Creating easy woodworking gifts that will blow them away.

Printing a picture on wood.

Creating a gift from cratch carries much more sentimental value then anything store-bought. Here are ideas to creating a few easy and fun gifts out of everyday wood. All materials can be purchased at a local hardware/crafts store.

1. Printed Wooden Picture

Printing on wood is a cool and unique way to present a picture, and it's simple. The print will be a talking piece that blows any other piece of wall art out of the water, and of course, it's fast and simple.

Step 1. Get the proper materials:

  • Liquitex Matte Gel
  • Modge Podge
  • Paint Brushes/sponge brush
  • Wood surface
  • Sandpaper
mod 2

Step 2. Print picture

Print the picture you are trying to print on STANDARD copy paper. It is vital that the print is made by a LASER printer and not a ink jet printer. Go yo local Office Depot or similar, bring the picture on a jump drive and have them print two copies off (one extra just in case). Costs about .09 cents each.

Step 3. Prepare wood surface

Cut the wood surface to match the size of the picture. A local Home Depot has pieces of plywood that are 2' X 2' and they usually are okay to cut them to size for you. Once you have the piece home, sand the surface so it's relatively smooth, not a necessity but makes the process easier in the end.

Step 4. Application

Apply the Liquitex Matte Gel to the surface of the wood. It's important that it is on fairly thick but not too thick. You want the gel on thick enough that you can barely see the wood through the gel. If it is on too think the picture will peel later, too thick and that paper won't come off. Apply the picture and let dry overnight.

Step 5. Remove paper

Next morning. Apply water over the entire surface with a sponge. Then go to work with your fingers until all the paper is removed. I used a sponge at first then fingers when getting closer to the picture to make sure the picture wasn't damaged.

Step 6. Finishing touches

OPTIONAL. You can sand the edges to expose the wood and cover up and mistakes. I sanded the corners and jagged along the sides to give a vintage look.

Step 7. Sealant

Apply the Modge Podge to seal and give a finish to the image. I applied about 3 coats that gave it a light luster. The back of the package gives options for other finishes.

Step 8. Reap the rewards

Present and prepare to be the talk of the town.


2. Log Candle Holder with Carving

Take an everday fire log and turn it into a work of art that will blow them away. You always see is love stories couples carving their initials into the bark of a tree, this is along those lines but a tree you can have in your house and enjoy everyday.

Step 1. Find a log.

Scavange your fire wood stack if you have one, search the woods, go for a walk, check Craigslist, etc. It will make your life easier if it is already cut or have a saw handy to make sure the edges are flat so it stands correctly.

Step 2. Drill a hole.

This is where the tea light will be placed. An average tea light is just slightly larger then 1" and a half. This causes a bit of an issue but easily fixed. The easiers way to make the proper hole for the candle is to head to your local hardware store and find a 1.5" drill bit. Take your hand drill and make the hole as perfectly verticle as possible. To make the hole large enough to accomodate the candle rotate the bit to cut wider then the 1.5". Have a tea light handy to check a smooth entry and exit. I used a green candle with a pine log that looks great.

Step 3. Carve into the side.

It's best to draw it out with a pencil before you make a impression. I used a pencil, then followed the pencil with a razor. To make the final carve I took a flat head screwdriver and a hammer to puch around the design.

Step 4. Finishing touches.

You could be done here. To make the carving stand out you can do a few tricks. Use a ligher to 'burn' around the design to darken the wood. Burn the whole area really well then sand off the outside leaving the interior (carving) darker. Or use a bit of paint to add a color distinction. Depends on the wood you are using.

Step 5. Sealing.

Get a spray polyurethane, it's very easy to use and works like a spraypaint. Follow the directions on the can to apply 2-5 layers. Comes in a variety of finishes, I used a matte finish.

Step 6. Let dry.

Make sure you let it dry for a few days so the smell goes away, get a candle and you're all done. Simple.

3. Wood and Wire Wine Rack

Simple wood and wire wine rack that is a perfect gift for anyone. Holds 3 standard wine bottles.

Step 1. Buy the materials

  • 10' pine stock from local hardware store
  • 16 - 2" lag bolts
  • 6 - 6" sections of wire (cut at the hardware store, tough to cut)
  • 12 #8 screws (select desired type)
  • Box of electrical connectors for the wire

Step 2. Cut all the wood to specifications.

  • 4 - 15" pieces to make up the pilars
  • 8 - 3.75" sections to make up the side and top connectors.

Step 3. Drill holes.

Since I picked up 1/4 inch lag bolts because I liked the look they would show I drilled the holes with a 1/4 inch brill bit to make sure the wood would not split when the lags were inserted. Line up all the pieces, make the drills and your all set. Make sure you drill the whole for the wire harnesses as well BEFORE you put it together, will make your life easier. Measure up 3.25" from the bottom of the rack - First hole. Then measure up another 4.5" from the first hole for hole #2. Last hole is another 4.5" up from that.

Step 4. Put it together

This is the easy part - put in all the screws and you have yourself the shell of a nice wine rack.

Step 5. Wire harnesses

These are the pieces that go from each pole and wll hold the wine bottles. Take the eectrical connectors and removes the plastic end with a pliars (kind of difficult, I used a vice to hold them). Insert one end of the wire and pinch with pliars. Do that same on the other side making sure you line up the connectors and are facing the same direction.

Step 6. Finishing touches.

Next part is up to you. Once it is all together you can apply whatever finish you want, wether it be the same spray poly from the other project or add a wood stain or paint. Possibilities are endless.