So this project was completely free to make, except for some minimal hardware costs! I collected some old wood pallets from my neighborhood (found by local and commercial businesses), and I went to my local shooting range and asked if I could sweep up some of their bullet shells. To complete this project, you will also need a drill, some wood glue, and a circular saw. I used the circular saw to cut apart the wood pallets, but you can go about it the old fashioned way with a crowbar and hammer as well. I staggered the boards horizontally so they’d be a little more visually appealing. I screwed in two metal strips across the back of the boards on both the left and right sides to hold them in place (using 1/4-3/8 inch screws since the boards are about 3/4 inch in width). Next I laid out the screws in the desired design, and one by one I drilled holes the same diameter as the bullets into the board. I only drilled down about half way into the boards, enough to hold the shells in place. Once all the holes are drilled, drop the casings into their respective holes, and secure each one with a little wood glue. I’m sure hot glue would also work, as long as you work quickly to get the bullets into the hole. Once dried, I added some picture frame wire to the back, and hung it up on the wall. This project was a little more time intensive than most that I do, but it is a pretty awesome gift for any men in your life. You could also arrange the shells in sports team logos or initials.
^well that’s a mouth full! It’s October, and if you weren’t already sick of seeing pumpkins, here is a great tutorial on some fun pumpkin porch decorations. Step one is to comb your local town for discarded wood pallets. Living in Charleston, I find these all over the place. If you live in a place where they are less common to come by, check out craigslist or ask you local chain stores if they’ll lend you some. The type, size, length of wood really doesn’t matter. Just rip apart your wood pallets and try to keep as many boards intact as you can (you may have to recruit some strong man friends for this). I got a good number of the 1×6 boards, cut them all to the same length, and lined them up in a row, about 3 ft wide, 2ft high. The size of your wood square will determine the size of your pumpkins. I took a small thin strip of wood and laid this horizontal across the row of boards. Screw this strip of wood into each board, to secure them into your square shape. Next I just sketched out a general pumpkin shape, and used a jigsaw to cut out the design. I screwed a small 2×4 into the back towards the base to make sure it doesn’t fall over, and you can screw this 2×4 piece into a base piece of wood for the pumpkin to sit on if you’d like it be a little sturdier. For the stem, I drilled a hole into a small river birch branch I pulled from our wood pile, and then screwed it into the middle board towards the top.
I did put a light stain on the boars to give it more “pumpkiny” color, but the look of the plain wood pallets is really cool too, especially if they have weathered a bit.
Give this a try for your Halloween/Fall season, and please comment if you have any questions! Throw a real pumpkin nearby and maybe a large candle!
A while back I published a blog about glass etching. All the “how-to’s” of that process can be found in that post. It really is a very easy process, using some sort of stencil and some glass etching paste. You can create stencils yourself using painters tape, or you can purchase the adhesive screen printing stencils from any craft store. These are great if you aren’t doing something too personalized; however, a lot of times they will make you buy an entire kit along with the stencils. I tend to make my own with painters tape and a print off of my design, since I’m not made of money (again specific how-to’s of this process can be found in the last post about glass etching).
I think beer mugs (or root beer mugs for the younger crowd) make a great manly present. I made some for my brother, dad, and my guy friends as well. You can put their initials, sport’s team name, and sport’s team logo on the mug. If you are doing these for a younger group of boys, perhaps for a themed birthday, you could etch the letter of the child’s first name, along with an image related to the party theme, maybe a cowboy, lasso, or some sort of cinema image if it’s for a movie night sleepover party! There’s really no limit to what you could put on them. I bought these mugs at WALMART for about 97 cents each! They come in a large and small size. They also sell mason jar glasses with handles, which would also be fun to etch as a present. The etching cream I always tend to have stocked in my craft box.
I picked up some tiles from the Home Improvement store (Lowes). They were 33 cents each. They are kind of a taupe color but the white tiles are even cheaper at 16 cents a piece! I bought a porcelain pen from Michael’s Craft Store. It was only about $3 and some change. Then just draw on whatever your little heart desires! You let them dry for 24 hours (I’m not really sure if this step’s necessary), then you bake them at 300 degrees for 35 min and TA-DA! To make sure they don’t scratch the finish of your tables, I would put cork, felt, or rubber pads on the bottom. I just used the stick on cork circles and put one on each of the four corners.