Monday, September 3, 2012

All Hallows' Eve Block Decor

I couldn't help myself.  Everyone was posting about pumpkin spice lattes on Facebook.  Football had taken over my tv.  And Hobby Lobby was overflowing with Halloween inspiration.  It just kind of... happened.

There I was... standing in the unfinished wood aisle.  You know, the one with so many different style wood letters that you want to create monograms in every one?  Yeah, that one.  And I saw it.  "Bag of Wood".  A bag full of various sized wood blocks for $4.99.  I thought to myself, "Wait... don't I have a 40% coupon on my phone {thanks to the Hobby Lobby iPhone app}?  And didn't I see scrapbook paper on sale for 50% off a sheet?  Yeah, this is happening."

Thus, I give you, my first Halloween craft of the season.  For under $15*, I created this adorable All Hallows' Eve decor that I will proudly display for years to come.  And now you can too...

*I am overestimating on the cost.  I only spent about $5 at Hobby Lobby for the scrapbook paper and blocks, but I already had the other necessary supplies at home.  The $15 price tag is assuming you have none of the crafting supplies.

Bag of Wood ($5 at Hobby Lobby, unfinished wood aisle)
Halloween Scrapbook Paper
Orange Acrylic Paint
Black Acrylic Paint
Black Sharpie Paint Pen
Orange Sharpie Paint Pen
Mod Podge (Used: gloss finish but of course, matte works too)
Mod Podge Flattening Tool
Sponge Brush
Paint Brush
Black Glitter (Used: "Black Licorice" by Martha Stewart)
Small Wood Star (or other similar embellishment - for the apostrophe)
Distressing Ink
Paper Cutter
Paper Towels
Newspaper (or other surface cover)
Tacky Glue

1.  Plan out your wood blocks.  The "Bag of Wood" contains various sizes and shapes, so you will want to use scrap paper to map out what you would like your decor to look like.

2.  Use sand paper to smooth any rough or sharp edges.  A good number of my blocks were perfectly finished, so I only needed to sand three of mine.  I use a sand paper sponge (Lowe's or Home Depot in paint department) - they are easier to handle than traditional paper.

3.  Measure wood blocks with ruler and mark on scrap paper.  You will need to know the measurements of each block to properly cut your scrapbook paper to size.

4.  Now, it's time to cut your scrapbook paper.  I wanted my paper to fit inside the wood block so the paper would have a small border.  Therefore, I subtracted 1/8" off my all my measurements when cutting the paper.  For example, on a 4"x4" block, I cut the paper at 3 7/8" x 3 7/8".  Cut all of your paper.

5.  Distress the edges of your scrapbook paper.  If you have never done this before: Simply rub the ink pad along the edge of the paper.  The more you rub onto it, the more the ink will spread into the paper's edge.  I do not suggest using a normal ink pad (though you can).  A normal ink pad will get everywhere and take longer to dry.  However, work with whatcha got!  Distress all your paper and lay aside to dry.

6.  While your paper dries, paint your wood blocks with your acrylic paints.  If you would like to keep a natural block, skip to the Step 8. 
**Painting Tip*
To reduce mess and maximize efficiency,
only paint three sides at a time.
Paint 1 face (the large side)
and 2 opposite sides/edges.
This way, when it's time to paint the other face
and two other sides,
you'll have dry spaces to hold your piece.
No more painting around your fingers!

7.  After first round of paint is dry, paint the remaining sides of your blocks.  Notice, I'm holding the block on the painted edges with the dried "face" facing down. 

8.  While blocks dry, decorate your embellishment.  Since it's All Hallows' Eve, I thought a glittery star would be great for the apostrophe.  I had already painted my star black so all that was needed was a thin layer of Mod Podge and glitter!  Shake off the excess and set aside until the end.

9.  Are your blocks dry?  Have you checked for any touch-up spots?  Did you fix them?  Great!  Next Step!

10.  Time to Mod Podge!  Mod Podge your scrap book paper onto your blocks.  Only adhere the paper to the block - do not seal!!!  Complete all blocks.

11.  After giving your blocks ample time to dry, it's time to create your letters.  I chose to use Sharpie Paint Pens {my new crafting addiction} and inspiration from fonts on my computer. 
 Notice the lower case "a".
Freehand as best you can.
Remember, imperfection is the spice of life
and only makes Halloween decor look better!
 Grab your paint pens.
 Outline your letter.
Fill in your letter.

 Create letters for all your blocks.  My blocks took a few applications of paint pens and last minute I decided to enhance the orange letters with a thin layer of orange paint (the same paint used on the blocks).

If this step intimidates you, you can also use stencils, stickers or letters printed and cut out from the computer!  Don't shy away from this project because you're afraid to freehand.  There are a number of ways to get great looking letters on the blocks.

 Here are my blocks before sealing.

12.  Seal your blocks with Mod Podge.  I used a gloss finish, which means I had to cover the entire block (including sides without paper) to ensure the whole block had the same sheen.  Be sure to use a thin layer.  You don't want a huge clump of Mod Podge on any side.  It will show up on the dark blocks.

13.  Use tacky glue to adhere star to upper right-hand corner of "s" block for the apostrophe.

Show off your awesome creation!

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