A coworker recently commissioned me to make a Michigan cutting board for her friend’s wedding and I remembered this great cutting board tutorial from Design Sponge. I took the basic plans, changed the shape to an upper and lower peninsula, and now her friend has a new cutting board for his wedding this weekend.
I’ve nearly completed my newest project, a Buildings of Detroit Peg Puzzle. The buildings are all laser-etched, so the real challenge was trying to get the design right.
I used Adobe Illustrator and at first just dropped in the color photographs and etched them as they were. What came out was mostly a brown blob that bore some resemblance to a building. Since the key is to have contrast, I went and made each image black and white and increased the contrast so the blacks were really black and the whites were really white.
The image above was one of my final tests. I was starting to get some more detail, but there were still some areas, especially on the Belle Isle Aquarium at the top, where parts looked sort of smeared out. I tinkered with the file a bit more, and finally got it to where I liked it. They’re still imperfect and kind of look like rough sketches, but I think I like it that way.
Now I just need to glue, sand, and attach some pegs.
I completed my first project at Tech Shop this past weekend and I made these Detroit-themed rulers you can now find in our Etsy store. I was really happy with the way they turned out, and it’s only the beginning of many new projects to come!
We’re also starting to apply to some of the spring/summer Craft Faires, which means ramping up production along with it. I’m excited to get back into the swing of things after the post-holiday lull.
In addition to my Woodland Michigan Playset and Animals of America Playset, I have added my third and (for now) final installment, the Prehistoric Playset. This set includes a brontosaurus, triceratops, sabertooth tiger, and, my favorite, wooly mammoth. Look for all three playsets in our Etsy store at some point in the next few days!
My main project over the last month or so has been to make a peg puzzle for my niece’s first birthday. I was able to celebrate her birthday with her at my brother and sister-in-law’s house yesterday, and give her the newly-made puzzle.
First, after tracing the shapes I wanted on a thin sheet of wood, I drilled a small insert hole at different points of each shape for a scroll saw blade to fit through. Once I got the blade through, I could cut out each shape, leaving me this:
Then, I glued that onto another piece of wood of equal thickness.
I had to re-cut the inside pieces since the pieces I originally cut out had drill holes on the sides of them. I then painted each piece and also painted a scene on the main board.
Finally, I found some little wooden pegs at a craft store and glued them to the Michigan/animal pieces. I had to saw off the end of each peg because they were a little long, but they worked really well otherwise. Here’s the finished product:
What Good Have I Done Today? had a great holiday season and through the Detroit Urban Craft Fair, Etsy orders, and orders from friends, we sold out of chalkboard bunnies, chalkboard bison, phrenology puzzles, Michigan chalkboards, and adult-sized Dino Science tees. Our first order of business is to get those back into our store and then we’re onto new projects!
Here are a couple of new items I made as custom orders for the holidays.
The first is a chalkboard bear I made for a friend who bought it as a gift for his wife. I really like the way this guy turned out.
The second is a pig ornament I made for a former manager who gifted it to a pig-collecting friend.
With the holidays over, our unofficial blog-break comes to an end as well. We meant to have a final post to announce our short vacation, but with all the holiday craziness and our four-city Michigan tour over the last few days, we never quite got around to it.
This was my niece’s first Christmas and I’ve spent some time on and off over the last 6 months or so making these blocks as her first Christmas gift. I really enjoy just being able to sit and hand-carve projects, but with the amount of time it takes, I think my hand-carved projects are going to be restricted to extra special gifts.
Originally, I intended the mustaches to be sold separately from the regular bulb shapes, with each piece being its own ornament. As I was cutting out the pieces however, I set one of the mustaches on top of the bulb and suddenly I realized how perfectly each mustache worked with each bulb to make a far superior ornament.
We also ordered paper from French Paper Co. to cover the back and make both sides festive.