazon but I’ve seen them at Michaels and DeSerres as well). It’s also a little less intimidating than the more industrial models. For this craft, this tool will do just fine. You will need to replace worn bits every now and then but they are incredibly cheap to replace!
2. (Believe it or not, I’m not sponsored by Walnut Hollow but I just love their products) I buy Walnut Hollow wood rounds at my local craft store. They’re basswood and burn beautifully. Different types of wood burn differently (hard woods vs soft woods) so do a little test on a spare piece when you can and adjust your method accordingly. These basswood rounds come sanded smooth already so if you’re using fresh cut rounds just be sure to sand them to a smooth finish before burning.
3. A pencil. Now you’re going to want a special pencil for thi…….just kidding! Any pencil will do. Sketch out on the wood itself, what you want your design to be so you can go over it with the burner afterwards. Easy!
4 & 5. You can skip this step altogether if you prefer, it’s not necessary and many tuts don’t even bother with this but let me tell you why I do it; You’re going to notice pieces of bark chipping off your round as you burn, so I polyurethane the front, back and bark to sort of seal it altogether. I’ve noticed considerably less flaking after I’ve done this. This is a bonus if you’re giving it as a baby shower gift. Most new mom’s have pristine nurseries with no room for dirt and choking hazards, just saying.
If you do prefer this step, you’ll need a small can of polyurethane and a foam brush. Just follow the application instructions on the can.
There! Now that we got that out of the way, let’s get started! For this demonstration I chose the design featured above.
I started by measuring out the size of my frame and dividing that height by the number of lines in my design. The height of my frame was 9″ and I had 13 lines of text. I wanted the heights to be varied between 1/2″ and 3/4″ high with 1/8″ space between each line. Now, I want to say that I used a calculator and figured it out perfectly…but I can’t. Instead I drew and redrew my lines until it worked out. Me and math…..
Next I started filling out my words. If you look closely, you can see that I drew and redrew these as well. This took the most time and I’m still not completely happy with it but anyways…
Now, I want to point out that despite appearances, the burning is pretty forgiving. If you keep a light hand, you can go over and over the burn until it’s the way you want. Another trick is to, once your finished, sand the whole thing with a light grit sandpaper (220 or higher, 320 is best). This does double duty; It will get rid of the pesky pencil lines that your eraser may not have completely worked on AND it will sand away any little mistakes if you kept a light hand.
If you like, you can add a little personalized touch to the back. The baby’s name, birth date or little doodle. Anything you want! Next I applied 1 coat of polyurethane to the whole thing. I find more coats than that, and it makes it a little too golden in colour. And lastly, if you choose to hang it, I like these simple, low-profile picture hangers. And you’re done! See? Easy! And they look great everywhere!