Back before Halloween we found a fallen tree branch at the side of country road near us that we brought home and turned into a scary tree for our front porch as part of our Halloween decorations.
Initially I was going to re-use the tree for Christmas decorations outside but decided against it. In order to make some really great use of the branch vs just placing it into compost or the firewood pile, I picked up a manual Mitre Saw at Lowe’s. The Footprint Tools one to be exact. It cost $14 CAN.
via: Lowe’s Canada
This little mitre saw box is a great inexpensive tool to have for small wood crafts around your house.
From that branch we sawed a whole stack of wood slices. And while technically the following was a Valentine’s Day gift that I made for my husband, it’s completely applicable to everyday art that you can make for yourself.
The idea behind this was to create a small family tree. So each wood slice would have each family members birth date stamped on it.
I stamped each of our birth dates onto one wood slice and attached a velcro tab to the back.
And it wound up like this.
The velcro tabs serve two purposes.
The first being that they add a three dimensional effect to the wood slices so it looks like they’re floating. But more importantly the long term plan for this is to be able to create it into a larger family tree. So that with additional family members or grandchildren that come into the photo, you’re not wasting a wood slice and can just peel it off the velcro backing the slice is attached to, and move it to a new frame as your family and your family history grows.
Now I come from a very tiny family. All my parents siblings had one child each and I am an only child as well. So I just wanted to make this for my husband for our immediate family members that live in our home. But I thought it would be a great inspiration for anyone out there who comes from a large family to ask their family members to get a branch from their area or their property if they were to do this and incorporate their branch slices (both physically and metaphorically) to the family “tree”.
That way a piece of their land, their history is always captured together. How awesome would it be to have different types of wood, different barks surrounding each other in a big collage in a frame with each family members birth dates and names stamped on it. I didn’t do names on this one because I liked the simplicity of the birth dates but for a larger project I can see me doing otherwise.
The TEKTON stamp set is great for this because it’s small enough that you can fit more details onto the wood slices (the sliced I used were approx 1.5″ wide). But if you don’t have a metal stamp set (the metal in the name is misleading, I stamp everything with this), you can use a regular rubber stamp set as well.
Here’s an example of a wedding card I recently made for our friends with their wedding date on it, stamped with a simple stamp set I picked up at Michael’s.
You can hand write on the slices if your handwriting is exceptional, but what I find with general ink markers when you write on wood is that the dye from the markers, no matter how fine their tips are, tends to spread throughout the wood grain very quickly. The dye from a stamp pad however prevents that from happening. I did the dots between the date numbers with a fine tip marker and I barely touched the wood and it was like dropping food colouring into water.
James loved his present and for the time being we placed it in our living room. I really like how the metal stamp set gave the birth dates an almost embossed feeling to the wood and it’s really cool to see the depths of the date imprints change in different light.
No wood burning tools needed. Who knew?
PS – Do you not agree that these little wood slices would make some excellent personalized gift tags? I’m working on that to show you soon!