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So… I wasn’t meaning to take a week off, but we had family in town for a visit and it was lovely to unplug and spend time catching up.  I’ll have more on what we were up to with the October Re-cap next week.  But for now, I’m feeling rested and inspired and ready to handle the 23 comments that got trapped in my spam folder.  For some reason, this photo is a HUGE spam attractor.

I’ve been flooded with spam comments attached to it and I’m not sure why.  So glad I’ve used it on my blog twice now.

Anyhow… after all that beautifully sanded and stained wood that I shared with you earlier, I have to show you what I’ve been up to lately.  Let’s just say it’s a little more… ahem… rustic.

Since the beginning of the year, I have been wanting to create a vintage sign for Tyson’s office.  He has this large wall above his computer and we both agree that it would be really cool to have an old, hand-painted sign that looked like his company had it hanging outside it’s establishment a hundred years ago.

Attempt #1: Our first thought was to use salvaged wood.  It comes already aged and you’re doing something good for the environment.  But as I walked around our local salvage yard, I was having a hard time finding exactly what I had envisioned and something that wouldn’t weigh a thousand pounds.

So through the magic of Pinterest I started keeping my eyes out for how to age your own boards.

Attempt #2: I found one tutorial that the gal beat on some boards with chains, a hammer and screwdrivers.  Once it was “textured” she then soaked a steel wood pad in balsamic vinegar and “stained” the boards with that.  I gave it a try and my results were not as wonderful as what I had pinned.  My “texture” looked a little too planned.  Also, the steel wool had something on it that turned the board blue.  And lastly, the whole thing smelled funny. (duh!)

Attempt #3: And just as I was starting to wonder if I would be able to tackle this project, Beth at “Sunshine on the Inside” created this beautiful lemonade stand for her kiddos and she gave a great tutorial on how she aged the boards herself.  YAY!!  You may remember that I featured Beth’s Houndstooth Pouf.  She is a very talented lady!

So for about $30 in supplies I picked up half inch plywood boards from Home Depot and the stains that Beth had recommended: Dark Walnut and Ebony.

This project was perfect for a staining novice like myself.  Because I was wanting a rustic look, once the boards were cut to size, I skipped any sanding and went straight for applying the stain.  I started with the ebony and my first attempt was WAY too heavy. Yikes!

I flipped the board over and started again.  With a minimal amount of the ebony stain, I went over the entire boards, wiping off the excess as I went.  I quickly got the hang of it and love the results.

It was really fun to take my time and keep applying stain until I got the vintage tone I was wanting.  I definitely want to try working with stain more in the future.

Then it was time for the dark walnut stain.

This second application really brought out the details in the boards.

Beth had also recommended staining the boards before assembling the project so the tint gets on the edges and in between the boards which was a great tip!  Once everything was complete, Tyson was able to hammer the boards together and get the sign ready to be hung.

He added three boards across the back to hold them together and give the sign support.

We’re still kicking around ideas on how we want to hang this on the wall once it’s finished.  But for now, it’s put together and ready for the design work.

Now comes the hard part… not screwing up these gorgeous boards.  I’ve got to tell you, I’m a little nervous.  I’m hand painting the lettering and this can be amazing or really, REALLY bad.  I’ve got my sketch and I’m ready… fingers crossed.

Have you worked with stain before and achieved great results?  Have you had any Pinterest projects that didn’t go according to plan?  Did you throw in the towel or did you find a plan B?

And I’d like to say a huge “thank you” once again to Beth for sharing her project.  She was a life saver and gave me the confidence to try something new.  Check out “Sunshine on the Inside” here.