Monday, May 14, 2012

a graduate project

It seems as though my projects of late have taken an extremely long time to complete. It's not that they have been too difficult, but more that it is difficult to gather all of the needed materials. And today's project is another one of those.

This project is something that did take a bit to plan. The girls in my creative writing class have just been amazingly wonderful this year. And I wanted to do something special for the six seniors. And I knew that I wanted to use a piece that they had written for class. It took quite some time for me to decide just which project I would use. But when I read Ann Voskamp's post about where she was from, I knew that I had to have my girls mimic her style but write their own verses identifying their roots. There was no doubt in my mind that this piece would absolutely be a part of their senior gift.

While they were reading the pieces, I was trying to decide the best way to use these in a project. I knew that I wanted to do the words on a board. And there were just too many words to paint. I thought about choosing a favorite few lines to put on each girls board but really wanted to use the entire piece. And then I saw this on pintrest and knew that I had my project!

On one of our wonderfully sunshiney days, I took the class out to the football field and snapped pictures of everyone. Little did the seniors know, but I was getting shots for my project. I then put their poems with their pictures and went to Staples to have engineer prints done. Problem #1. The first print came out of the machine with lines going all the way across the prints in several places. I questioned the lines, and the girl told me that it was supposed to be that way. Really? I left  there and went to Lowes to get my plywood. I knew that the sheets would fit in my truck, but I would have to drive home with the back tied down. I needed six pieces of wood, so I asked them to cut three sheets in halves. Problem #2. After paying for the wood and paint, I went over to select the pieces of wood that weren't warped, and the guy told me that he couldn't cut that wood. After a discussion, it was decided that he could, after all, cut the wood.  So then I only needed to make a trip to Little Rock to visit a Staples there and get my prints.

These sheets of underlayment are about $11.00. This one has been cut in half already.

I decided that I wanted my shapes to be something like the shape in the pintrest picture but more fairy tale-ish and wonky.

I started with a basic shape and then added some curves and bumps. Until it looked just wonky enough.

I cut them out with a jug saw. Lovey cut two of the six. He's a very precise and proper former construction worker. My wonky shapes were not quite his taste.

The wood is very thin and will splinter easily. I think the splinters just add character. Notice that I didn't stay exactly on my cutting line - if I thought it was too smooth and matchy, I just ignored the line.

After I cut the shapes, I sanded the edges which rounded them a bit.

I painted each board a different color. The other girls in class helped me to decide which girl got what color. It was funny how much we agreed on the colors for the senior girls. While I was at Lowes getting the wood, I went to the paint department and selected colors. I had them mix my colors and got the sample sizes for less than $3.00 each.

After painting, the boards were ready for hangers. I carefully chose hangers for the thin wood. However, after putting the hangers on the first one, there was a problem.

Yep. That's the hanger poking through on the painted side. Redo. Lovey to the rescue! I held the tiny metal hangers, and he ground the ends with his electric grinder. Now believe me when I tell you that I wouldn't let just anybody get that close to me with an electric grinder. But I know that he is very precise, and I still have all of my fingernails.

I had to trim the prints. Then I used spray adhesive to put them on the boards. After that dried, I applied mod podge over the entire board and let it dry completely.

The paper did crinkle a bit when I put the mod podge on, but it smoothed out again as it dried.

It took a lot of mod podge! I had to make a trip to Walmart to get more so that I could finish the last three. Lovey painted the last board while I made my Walmart run. He is such a sweetie sometimes. I had these board all over my house all weekend. The prints were 2 X 3, and the boards are just a bit bigger. Finding room to lay them flat was a challenge.

But with each step, I could tell that I just loved them. And I hoped that the girls would too.

I started thinking that I would love to have these hanging in my classroom.

But this morning Lovey helped me to load them in my truck, and I took them to school. I lugged them into my classroom and lined them up in front of my white board. This afternoon the girls had to come for graduation practice. I had them to all come to my room. I think they were surprised. And I think they really liked them.

I've already told my friend Carrie to choose pictures of her kids. We have to make these for her.

Linking up with

six sisters
uncommonly yours


  1. This is a great project. What a great talent! We're so glad you linked up to our "Strut Your Stuff Saturday." Thanks for coming and we hope you'll be back. -The Sisters

    1. thanks for hosting the linkup each week. i've seen some great projects.