Friday, September 21, 2012

How to make a Jewelry Tree for under $10

Late in August I was a stallholder at the Made with Love markets in Coffs Harbour where I had my illustrations and jewelry on show. A month before I had the brilliant idea to attempt to create my own jewelry trees on a very tight budget... so of course, I went on a trip to Bunnings and found myself a little sheet of plywood for less than $9. Now, assuming that you already have the power tools, a pencil, a few pieces of paper and a bit of sandpaper just laying about, then all you need is a bit of plywood and you're ready to make your own handmade jewelry display tree

Here's the list of things I used:

  • Jewelry Tree Template (prints on 2 sheets of A4 paper ~ make it larger/smaller if you like)
  • 1 x small sheet of craft plywood (7mm thickness, I bought a piece from Bunnings 120cm x 40cm for $8.95. It was the smallest piece available & I could easily cut 2 x 30cm tall trees from it)
  • Jigsaw (with sharp fine blade suited to cutting craft plywood)
  • Pencil ~ for tracing template
  • Eraser ~ for fixing mistakes & getting rid of template lines later
  • Scissors
  • Medium & Fine sandpaper
  • Acrylic Paint ~ optional (if you like a painted finish. I left mine unpainted to show the timber grain)

My jewelry tree templates were created from a rough sketch I drew on paper which I modified a little in photoshop. All it took was a little rudimentary maths to work out how to create a template that would slot together...

Cutting out and tracing the templates onto the plywood was a slow task...would have been made much faster if I'd had a sheet of carbon paper or just a big graphite stick to rub all over the back of my template... oh well, you live and learn.

Then, I set up my makeshift clamp workbench outside where all the sawdust could blow away in the wind...and bravely taking the jigsaw in hand I cut, sawed, chopped and hacked my way through my plywood sheet until I had something resembling a cut out tree.

Wish I had a laser cutter right now.

Obviously I made a big mistake in using the largest saw blade (I couldn't find any others in the shed)
because the blade was too large and blunt for such soft plyood and it messed up some of the tight corners and fine details on my branches. So next time I'll be using a finer blade and maybe taking my time.

When you have no sandpaper, rough nail files do the trick! And they are particularly handy for these tiny corners and spaces between branches. If you are using sandpaper, wrap a piece around a pencil or piece of wood dowel and it will make it much easier to smooth off all those little curves, nooks and crannies.

The pieces only needed a little final adjustment of the center slot before they fit together perfectly. You want to make sure the pieces slide together and slide apart with ease...not so loose that the tree wobbles... not too tight or they could be damaged.

I'm now one satisfied little DIYer. No one can ever tell me again that you cannot cut round shapes with a jigsaw.

Here's the template if you'd like to make your own...

This template prints out on A4 paper but feel free to make it bigger or smaller for your project & send me pics!... especially if you're using yours at a market or craft show... I'd love to see the result and maybe I'll add it to my Market Stall Inspiration board on pinterest

Inspired? I hope so


Friday, September 7, 2012

A Home At Last

There are 12 weeks left for us to get our 1950's Australian Farm Cottage renovated and finished to a point where we can move in...even if the paint isn't quite dry and the kitchen has no cabinet doors...we need to be in by the first week of December.

Miniature Irish Barn Hand Painted Paper Clay by HomespunIreland on Etsy

Most of my readers over at my art blog will have seen the first photos popping up in my latest posts but to be honest, I haven't been able to keep up with posting the photo updates as quickly as we snap them! And every day My Dad The Builder makes huge progress (well it seems like huge progress to us anyway) and I have to race around and capture all the latest changes to walls and windows.

Our little cottage home

There is more about all that over at Our Little Cottage Home, a blog to keep track of all the things we've done with the cottage in the past couple of months. And there is much more to come! I've been keeping track of all my 'dream house' ideas via Pinterest and all the inspiration ideas for my soon-to-be-renovated art studio!

I'm dreaming of a cottage with white walls inside, the cool forest on one side and a cottage garden out the front leading into the meadow... I say 'meadow'. Its not quite so green and lush as you might imagine. More dry grass and weeds than green grass right now. But a girl can dream...

~ All of these images are from the items featured in my latest treasury on Etsy 'Home At Last' ~

In the last few days it suddenly became Spring here in Orara. The weather is dry (for the first time in 4 years) windy, and you can smell the smoke in the air from the last of the winter burning off. It makes me edgy. I don't like the thought of what Summer is going to be like this year. I am looking forward to swimming!