Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Sled & other Christmas decor

Several years ago my friend Brad gave my girlfriend a decorative Christmas sled, complete with penguins painted on (penguins are my girlfriend's favorite).


This sled broke several times over the years, and by the time we were moving from New York to Arizona, the sled broke beyond repair.  Above and below are the only pictures I could find of the sled, and these pictures show a new paint job and the most recent repair job.


At the point in which it broke, I had minimal wood working skills, but even at that point I knew it was beyond repair.  So for this Christmas I plan on making a newer, better sled.  I started by finding some junk wood I had hanging around.


I created a curve on one side, which I cut out with my jig saw.


Using the first piece as a template, I traced the curve shape onto the second piece, and cut out that curve as well.


Next I cut the 2 large pieces into several thinner pieces using my saw table.


I cut 2 cross beams for the back using more scrap wood, and my miter saw.


I made marks showing where the cross beam will go, as well as drill holes on the beam itself.


Then I drilled holes with countersinks into the cross beams.


The original sled was held together with brad nails, and it fell apart often.  For my new sled, I'm using wood glue, plus screws.  


So far it's ok, but when I mentioned that this was junk wood earlier I was serious.  The wood is warping in many different directions.


The curved top was bothering me the most, so I made one more cross beam which I glued and screwed to the top to keep the boards from warping too much.


Next I gave all the outer edges a good sanding.


Next I need to make some runners for the sled, but I haven't any pieces of wood long enough.  So I will have to go to the store to buy some.  While I waited, I drew up some new penguins which I will eventually draw & paint onto the sled.


I printed the penguins onto normal paper and put it against the sled.


The size of the penguins are good, but I need to fill out the remaining space on the sled.  So I cut 2 pieces of wood to go above and below the penguins.  I imagine that eventually the 2 pieces will read "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays".


I used my router to make the edges of the 2 pieces look nice.


Then I screwed the 2 pieces onto the sled.


Now it looks good.


So I filled the holes in the 2 pieces with filler.


The penguin artwork will eventually be transferred over to this piece of thin plywood.


I reprinted the penguins onto card stock and cut them out.


I was going to cut out the penguins/plywood, however since I do not have a band saw to carefully cut the details in the wood I opted to simply cut a square piece of wood.


I then attached the plywood with glue and screws.


I decided that I like how this looks so far and it didn't need runners.  I also added hooks to the top cross beam so that the sled can be easily hung on the wall.


Then after a thorough sanding, my Girlfriend and I applied some brush-on primer.


Next, I went back to my printout of the penguins and applied some charcoal to the back.


I then attached the printout to the sled and began outlining the penguins using a color pencil.


The charcoal acts like carbon paper and transfers my design nicely.



Then I outlined it again, this time using marker.


Next, my girlfriend painted the whole thing.  This took several coats of acrylic paint, but came out quite awesomely.


I repeated the same process for the words.




Then the whole sled received some clear coat.


While that dried, I cut a piece of rope to hang the sled.


This rope is nylon and the ends quickly frayed once cut.


So I used a lighter to melt and seal the ends.


Then I knotted them around the hooks I used earlier...


...and again used a lighter to melt the knots in place.


Then I screwed in the hooks.


And it hangs nicely!


My girlfriend and I are happy to have this back.

Next we decided to make some other Christmas decor for the house.  I dived into my bins of scrap wood and grabbed a few pieces to use.  I'll make a few different things with this scrap material.


The first piece will utilize this .25" thick piece of plywood and several pieces of junk wood which I salvaged by cutting down to 2x1's.  I drew the outline of the plywood on my work table...


Then I lined up several of my 2x1's with the good side facing down.


I then added glue to both the 2x1's and the plywood....


and I clamped them together.


When the glue dried I had a cool looking canvas for something.


But this piece needs to be stronger.  I didn't feel much like drilling and screwing several holes, so I used my brad nailer to better attach the 2x1's to the plywood.


Unfortunately I only have 2" brads for my nailer, so all the nails popped through the back.  But it's ok...


...I simply used the saw attachment on my dremel to cut away those small nails.


Then I sanded both sides smooth.  I noticed when sanding that the thin plywood is warping and bending a lot.


So to straighten & strengthen it, I glued and screwed a 3/4" piece of particle board to the back.


 Now that it's more rigid, I applied some wood filler to fill in nail holes, and other gaps on the front.


When the filler dried, I sanded it smooth.


I wasn't sure if I wanted to stain that piece, or prime it and color it, so I set it aside and worked on other scrap pieces of wood.  I have 3 different sized pieces which will make good plaques, so I screwed to my work table.


Then I used my router to give them nice edges.


I removed the screws, and filled in the holes.


Then I sanded them once the filler dried.


When my girlfriend saw these she decided she wanted to paint them, not stain them.  So I gave them a coat of primer.


While that dried I went searching for more scrap material.  I had 2 stained 2x4's from a failed project.


I made 45 degree cuts using my miter saw.


Now it's a nice frame.


I used some scrap thin plywood...


....which I glued and screwed to the back.



Then I used wood filler to fill in some spots.


I had more small pieces of wood, plus some larger pieces of particle board.  I glued everything together...


....to make a nice smaller piece.


I added brad nails to both pieces to strengthen them.


Then I added filler to the smaller piece...


...and sanded both when they were dry.


Lastly these too received some primer.


When the primer dried my girlfriend panted each piece a different color.


The plaques were painted red, green, gold, silver and one kept the white primer.


While the paint dried my girlfriend searched on pintrest to find quotes and styles she liked.  Then I measured each of our own plaques and I made layouts for each of them based on what my girlfriend found on pintrest.






Next I printed each quote and applied charcoal to the backs.





Then my girlfriend traced each sign and began painting the words in.






For the frame we decided to glue on Holiday Cards we've made over the last 5 years along with a few flat ornaments we bought.


Then it was time to attach the wall mounts.  I mostly had D-rings and wire.











For the large frame with the Christmas card, I drilled and screwed in a very large eye hook.


Then I glued on all the cards and ornaments.


With all the mounts working well, I gave each piece a light sanding to make it look slightly worn.






Then I gave each a coating of clear coat.


And finally hung them all up!








For the large frame, we attached ribbon to the large hook and hung it on the wall.


With the exception of the flat wood ornaments, the rope and some paint I did not spend any money on these projects.  They were all created with leftovers and they will last us a very long time.

Next year I think I will have to build a nativity and fill it with various toys that I have - similar to the picture below.


Merry Christmas! Happy Chanukah!
Happy Holidays!
Thanks for reading!