Credit where credit is due – I saw a version of this on pinterest and have since created both a copy cat and bastardized version. This is a fun project to make for your own home, or for those of your loved ones. It’s a relatively simple project with just a few required materials (all of which are pretty cheap). And BONUS, it is a decoration for both fall AND winter. Gotta love a good 2-for-the-price-of-1.
Wood pieces (for the Happy Fall / Let It Snow set, I used 2×4 boards cut into two 6″ sections, two 4″ sections and one 5″ section; for the Happy Autumn / Believe set, I used 2×2 boards cut into two 5″ sections, one 6″ section and five 4″ sections)
Paint (in whatever colors you want to use – I used primary colors only and mixed all the rest, like brown, orange, etc.)
Paint brushes & pallette or equivalent
Paint markers (optional) – I used a few paint markers throughout this project to make some of the letters easier; Specifically, I used paint markers for all of the Autumn / Believe letters and the black and silver on Snow
First, figure our your design. If you want to go with a different message, get creative with how to split the letters, how many blocks to use, and how to arrange the pieces. Then, cut all your boards and make sure they fit nicely together and are smoothly sanded. Since you’re creating a double sided decoration, you really need to make sure they’re evenly sanded on all sides.
After you’ve prepped the wood, cover all the blocks in white paint all the way around. This will give you a nice even base to start with and will ensure you have clean lines at the top, bottom and sides (especially if your wood has rounded corners). Once the white has dried, you can mix up your colors and paint the blocks accordingly. *TIP, try to pick something that goes with your house decor while still keeping in line with the holiday color scheme.
Finally, once you’re SURE that the paint has COMPLETELY dried (at least 24hrs), go back through and start to add the letters. If you’re using paint and a brush, I would recommend using a white colored pencil to sketch out your letters. This can also be a good idea even if you’re using paint markers. Then, let that dry and voila, a beautiful new, custom decoration for your house that will last you through ~6 months of the year, depending on where you live!
I’ve got to give credit where credit is due – I saw this on Pinterest and thought it was a perfect centerpiece for my Thanksgiving table. Also, it doesn’t hurt that I have a heavily wooded area as part of my property, so finding the materials was a cinch. If you don’t have a forest behind you, any fallen or dead branch you might have would work perfectly. My husband did all the work on this one, so this post is by him.
Dead tree or branch that isn’t rotten (if it has a nice arc, that will help)
First, I found a nice dead, but not rotten, tree in my backyard. I eye-balled approximately how long it should be and cut it with a handsaw so that there would be a nice arc in the middle. This was pure luck. After I made clean cuts on the ends with my miter saw, I took it over to my drill press and used my Forstner bit to drill out holes for the candles. I roughly spaced out 6 holes for my candles (it’s a rustic project, after all) and started from the center of the tree/branch and worked my way to the ends. I drilled about ½” deep – this project required very little measuring, but basically, you just want the candles to rest in securely.
Once I was done with the drilling, I noticed it was a bit wobbly and added dowel feet where needed (part of my tree/branch had a knot, so use your judgment when adding dowel feet to make sure it’s stable since it will be holding fire). You can do this by drilling a small hole in the underside and inserting a dowel. I finished up by coating the whole thing in boiled linseed oil to seal the wood and prevent warping and cracking. I did put boiled linseed oil on the bark despite the recommendations I read to the contrary. It has worked out fine for us so far.
This was a really fun, although somewhat stressful, project. The stressful part was mainly because we didn’t have the perfect drill bit to make the right size holes, so we used a a combination of two different types and had to drill everything twice. However, in the below instructions, we’re helping you avoid our mistake and make things a bit simpler. Here is the finished product so you have a sense as to whether or not you want to keep reading – is this what you want to create?
To make this, first I started by finding some jars I liked that had metal lids. I found a couple of really great options on Amazon, but ended up with these even though they were more than I ideally wanted to spend. I bought two sets because I have a lot of spices and then ended up using all of them, so it was perfect. My husband started by measuring the length and width of the underside of the cabinet and cut a piece of 3/4″ plywood to fit. Then, we measured the diameter of the jar lids to determine how big of a circle we’d need to drill out so we could mount them up in the plywood. If you buy the same jars I did, you will need the 1 11/16″ Forstner bit. If you’re lids are a different size, you’ll need to measure to determine the bit size you need.
We then needed to work out the spacing of the jars. Our plywood was 29″ by 10″ and we decided to do four rows deep by 12 rows across, which created about 2 5.5/16″ (2.33 in.) by 2 1/4″ of space for each jar. We marked the underside of the plywood with the intersection points of the grid at the exact center of where each jar should go. This helped the hubs a lot in drilling all the circles. Sadly, because we’re using the Imperial system, we got into some crazy fractions, but ended up making it work. Here’s the math:
Measure a border around the edge – we had about a ½” border around the whole outside of the plywood
Determine how many jars you want to fit across and how many deep. The space for each jar will be called the jar perimeter. Then = total length of the plywood – total width of both borders (in my case, this was 1″ (½+½)) / number of jars you want to fit across. This will give you the length of each jar perimeter. You then need to do the same thing for the width of the plywood = total width – (width of border x2) / number of bottles deep. This will give you the width of each jar perimeter.
Then, you want to mark the center point where each jar center will be. Take ½ of the jar perimeter length and add it to the width of your border. Measure in from the outside of the wood and make a vertical line (if your wood is landscape). From that measurement, add a full length of the jar perimeter and mark another vertical line. Keep adding in increments of a full jar perimeter length and making vertical lines until you reach the end of the plywood.
Repeat this process with the jar perimeter width. From the border, add ½ the jar perimeter width and mark a horizontal line. Add increments of the full jar perimeter width and continue marking horizontal lines until you reach the end of the plywood. It should look like this when you’re done. You can also see the tools we used to make marking and line drawing simple. These are from Woodpeckers and are all American made in Strongsville, OH.
Once the plywood is marked, drill the holes using the larger of your two Forstner bits. Once you have all your main holes drilled out, use the smaller Forstner bit to drill out small holes for the magnets to rest in. If you use the magnets in the link above you’ll need to drill down 1/8″ using a ½” drill bit). To secure the magnets in place, we dropped them all in, put the jars in to hold them in place, and then flipped the whole thing over to drop 5 minute Loctite epoxy through the top holes. I decided to tape off the top of my jars just to be sure I wouldn’t get any epoxy leakage and it worked really well (I used blue painters tape because I had some laying around and I figured it would remove cleanly).
Once the epoxy dried, we sanded the top to remove any overflow, pulled off the jars and then coated the whole thing in Watco Danish oil in Dark Walnut. Once that dried, it was time to install. We used 1″ counter sinking screws (flat head) and screwed directly into the underside of our cabinet and then placed all the jars. They actually hang really well from the magnets and are easy to use. One tip for using this spice rack – organize your jars so you’ll remember what’s where. I planned each row in a way that I would associate them and remember the order. For my husband, I just made a little chart that is taped on the inside of the cabinet door: