Gardenpinks' Blog

This, that and life!

Altered wooden words

I’m sure you have all seen those wooden words that seem to be everywhere; they usually come as a blank for anyone nifty with their hands to turn into a decorated masterpiece. Like many I have hankered after some of these words, I could see them painted, stamped upon and hanging on a wall so I was very pleased when our daughter ordered some from a wholesaler. There was a whole range of sizes from the small ones measuring around 12 inches long or less right up to the huge ones of nearly 24 inches long and around 15 inches tall.

We thought that crafters would love to get their hands on these but when they were on sale on our daughter’s stand many folk were stumped about what to do. Oh if the words were already decorated then these folk would buy them! So we set to decorate them; I had a 14 days and ten words to do something with and my mind went blank. I could think of ideas of what I would like but would the general public like the same thing??

The blank wood was in fact MDF (medium density fibreboard), usually this is very smooth and takes paint well but these shapes had been laser cut and I soon found that paint would not flow onto the surface easily or smoothly. The heat created by laser cutting had brought the resin to the surface causing a resist especially along the edges. All the pieces had to be sanded with fine sand paper, wiped down and a couple of coats of gesso then painted over all surfaces. Using gesso was a learning curve in itself…it is a sticky medium that is not very opaque, it dries very quickly and it gives a ‘tooth’ to the surface which meant that when applying paint over the top the paint didn’t go on as smoothly as I expected. I was fast hating these wood shapes!

The first one I completed I decided to cover with stamped tissue to overcome the streaked look of the paint; this was one of the huge words!

Base coat of gesso with pink acrylic paint and then covered with stamped tissue

This one didn’t turn out so badly and soon found a new home plus I had an order for a different colourway for a girl’s bedroom…phew!

Not wishing to do the same for all the word shapes I had to come up with another idea and for the next two HOME words I decided to sponge paint on to avoid brush marks and streaks and do some stamping:

Acrylic paint sponged on and stamped using Stazon ink

Similar to above

These words would be considered to be in the mid range size – round 12 inches long by around 10 inches tall. The most fiddly bits to paint were the edges as these two words were approximately 1/4 inch thick and there were too many edges! On these I used the same shades of paint for the edges as were on the surfaces so I didn’t have to worry if my hand slipped 🙂

I abandoned doing any stamping on these two shapes although if they had been destined for my home I would have done some stamping on them but felt that perhaps the general public wouldn’t like it so went with a crackle theme. Diluted PVA was used to create the crackle effects and, again, the paint was sponged on for the base coat and brushed on top of the PVA glue.

Diluted PVA glue was used between the coats of paint to achieve the crackle effect.

I still have a humongous word shape to complete – DREAM – to date it has been sanded, a coat of gesso and white acrylic paint sponged on, to finish I am inclining towards inking it in shades of pink and then stamping fairies all over it…but I might change my mind!! The words for my own use are still languishing in their naked state and one day, perhaps, I will do something with them 🙂

Have you done anything with these word shapes? Would love to see, leave me a link in the comments section.

Thank you looking x

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2 thoughts on “Altered wooden words

  1. I tried to leave a comment while on the road and had a lot of difficulty. So I’m going to finally get it done 😀

    Love these wooden words you have altered. Your daughter is going to find these flying off the shelf once her customers see what can be done with them. You have done an amazing job on these samples.

    Detailing the trials and tribulations you had with the laser cut words being resistant to acrylic paints and the remedies you found to get around the problem is helpful information to all who wish to be creative with their purchases.

    I really like all that you have made. The tissue covered “Kiss” makes me smile at the absolute cuteness of it all. I love the pucker lips or “Smooch Lips” you emphasized the piece with. Delightful.

    Your “Home” pieces are wonderful. They feel just like home 🙂 Blue skies, green grass, and blooming vines to make any home bright and cheery. Makes me think there is a white picket fence somewhere near 😀 I see your chirping birds on a wire or branch you have stamped.

    I like the crackle effect you have created on the “Love” and “Life” pieces. The simple main colors you painted are enhanced by the peeks of the darker layer underneath. Almost like a marbling effect.

    Great post with all of your instruction and experience. I’d love to see your daughter’s shop with your work tucked on shelves showing themselves off 😀

    Love you – Leslie

  2. I have never seen these words for sale in their ‘naked form’ so I am sure that they will be a huge hit – especially with your gorgeous samples

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