Monday, January 14, 2013

Jumbo Scrabble Tiles - Family Name

My name is Kevin, and I am a pinner. I remember when I started the hear all this hype about Pinterest back in the day. My wife and a few of her friends raved about it. I figured it was something geared specifically towards woman, and it really wasn't too popular for a guy to be logging on. But after checking it out for myself, and getting ragged on by a bunch of women because I was the only guy they knew that had a Pinterest Account, I have found Pinterest to be very, very useful in not only doing updates around the home, but also making awesome meals, cutting costs of products/cleaners, and coming up with fun ideas for the classroom.

Anyways, this is an idea that was inspired by some pins that I had seen...but I wanted to make it custom for myself. This was easy, but time consuming because I am a perfectionist, but the final product was definitely worth it.

***I looked into ordering these tiles (3"x3") and the cost (without shipping/handling/tax) was $97.50!!! So, with a little elbow grease I made these for somewhere between five and ten bucks!

We love playing games, and Scrabble is a classic word game that my wife and I used to play when we first got married. Almost every night we would make dinner, get caught up, and then play games for another hour or so after dinner just to hang out and stay connected. So for me, this project ties in our love for games, our family, and adds to the decor of our home. Here are the specs:

Time: a few hours over a couple of days (total 6-8 hrs)

Cost: $5-10 (if you have most of these things) closer to $20 (if you need to buy more materials)

Tools Needed:
a decent set of thin tipped paint brushes (got mine at Jo-Anns)
Dremel Tool (borrowed mine from my parents)
Saw to cut the tiles

Materials Needed:
1x4 premium pine (I got 27 tiles out of an 8 ft board)
Stain (I had mine left over from previous projects)
Spray Poly-urethane (another left over from previous projects)

The Steps from Start to Finish

1. I searched for a high-resolution photo of scrabble tiles, and then blew them up to be a 3.5" x 3.5" square. This will be my template for creating the jumbo tiles.

2. I took my 1x4x8 board of premium pine and cut them down to be square. Since a 1x4 is actually 3.5 inches wide, the square are 3.5 inches by 3.5 inches.

3. Then you square up up the template on the wood. You can see I was a little small on the template, but it is unnoticeable to the eye.

4. Then I took the pencil and carefully outlined the letter and the point value. When you remove the template you will see the outline indented on the surface of the wood.

5. Now it's time for the Dremel tool. I first used the sanding tip to round off the corners and the edges of the tile.

6. Then you can use a fine tipped carving attachment to outline the letter, and then simply carve out the center of the letter. You don't have to do this step, but since original Scrabble tiles have indented letters I wanted to indent mine.

7. This one was pretty shallow, but you can see the carved out letter, point value, and rounded edges.

8. I also smoothed the rough carving and the surface of the tile so that it would be nice and smooth as well as prepped for the painting and staining.

9. Now you are ready to start on making the finished product.

10. I used black acrylic paint to with a very fine tipped brush to fill in the letters. My hand was shaking pretty bad by the time I got to the final letter. If you are not on a time crunch split it up. My unsteady hand slipped on the last couple and I got paint where I didn't want paint :-(

11. Now they are ready to be stained and topped with polyurethane.

12. I used a clear stain and polyurethane combo (Ployshades) and thought that only one coat was good enough.

13. Then I sprayed about 3 coats of Spar-urethane (you can use poly) to put a nice semi-gloss / protective coating over the tiles. I also found the blank tile that I had lost, and put that between THE and REIGNERS. Now it is ready to be placed on the wall.
 *** I had mapped out the letter arrangement ahead of time on a piece of square grid paper. And since we are expecting a new addition to the family, I made sure that the new boy or girl name would fit in the word puzzle. Just something to think about so you don't back yourself into a corner later ;-)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Snowy Day Project

After making Logan's Toddler Bed I still had some materials leftover, as well as some things left over from past projects, just sitting in my shed. Since the forecast was snow throughout the entire day I thought, what the heck I should make something with these scraps for Logan. Since he is getting older I thought it would be neat to make him something that he could use to do some learning activities, play with his toys, write/draw, etc....

So, what not make him a small table that he can work on! All I needed was a quick trip to Lowes to buy some 2x2 (an extra $3.00). And lucky for me the snow hadn't started falling yet. We are still debating on whether to paint the table, or stain the table, but either way making the table is the same.

Here is my snowy day project:

Table Top: 20x30 plywood
*Underside: 2- 2x2 at 30 inches and 2- 2x2 at  27 inches
*Facing: 2- 1x3 at roughly 30 inches and 2- 1x3 at roughly 27 inches
Legs: 4- 2x2 at 18 1/2 inches

* I go with the measure twice, cut once approach. Just lay out your material as you are working and make sure that you are taking your time and being patient. Taking my time, this project only took about an hour and a half.

Here are the scraps I had, plus the 2x2s I purchased before the snow arrived. The table was going to measure 20x30 and 19 inches high (20x30 because that was the plywood that was already cut, and 19 inches high because that seemed like the average height of most children's tables). Note the stool...that will be a later project to go with the table.

As you can see, my workshop was pretty cold and the snow as just beginning to fall.

After I got my cuts done, you better believe that I headed inside to the comfort and warmth of the dining room.

This project didn't require too much...just some drills bits and screw tips, wood screws, and I did bring out the Kreg Jig since I now have it...but you don't necessarily need it for this project...oh and I did decided to use glue as well.

I used the 2x2 to frame the underside so I could have something to tack the 1x3 board on to. Pre-drill the holes so that the boards don't move around on you when you and putting in the screws.

I wanted to have a 1/4 inch lip on the top so that things wouldn't roll of the end when Logan was using the table, so I used an old shim I found to give me the mark that I needed, and to keep it consistent around the table.

The line is actually going to the be the top lip of the table.

Again, just pre-drill and then countersink your screws so that you can fill it in with wood filler later.

This gives you an idea of the lip edge that helps keep things on the table.

Logan didn't like the mess I was making, so he grabbed the dust pan and broom and cleaned up my mess.

After all four sides and glued and screwed the top is done, and now it just needs legs.

For the legs I just drilled two pocket holes (one hole, two sides) and then glued and screwed the legs to the table.

Now it's time to let all the glue set up and bond the wood together.

And this is what my outdoor workshop had become in the meantime.

Finished product!

One thing that was suggested to me by my father-in-law, as to tie the legs together with 2x2s to add more strength and support to the legs.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Logan's Christmas Gift - Toddler Bed

For the past 6 months or so I have been thinking about making a bed for Logan, but there was no real need to hurry because he was seeming to enjoy the crib so much. But then over the summer came the news that we would be expecting number 2 this coming spring :-)

So I thought to myself, 'I better get a move on it!.'

While I was away for work in the first week of December I researched some building plans on toddler beds, and found one that I really liked. All in all it wasn't too bad, something that could be done in a day for sure. Here is how the timeline went down:

Wednesday: bought some lumber from Lowe's (they had slightly, I mean slightly, better prices)
Thursday: bought a few other pieces from Home Depot (I liked their plywood better)
Sunday Morning: took a couple hours to set up shop and make all the cuts needed for the bed
Sunday Evening: assembled the bed in a couple hours
Sunday Night: Primed the bed


Here is a copy of the plan from  Ana White's website: Traditional Toddler Bed
Cost of Materials: $50-$100 ( around $50 for the lumber and $50 for the Kreg Jig - which is worth it)
Time to Build: roughly 4-8 hours depending on your speed and level of comfort (always work at a comfortable pace)

From Lumber to Slumber (haha, cheesy):

Every good project needs direction. Lucky for me about a year ago I found a great DIY Website authored by Ana White. She is excellent. You can find plans for all sorts of projects for your home by going to her website:
I heard it said from my brother's father-in-law, "Measure twice, cut once." I took my time with this project and measured all the lumber a couple times and was very meticulous on the cuts too.

Since Renae and Logan were out, I made out dinning room into my "workshop" for the day.

This little baby is worth it's weight in gold. You can pick one of these Kreg Jig Jr. kits at Lowe's for about $30 and the clamp for about $20. This allows you to drill pocket holes which is a must for any sort of furniture.

A few pocket holes and screws later, the head board and foot board were ready for rails.

I figured he wouldn't realize what it was, so it was ok for him to be around his "surpise" Christmas present.

When the rails were on I was taken back by how tiny it was. For a guy standing at 6'3" this bed looked awfully tiny.

See what I mean?!?

So we brought in the little guy to make sure it wasn't too small for him! And it wasn't :-)

Then we needed to put guardrails on the side so the little man won't roll out of the bed while sleeping.

Then the last part was to put the slats in to make sure that everything looked good.

To stain or to paint? That was a tough choice. We figured we would paint it so that we could add unique touches for each of our children that will use the bed throughout the years. Paint you can go over, stain in more of a hassle.

So we added a couple coats of primer, until we can figure out what colors we want to use on it!

And there it was Christmas morning, waiting for someone to find it!

 Christmas Morning:

The Moment Mommy and Daddy Were Waiting For: