For our 15th Anniversary this year, we decided to spend it with our three sons and create some beautiful pieces of art. It was the best anniversary gift to us, to be creative together and make memories to last a lifetime. Everyone had a part to play.
First we bought some beautiful wood.
We measured out squares of 7x7 inches. The boys got their safety goggles on and used the saw to create our pieces.
We cut 4 squares, that weren't perfect, but perfectly fine for what we were planning to do.
A little bit of sanding helped to smooth out any rough edges and to get rid of splinters!
The rounded edges gave the wood a wonderfully smooth finish.
Next, we stained the wood with a mahogany stain. To get a weathered grain look, we immediately wiped off the excess stain. This also allows the pieces to dry very fast. The stain we used was oil-based, so it wasn't too easy to wash off our hands, but lesson learnt. Maybe we'll figure out a water-based or home-made stain next time.
I wanted the wood to reflect our life together. Highs and lows. Adventures. Laughter and tears. Ingrained wonderful memories. Pain and elation. But mostly, the unconditional love that comes with a marriage, which gets better with time. As we've grown together and had our beautiful children, our friendship and appreciation of each other has become deeply rooted in our hearts. Our lives have so much color speckles in them, that pure unblemished wood wouldn't be an adequate reflection.
So... the wood had to be somewhat distressed, but it became beautiful and interesting because of it. So we dry brushed white chalk paint over the stain and wiped off any excess. To add to the interest, we splattered little blotches of happiness like sweet freckles over the pieces.
They dried pretty quickly. The boys then got to draw out their hearts for us on their blocks with chalk. This worked well, because chalk rubs off easily if there's a mistake.
Once the hearts were in place, we had to score the places where the nails needed to be hammered in, for the smaller boys, but otherwise we told them to eyeball the spacing between the nails, by measuring with a thumb. This worked out great with the oldest.
Amazingly, no one hit thumbs and fingers while banging their 1 inch nails into position! And neither did hammers get used as the one of Thor, for superhero activities during crafting. Relief.
The hearts turned out unique for each child. Precious memories.
The boys got to choose which string they wanted to use in their hearts. Any kind of string, yarn, rope and thread can be used and each will create different looks.
The string got tied onto the first nail and then the boys had to wrap it randomly around and between the nails to fill up the space. It was harder for the little one to maintain tension in his string, but he managed wonderfully!
When the hearts were full (pun intended), the string had to be tied off and knotted. The ends were cut and hidden. As an added security measure, I like to dot some clear nail varnish on the knots, to prevent unraveling.
This is how it looked!!!
We still needed one more piece, which my middle son produced with so much skill. He used the scroll saw, with my husband hawk-eyeing the whole deal, to create an H for the fourth square, for our family initial.
He exceeded my expectations and produced a spectacular and unique piece of woodworking, that will forever have such affection in my heart. We white washed it with chalk paint, added a string bow and glued it into place with wood glue. The result blew my mind away. Lastly we added our anniversary date with stamps dipped in chalk paint.
My hands indeed are busy with my sons, but my heart is full because of it.
This project is so easy to do as a family and brings such gratitude with it. You don't need to have fancy saws for this project. You can buy pre-made pallets and initials at craft stores or get your local hardware store to cut your wood to size for you. Most of them will do it for free on a weekday.
Have fun with this amazing family activity!
If you want help in creating this kind of art with your family, and you're in the Camas/ Vancouver/ Portland,OR area, we can set it up.
Create. Enjoy. Repeat.
With your loved ones.
It is unbeatable.
THREE & ME