Friday, April 6, 2012

Awesome Scrabble Letters {epic fail}

Not all DIY projects have a happy ending...luckily for me, I found a way to turn this epic failure into a success story!

So, if you're at all in love with Etsy like I am, you've probably seen lots of cute things and thought, "oh, I can't afford that, maybe I could DO it."  For me, it was huge scrabble letters for Mr. S's 30th birthday party.  I mean, you can't have a game themed bash without scrabble letters!!  Well, when I first checked a few sellers for large letters, I was looking at about $6 - $8 each {a steal for home decor} but as I was going to use them to spell out "FOOD" and "LOVE" and 1 custom designed one, I really didn't have the budget to spend about $70 on this part.  So, I started Google-ing tutorials.  I found a few that appeared promising (links at the bottom) but went with this one from Green Wedding Shoes.

First, you need the wood blocks.  If you are fortunate to have a miter saw or table saw, you can buy long, thin boards ( think 1/2 in x 5 in x 48 in) in the building supply section of your local home improvement store and cut them at home.  Some stores will cut it for you, but that's WAY less fun! ;)

Cut the board into square pieces based on the width of the board.

Next, is printing your letters onto the wood.  So if you jump to the bottom and check out the other links, you'll see that a laser jet printer is one requirement.  This is because all of these methods of transferring some image/letter/etc onto wood uses water to remove the paper.  A laser jet printer uses heat to melt a powdered ink to the paper, which bonds it there and that's why photocopies don't get all ink-runny when they get wet, but papers out of your home printer do.  (As most home printers are inkjets which use water soluble ink.)

However, the directions from Green Wedding Shoes are not specific to the type of print necessary and I had all the other items I needed from that how-to. I go creating from their directions my scrabble letters
 (printed backwards!) on card stock to become my awesome scrabble we go:

So as you can see....I started by running the card stock under water like the instructions said, but this wasn't working {and I PAY for my it's wasteful to just let the water run} so I decided to turn it face down in the sink of water.  In the instructions it says the card stock should release and come off on it's can see that it didnt... So as I used more water and rubbed the paper off the ink began to ran!  The ink ran probably because I used an inkjet printer.  Should have known better....

I ended up with this:

Not so pretty and definitely not going to work (imagine I had 3 other letters to go!).  Luckily, I only did the word "FOOD" first as a test.  Unfortunately, I waited a while to do these thinking they would go smoothly and there were too many other things to worry about to do them WHAT TO DO!?

First, I had to breathe...and think...and let them dry, because they were very wet from being in the water and they were warping from the expansion (caused by the water).

In design school we did some pretty extensive lines with sharpie markers when we would forget to hatch wall sections and such on the computer before plotting.  So if your scrabble letters looked like this and you have a steady hand....don't worry!  I used a fine point Sharpie marker to trace around the letter and number like this:

Fill in the small number with the small sharpie, because the larger one would've looked fuzzy and not crisp enough.

Then fill in the rest of the letter with a larger tipped sharpie.  You can use a fine point on the entire thing if you have that kind of patience...

I don't know why blogger wants to
 rotate this image?!

So here is what I had when it was partially done...

Once all the letters are filled in and dry, you can spray the whole block with a clear top coat to protect it, if you wish or if it is going to come into contact with water.

And here's what they looked like with the sharpie fill-in:

I don't think they turned out too badly! :)  If you want to see them in the party, check them out here!

For how to's (that might actually work for you! lol) try these websites:
Wholly Kao's Photo-to-Wood transfer
Green Wedding Shoe's tutorial
PetaPixel's Wood Block Photo

And here's one I hadn't seen before I did this for transferring color photos to wood using an inkjet printer and t-shirt transfer paper!  From another power-tool savvy lady!  Tool Girl Mag Ruffman

Hope you have good luck with your photo to wood transfers!! I think next time, I'll just buy the letters! ;)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Board Game Bash Recap {Pt 2}

Now that you've seen the food of the Board Game 30th Birthday Bash, let's look at the decor!  {If you haven't seen the food, click here}

Creating a distinguished looking party that celebrated Mr S's 30th birthday and showed off our new home was a must!  I wanted to balance the decor around the house, as our house is fairly compartmentalized, and we had many guests.  I knew everyone wouldn't fit in one space.  If you can fit everyone in one space, it will definitely make decorating easier!

I decided to keep the decor in our newly finished living room fairly low-key, so people could see all the hard work we'd done in there!  The sun room {previously untouched} got more attention, as did the dining room - where a poker set and card decorations made a fun space, and lastly a few decorations tied the kitchen breakfast nook into the party.  Ultimately, the kitchen became the quiet spot where I could go for a break!

So check them out!

Sun Room
Black Cardstock and wide {non-wired} ribbon created a domino effect on the ceiling.  I used Scotch brand reusable adhesive.  The ribbon didn't stick well to the adhesive, so that took a bit of work, but this would have worked without the ribbon to be dice!

Curtains?? Yes....unfortunately, we haven't finished the walls in our sunroom!  The sheetrock is still bare and the joints don't even have mud!  So, to distract from that, I created white satin {temporary} panels to cover all the places with bare sheetrock.  Luckily a sunroom has lots of windows, which helped keep the amount of bare sheet-rock to small sections (4 - 11 inches wide) and I used about 10 yards to create 8 panels.
You can see the panels in the background of
this picture.  Although you can still see the
unfinished sheet-rock at the top of the windows,
it is definitely less visually intrusive!
Living Room
Little S reading after the party has died down!  The birthday banner was really the only decor in this room, besides a few extra card tables for playing games!
Dining Room
A card chandelier is an inexpensive, fairly easy, way to jazz
up an old chandelier.  Though this isn't quite the impressive,
massive card chandelier, I'd hoped for, it's cute.  Everything
can't be perfect, right??

A 6' banquet table makes a perfect
poker table

The Breakfast nook gets a primary color pop to help tie it in to the party.  The giant playing cards (which were stuck to the windows...) helped block some of the harsh sunlight.

Again, I used a combination of store bought and DIY ideas for the party to keep my sanity and save time.  There were certainly other things I wanted to do that didn't happen, but that's what happens with a budget of time and money!

Tutorials to follow:

Making simple panels {temporary or permanent}

Happy Birthday {Frame} Banner

Card Chandelier

Enjoy!!  Let me know what decor things you would create!

Board Game Bash Recap {Pt 1}

Mr S LOVES {board/card/dice} game nights.  I love them too.  Honestly, it is better than any modern, tech advanced, video game competition! (Except maybe Wii Tennis! haha).  So when the epiphany for a game themed 30th birthday hit me, I decided to make sure some favorites were used as themes!

The easiest {and probably corniest!} part was figuring out the food - I wanted a cute name for everything!  Because what sophisticated party is complete without food tags??  So in this Part 1 we'll look at all the food that makes a game party fun!

Ok, as promised here's a photo recap of Mr S's 30th Board Game Birthday Bash!

'Cue Sticks, Stack the Deck Sandwiches, Domino Brownies, and lots of others helped carry the theme to the table.  Simple food cards make the party feel thoroughly planned!

A mix of homemade and store bought goodies helped me keep my sanity and ensured that there was something for every taste while preserving the personal touches!

A Candy Land display failure turned into something beautiful with fun bowls for the individual candies.  It's nice to include things kids will love at grown-up parties, unless you are not inviting kids.

The food was one of the last things I could do for this party.  So we were definitely scrambling.  Some of the food not pictured?  Crab Cake Chess (mini crab cakes), Scrabble Cheeze-Its, 'Casino' chips & Dip, and Cheese Dice.  Now, granted, most of this food didn't look like the description.  The 'casino' chips & dip was just round tortilla chips with salsa, but having the tags is a nice detail that makes your birthday boy (or girl) feel like you really gave it 100%.

I can post the crab-cake recipe if anyone wants it, but everything else was pretty straight forward.  Box brownie and cake mixes were bought BOGO Free, which helped keep me on budget.  And Farkle Cupcakes (square cupcakes with the tops decorated like various dice using mini oreos) helped me save time.

Best advice on a theme party?  Choose your battles and plan ahead.  I spent a lot of time on decor items, eventhough there weren't a LOT of decorations.  Most of the food is store bought or easy to assemble, because I knew I wouldn't be able to make any of it ahead.

The Decor Recap to follow!  :)  Enjoy!