Christmas is literally right around the corner and to help you get ready, we've prepared these advent calendar activities. What's on your list?

25 Advent Calendar Activities for Handmade Holidays

Christmas is literally right around the corner and to help you get ready, we’ve prepared these advent calendar activities.

We have a soft spot for the DIYers of the world. The ones that take joy in making their holidays unique and personal. We’ve put together these 25 advent calendar activities just for them.

Leave a comment and let us know your favorite and check out our advent calendar tutorial below!

Christmas is literally right around the corner and to help you get ready, we've prepared these advent calendar activities. What's on your list?

Continue reading “25 Advent Calendar Activities for Handmade Holidays”

Ever wanted to make a intricate design in wood? Today we're going to show how to use a scroll saw and accomplish those detailed cuts!

How to Use a Scroll Saw

What is a Scroll Saw used for?

A scroll saw is typically used for small intricate designs. It’s a small machine with a fine blade, so it’s easier to get all those nooks and crannies. Scroll saws are usually either parallel arm or C-arm, types.  Scroll saws are used to freehand cut intricate wood patterns, also called fretwork. Common scroll saw projects are name tags, miniature furniture, clocks, and many other designs.

Ever wanted to make a intricate design in wood? Today we're going to show how to use a scroll saw and accomplish those detailed cuts!

Scroll Saw Tips and Techniques

Step One. Set up Your Scroll Saw.

Reduce tension before setting up a new blade.

Slide the blade through the throat plate and the table lock knob below will keep it in place. The blade will come up through the throat plate and lock into the drop foot lock knob.

Scroll Saw Table Lock Knob

When setting up you saw, it’s important to keep a few things in mind.

Blade Tension

Before starting any project, you need to get the right tension on the blade.

With nearly all scroll saws, 5 inch plain end blades are most often used. Blades are more often to break from low-tension, which causes an arch and causes a break. Rough material handling will also snap blades.

Increase the tension until you hear a high-pitched ping when it’s plucked. The blade will hit a certain note as heard in the video, when it’s has the right tension. Each blade has a slightly different note when plucked. You can also see feel some resistance on the back of the blade. Practice and analysis over time will help you perfect it.

Square the Blade

For most scroll saws,  just move the table to adapt to 90 degrees or any other angle. Make sure the insert needs to square with the table. On the older saws, where the inserts are chewed up this is difficult. You can make your own using the original as a template.   The strongest requirement here is the need to have a piece of material exactly as thick as the original insert so that the top is absolutely level with the table top.

There are many options for inserts, such as phenolic, softer aluminum alloys, tempered hardboard, solid wood, plywood, or even clear (or colored if you like that) acrylic and polycarbonate plastics work well.

Extras

Scroll saws are all about the smooth cuts. Using the hold-down and the sawdust blower are essential for that.  Hold-downs are lightweight and if set correctly to barely touch the work surface, they shouldn’t impede the progress of the wood. It helps keep the work piece from catching a tooth on some quirky grain and jumping off line as you cut. The sawdust blower keeps a clean line for you to follow.

The sawdust blower keeps a clean line for you to follow.

As you go on, it’s important to check belt tight tightness, lubrication and other needs.

And that about takes care of standard scroll saw preparation. You can, over time, get into checking belt tightness, lubrication and other needs, but right now, let’s go cut something.

Step Two. Cut Your Wood Down to Size.

Because the scroll saw is for more intricate work, so having a bunch of extra wood is hard to work with. Start your scroll saw projects with a piece of wood the right size for the project. Cut the wood down to size with another saw or with your scroll saw.

Step Three. Find the Right Speed.

Find the right speed for your scroll saw projects. For hard wood, you’ll want to use a slower speed. For soft woods, you can use faster speeds. If you use a variable-speed model, adjust the speed of the blade to get the best results.

Adjust speed depending on your skill and type of wood.

Step Four. Pre-drilling.

If you have super small spaces that you need to cut in, use a drill bit the size of your saw and drill holes in those spots inaccessible through a continuous cut. Drill a hole right on the line, so you can start cutting from that point. This will give you access to those other areas. We’ll go over this more in the scroll saw projects below.

Step Four. Pre-drilling. If you have super small spaces that you need to cut in, use a drill bit the size of your saw and drill holes in those spots inaccessible through a continuous cut.

Step Four. Start Scrolling!

Once you’ve made all the proper adjustments it’s time to start the cutting. If you have a bit of extra trim, then aim toward the link you need to cut on.

Gently guide the wood onto the blade, using both hands. As you start to cut the wood, press it down firmly with your forefingers of both hands and thumb letting the saw do the work. You’ll want to start with a larger piece, so you have plenty of room for your hands to hold the wood properly. If you piece is jumping around or you have jagged cuts, you need to press down more firmly.

Gently guide the wood onto the blade, using both hands. As you start to cut the wood, press it down firmly with your forefingers of both hands and thumb letting the saw do the work.

Remove the excess wood as you move along. Keep turning the wood, so the next line is in front of the scroll blade. If you need to start over in a new part, gently back the blade out of the cut and turn the piece again for the next line.

Step Five. Cut the Inside.

Once you have the outside cut out, use the drill holes to start drilling the inner cut lines.Step Five. Cut the Inside. Once you have the outside cut out, use the drill holes to start drilling the inner cut lines.

To cut the inside lines, untighten the blade and thread it through one of the holes you drilled. Tighten the blade as you did before.

Thread the blade through the pre-drilled holes.

Step Six. Sand.

Once you have your scroll saw projects completed, sand down the edges. Then paint it or decorate it however you want.

Scroll Saw Projects

Christmas is coming up, so we decided we’d give a couple of scroll saw projects that would make great Christmas gifts. These scroll saw projects are great ways to practice and also give unique, handmade Christmas gifts. If you subscribe to our blog, you will get free access to our full scroll saw project videos about how to make a puzzle and Christmas ornaments.

Click here to subscribe.

How to Use a Scroll Saw Video

 

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Ever wanted to make a intricate design in wood? Today we're going to show how to use a scroll saw and accomplish those detailed cuts!

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This DIY Reversible Holiday Sign is perfect for this time of year. Save money, time and space with this two-sided sign for Fall and Christmas decorations!

DIY Reversible Holiday Sign with Scrap Wood

Two for One

This DIY Reversible Holiday Sign is perfect for this time of year. You get 2-sides for the price of one! You not only save money, but you can save space. You don’t need to buy or store two decorations. Sounds great right? The best part is, they’re super easy to make yourself.

The stencils we used to make our reversible holiday sign are available in our booth at the Market at Walnut Creek in Tulsa, OK or you can purchase them from our online store. As the season progresses, we’ll add more options.

This DIY Reversible Holiday Sign is perfect for this time of year. Save money, time and space with this two-sided sign for Fall and Christmas decorations!

Continue reading “DIY Reversible Holiday Sign with Scrap Wood”

High Performance Spray Lacquer is the key to turning any flat, lifeless piece of furniture into a bright statement piece you are proud to have in your home.

What You Need to Know About High Performance Spray Lacquer

High Performance Spray Lacquer is one Amy Howard’s coolest products. You can turn any flat, lifeless piece of furniture into a bright, statement piece that you can be proud to have in your home.

High Performance Spray Lacquer is the key to turning any flat, lifeless piece of furniture into a bright statement piece you are proud to have in your home.

Continue reading “What You Need to Know About High Performance Spray Lacquer”

Save time and money making your own holiday decorations. These Halloween candle holders are the perfect addition to any Halloween set-up.

How to Make Webbed Halloween Candle Holders with Spray Lacquer

These Halloween candle holders are the perfect addition to any Halloween set-up.

The year end holidays can get expensive quick. It’s difficult to stay on budget when you have to buy candy, decorations, costumes then one month later your family of 20 is coming over and you must feed them all, then somehow buy them presents and decorate for a completely different holiday just a month later! It’s too much!

There are so many benefits to making your own decorations. One is you can use the same materials and supplies over and over again. The other is if you get creative, you can make the decorations you see at the store for a fraction of the cost.

Not only are these Halloween candlesticks budget friendly, but it’s easy and quick, so you can do it in a time crunch.

Save time and money making your own holiday decorations. These Halloween candle holders are the perfect addition to any Halloween set-up.

Continue reading “How to Make Webbed Halloween Candle Holders with Spray Lacquer”

This DIY Pumpkin Display is perfect for fall porch displays. If you'd like to give out trick or treats, you can also use this to hold your candy.

DIY Pumpkin Display with Galvanized Buckets

Getting Ready for Fall

This DIY Pumpkin Display is perfect for fall porch displays. If you’d like to give out trick or treats, but have other things to attend to, you can also use this to hold your candy.

When you have a home decor store, fall is one of the most important times of the year. The colors are beautiful and serve as great inspiration for home decorations. It’s also the start of a very busy season.

We’ve spent the last couple of weeks getting fall decoration ideas together for our booths at the Market at Walnut Creek in Tulsa, OK and River City Trading Post in Jenks, OK. We’ve linked to their Facebook pages, so you can check out their fall decor and get inspiration for your home.

To showcase different ways to use Amy Howard Products, we decided to make this Pumpkin Display with Galvanized Bucket. We’re using the top bucket to serve as a candy holder for customers coming our booth at the Market at Walnut Creek.

This DIY Pumpkin Display is perfect for fall porch displays. If you'd like to give out trick or treats, you can also use this to hold your candy.

Continue reading “DIY Pumpkin Display with Galvanized Buckets”

If you're looking for a cute DIY project for the kiddos look no further than these easy painted pumpkin monsters. They're easy to make and customize!

Quick and Easy Painted Pumpkin Monsters

Pumpkin Monster Tutorial

If you’re looking for a cute DIY project for the kiddos look no further than these easy painted pumpkin monsters or trolls. These painted pumpkin monsters or trolls come any color you like and is easy to customize with any materials you have at home.

If you're looking for a cute DIY project for the kiddos look no further than these easy painted pumpkin monsters. They're easy to make and customize!

Continue reading “Quick and Easy Painted Pumpkin Monsters”

Want to get flawless painted furniture every time? Check out our best tips and tricks for the perfect painted furniture technique.

How to Get Flawless Painted Furniture

Do you scroll through pages and pages of flawless painted furniture pieces on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, wondering how people achieve these glorious pieces? In this post, we’re going to give you our best tips and tricks to get the perfect painted furniture piece every time.

Want to get flawless painted furniture every time? Check out our best tips and tricks for the perfect painted furniture technique.

Step One. Prep.

For flawless painted furniture, always prep furniture piece you’re going to paint. Sometimes, it’s simple like wiping it down with Amy Howard Clean Slate or diluted Simple Green wiped off with a damp cloth to remove surfactants.

You also might need to sand, if the previous finish is chipped or uneven. If you have a furniture piece with a lot of stains or certain woods like Mahogany, you’ll need a primer. If you use an oil based primer, it dries a little rough, so use a light sander before adding the next layer of paint.

Remove any hardware too difficult to paint around. Sometimes, you might have to fill holes or deep scratches with wood filler. Once you put the filler, such as Elmer’s Color Change Wood Filler, where you need it.  Scrape off any extra with a putty knife and sand it down smooth. Check out this article, for great tips to repair wood furniture surfaces.

Step Two. Paint with One-Step Paint.

Amy Howard at Home One-Step paint is our go to paint for our antique furniture pieces. Amy Howard at Home products help us get the aged furniture look without actually distressing and making the furniture look as if you dragged it behind your truck.

Painting with One-Step paint is super easy and our go-to for flawless painted furniture. Other than cleaning the furniture piece, there’s no other prep work required. The best part is this paint with stick to almost anything without sanding or priming.

Start with a ‘crumb coat’ or a light coat of chalk-based paint. Give your furniture piece a couple of coats of paint, letting the chalk-based paint dry completely between coats. Chalk-based paint has a dead flat finish. If you see any shiny spots your furniture piece needs more time to dry. See this post to learn more about One-Step Paint.

Want to get flawless painted furniture every time? Check out our best tips and tricks for the perfect painted furniture technique.

Step Three. Finish with a Wax or Other Sealer.

The third step for flawless painted furniture is to seal your furniture project. This keeps your furniture piece looking flawless for years to come.

We seal most of our projects with Amy Howard at Home Waxes. For a cleaner look, we use clear wax. If we want an aged antique look, we use Light Wax. Once the wax has dried, we add a touch of Dark Wax on the edges where the furniture would naturally wears. See this post to learn more about how to apply furniture wax.

The furniture waxes need to be refinished once a year. So for furniture or spaces with heavy use, we use a polyethylene sealer for extra durability.

Amy Howard at Home products also include Liming Wax to calm vibrant colors or to create a white wash finish, and Mind Your Own Beeswax for a durable satin patina look.

Step Four. Enjoy Your Bragging Rights!

What’s the point of having a flawless painted furniture piece, if you can’t actually enjoy it. The great thing about Amy Howard at Home products, is if you don’t like it, just clean off the wax with Clean Slate and start over again.

These are our three tips for flawless painted furniture! If you have any questions or have a tip for flawless painted furniture, feel free to leave a comment below!

Check out these other posts for more routines to make your life better.

How to Go Green in Your Daily Routine – Ever Change Productions

Keeping Your Sanity with Routines – Little Sprouts Learning Garden

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Want to get flawless painted furniture every time? Check out our best tips and tricks for the perfect painted furniture technique.

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It's back to school time and we're excited to show your our latest DIY! Get organized with this back to school chalkboard!

DIY Back to School Chalkboard

A Back to School Chalkboard is the perfect way to get organized for the new school year.

It's back to school time and we're excited to show your our latest DIY! Get organized with this back to school chalkboard!

Preparing to go back to school is such an exciting time. It’s a time of picking out a new backpack, pencils with your name on it, new notebooks to be filled with new knowledge and ideas. It’s also hard to keep organized.

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This easy image transfer technique will help bring your world travels home with you. No matter where you are, you can bring precious memories with you.

The Perfect Image Transfer Technique for Travel-Inspired DIY Home Decor

Travel-Inspired Home Decor

This easy image transfer technique will help bring your world travels home with you. No matter where you are, you can bring those precious memories with you.

This easy image transfer technique will help bring your world travels home with you. No matter where you are, you can bring precious memories with you.

Continue reading “The Perfect Image Transfer Technique for Travel-Inspired DIY Home Decor”