Wordly Wise


A few weeks ago, Mark and I went stand up paddle boarding.  (Summary: it was super fun… he fell once, we ogled some waterfront property, wish the boards weren’t $1000+.)  Given the watery nature of this outing, I couldn’t take pictures so not much point writing about it, but we’re huge fans!  HERE’s what I’m writing about… the awesome salvage wood we found in the parking garage.

This is the point in our marriage when I have to give props to Mark because he just rolled with it and helped me load the pile of crap into the back of the car.  Not even a raised eyebrow or a smirk.  I’m liking the DIY projects that involve words and quotes and language… time to try one myself.

There’s still a stack of it behind our garage (sorry, neighbors), but I did use one piece (all sanded down and cleaned up) for this:

So simple and SO cool!  The hardest part was choosing which word I would use.  (I considered things like “eat”, “love”, “smile”, “family” and ultimately decided the first was too short, and the others were a little predictable/ long.)  As you can see, I went with “laugh.”  First step: choosing the font.  I think I ultimately went with Arial Black, but I honestly can’t remember.  Most looked similar, but there were a couple that were too long and lean… I wanted some chunk to my letters.

I printed them out (in outline to save ink) and then cut each letter our separately.

For spacing, I found the center point of my board and placed the “U”.  Then I decided how far from the edges I wanted the first and last letter, and placed those two.  Finally, I centered the “A” and the “G” between the middle and first/ last letters respectively.

I also used a right angle to make sure that everything was somewhat straight (the board is not…)

I wanted to mark out where the nails would go first.  I over thought this at first and measured out every letter with equal spacing for the nails…. But for straight lines, I didn’t need any nails in the middle, so I ultimately skipped most of the dots I made on the paper letters.

For any curved lines, I spaced my nails about 1″ apart and that seemed to be the right distance.

When I got to nailing, I started to measure out the height that I wanted each nail to be, and it felt wildly fussy.  I have some OCD tendencies, but this seemed like overkill.  I found a pretty good rhythm and was able to hammer each nail in about the same way so they’re all roughly the same height.  (We had these nails kicking around… I think anything with a flat nailhead would work.)

You can go with any type of thread (I considered using old knitting scraps, but the colors weren’t quite bright enough).  Strips of old fabric could be nice.  Old t-shirts.  Ribbon.  I use cotton embroidery thread so I could reminisce about my adolescent friendship bracelet days.  I listened to Van Halen and wore a splatter painted sweatshirt (off the shoulder, natch).

I laid out a few different color combos and landed on these five.  The “G” and the “U” had the most nails because if their curved edges, so I made sure that I really liked the colors I used for these two letters in particular.  (Oh, and I don’t know what planet I was on when I bought all of these… I only needed one thing {skein? spool? loop?} of thread for each letter.)

When I went to wrap the thread, I looped around each nail just to keep the thread as taught as possible.  I think it could have looked amazing if I’d gone around enough to create a really dense layering of thread, but I stuck with just 5 times around to keep it simple.  I only knotted the thread twice: once at the beginning and then when I’d finished each letter.

I screwed on some picture wire to the back of the board and mounted it on the wall.  Loving it.




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